An Evening in Singapore
Whilst staggering along the street in what hopefully is the right direction for home after having scooped down a few pints and made thousands of inane, unmemorable and probably undecipherable utterances it is always nice to know that you're probably not going to be accosted by a hyped-up junkie desperate for the loose change in your back pocket! It is this one single feature that makes Singapore the best place in the world to go out and get drunk in; a safe and secure environment in which to lose your mind and let go for just that little while!
Singapore possesses an extremely varied and diverse alcohol scene, one that will rapidly change with the soon to be casinos that will open but then this Island State is used to change and can bend and adapt as required so that all within continue to gain the best that life can offer!
To sum up the available night-life or to state that "this is here" or "that is there" is impossible! Thousands of pubs, bars and clubs sit side-by-side with restaurants, food courts and snacks joints on wheels! The scenes and venues change faster than one can blink an eye and what maybe trendy today is replaced tomorrow by something completely different!
As an over-all summation though: evening life can be bought cheapest in the Food Courts or Hawker Centers as they are commonly referred to! These typically consist of an assorted variety of plastic chairs and tables inset into buildings and overflowing onto pavements and are basically the average Joes place to eat! Surrounding the assorted patio furniture is any number of stalls serving up delicious foods from Chinese to Bangladesh, Roast Duck to Dim Sum with one stall devoted to the selling of soft and hard drinks! Families, business men and merry drinkers eat, talk and laugh the evening away and most likely walk away without feeling a dent in the wallet! The atmosphere in these food courts is excellent; the beer may warm up quickly, the mosquitoes may assume that they have just arrived in seventh heaven and the remains of lunch may still be visible under the table but this is part and parcel of the place! The most famous Hawker Centre is called Newton Circus and with its hundred or so food venues and tables for the thousands it has become a gathering point for all and sundry! This place probably is best known to those that feel hungry at 3am!
If one does not feel like battling with a plastic chair that has one leg shorter than the other, or sharing a large table with a Chinese family intent on eating quickly and talking even faster then restaurants of all shapes and sizes are available from one end of the Island to the other! From Sushi to Steak, Rogan Dias to Chili Crab and for romance, business, family or to soak up the alcohol and atmosphere there is massive variety available and at any price!
Certain areas of Singapore have leant themselves to becoming known as centers or venues for typified food and/or beverage consumption! In shopping malls or on top floors of skyscrapers restaurants gather that cater to the business-man (if these places where food courts another three tables could be fitted in the blank spaces) and underneath shopping malls and in MRT stations food courts beckon to workers on their way home, to families to give mum a rest and to shoppers intent on not missing a beat! Other places have grown to become larger than life, to cater to locals and tourists alike who may have an open account and mind for the evening ahead! Holland Village is a place that has grown to attract the expatriate community and with its ten or so bars and equally as many restaurants there is no need to leave this place of an evening!
Closer to town is Chijmes, a converted monastery that hosts some twenty or so restaurants from Vietnamese to Italian, a few pubs (including Father Flannigan?s the Irish Bar) and an awesome setting with the white and imposing building that once housed quite a few nuns!
Then there is always Boat Quay, a large riverside assortment of restaurants and bars that cater to all for a price! Here many waiters and servers shout at you and forcibly wave pictured menus in your face as you pass by; "Thailand food for $3.00" or "a jug of beer only $15.00" to tempt you inside or under the numerous awnings that align the riverbank! The place certainly has atmosphere, hosts the well known pubs Penny Black and Molly Malone?s but this place always leaves a hole in the wallet, the bill never equating to that low shouted offering that attracted you in the first place! Further along is Clarke Quay, slightly more expensive again, maybe less touristy than Boat Quay but with pubs that stay open until three in the morning and the possibility of having a moonlight serenade in one of the pleasure boats that meander up-river and back again!
And out of town is Changi Village: this perhaps remains a lesser known venue to many but one that boasts it?s very own and distinct night-life culture! In fact Changi Village has two features that boost its attractiveness, its quiet and it has a beach! Singaporeans used to and still do treat this place as the British treat Blackpool or Brighton Beach! Some only go as afar as setting up a tent on the beach and sleeping the night away, others rent a cottage for the weekend ? even though Orchard Road (a city center point) is only twenty-five minutes drive away! Nestled amongst the fish and tackle shops, situated between the coffee shops and apartment blocks are some great hawker centers, some quiet yet lively pubs and even one night club that demurely shuts at 1am!
Singapore has it all and at any price. Alcohol tends to dramatically rise in price once one steps foot into a smart restaurant or bar that has a doorman! But this goes for anywhere in the world. The Island State has it all and nowhere else in the world can compare to the diversity and choice available in such a small area. The winning feature though will always be the fact that one can be totally out of their tree and unable to string two words together yet safe, even when lying in the gutter at 3am!
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