What’s not to love about Singapore’s original Indie ‘hood? It has everything you want, from hole-in-the-wall boutiques to hip food spots.
Before Tiong Bahru, there was Haji Lane – Singapore’s original indie neighbourhood. This buzzing, all-hours enclave in eclectic Kampong Glam is peppered with cool boutiques, bars, cafes and restaurants that rank high on the hip factor – and let’s not forget the street art. It’s no wonder we keep coming back to one of our favourite ‘hoods. Here are the best food spots, shops and hidden gems in Haji Lane and around the corner in Bali Lane, Arab Street and Beach Road for more good times…
Haji Lane guide: Food and drinks
1. Afterwit Bar de Burrito
Bright pink neon greets you in this cosy space. The restaurant is relatively hidden but we love it for its standout Mexican fare. Try the Easy like a Sunday Morning and Fishy on a Dishy burritos, though we’d say the nachos will surely steal the spotlight.
Afterwit Bar de Burrito, 778 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198746
Just a stone’s throw away from the Haji Lane territory, this place is famous for its soft serve. It’s easy to spot the store: just look out for the queue. It’s well-known for chendol and ondeh ondeh soft serves, but the menu has something new to offer every week, so keep tabs on its Instagram to catch your favourite flavours when they come out. Oh, and did we mention how photo-worthy they look?
Overrun, 18 Baghdad Street, Singapore 199657
3. Juice Clinic
From the get-go, it’s obvious that Juice Clinic isn’t your average juice bar. One look at the pop art-inspired graffiti storefront and you’ll see why. Whether you’re in the mood for coffee or a green juice, lamb chops or a slice of rainbow cheesecake, Juice Clinic has it all.
Juice Clinic, 27-29 Haji Lane, Singapore 189222
4. Pita Bakery
Once you’ve tried the freshly-baked pita bread (perfectly created with a 700-year-old recipe) paired with hummus, baba ganoush, tahini and falafel base dips, there’s no turning back. In fact, we always make a quick takeout trip whenever we’re in the hood. Tip: the kitchen usually runs out by evening so it’s best to go early!
Pita Bakery, 29 Bali Lane, Singapore 189865
5. Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall
Opened by former Jigger & Pony bartender, Sam Wong, this isn’t your regular kopitiam drink stall. Enjoy locally-inspired cocktails on tap (just like how the drink stall aunty does it for you!) and boozy creations made to order. Oh, and you gotta have them with crispy shrimp paste chicken and the ngoh hiang platter to share. Got room for more? Go for signatures like Hokkien mee or char kway teow.
Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall, 12 Haji Lane, Singapore 189205
6. Bar Stories
We’ve all had moments at the bar when we just can’t pick a drink that’ll satisfy us. You won’t have that problem here ‘cos there’s no menu. Yup, the bartenders at Bar Stories will craft a cocktail according to your mood and from experience, they hit the mark all the time. The bespoke concoctions aren’t just served in a mere rock glass. They don’t skimp on theatrics – from incorporating dry ice to vibrant plating, it’s best you whip out your phones to capture it all.
Bar Stories, 55-57A Haji Lane, Singapore 189248
Eat, drink and be jolly at Limaa, an Instagram-worthy cafe that serves up a healthy alternative if you’ve been a little naughty with your diet. Before you grunt over the idea of salads or tumeric shots, think again. Treat yourselves to stewed beef with gooey eggs, protein bento and pastas sans the calories. They also have recovery meals and confinement meal plans that are definitely worth checking out if you’re feeling under the weather.
Limaa, 51 Haji Lane, Singapore 189244
8. Blanco Court Prawn Mee
In case you didn’t know, Blanco Court’s legendary prawn noodles are now at Beach Road. We tried it ourselves and it’s one of the best we’ve had. Dig into this bowl of yellow (you can pick bee hoon or a mix of both) noodles topped with pork lard, fried shallots and a generous serving of succulent prawns. And that brown stock? Light, fragrant and warms you up in all the right places. Add some chilli padi for an extra punch.
Blanco Court Prawn Mee, #01-01, 243 Beach Road, Singapore 189754
9. Meomi Cat Cafe
This cosy little nook houses less than 10 resident in-house cats but these beauties are quite the lookers, and with the personalities to boot! With comfy seating, kitty toys and human treats like cake and coffee available, you’ll spend hours at this place.
Meomi Cat Cafe, 668 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188801
10. Piedra Negra
One of our favourite Mexican restos in Singapore, Piedra Negra is a buzzing gem that’s worth checking out – especially if you have a weakness for killer guac made fresh on the spot (who doesn’t?). Pair that with a steady supply of tortilla chips, hearty burritos, and potent frozen margaritas. You’ve got your night made. Ole!
Piedra Negra, 241 Beach Road, Singapore 189753
11. The Mad Sailors
If you’re a fan of establishments like Working Title, Afterwit and Tipo, you’re in luck! Brought to you by the same people, The Mad Sailors is where you can get your fill of classic British-pub grub like chip butty and fish and chips.
The Mad Sailors, 24 Haji Lane, Singapore 189217
12. Going Om
Inspired by the spirit of the Himalayan mountains, this peaceful sanctuary hidden in the heart of the CBD is where hippies and cool cats go to unwind with friends. This refurbished shophouse is a bar and and a sanctuary for like-minded souls to find some calm amidst the buzz of the city.
Going Om, 63 Haji Lane, Singapore 189256
13. Blu Jaz Cafe
A place that needs zero introduction, Blu Jaz Cafe has established itself as the go-to amongst hip bar-hoppers looking for chill vibes and great grub. You gotta love this hip spot for outdoor dining – swing by for a laidback gathering with friends over drinks!
Blu Jaz Cafe, 11 Bali Lane (off Haji Lane), Singapore 189848
14. I Am…
This street-side cafe regularly draws crowds on the weekends and it’s easy to see why. Inspired by Amsterdam, the joint serves up hearty mains like sandwiches, pasta, fish and chips and pizza in a so-hipster-it-hurts setting. The main draw? Signature burgers like the charcoal grilled sloppy beef burger, complete with a house special messy sauce that’s worth getting your hands dirty for, and the oh-so Instagrammable multi-layer rainbow cake.
I Am…, 674 North Bridge Road (off Haji Lane), Singapore 188804
Haji Lane guide: Shops
15. Bella Kini Swimwear Boutique
Planning an island vacation? Get your beach wear fix from this colourful shop that has something for everyone. From sizzling bikinis to resort wear, everything you need for your holiday wardrobe can be found right here. The range also features shoes, bags and bohemian accessories you can add to your collection.
Bella Kini Swimwear Boutique, 69 Haji Lane, Singapore 189262
16. Craft Assembly
Talk about uniquely Singaporean trinkets and knick-knacks. Stock up on all things handmade and quirky at Craft Assembly. Things to look forward to: earrings, pins, tote bags, magnets, along with vintage apparel and toys.
Craft Assembly, 61 Haji Lane, Singapore 189254
17. The Silver Triangle
This quaint little jewellery shop is such a delight to visit. Step in and you’ll find hordes of authentic fine silver jewellery and coloured beads and stones made from Laotian tribes. Feel free to bag some tips from the friendly owner. You’re sure to leave with a piece or two.
The Silver Triangle, 16 Haji Lane, Singapore 189209
18. Drunken Balloon
Located at the end of Haji Lane, this shop is tough to miss (and ignore) with orange and red balloon sculptures suspended over a contrasting blue storefront. Drunken Balloon looks like the ultimate party store from outside, but it’s a whole different vibe inside. The shop is filled to the brim with ample retro memorabilia, board games, party games (The Harry Potter edition of Cards of Humanity caught our eye) and quirky novelty items for you to take home. Need some entertainment and supplies for a party? You know where to go.
Drunken Balloon, 84 Haji Lane, Singapore 189273
Craft your own wallets, passport holders, keychains, money clips and cardholders at Crafune. Hidden on the second level, above the prawn noodle shop, this indie boutique uses high-quality vegetable-tanned leathers Italy (in various colours) that will age beautifully as you use it. Go for a wallet crafting workshop to create your own bespoke piece or select something in store.
Crafune, #02-01, 38 Haji Lane, Singapore 189231
SSFW, or Spring Summer Fall Winter, specialises in handmade arm candy for stylish peeps. Step into the boutique and you can have your pick of one-of-a-kind accessories like gemstone jewellery and even home decor.
SSFW, 75 Haji Lane, Singapore 189268
Haji Lane guide: Things to do
21. Admire wall art
Don’t forget to take your best lens with you! What makes this vibrant lane pop is its mesmerising wall art, graffiti and other quirky artworks you can find at different corners of the street. Watch the space come to life when the sun goes down, highlighting neon wall paintings and colourful windows. The spotlight is, of course, on the cool graffiti – each tells a quirky story.
22. 99 Percent Hair Studio
We get it: trusting a hairstylist with a dye job, especially a bleach and dye job, is pretty risky stuff. But when you’re in the trusty hands of the hair maestros at this hair studio, you’ll be strutting out of there looking like #hairgoals.
99 Percent Hair Studio, #01-01, 40 Haji Lane, Singapore 189233
23. The Nail Social
There’s more to this nail salon than meets the eye. While ladies can relax and pamper themselves with a well-deserved mani-pedi, The Nail Social is also committed to giving back to charities such as Beyond Social Services.
The Nail Social, Second floor, 42A Haji Lane, Singapore 189235
24. The Nail Artelier
Art takes centre stage here. Unlike other nail salons, there are no fixed designs, so the nail artists work to make your specific design a dream come true. Do book ahead, ‘cos this place is always packed with bright, young things – another testament to the popularity of its gorgeous nail art.
The Nail Artelier, 666 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188800
25. Picasso Hair Studio
Tucked away in the ‘hood is Picasso Hair Studio, which prides itself on “artistic hairstyling”. Its tagline isn’t just another gimmick – aside from the salon’s art studio-inspired premises, clients with perm or colouring work done leave with genuine masterpieces. Just take a quick look through the colour gallery. Gorgeous ombre colouring in pastels and striking rainbow colours are artfully done, while perms are smooth, frizz-free and guaranteed to suit your face shape.
Picasso Hair Studio, 662 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188798
Bookmark this guide to help you find your way around the best spots in (and around) Haji Lane!