Looking for live music in Singapore? Check out these hot spots for good grub, awesome tipples and of course, rocking tunes
Usually, decadent grub and potent tipples are enough to keep us entertained all night. But that doesn’t mean we won’t hesitate to shamelessly belt along to a good ol’ Bon Jovi classic rolled out by a top-notch live band. From flamboyant rock & rollers worthy of your devil horns to acoustic singer-songwriters where you won’t have to shout during that catch-up, you’ll find these enthralling musicians at these live music venues in Singapore.
This Irish pub boasts a pretty long history: the first McGettingan’s Pub opened in Ireland in the 1960s, before moving to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and eventually in Singapore with its first outpost at Clarke Quay. Expect great live entertainment, Irish food, awesome booze deals, live sports screenings, and an overall lively vibe for a no-frills night out.
McGettigan’s, #01-01, 3A River Valley Road, Singapore 179020, p.6837 0577
Bar bites, beer and live music? If those are the three things you look for when you’re out for a good time, head down to Wala Wala in the permanently-rowdy Holland Village. The venue is known for going all out in the rock department, so be prepared to yell loudly over the drum fills and guitar solos! This establishment is also revered for grooming the likes of Jack & Rai and Shirlyn & The UnXpected, homegrown heroes in the cover band circuit.
Wala Wala, 31 Lorong Mambong, Singapore 277689. p. 6462 4288
Cuba Libre Cafe & Bar
If Latin music makes you heady, make your way to this Cuban cantina. Resident bands Adrenalina and The Marisol’s feisty music energises the room and you are bound to find salsa, bachata and latin dance lovers killing it on the cosy dance floor. Can’t salsa if your life depended on it? No problemo, the good guys at Cuba Libre often hold hour-long workshops for noobs.
Cuba Libre Cafe & Bar, #01-13, Block B River Valley Road, Singapore 179021, p. 6338 8982.
Recently joining the party-proficient enclave of Clarke Quay is VLV, a classy, modern establishment boasting over 60 Chinese delicacies with a focus on modern Cantonese flavours. Perfect for both large families and romantic dates, VLV has also launched its VLV Courtyard Live acoustic sessions, that shine the spotlight on musicians from both the English and Mandarin pop scene. Get serenaded with the live music accompaniments – while getting stuffed, of course.
VLV, 3A Merchant’s Court, River Valley Road, #01-02, Singapore 179020. p. 66610197
It’s all fun and games at this retro-arcade bar in Clarke Quay. Come for the ‘80s hangover – colourful neon lights, nostalgic arcade games (hello, Street Fighter) and good ol’ bar games. And setting the mood from Tuesdays to Saturdays are local bands like Wayne & Wayne and Anastasia Francis.
Level Up, 3A River Valley Road, #02-04, Clarke Quay, Singapore 179020
Get a taste of the Lousiana life in Singapore’s first and only bourbon bar. The Beast is equal parts rustic and unpretentious with a hearty selection of Southern American classics like chicken and waffles, freshly baked cornbread, and Mississipi mudpie. On the drinks menu are over 30 types of bourbon whiskies to wash it all down. The casual dining space also holds regular open mic sessions for intrepid warblers with a little Dutch courage.
The Beast, 17 Jalan Klapa, Singapore 199329, p. 6295 0017
If you frequently go booze-hunting with your pals, chances are you’ve swung by this longstanding waterhole a couple of times. The Singaporean franchise recently turned 24, and it’s easy to see why it continues to lure both pub punters and music fans. From easy-listening to experimental looping, you’ll find alluring acts in both the brand’s Dempsey Hill and Claymore outlets; expect long nights of songs and swigs.
Harry’s is available at several locations, including Dempsey Hill, Claymore Drive, Cuppage and Marina Bay Link Mall.
Mr Punch Public House
You’d best get here quick after work, especially on a live band Wednesdays and Fridays, if you want a good table. Wanna serenade a trapped audience with your rendition of Highway to Hell? You can on open mic Mondays along with a full band to accompany you.
Mr Punch Public House, 26 Seah Street 188382.
Aside from being an Italian restaurant with a wicked Marina Bay view – and home to the longest brunch in town – Monti is where you’ll find live jazz every evening. Grab a cocktail, and be mesmerised by the likes of jazz bands and extraordinary soloists; big names who have graced the stage here include Melissa Tham and the legendary Jeremy Monteiro.
Monti, 82 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049213
The new bar and live music venue finds its home in Pan Pacific Hotel, and boasts an aesthetic that’s part-suave, part-grimy. On one end, you’ll spot sleek couches resting against cabinets displaying chic ‘personal belongings’ of Lulu that ooze with class and charm, while on the other, you’ll be mesmerised by raw brick walls tainted by graffiti and ultraviolet scribbles. And to top off the ambience, there’ll be nightly live jazz gigs and top-notch DJ sets spinning everything from hip-hop to dancehall.
Lulu’s Lounge, Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039595, p. 6336 8111
While most other jamming haunts get rowdy with renditions of radio faves, Crazy Elephant (you can’t miss its neon signage displaying an elephant’s butt) sticks to the unwavering tradition of blues. But no, it’s not sad and mopey here; Crazy Elephant features resident bands who infuse blues with good ol’ rock & roll – screeching guitar solos, humming bass lines and – who knows – maybe you’ll even spot some harmonica-howling action here!
Crazy Elephant, #01-03/04 Clarke Quay, 3E River Valley Road, Singapore 179024, p. 6337 7859
Shuffle Bistro Bar
If you do feel like shuffling your music nights and wanna check out something different in Clarke Quay – yes, there are many live music spots here – this bistro provides a platform for emerging Mando-pop (and English) acts that will thrill you with ballads and banter. And aside from the sticky tunes, the adventurous dishes here – think tom yum pasta, crispy pork toast, and Thai-style fish fingers – will keep you glued to your seat.
Shuffle Bistro Bar, #02-03 Clarke Quay, 3D River Valley Road, Singapore 179023, p. 6338 9438.
Five Tapas Bar
What’s more tempting than the sound of five dollar tipples? The sound of slick, sing-a-long tunes that you can your co-workers can shamelessly ‘karaoke’ along to. The Five franchise stretches through Changi and the CBD, but our personal go-to is the Tapas Bar outlet at Cuppage. Requests are welcome; just don’t ask for anything too out there! And you can enjoy the live music tunage while munching on grub like garlic cockles and beer-battered fish & chips.
Five Tapas Bar, Cuppage Terrace, 25 Cuppage Road, Singapore 229454, p. 6733 8097
As music appreciators, we can easily imagine referring to live music as “Our Simple Goodness”, and that’s exactly what the moniker of this Suntec City bar stands for. Catered to parched businessfolk looking for a reprieve in the city – OSG even has free Wi-Fi and charging stations – this joint whips up dishes that are far from dreary like lychee curry duck, sake teriyaki chicken, and sautéed udon. Pair all this with impassioned tunage, and you’ll forget all about that dreadful day at work.
OSG Bar, #05-10/11 Suntec City Tower 1, 3 Temasek Boulevard, Singapore 038983, p. 6268 6702
With its distinctive old-world charm, Bob’s Bar at Capella Singapore feels like a step back in time to the heady days of 1950s Havana. Similarly, the music here is Cuban-inspired, having hosted live music performances by the likes of the King of Swing himself, Jeremy Monteiro and his Latin Jazz Trio. A total treat for the senses.
Bob’s Bar, 1 The Knolls, Capella Hotel, Sentosa, p. 6591 5047. Open daily 12pm-12am.
This one’s a no-brainer if you constantly take strolls near the Merlion. Whether you’re chilling indoors at the roomy concourse, or sitting on the giant steps facing the skyline at the outdoor theatre, you’re bound to catch a live music act that’s generating buzz at the bay. Besides, The Esplanade is the birthplace of possibly the most important local music festival – Baybeats. And in case you’re still not sold, catching these acts won’t cost you a penny.
The Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981, p. 6828 8377
Hopping on the small plates bandwagon, &Sons offers a resplendent spread of Italian small plates like artisanal pastas, home-baked bread, premium grilled meats and cold cuts (order up their home-cured salami) as well as seafood. And soundtracking your Italian feast every Fridays from 8pm, are acoustic bands and singer-songwriters who will elevate the mood with Top 40s live music accompaniment that can do no wrong.
&Sons, #01-19 China Square Central, 20 Cross Street, Singapore 048422, p. 6221 3937
While catered more to the adolescent youths of Singapore, this lifestyle hub in the heart of Orchard is a reputable spot for honing nascent local bands with bright futures ahead of them. Indie darlings like Stopgap, Linying and Cashew Chemists have all honed their chops at *Scape’s regular Confessions series, so who knows which future star of tomorrow you’ll spot here? Gigs here are free too.
*Scape, 2 Orchard Link, Singapore 237978, p. 6521 6565
Arguably the most popular of the lot, the Timbre franchise has been known to allure all sorts of gig-hunters from post-work yuppies to after-school undergrads. Why is that? ’Cos you can expect nothing short of quality with its robust sound system, and diversely-curated programmes that feature Top 40s resident bands, classic rockers of yesteryear and even local acts with its Singapore Originals series. And don’t even get us started on their buffalo wings and roasted duck pizza!
Timbre @ The Substation, 45 Armenian Street, The Substation Garden, Singapore 179936, p. 6338 8030. Other outlets available at The Arts House and Gillman.
Hard Rock Cafe
Having recently undergone a revamp, this jaunty hideout that’s a household name in the rock & roll industry is fresher than ever, yet remains consistent in dishing out a dose of retro that all nostalgia romantics can enjoy.
Hard Rock Cafe, #02/03-01 HPL House, 50 Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249724, p. 6235 5252
As Singapore’s only German microbrewery and restaurant, you can bet that Paulaner Brauhaus has quite the reputation amongst Germany gurus here. But when these folks aren’t stuffing their faces with breaded pork scnitzels and sausage platters topped with sauerkraut, they’re marvelling at the talents of live bands that amp up the vibe every weekday. Feel free to sing along, and let loose like the Germans do!
Paulaner Brauhaus, #01-01 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039596, p. 6883 2572
The Mad Men Attic Bar
No, you won’t spot Don Draper at this industrial-chic rooftop bar. But if it’s any consolation, you can drink your sorrows away with Mad Men’s signature drinks like the black forest mojito and sour plum shots. Rockin’ live sets take place here on most nights of the week.
The Mad Men Attic Bar, #03-02, 11 North Canal Road, Singapore 044826, p. 62223529
Hood Bar And Cafe
Hood Bar And Cafe has all the ingredients for a great hangout spot: a laid-back ambience, tasty bar bites, and, of course, awesome live music to kick back to. Performed by talented local folks (and our scene sure has loads of them!), the nightly live gigs will have you crooning along and up on your feet before the night is over.
Hood Bar and Cafe, #05-07 Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street, Singapore 188067, p. 62218846
Part cafe part gallery space, the charming Artistry serves up scrumptious fare aside (nasi lemak burger, anyone?), and plays host to a regular lineup of art exhibitions, talks, workshops, and – you guessed it – live music performances that range from jazz to electronic, Latin reggae, alt-pop, and many more. Check out their Facebook page for updates.
Artistry, 17 Jalan Pinang, Singapore 199149, p. 6298 2420
Blu Jaz Cafe
A joint that needs no introduction amongst jazz junkies and underground punters, this establishment is one reason why the Haji Lane area is so awfully hip. On certain dates – keep track of our parties of the month feature – you can find hip-hop and bass acts setting this spot ablaze. But more frequently, to the delight of jazz connoisseurs, the ground floor hosts free-flowing jazz bands that are open to improv, churning out choons as smooth as audial butter.
Blu Jaz Cafe, 11 Bali Lane, Singapore 189848, p. 6292 3800
If there’s one thing we love about this Peranakan Place fixture – aside from being a rowdy hangout to appease our post-work thirst – it’s how it creates opportunity for budding singer-songwriters and cover bands. Instead of sticking to one or two resident bands, Acid Bar features a different performance outfit every day, giving patrons something fresh and musicians a chance to hone their chops.
Acid Bar, Peranakan Place, 180 Orchard Road, Singapore 238846, p. 6732 6966
Tacos are one tantalising bar grub we can’t resist, and never fail to sling us into a Mexican mood… which is usually disrupted once we hear yet another rendition of Adele. At this taqueria in the heart of Clarke Quay, however, these loco compadres host their very own resident Latin band, catering to all you amigos out there who’re looking for one spicy fiesta.
Senor Taco, #01-07/12 Clarke Quay, 3A River Valley Road, Singapore 179023, p. 6336 6376
Mid-sized Zepp concert halls can be found all over Japan but outside the country? Nah. Except in Singapore, that is. Although we’ve got a vibrant music scene happening, but lack a proper mid-sized venue so having Zepp@Bigbox in Singapore (pre-equipped with the same best-of-class stage machinery, lighting and sound systems) is definitely a blessing. The venue have already hosted international acts like Dream Theater, Sum 41, and more.
Zepp@Bigbox Singapore, 1 Venture Avenue, Singapore 608521, p. 6265 0278
The Star Theatre
The key venue of The Star Performing Arts Centre, The Star Theatre is fitted with high-end audio, video and production lighting systems for an exceptional and magical audio-visual experience. Featuring a traditional horseshoe shape, this auditorium offers custom-designed seating, including stalls and two circle levels. The last row of seats at the upper circle level is just 56 metres from the stage, creating an intimate ambience for this grand 5,000-seat venue.
The Star Theatre, 1 Vista Exchange Green, #04-01, Singapore 138617, p. 6636 0055
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