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Fact: Singapore nightlife best in Asia
Asia lite? Not anymore. With these world-class venues, we've become Asia's No. 1 place to play after dark. You need to get out more
A lot of Singaporeans brag about that one (wild) night in Bangkok long ago.
But while they've been reminiscing about cheap Chang beers, neon-strobe and techno-thumping nightclubs, our very own "Singabore" has been upping its club cred to become the hottest party city in the region.
Sure, we'll listen to your argument -- we still love you Bangkok! -- but before you dismiss it out of hand, consider ours:
New to the mix are New York-style bars (decor and attitude included), VVIP guest list-only nightclubs, Dom P-popping patrons partying like its December 21, 2012 (the end of the world according to the Mayans) and cool pop-ups that focus on heavy music.
Don't believe us? Brace your livers and talc your bunions for a late night in the not-so Little Red Dot. You need to hit the town.
We’re on the global dance-music map
Know this word: Zouk.
The homegrown clubbing institution single-handedly put Singapore on the global dance-music map with its imitable “One World, One Music, One Tribe, One Dance” spirit.
It's the club for superstar DJs, from Carl Cox and Pete Tong to David Guetta.
Not afraid to reinvent his baby, founder Lincoln Cheng says it all comes down to staying relevant.
“I spare no cost in keeping everything in top form," says Cheng, who opened Zouk back in 1991. "We keep improving the decor, sound and light systems and the service."
So if it's been a few months, or even years, between drinks, you need to do yourself a favor...
We know where to build our 'top' clubs
We all know it -- compared to pretty much everywhere except Scandanvia, booze is expensive in Singapore.
But sky-high views help take the sting out of S$20 (US$16) pints of beer or frightening wine list prices.
More than 15 rooftop bars -- one housed 50 meters high in a “SuperTree” (Indochine), and one occasionally on a helipad (the monthly Helipad@Swissotel party) -- allow us to keep tabs on our city from a different angle each night of the week.
Ku Dé Ta looks over the Marina Bay area; Lantern at Fullerton Bay provides a bang-on view of Moshe Safdie’s incredible Marina Bay Sands structure; and Orgo lets us time our drinks with Merlion’s “roar."
(Check out the range of suggestions at the end of this article for full service info.)
More on CNN: Singapore's Gardens by the Bay
We're great mixers
Though the masses still love to knock back vodka Red Bulls and jugs of Long Island iced tea, the expertly mixed drink has finally established itself here. Singapore's classy bar scene rises with each opening.
Must-order drinks at mixologist-helmed bars include B28’s French 75 (champagne, gin, lemon juice); Cufflink Club’s The Cocktail Formerly Known as Quince (pisco, quince liqueur, fig jam, honey, bitters, egg white); Nektar’s Kettle Kurie (Ketel One vodka, Benedictine D.O.M, curry leaves, saffron, grapefruit, lime juice); Tippling Club’s Juniper Sling (Monkey 47 gin, cassis, Grand Marnier, cherry bitters, juniper, cinnamon syrup); and The Library’s London Julep (gin, lemon, elderflower liquor).
Then there are bars -- we're looking at you, The Library -- that guard their drinks so carefully a password is needed to gain entry.
We take our beach parties seriously
We wouldn’t be able to sing “Singapura, island in the sun” if we didn’t have a few beach parties to back it up.
The annual ZoukOut party has grown from 8,000 to 30,000 partygoers since 2000.
This year, it's extending to a three-night lineup including German DJ Paul Kalkbrenner, Australian electro house/dubstep duo Knife Party, Siberian house DJ Nina Kraviz, dancehall act Major Lazer, and the legendary Paul van Dyk. The partry runs December 6-8.
If this is the best way to let your hair down, beach rave-ups aren’t limited to one weekend in December. Every Saturday and Sunday, Tanjong Beach Club is packed with the bold, boozy and bikini-clad whooping it up, drinking, swimming and playing beer pong.
Three times a year, Tanjong Beach Club's Full Steam Ahead: Full Moon Party is where night owls dance and grind till sand grains become embedded in their soles.
We have Asia’s most expensive cocktail
S$32,000 (US$26,160). That’s what it costs to buy The Jewel of Pangaea.
What's in it? A heady mix of gold-flecked Richard Hennessy cognac, jerry bitters and a smoke-infused raw sugar cube topped with 1985 vintage Krug champagne and crowned with a Mouawad Triple X 1-carat diamond.
"The price isn't about what's in the drink, but rather the experience that is created around the serving of the cocktail," says Michael Ault, founder of Pangaea.
"When a guest decides to buy The Jewel of Pangaea, the entire club stops and the recipient becomes the focal point of the room."
Wallflowers need not apply. The extravagant drink is presented to the tune of “Diamonds are Forever" and accompanied by three security guards, a manager and two "Pangaea Girls."
We have the world’s most profitable club
The home of Asia’s most expensive cocktail is actually the world’s most profitable club, according to Forbes.
And no wonder. High rollers pay between US$2,500-$15,000 for tables to rub shoulders with celebrities and place their drink on thousand-year-old treetops.
Pangaea's Ault estimates that the 370-square-meter establishment grosses US$300,000 weekly, a figure that has likely increased since the club moved to open four nights a week.
“At Pangaea, we like to say, 'we treat our celebrities like our regular guests, and our regular guests like celebrities'," says Sabrina Ault, owner and creative director.
More on CNN: How Singapore became Asia's culinary capital
Our ladies get much respect ... and free drinks
Where women go, men follow. Wednesdays are when the fairer sex gets to drink for free in Singapore.
Ku Dé Ta gives out more than just drinks on its Wednesday Diamond Life night. Each week, one contest-winning woman walks off with a piece of jewelry, designer bag or possibly a pair of Louboutins.
Massive Collective’s new club Playhouse leans on dress-up theme parties -- anything from air stewardess to French maid to naughty nurse –- and waives the entry free for women on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Ladies, no excuses to stay home.
More on CNN: Where to party like a local in Asia
We know how to mix it up
For a small island, Singapore has no shortage of variety:
• K-Pop nights (Butter Factory)
• Thai discos (Club NaNa)
• Mando-pop (Shanghai Dolly)
• Big beats and percussion (Beats in the Backyard, Training Shed)
• Boys nights (Sunday at Avalon)
Our clubs get exported
Zouk was the frontrunner, taking its concept over to Kuala Lumpur in 2004. Years on, it’s still the hottest club there and known for its unconventional theme nights, such as the “Lapsap” (Cantonese for "rubbish") parties.
Taking cues, homegrown Massive Collective (Mink, Filter, Playhouse, Royal Room, Zirca) has recently crossed the causeway with club Vertigo. Next year will see the Malaysia opening of Providence.
“KL will be a major focus for us,” says John Langan, co-owner of Massive Collective. “I'm very excited about Providence, an intimate bottle service-oriented club which I think will do to the KL scene what Filter did for the Singapore scene.”
Singapore's Ku Dé Ta will be spreading its roots to Bangkok in 2013. Not much is known yet, but we hear CEO Chris Au has something spectacular (and possibly vertigo-inducing) in mind.
Zouk: 17 Jiak Kim St.; +65 6738 2988; www.zoukclub.com
SuperTree by IndoChine: 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Gardens by the Bay, #03-01; +65 6694 8489; www.indochine.com.sg
Swissôtel Stamford New Asia Bar: Level 71, Equinox Complex, Swissôtel The Stamford;+65 9177 730; www.newasiabar.com.sg
Ku Dé Ta: Marina Bay Sands, 1 Bayfront Ave.; +65 6688 7688; www.kudeta.com.sg
Lantern at The Fullerton Bay Hotel: 80 Collyer Quay Road; +65 6597 5299; www.fullertonbayhotel.com
Orgo: #04-01 Esplanade-Theaters on the Bay, Roof Terrace, 8 Raffles Ave. +65 6336 9366; www.orgo.sg
B28: B/F The Club, 28 Ann Siang Road; +65 9026 3466; www.btwentyeight.com
The Cufflink Club: 6 Jiak Chuan Road; Thecufflinkclub.com
Tippling Club: 8D Dempsey Road; +65 6475 2217; www.tipplingclub.com
The Library: 47 Keong Saik Road; +65 6221 8338
Tanjong Beach Club: 120 Tanjong Beach Walk, Sentosa; +65 9750 5323; www.tanjongbeachclub.com
Pangaea: Marina Bay Crystal Pavilion (entrance by the B2 Marina Bay Sands Shoppes), 2 Bayfront Ave.; +65 9861 17013; www.pangaea.sg
Playhouse: 3 River Valley Road; Facebook.com/playhouseSG
A fan of Singapore's nightlife? Got your own recommendations? Share your experiences in the comments box below.