It’s the 11th year that SG is hosting the Formula 1 Night Race, and by now, we all know what to expect if you head into town that weekend.
That’s right: Utter. Complete. Mayhem. Being in the thick of the race action can be thrilling, but dodging the inconvenient road diversions and road blocks while trying to avoid getting elbowed in the face by a throng of people is decidedly not.
If you are so over that, we have a curated list where you can chill the weekend away at a less lightning-speed pace. We promise it’ll be just as happening, just less frustrating.
Consider a quiet and reflective weekend instead by watching a good indie movie in this vintage, old-school-style cinema. This funky cinema concept hidden in the old Golden Mile Tower features documentaries and foreign-language films that you wouldn’t be able to find in mainstream cinemas. Screening schedules are up on their website, and you can purchase the tickets in advance online.
Instead of subjecting your ears to the gruelling sounds of revving engines, head down to Camp Kilo Charcoal Club, where you can unwind to groovy beats in an atmospheric air of smoky barbecue meats and exuberant chatter. The Fridays-and-weekends-only roast joint is known for its eye-popping whole hog roasting on a spit, as well as its delectable boneless lechon (crackling roast pork).
The casual eatery is having an Off The Track BBQ on Sunday from 2-11 p.m., where they promise an adrenaline-pumping time in the comfort of their space as they serve up a spread of hearty roasts and delicious cocktails that will make you thank yourself for skipping the race. It will be hot, so dress light.
Far, far away from any (human) traffic, this laid-back contemporary bistro bar located in the buzzing Serangoon Gardens has an excellent selection of Aussie beer and wine that is perfect for a relaxing bevvy as the evening sun sets. Pick from at least nine types of bottled beers and more than 10 selections of red wines and pair them with bites from their extensive menu of yummy mains, pizzas, tapas and salads. Try their signature wagyu beef burger with spicy jackfruit slaw if you’re feeling particularly peckish.
Tucked away in the ulu yet serene Seletar countryside, this farm-to-table restaurant housed in an idyllic black-and-white colonial bungalow is a lovely escape from the crush of F1. Dig into their fresh dishes with ingredients sourced from their farming collective and harvested from their own garden. Speaking of the garden, the space is a star in its own right.
While it is a beauty in the day with its bright vibrant blooms and lush greenery, as night falls, lit fairy lights strung overhead transform the space into a magical enchanted forest. You can dine under the stars in one of their three air-conditioned domes, but it comes at a price ($300++ per couple). The restaurant will be screening the F1 live on Sunday, so really, you’re not missing much.
Located in the sleepy Novena estate, Nickeldime Drafthouse is a specialty beer restaurant for craft beer lovers, with an extensive list of 19 international beers on tap and beer-infused treats.
To celebrate the F1 season, it has launched a week-long promotion where you can get a special Race Platter featuring scotch eggs, croquettes, buffalo wings, and mini burgers at $35. If you’re holding onto an F1 ticket (but are hiding out in Novena for a breather), you get two (yes, two!) glasses of beer for free when you purchase the platter. Need we say more?
Okay, this rooftop bar and restaurant doesn’t exactly provide you with a stunning view of the city skyline like the one you would get at F1. But Lin‘s unique blend of Asian-influenced decor, homey wood furnishings and casual alfresco setting makes it a pretty cool place to kick back with your pals.
Expect quirky cocktails infused with Asian flavours, such as the “Tipsy Pig” (comprising bourbon and benedictine dom topped with a crispy bacon strip) and “Princess Lotus” (comprising vodka, grapefruit syrup and liqueur, grapefruit wedges and mint leaves). Bar bites are equally intriguing, such as the Wu Xiang Spiced Fries (fries with five-spice powder served with mayo) and Wu Xiang Pop (popcorn chicken tossed with five-spice powder).
If you want to really put some distance between you and the F1 action, head on over to the charming Mel’s Place Bar & Bistro in the eastern part of Singapore. This hidden gem, a large venue surrounded by greenery, is a rustic reprieve from the bustling East Coast food belt.
What’s more, Mel’s Place will be bringing back their Match Day Combo, which covers all sporting events – including the F1. Choose any two pints from their beer on tap menu and pair them with a snack platter for only $25++. If you just want to chill, head there on Friday and Saturday – there’ll be live bands playing from 7.30-11 p.m.
This sweet spot is a great place to hang away from the F1 crowds, especially if you have a sweet tooth and an experimental palate. Chef Janice Wong (who won the Asia’s Best Pastry Chef award in 2013 and 2014) is known for her exquisite and intricate desserts that are akin to art pieces.
Dining there promises a cerebral experience that pushes the boundaries between sweet and savoury, just like the salted chocolate fennel pictured above. Do note that they have a dress code, so make sure you aren’t traipsing in wearing just a tank and flip flops.
Spend your weekend soaking in the boho-jazz vibe at Blu Jaz Cafe instead, which has lined up a series of live events that will thrill any music lover. On Friday evening, boogie to Trumpet Z and the Boogie, a 4-piece local band that will be bringing you retro rap covers and catchy funk and soul classics.
On Saturday, get down to music from a Singapore-based New Orleans-style brass band that blends jazz, funk, latin and hip-hop styles with traditional New Orleans brass sounds. On Sunday, join local band The Blue Monks for a fun jam session if you’re musically inclined. Before heading to Blu Jaz, we suggest meandering around the historic Kampong Glam district to get the full experience.
This is where the real party is at. This vibrant Mexican joint, opened by the same owners of Blu Jaz Cafe, will be celebrating Mexican Independence Day on Sunday with a big bang.
Expect cool stuff like live music from Latin bands, salsa dancing, margaritas, a tacos bar, piñatas and free tequila shots for the first 100 people who attend the party (it starts at 4 p.m.). Pssst, dress to kill, because the person with the best costume wins a premium tequila bottle. Sombreros and ponchos, anyone?
Indulge your inner hipster by heading to this oh-so-cool craft beer joint that is housed in the Chinese Druggists Association – a retro looking medicinal hall. With more than 20 local and international beers on tap (all lined up in an Instagram-worthy row), you’re spoilt for choice.
Pair your brew with beer-friendly snacks for an enjoyable evening. Game for some fun around the beer circuit? Join in “The Finishing Line”, where you get to “race” to six other craft beer bars and collect stamps. The first 10 to produce their completed card to Druggists stand a chance to win prizes.
A fair distance away from the whirring wheels – this local favourite has been serving its Teochew-style pork rib soups since 1973, when it was just a humble stall at the Outram Park estate. Known for its clear and peppery broth, it is the proud winner of the Singapore Hawker Masters Award in 2012 and 2013.
Its Keppel Road outlet closes at 3 a.m. from Tuesdays to Saturdays, so you can still pop by for a late night supper (and to calm your senses) if you did brave the F1 masses. What’s best, you get to enjoy unlimited refills of its nourishing soup.
By Elly Chaw, September 2018
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