You don’t need an excuse to enjoy jazz but, when better to head out to Singapore’s special jazz joints than on International Jazz Day?
International Jazz Day falls on April 30, so it’s only befitting that you plan to hang out at some of Singapore’s coolest jazz points. Whether you’re a seasoned jazz listener and appreciate the nuances of this popular music genre, or you have yet to experience the thrill of a live jazz band in some quirky darkened bar, it’s time to get yourself down to some of these recommended locations on that day. It’s a school night, but there’s never a bad time to listen to some good ol’ jazz, in our opinion.
Enter Cool Cats and it’s like you’re stepping back in time to the 1920s. The swanky live music lounge delivers the traditional and sought after ‘jazz bar’ vibes with its dim lights, speakeasy inspired interior design and classic cocktail menu. The bar wants to ensure that its live performances are a spectacle for all onlookers and thus has enlisted an impressive lineup of artists both locally and internationally acclaimed. Their focus is on blues and jazz, with a little R&B thrown in too, so you’re in for a captivating evening.
The NCO Club, 32 Beach Road, 189764; tel: 6818 1920. Visit http://coolcats.sg
Located in the stunning grounds of Capella Singapore on Sentosa island and boasting spectacular panoramic views of the sunset is Bob’s Bar. This glamorous Cuban-inspired venue that has an old-world charm sticks to its roots with a Latin live jazz band every Friday evening. Serving tapas and Caribbean-esque tipples, they are the perfect accompaniment to a night of acoustic, lounge or jazz live performances, depending on which night you choose to go. They’re open until 12am daily to hotel guests and public alike.
1 The Knolls, Capella Singapore, 098297; tel: 6591 5047. Visit www.capellahotels.com/en/capella-singapore/dining/bobs-bar
Located in Bali Lane which runs parallel to the tourist hipster hotspot of Haji Lane, this colourful jazz bar is famed for its neon lights and graffti-laden walls. It was, until recently, also known for its impressive line-up of live jazz performances, but its live entertainment license has sadly been discontinued. The bar still blares a decent jazz playlist, so head to this intimate venue to soak in the mood, chow down on a decent burger and fries and indulge in a cocktail or two.
11 Bali Lane, 189848; tel: 8126 2936. Visit www.blujazcafe.net
A prolific whiskey and caviar bar in St. Regis Singapore, Astor Bar hosts its own jazz nights. Taking the lead from the traditional New York jazz bars, the interior has deep rich red walls and comfy padded leather tub chairs to match. It’s open every day from 6pm and features live performances from its in-house artist who hits all the right rhythm and blues notes.
29 Tanglin Road, The St. Regis Singapore, Lobby Level, 247911; tel: 6506 6859. Visit https://www.astorbar.com
Photo: Grand Shanghai
We often think of New York or London when we say ‘jazz bars’ but actually the concept was also rife in Asia in the 20th century, particularly in hotspots such as Shanghai. So it comes as no surprise that the Grand Shanghai restaurant on Havelock Road has its own jazz band. Its band is made up of a double bassist, a pianist, and a saxophonist, together with a seasoned vocalist that has a “honeyed voice”, according to the restaurant. The decor is also very 1930s Old Shanghai, with hardwood floors and glass doors, a spacious room with a high ceiling adorned with pristine chandeliers, and small antique lamps with flowery accents. Tuck into traditional Asian dishes such as Peking duck and dim sum while enjoying the trio’s melodious Chinese jazz performance.
390 Havelock Road, King’s Centre, Level 1, 169662; tel: 6836 6866. Visit https://grandshanghai.com.sg/welcome-to-grand-shanghai
Most of you will have frequented Lulu’s Lounge at some point, as it’s famed for its imaginative interior and sassy live acts. Try to picture a bar in 1960s New York — we’re talking about a back alley type — and there you’ll find Lulu’s inspiration. Whilst home to some unique burlesque artists and retro DJ performances, Lulu’s also puts on live bands to wow their eccentric crowds. It offers the very best of live Jazz/Soul/Funk/RnB/HipHop bands to kick off Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights from 9.30pm. They’ve also launched a new weekly Thursday band, the Havana Social Club this month. Super fab.
Pan Pacific Hotel (Marina), 7 Raffles Boulevard, 039595; tel: 9829 1922. Visit http://lulus.sg
Offering contemporary Italian cuisine in their indoor lounge or open-air terrace, Monti’s gorgeous opulent interior nods towards the iconic Art Deco era, with rich royal blue and gold tone decor. Marble surfaces and plush seating makes this spot reminiscent of a grand hotel bar. Every night, (yes, every night!) the venue hosts a Happy Hour from 4pm to 10pm, so you can enjoy cheaper beverages as you listen to the live acts. The restaurant hosts a jazz band that begins every evening from 7.30pm, and its lineup changes monthly. Expect songs from funk to soothing blues.
82 Collyer Quay, 049327; tel: 6535 0724. Visit www.monti.sg
Located in Fort Canning, Lewin Terrace is a Japanese-French restaurant in a quaint colonial house that is known for being a beloved venue for weddings. But did you know it also hosts its own Jazz Immersion evenings? Twice a month (do check its events listing to find out when), the gorgeous venue revels in showcasing jazz bands that do not stick to the traditional tunes. These performances proudly mix jazz with a modern twist, so each musician offers a unique take on classic jazz songs. A worthy watch for all jazz fans, old and new.
223-B Coleman Street, 179807; tel: 6333 9905. Visit www.lewinterrace.com
The Black Swan, also home to The Powder Room, is housed in a beautifully-restored 1930s landmark. To stay in keeping with the building and architecture, the interior has been designed with an elaborate vintage theme, along with an alfresco garden patio. Here, they host live jazz music from 7pm onwards, coupled with Happy Hour specials such as $2 oysters between 5pm to 8pm too. You’ll instantly forget you’re in the CBD once you step inside this cool jazz joint.
19 Cecil Street, 049704; tel: 6438 3757. Visit www.theblackswan.com.sg
By Nicola Watson, April 2019
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