The Coolest Neighbourhoods in Singapore

Haw Par Villa, Singapore
Haw Par Villa, Singapore | Photo by Thyla Jane on Unsplash
Prianka Ghosh

Whether you’re just visiting Singapore or already live here, chances are after a few outings you’ve grown tired of the hyper-touristy Marina Bay District. After you’ve visited the Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands and the Esplanade Theatres, head out to these neighbourhoods just outside the centre of the city for a change of scenery.

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Haji Lane and Bali Lane

Located a stone’s throw from Kampong Glam in Bugis, Haji Lane and Bali Lane are two narrow streets full of cute shops, quirky cafes and cool bars. The vibe of both streets changes completely from day to night, going from mostly shopes and cafes to trendy bars and live music. Check out Bar Stories where they’ll make you a custom cocktail or Goodluck Beerhouse where you’ll find a collection of locally and internationally brewed craft beers. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, check out Juice Clinic for a coffee or a fresh juice.

Courtesy of Good Luck Beerhouse

Tiong Bahru

The original hipster neighbourhood in Singapore, we love the art-deco architecture that dominates this area. Located just a few stops away from the centre of town, this neighbourhood has kept its lowkey feel by maintaining independent retailers. The main stay of Tiong Bahru is Books Actually, an independently-run bookstore and press as well as third wave coffee haunt Forty Hands. We also love shopping at Strangelets which is full of adorable home décor items and unique Singapore souvenirs. Cap off an afternoon of wandering around cute boutiques with a visit to Whisk Hands, a quaint colonial style café that serves homemade cakes and pastries that pair perfectly with their custom specialty blend coffee.

Courtesy of Whisk Cafe

Everton Park

Although shops in Everton Park have struggled to survive, the strongest ones have persevered. For a while, Singapore trendsetters thought that Everton Park would become the new Tiong Bahru. Unfortunately for Everton Park, it hasn’t been able to attain that status however many cool places moved into the neighbourhood and set up shop in the interim. We love grabbing a coffee from Nylon Coffee Roasters but our favourite places in Everton Park serve up delicious desserts. Check out Grin Affair for take-away mousse and panna cotta adorably packaged in vintage jam jars and Seriously Ice Cream for its adventurous ice cream flavours like Lychee Rose and Salted Egg Brulee Tart.

Keong Saik

Keong Saik can be found on the edge of Chinatown. In this neighbourhood, you’ll find mostly banking and media professionals who have tired of the hedonistic nature of Club Street. Mostly bars and restaurants, we love Potato Head Folk where you can start with a meal and then sit upstairs and enjoy a cocktail in their alfresco tiki-style bar. For a filling meal that won’t break the bank, check out the Mexican fare at Muchachos and finally, if you’re trying to impress your date take them to The Library, a proper speakeasy, the bar is password protected and hidden behind a bookcase in The Study.

Courtesy of The Library

Jalan Besar

Located near Little India, and soon to have its own MRT station on the Downtown Line, Jalan Besar is home to a surprisingly concentrated number of cool cafes and bars. Whether you’re after craft beers, dim sum, coffee shops or bakeries, you’ll find a little of everything in this neighbourhood with a bit of digging. A few of our favourites are superhero themed restaurant Hungry Heroes, craft beer bar The Druggists and Little Bastard, a speakeasy-style cafe that serves up contemporary versions of Asian classics.

Courtesy of Hungry Heroes

Joo Chiat Road

This last neighbourhood looks much further from the centre on first glance, but if you hop in a taxi, it’s a quick trip over Nicoll Highway in a taxi. Located on the fringes of red light district Geylang, Joo Chiat Road has gentrified over the years and now you’ll find craft beer at the Cider Pit and the Tuckshop, gourmet cheese from The Cheese Shop and even All-American Barbeque from Smokey’s. If you’re looking for something more local, try one of the many Vietnamese restaurants for a delicious and affordable meal.

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