We know about the chilli crab, the slick shopping malls, and the grand colonial architecture. But what about "beer art"?
Can beer be art? It’s something to ponder at Deck, a collection of 19 shipping containers remodeled into a photographic art gallery and venue for the biennial Singapore International Photography Festival. As of April, Deck is also home to a beer bar with a difference. Mikkeller styles itself as a “Danish gypsy brewer”, meaning, well, who knows? In practice it translates to a spare, Scandi bar inside two 13-metre containers with seating for about 20 inside, 80 out, and 20 very crafty beers on tap ranging from Mastodon (a farmhouse IPA) to Black Hole (an imperial stout) and El Celler de Can Roca, a pilsner. Expect DJs and hotdogs, too.
Musical Box Museum
Opened last year beside Thian Hock Keng, Singapore’s oldest Chinese temple, this quirky museum houses a collection of some 40 music boxes collected by enthusiast Naroto Orui and relocated here from Japan. These are not just boxes of the pretty, spinning-ballerina variety; one model, a 19th century Langdorff Orchestral Music Box from Switzerland, has bells, drums and even a castanet among its instrumental repertoire. Highlights include an Edison Opera phonograph with carved wooden horn and a Polyphon 5 Music Box loaded with several discs, like a jukebox. The $12/$6 admission fee includes guided tour and demonstrations of the various models.
Cache @ Izy
It’s called Cache, as in ‘hidden’, which is apt given this intriguing small bar is tucked away behind a Japanese restaurant on bustling Club Street in Chinatown. Push the door down the end of popular izakaya Izy and enter a shadowy room where flashing lights illuminate coloured robots in wall niches and the ceiling glimmers with copper tubing. Dressed in white lab coat and bow-tie, with a neat pencil moustache and Brylcreemed hair, head mixologist Shinya Koba looks like a cool chemist as he mixes Moscow mules and pours rare sakes and whiskies with Japanese precision.
The last kampong
In the pre-skyscraper era Singapore was a collection of kampongs, or villages, each with a unique spirit. There’s one original kampong left on the main island; kampong lorong bangkuok has about two dozen homes, most of them still the original single-storey, tin-roofed dwellings of the 1950s. With its unpaved paths and chickens dashing between dwellings, it’s the antithesis of 21st century Singapore but only about a 25-minute cab ride northeast from the CBD. Mind the mosquitoes.
The ’70s-era Golden Mile Tower on Beach Road was once home to a 2,000-seat megaplex cinema that spanned two floors. Since 2014 it’s been split between the Rex Cinema, which shows only Tamil titles, and The Projector, Singapore’s only independent film house. The pick of the two screening rooms is the Redrum, where moviegoers can laze on beanbags while watching arthouse and cult films that would not otherwise be shown in the city-state. The Redrum also hosts occasional offbeat events, such as its superhero costume sing-along disco. Only in Singapore.
SEE ALSO: A Foodie’s Guide to Singapore