There's a certain spark that is lost at the unveiling of new clubs in Singapore these days, a certain party vibe that usually gets the adrenaline running for roisterers.
At last month's media launch of Altimate - 1-Altitude's sister VIP joint just two floors down at One Raffles Quay - guests were treated to topless men covered in glow-in-the-dark paint, a fashion show of diamond necklaces and an array of booze.
This latest chichi joint, which opened its doors two weeks ago, has a very classy set-up.
The music? The usual lounge-y type, which wasn't all that original.
The place was filled with beau monde guests who took the F out of FUN only because they seemed far too busy flaunting their designer bags and correcting their perfectly coiffed hair.
There was a never-ending flow of such people, who appeared more concerned about gliding through the club, making sure that every step was elegant enough to match the setting.
So if this Girl Friday had to worry about things like displaying the perfect image, then forget it.
It takes way too much effort and too much time to fake it when all you need for a good wind-down is a party where you can be yourself.
But in that same week of Altimate's media launch, just as I thought all hope was lost for the real partygoers, I was surprised by an epic launch that restored my faith.
The Life Is Beautiful Kitchen & Bar soft launch took me back to the days when club openings were events attended by an unpretentious crowd whose priority was knocking back drinks and rocking the dance floor.
Even before stepping foot into the restaurant-bar joint at the corner of Duxton Road and Duxton Hill, the booming bass from its 4,000 sq ft premises set the scene, making almost anyone want to be a part of that party.
Catering to 60 people for dinner, it is definitely an establishment with great potential to draw in nightlifers when it transforms, later in the night, into a buzzing bar with standing room for up to 200 people.
Life Is Beautiful, which prides itself on Nola (short for New Orleans, Louisiana) cuisine featuring classic dishes such as seafood gumbo and jambalaya, kept its crowd right to the very last minute of their operating hour at midnight - and even then, the guests were reluctant to leave.
Playing old-school hip-hop party tunes with a good mix of groovy Jackson 5-type throwback sounds from the different DJs for different nights, the watering hole has not seen a quiet night since.
Altimate and Life Is Beautiful seem as different as day and night. And it goes to show that elite venues aren't always the best places to party at.
This article was published on April 25 in The New Paper.
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