Niche appeal of boutique clubbing venues

Niche appeal of boutique clubbing venues
Fenix Room at Clarke Quay is inspired by the Jazz Age of the 1920s and caters to a more affluent crowd that is willing to spend on premium alcohol.

In these days of podcasting instead of broadcasting and with the proliferation of boutique hotels, it seems the one-size-fits-all approach is turning out to fit few.

Mega dance clubs have been feeling the brunt of the trend towards "niche is nice". The defunct Ministry Of Sound and Zirca are the most prominent victims.

With the Titanics sunk, a new breed of mid-sized and boutique clubbing venues have been grabbing the attention of partygoers with their distinct personalities and entertainment offerings.

At about half the size of a mega club or smaller, at least five mid-sized nightspots spanning between 4,000 and 8,000 sq ft have mushroomed this year, each marketing itself to a specific clientele.

Clubgoers like how these smaller venues have more character, a greater feel of exclusivity and are a point of gathering for like-minded individuals.

Credit analyst Eva Yeung, who has partied at mega clubs Zouk and Avalon and new smaller clubs such as Club Kyo, says "people's tastes always change over time" and that mid-sized venues throw up more options for clubgoers.

"Let's say I was going out with my colleagues after work, then Club Kyo would work because it's more chill and it's an older crowd. If I wanted to party and have a big night out with my friends outside of work, then I'd just head down to Clarke Quay," says the 30-year-old.

Clubgoer Steffany Rene, 22, says she prefers smaller venues because they "have more personality" and "they're not too crowded". The staff nurse adds: "I like that I can have my own personal space and everyone who goes there likes the same kind of music."

Nightlife operators tell Life! that such smaller-sized venues are easier to manage and focus on a target demographic of clubgoers, which is better than a mega club's all-inclusive approach.

First to open in January was Dom Lounge, a 200-capacity club lounge at Marina Bay Sands modelled after an ornate Russian palace. It offers personalised bottle service and there is at least one bartender attending to each table as its patrons groove to remixes of commercial chart-topping hits.

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