SINGAPORE - The annex block of the Furama Riverfront Hotel along Havelock Road had long been synonymous with the neon lights of high-end KTV lounges such as Tiananmen KTV & Lounge, Las Vegas De'Palace and Club Infinitude which attracted crowds every week.
But after the leases of these establishments were not renewed a year ago, the owner of popular Holland Village watering hole Wala Wala Cafe Bar jumped on the opportunity to open a second outlet there, to inject new life into the area which is a stone's throw away from popular nightclub Zouk.
Called Hive by Wala Wala, the new outlet is located on the first floor of the block and celebrated its soft launch on Monday (Jan 25).
This came after a 15-month search for venues which led to nought as other options were either "too expensive or did not allow (a) live band", said owner Mr Stanley Yeo, 45. Renovating the new venue took about eight months and cost nearly $2 million.
He told AsiaOne: "We figured it is time that our brand take on new challenges. We will be looking at ways to give back to the community."
Hive by Wala Wala will share the same vibe as its 23-year-old parent establishment, offering food and beverages, live music, cable TV screenings of sporting events, as well as an alfresco area. Fans of homegrown bands can expect to popular catch acts such as 53A, Shirlyn & The UnXpected, EIC and Pennylane among others.
But there is one new twist: A kindergarten is due to open on the fourth floor of the building and Mr Yeo has made Hive kid-friendly so families too will have a reason to drop by.
For instance, aside from deli, ice cream and cake counters, a new kids' menu has also been added to Hive's offerings
Mr Yeo said: "For the main bulk of the night, predominantly working executives would fill the place. Weekend brunches are also on the drawing board."
Ms Sara Wee, 29, who fronts 53A, will perform with her band every Thursday night.
She said that she is "very excited" about the new joint which sits on a floor space of 13,799 sq ft, four times larger than Wala Wala.
On their first gig at Hive, she said: "We loved the sound, and loved the place."
Mr Kenneth Chong, 26 who has been to Wala Wala said: "It has a nice vibe, even though it is always crowded. I am looking forward to visiting Hive to see what it is like".
Hive by Wala Wala is located at 407 Havelock Road, #01-01, Furama RiverFront, Singapore 169634