Putting on your fancy pants for a night at one of Singapore's sleek dance clubs is all well and good, but sometimes you just want to get away from the pretentiousness of Top 40s hits, champagne sparklers, and pole-dancing platforms.
So if you're not one for mainstream party places, here are some other dance clubs in town to check out instead.
The former home for hipsters and indie music lovers has turned into a whole different animal. As an industrial club that modularly transforms into an art gallery, Canvas bills itself as a space to spotlight arts, culture, and music, with various nights dedicated to hip hop, EDM, trance, and even stand-up comedy.
#B1-01/06, The Riverwalk, 20 Upper Circular Rd, 8125-0166. Tues 7pm-2am, Wed-Fri 7pm-3am, Sat 7pm-4am.
Orchard Road pretty much gives the opposite of alternative vibes, but when the clock chimes midnight, the International Building (which isn't the shiniest mall on the stretch, anyway) houses parties at D'Underground - a club which is indeed located beneath ground level.
It's open till 6am on weekends - ideal for party people who can't stop (and won't stop) raving till the sun comes up.
If dancing and fist-pumping isn't your sort of thing, the bar also hosts live band performances and games like air hockey or beer pong, so even the most tenacious of wallflowers will have something to stay entertained. Alternatively, there's also just the option to sit and sip on free flow booze from 11:30pm to 2am on Wednesdays ($35 for men, free for ladies) or 12:30am to 3am on weekends ($35 for men, $30 for ladies).
#B1-00 International Building, 360 Orchard Rd, 6737-6269. Tues-Thurs 8pm-4am, Fri-Sat 8pm-6am, Sun 4pm-2am.
Self-described as a "hip hop shrine at heart," Fleek is one of the newer tenants on the Clarke Quay block, with VIP tables by the walls and a dance floor right smack in the centre. Hip hop and R&B are the genres of choice here. Obviously.
To draw the crowds away from its ever-popular neighbour, Zouk, the club apparently offers unlimited house pours every night it's open from 8pm to 11pm, with vodka, gin, whiskey, bourdon, and rum at the bar ($25 for ladies, $35 for men).
#01-10 Clarke Quay, 3C River Valley Rd, 8808-0854. Wed-Sat 6pm-4am.
HEADQUARTERS BY THE COUNCIL
Squirreled away in a shop house unit at Boat Quay, the multi-level space at Headquarters is probably where all the best underground parties rage on right now. A go-to club for those who know their house, bass, and techno, its trademark red hues are welcoming to patrons who enjoy a well-curated selection of underground DJs from the region and beyond. There's also a nice, albeit small-ish, balcony outside of the upper level dance floor.
66 Boat Quay, 8125-8880. Wed-Fri 6pm-3am, Sat 10pm-4am.
Tucked away from the bustle of our concrete city, you'll find Kilo Lounge hidden in a back alley of Tanjong Pagar Road. The indie club may have relocated from its previously far-out home at Kallang Riverside Park, but those concrete touches and that wood-paneled low ceiling remain.
Music-wise, it's a mix of underground DJs, electronic acts, and sweet nostalgia with EmoNightSG. And, bonus:Maxwell Food Centre is just across the street, so partygoers can pad their stomachs with affordably priced grub before throwing themselves into the swing of things.
#01-02/04, 21 Tanjong Pagar Rd, 9824-9747. Tues-Wed 5:30pm-midnight, Thurs-Fri 5:30pm-3am, Sat 7pm-4am.
Mimicking a '60s New York back street club, Lulu's Lounge may be situated right next to the rowdy Bang Bang, but both give off totally different vibes. Operations at Lulu's run on the classier side, though with a bit of grit on the edges (as you'll soon discover when you stride past the reception's ritzy chandelier and red velvet curtains).
The live performances here run the gamut - jazz musicians, burlesque dancers, and other eclectic performers are there to entertain. We love the plush leather sofas surrounded by raw brick walls grunged up with graffiti. Nice touch.
Pan Pacific Hotel, 7 Raffles Blvd, 9829-1922. Wed 7pm-3am, Thurs 9pm-3am, Fri-Sat 9pm-6am.
Another club nestled in the basement of a building: Mao. Taking over the space evacuated by Kyo, this red-hued joint is repped by a fluorescent form of one of those fortune cats (otherwise known as maneki neko). With 144 ruby-coloured lanterns hanging from the ceiling, the Asian-influenced decor is somewhat of a contrast to the music tinkering through the sound system here: funk, soul, disco, house, and garage.
Instead of the usual Wednesday ladies' night, Mao schedules its version on Thursdays, offering three hours' worth of free flow vodka cranberries and G&Ts to the beat of old school hip hop and R&B.
#B1-02 Keck Seng Tower, 133 Cecil St, 9088-2453. Bar: Mon-Fri 5pm-midnight; Club: Thurs-Fri 10pm-3am, Sat 10pm-4am.
A pop-up club by The Council (the same party peeps behind Headquarters) this cheeky concept is inspired by TAF (Trim and Fit) Club, the exercise torture programme that overweight kids in primary and secondary school were subjected to and mercilessly teased about. Thankfully, that only went on from 1992 to 2007.
During the day, the space is a regular old CBD Chinese restaurant. But by night, debauchery takes over with music curated by The Council. Its three-month run began in April with the slogan, "it's leg day everyday at Tuff Club, so why run when you can dance?" - swing by before you miss its limited run in our local nightlife scene.
#19-01, 138 Robinson Rd. Fri 11pm-3am, Sat 11pm-4am.
This article was first published in Coconuts Singapore.