Block 3C River Valley Road
Hours: 5pm-3am (Sun-Thur), 5pm-4am (Fri-Sat)
They're known for their trendy nightspots and youthful branding, so when the people behind Lifebrandz say they want to start serving beer and dogs, you know it isn't going to be just a run-of-the-mill hot dog stand.
Launched last week, gourmet dogs and craft beer joint Hopdogs is the latest in the nightlife stalwart's steady fiefdom in Clarke Quay. The 180-seater - it holds 150 indoors with outdoor tables for 30 - takes over the space formerly occupied by the group's hip-hop themed cafe, Rebel Hood, which closed last month.
"Rebel Hood was created as a part of Rebel and Zirca, but with both concepts now closed, it's lost a bit of its identity, hence our decision to refresh and rebrand the space," explains the group's spokesperson Jonathan Shen. Zirca is now members-only club Fenix Room and Rebel has been reconceptualised as nightclub Dream. Both concepts physically sandwich Hopdogs.
But why gourmet dogs?
"Why not gourmet dogs?" he quips. "We believe there's a crowd in Clarke Quay looking for something in between fast food and a full sit-down dinner."
Referring to them as an "affordable luxury," he adds that "even for someone not particularly looking for gourmet dogs, our prices are not prohibitive at all for them to try one."
Hopdogs' hot dogs are uniformly priced at $12 for a hot dog bun served with a side of nachos. The two options for sausages (beef or pork) and four flavours of buns (white, red yeast rice, roasted sesame and the pillowy-sweet charcoal) come in eight preconfigured flavour permutations with chuckle-worthy names such as the Hottu-Doggu and Guten Dog.
Opt for reliable, recognisable tastes such as the saurkraut and grain mustard-laden Guten Dog; the Italian-inflected bolognese and mozzarella-topped Chilli Dog; or the Ariba with guacamole, sour cream and Mexican cheese dressing. Or, take adventurous tastebuds on a globe-trot with the Lunar Dog, which folds in toppings such as char siew, spring onions and plum sauce, and the Teriyaki Dog comprising a teriyaki-drizzled pork sausage encased in a wholesome roast sesame bun and topped with seaweed wafers.
The craft beer element, on the other hand, was added on to satiate the growing local interest in craft beer, as well as party-goers looking to start slow with a civil after-work tipple, says Mr Shen.
Open bar shelves display over 100 labels of craft brews from various countries from the United States to the United Kingdom and Japan - a range that Mr Shen hopes will be doubled in coming months to make Hopdogs a bar with "one of Singapore's largest collection of craft beers at any one time".
Brick wall motifs give the space a hip, Brooklyn back alley vibe while cheery orange and green tables and US-imported classic pinball machines expand the appeal to both the area's teenage party crowd and middle-aged tourists alike.