Popular nightspot 57 Chevy in Katong shuts down

He was constantly interrupted during the short 20 minute interview.

One regular patron said: "I will feel so lost when this place closes, Leonard. Where do I go now?"

Another said: "I guess all good things must come to an end, huh?"

Yet another patron wanted a photograph.

All wanted to tell Mr Leonard Rezel, one of 57 Chevy's four owners, that they will miss the place.

Friday was the popular Katong nightspot's second last day as it was unable to renew the lease.

Somebody had bought over the land occupied by Katong Village, Mr Rezel, 57, explained. It first opened its doors to the public in 2005.

When The New Paper visited 57 Chevy on Friday, it was packed.

The crowd, mostly in their 50s, was dancing to Bon Jovi, Earth, Wind & Fire and even Foster The People covers performed by That's Life, one of the bar's two resident bands.

FAMILY BONDING

Ms Grace Chai, 37, who had frequented 57 Chevy the past four years, saw the cosy environment as her "refuge" and "second home".

"My dad passed away last year, and I had to deal with a failed relationship, too. I ran to Chevy for comfort. I found a family again," she said.

Others, like Mr Gabriel Lim, 60, sang their hearts out, taking swigs of beer between songs.

"They play our kind of music - disco," said the general manager at a safety equipment company who first visited the bar some eight years ago.

But in recent years, 57 Chevy had also become a place for family bonding, with his 21-year-old daughter and her boyfriend joining Mr Lim and his wife occasionally.

"The band can play songs from the 70s and also from the present," he said.

"They can even play my daughter's favourite Bruno Mars number."

Of the bar's inevitable closure, Mr Rezel, who plays the guitar with That's Life, said: "All these people in their 40s, 50s and 60s come here because it's safe to have a good time here."

He has tried to apply for entertainment licences in the area but failed.

The only place that was available was near the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but Mr Rezel said he could not afford the high rent and initial down payment of $120,000.

"I would still need to renovate the space and all that. I had to let it go because we didn't have that kind of money, " Mr Rezel said, shaking his head.

"People living in the suburban areas need their music, too. They can't afford to go to town, which is mainly for youngsters and can get a little too expensive.

"Over here, it's Orchard Road quality music at a fraction of the price."

fjieying@sph.com.sg

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