Every week I-S Magazine brings you the best, the newest, the hippest and hottest Singapore has to offer. Once a year we ask you, our faithful readers, what you think is the best of what’s out there. From bars and clubs to theater, restaurants, fashion, politics, music, and gossip—we seek your opinion. This year we went out Oscar style to get your nominations for the best dramas, comedies, costumes and more in the Singapore scene in the last 12 months. And the winners are…drum rrrroll please.
From the courtroom to the club room, we looked at some of the things that caused the most fuss this year.
Biggest Storm in a Teacup
All the noise that smokers made over the new restrictions on smoking in outdoor eateries eventually went up in…well, a puff of smoke. Smokers and “restaurants” (read: bars that serve food) seem to have adapted to the new regime, albeit in smaller surrounds.
Graze or PS Cafe
Every year there are new restaurants that are the talk of the town. This year, restaurants in fabulously refurbished black-and-whites stole the limelight, with ultra hip PS Café (28B Harding Rd., 6479-3343) beating Graze, but by only a slight margin.
The Chees or The Lees?
We asked you to choose between sparring factions: Singapore Democratic Party’s Chee siblings, and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The Lees emerged winners both in court and in your votes. (Whew!)
Best New Restaurant
Mama Mia, Italian is in with the super stylish and glam il Lido (Sentosa Golf Club, Bukit Manis Rd., 6866-1977) earning a special place in your hearts (and stomachs). With spectacular views and beautiful people, what more could you want?
Best New Nightspot
Who didn’t see this one coming? The world famous Ministry of Sound (#01-02/07, #02-01/08, Blk C Clarke Quay, River Valley Rd., 6235-2292) with its multi-themed rooms and line up of international DJs naturally grabbed this prize, although The Butter Factory certainly gave it a good fight for the top spot.
We in Singapore try so hard. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.
Singapore Idol or Super Band?
Local talent became local laughing acts as Singapore Idol beat Superband for this, erm, accolade. The audience has voted!
Most Unintentionally Funny Musical
Prancing around on stage with a Broadway script and a famous star doesn’t quite cut it for local audiences as Cabaret gets this award.
From head to toe, I-S readers sure are chic. You told us which fashion and beauty trends you felt had the most style—and attitude.
Best Place to Get a Manicure/Pedicure
From delicately decorated nails bedazzled with glimmering jewels to affordable specially designed pre-decorated nails, Dashing Diva Nail Spa and Boutique (#01-002/4/6 Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Blvd., 6334-1811) is your top-choice. Mentions should also go to Hollywood Secrets and Nail Spa, which came in as runners-up.
Best Style Trend
Balloon skirts such as those from Comme des Garcons and Balenciaga, are totally a la mode, according to you. Oh, and jeans, vintage wear and accessories too. It’s all about mixing and matching, dahlings, and our readers have it down pat!
Best Local Fashion of theYear
Our readers still can’t get enough of Wykidd Song’s clean and effortless designs from Song+Kelly (2/F, Isetan Orchard, Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Rd., 6733-7777). Local shoe label Charles & Keith came in second with their range of affordable and classic shoes for women on the go.
Bling Bling or Handmade Accessories?
One-off handmade accessories trump branded bling bling, plus they are certainly more interesting and, yes, much, much more affordable. Handmade pieces from labels such as
See You Tomorrow and NOOS are already selling like hotcakes at specialty boutiques Asylum (22 Ann Siang Road, 6324-8264) and Fling (#04-05 The Heeren Shops, 260 Orchard Rd., 6732-0067), while new labels such as Missy’s Possessions are increasingly popular among our local fashionistas.
The Workers’ Party or Lim Kian Heng?
Blue, boring? No way! The Workers’ Party prove that their standard all-blue attire can be hip after all, as you choose its uniform over Speakers’ Corner favorite Lim Kian Heng’s skimpy singlet. We couldn’t agree more.
Looking good is hard work! Here’s how you like to pamper yourselves and work out. We also looked at buildings in the city that got a face lift recently and found out which are tops in your book.
RafflesAmrita Spa (6/F, Raffles The Plaza, Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Rd., 6431-5600) defends and keeps its place for Best Spa two years running, with great service and its menu of pamper treatments fit for royalty.
You are a fit bunch and like pumping, gyrating, and working up a sweat at hip city gyms. You nominated the slick fitness chains that have taken Singapore by storm, with California Fitness coming out tops and Fitness First and Planet Fitness taking second and third, respectively.
Best New Look
Between the new lean and trim Olinda Cho and the trying-to-be lean Moses Lim, you decided that Olinda takes the cake for upping the glam factor with her brand new image. Move aside Moses Lim, and bring on the tight fitting jeans and swimsuits Olinda!
Neighborhood Spas or Five-Star Hotel Spas?
We don’t expect you to skimp on making yourselves feel and look good. We know you don’t mind dishing out the dough for serious pampering at luxurious five-star hotel spas which beat neighborhood spas hands down.
This year saw three historical buildings get face lifts to become new arts, dining and/or entertainment hot spots. New swish mall The Cathay (2 Handy Rd., 6732-7332) with its art deco façade and funky stores like New Urban Male and Brazilian wax specialists Strip got your top vote, with New Majestic Hotel and red dot Traffic Building trailing.
Best Sound Effects
Pump up the volume—I-S readers know their music, bands and bars.
Best Live Music Venue
Bar None (B1, Singapore Marriott Hotel, 320 Orchard Rd., 6831-4657) clinches the award this year as the best venue for live music. Not surprisingly, really, considering how local and regional bands as well as resident act Jive Talkin’ get things loud and roaring here.
Best Local Band
Five-piece act Electrico was the hands down winner for the hippest local band around, probably based on the strength of its sophomore effort Hip City. Hip, hip, hurray!
Best New Portable Music Gadget
The most popular portable gadget you use for listening to music on the go is (surprise, surprise) the Apple iPod. Its easy-to-use interface, as well as functions such as storing photographs and videos, has made it indispensable for many.
Lush 99.5FM or 91.3 WKRZ?
When asked to choose between two non-mainstream music radio stations, you picked Lush 99.5FM over 91.3 WKRZ by a long shot. We guess sensual, smooth and sexy numbers soften you up and stop you from turning that dial.
Radio DJs or Club DJs?
You voted for club DJs over radio DJs. Perhaps radio DJs who only have mediocre jokes or boring sound bites up their sleeves, should just let the music do the talking.
Drama, drama. We all love it and you told us what action caught your eye this year.
Best Celebrity Tantrum
Who else but super-rich super-brat Paris Hilton would win the award for Best Celebrity Tantrum. In a recent embarrassing antic Ms Hilton shouted at a photographer at the New York Heatherette Fashion show, “I said no more f****** photos, why do you never f****** listen!” Ma’am, mind your manners, please.
You voted Coldplay as having put on the hottest concert this year, reigning over Mogwai, Dream Theatre, Simple Minds, Toto, INXS and Westlife. And you know what, we at I-S couldn’t agree more.
Fake Ghost Video or Tammy Video?
When we pitched sex against the supernatural and asked you to choose between the Tammy video and the fake ghost video that choked up Singapore’s internet pipes this year, you chose—sex. Well, we guess watching people get it on is more fascinating than puzzling over blurry white blobs.
Nothing beats a good view. Here are your votes for the best views of 2006.
Most Romantic Restaurant
Not just a place for exquisite Australian food, Flutes at the Fort (21 Lewin Terrace, Fort Canning Park, 6338-8770) also offers mood lighting, quality jazz and intimate décor to get our readers into the mood for love. Other restaurants that scored well in this category are My Secret Garden and il Lido.
Best Holiday Destination
Phuket’s affordable lodging, vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches came up tops among our savvy travelers. Cheap and good travel destinations Bangkok and Bali were also hot favorites.
Trendiest New Bar
Boasting one of the widest selections of vodkas (111 types), Q Bar (#01-04 The Annex @ The Old Parliament House, 1 Old Parliament Lane, 6336-3386) is the favorite among those looking for a relaxing and intimate night out. Its hip factor is apparent with its classical décor, plush sofas and heady R&B music.
The Picturehouse or The Arts House?
Never mind that not everyone’s a fan of The Picturehouse (The Cathay, 2 Handy Rd., 6235-1155). You seem to think otherwise. With its wide selection of new international arthouse flicks, this boutique cinema trumps over The Arts House’s monthly screenings of smaller, older films.
Royston Tan or Jack Neo?
Filmmaker Royston Tan beats Jack Neo hands down with his edgy, no-holds-barred films that depict local life and Singapore’s underbelly. Tan is young, talented, bold (not to mention better looking, too).
It’s the little extras in life that make us smile. We looked at some of the cheekiest, most delicious things that turn you on.
Oohtique or iShop?
If you had to spend your money on sexy Apple products at Club 21’s iShop or Oohtique’s naughty bedroom toys, which would you choose? Our readers chose Oohtique (50A Circular Rd., 6557-0469).
überburger or Carl’s Junior?
Burger mania hit our shores this year and as usual, we Singaporeans stuck steadfast to our unofficial national motto: “Cheap is good.” We voted that Carl’s Junior (#01-202/203 Marina Square, 6 Raffles Blvd., 6720-2720) is better than Überburger, 101 burger or no.
Champagne or Martinis?
This one was tough. Martini—shaken not stirred, thank you—or bubbly? They both taste sooooo good. But champagne tastes just that much better than martinis (even with lychee flavoring), you decided. We’ll drink to that!
Best Foreign Language Feature
Singaporeans love to travel. You give us your vote on your favorite escapes.
Best Budget Airline
Budget airlines have changed the face of short haul travel in Asia, no doubt about it. Flying high in the sky in the category for best budget airline, according to readers, was Jetstar.
Best Place to Go for a Dirty Weekend
When we like to get down and dirty the place we most like to go is—Thailand. With votes for Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi as well as the entire country itself, Thailand was the clear winner for best place to go for a dirty weekend. Batam and Bintan were distant runners up, with one vote for JB.
Lifetime Achievement Award
I-S Magazine has been around enough to know what it takes to make it in this town. Here is your word on what you feel has lasted the long haul and is still standing tall.
Best Longstanding Restaurant
Tung Lok takes the title of Best Longstanding Restaurant by quite a margin with its memorable dim sum and Shark’s Fin soup.
Best Longstanding Bar & Best Longstanding Nightspot
Clubbing at Zouk (17 Jiak Kim St., 6738-2988) is a rite of passage for almost all of us (which some of us never outgrow), so it’s no surprise that Singapore’s most famous nightclub snagged the award for Best Longstanding Bar and Best Longstanding Nightspot. Congratulations on the double whammy!
Lee Kuan Yew or Mahathir Mohamad?
We had to ask this one—which senior statesman do you prefer, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew or Dr. Mahathir Mohamad? Our MM Lee won by a landslide.
Ah Meng or Merlion?
We pitted two of Singapore’s most loved animal icons against each other: Ah Meng vs. the Merlion…guess who won? Mythical origins and a giant statue at Sentosa just weren’t enough for the Merlion to outshine the Singapore Zoo’s native celebrity—Ah Meng.