The cool heritage hood that is Kampong Glam has always been on our radar for great food, hipster cafes, indie boutiques and stylish staycations. But there’s been a special flurry of activity there lately, and we’ve been keeping tabs on these exciting developments.
1. A rooftop pasar
Flea markets are a neat affair, but have it on a rooftop and the hip quotient just shoots through the…roof (sorry, not sorry). At Sunset Pasar on Sep 5 from 2:00-7:00pm at Shophouse Hostel (47 Arab St.,), bag pre-loved bargains of style and culture like vintage designer pieces (if you’re lucky) and second-hand literature, and watch brave souls bare their talents at an all-day open-mic session—don’t worry, there’s beer to get you through the day.
2. Poetry slams
Listen to witty and sometimes sardonic sonnets by poet Stephanie Dogfoot who’s a member of the four-woman spoken word troupe Sekaliwags. A regular on the local literary scene, she has won national poetry slam championships in Singapore and the UK and represented our sunny island at international competitions. Joining her at Artistry on Sep 16, 8:00pm is Deonn Yang, an emerging actor and writer.
3. 90’s cocktails galore
While there are some cringey elements of the era we’d wish never to revisit again, we’d gladly hit repeat for veteran mixologist Shawn Kishore’s fun and kitschy cocktails at Fresh! (The Sultan, 101 Jln. Sultan). Drinks like Peach Fit, with peach liqueur, Peychaud bitters, vanilla syrup and bubbles and Xin Jia Po Sling, with smoked gin, sloe gin, Cointreau and hibiscus-jackfruit shrub are sweet, refreshing and unabashedly cheeky. Throw in cheesy boyband tunes, in-your-face pop art and unpretentious bar bites like calamari rings and you are pretty much in for a raucous time.
4. Hotel Vagabond is opening
Finally launching this month in all of its arty glory is the luxe Hotel Vagabond, and there’s already a buzz about its space which is housed in an art deco building at the fringes of the neighborhood (39 Syed Alwi Rd.). We’ve heard whispers about features such as a series of six opulent hand-crafted gold trees and an arts and events area displaying a curated collection of artworks. And to make it truly bohemian, there’s also a rotational “artist in residence” program which will include DJs, painters, sculptors, musicians and tattooists.
5. And so is Fifth Quarter
Chef Andrew Nocente helms Hotel Vagabond’s mod-grill restaurant specializing in Italian-style cured meats. Sink your teeth into rum-cured pork belly, salt and pepper tripe, salami, lardo, coppa and more like smoked, pickled and cured seafood, game and vegetable plates. We’ll let you know if it’s worth the wait.
6. Music festivals at Aliwal Arts Centre
There’s a series of showcases ranging from ’90s hip hop, metal and A-Capella. At Enter The Void Deck 9: 90’s Hip Hop Edition (Sep 19, 7:00pm), get educated on the local rap scene of the last two decades, with performances by emerging artists. If head-banging sounds are more of your thing, Metal Zone Live (Sep 26, 8:00pm) will be rocking out with three local bands covering niche genres like progressive rock (Noetic Theory), Javanese Symphonic Metal (Kraton) and Speed Metal (Malex). Lastly, the International A Cappella Festival (Oct 1-31) brings together over 100 singers from Singapore, Sweden and the Philippines in 10 concerts through the month. These are all ticketed events, so head here for more details.
7. PARK(ing) Day
Come Sep 18, parking spaces at Central Business District and Ann Siang Hill, Duxton Plain, Singapore River, Bras Basah, Bugis, Kampong Glam, Little India and Jalan Besar will be transformed into temporary public spaces. Almost anything goes at this event, and this includes art installations, book swops or even a mini public beach. To take part, register here.
8. Of course, you can’t miss the food
The area’s well known for its Malay cuisine and while places like Indonesian restaurant Sari Ratu (20 Pahang St.), Nasi Padang specialists Hajah Mainunah (11-15 Jln. Pisang) and Malay kopitiam Kampong Glam Cafe (17 Bussorah St.) are must-tries, it’s also home to Mrs Pho (349 Beach Rd.), a Bjorn Shen-approved Vietnamese Pho eatery and popular bakery Rich and Good Cake Shop (24 Kandahar St.). Go early or be prepared to queue for its signature Kaya swissrolls. And just recently, there was even a Filipino-themed dinner at cafe and arts space Artistry by Culture Kitchen, who are behind a series of events inviting Singaporeans and migrant workers. More updates here.