Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

While 2017 might not be as melancholic as 2016, this year did see its fair share of drama. If anything, this year was an eye-opener to the lives of public figures, an incessant hullaballoo about trains and the occasional scurry of bicycle sharing soap opera. It was also another year of closures and movement of iconic places and establishments in Singapore. From restaurants to hotels, here are the places that will be the catalyst for next year’s national nostalgia.

Bee Bee’s

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

If only this joint had a bit more time, it would’ve taken off (less than three months is waaay too short). Located in a quiet, second-floor space of an unmarked riverfront shop house in Boat Quay, it was pretty surprising that it hit most of the right spots; from the cozy venue decor and gritty graffiti art with scrawls such as “KEEP CALM & ANAL SEX COCKTAIL”, to the warmth and friendliness of the team and the great selection of tiki cocktails (which were delicious and priced only at $10-$15). Nipped it in the bud, we say.

Bird Bird

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

If you missed out on trying chef-owner Bjorn Shen’s offerings of American-style fried chicken and curly fries during the one last hurrah before calling it quits on Nov 26, you’re out of luck. Bird Bird was initially opened as a Thai-style chicken concept on Ann Siang that marries fine dining sensibilities with unadulterated street food. Its two-year long operations (which included a relocation to Frankel Ave) grinded to a halt after it couldn’t keep up with the increasingly stiff competition in Singapore. “I’m glad we tried nonetheless”, Shen said in a goodbye post online. We expect him to be refocusing efforts on Artichoke, his Middle Eastern restaurant on Middle Road where he can continue to do what he does best: creating unpretentious, crazy good food.

Cherry Discotheque

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

Okay so they aren’t exactly closed for good. The brainchild of Hasnor Sidik (a.k.a. DJ/producer extraordinaire Mr Has, and current APAC music director for W Hotels) and Potato Head Folk’s creative director Earn Chen have moved out of their cozy lil’ space in the basement of York Hotel to take a “teeny tiny break to revamp” (in their place, the same group has opened the super inclusive Peaches Club) after hosting the likes of 88rising’s China-based rappers, Higher Brothers, Bohan Phoenix and more over a year of operation. One can only guess where they might be relocating (hint: take a look at their very obvious Facebook post).


, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

What is it with all these short runs of seemingly successful and cool establishments? American-style restaurant and cocktail bar Crackerjack, opened by the people behind 28 HongKong Street and Proof & Company, is making its exit on Mar 1, 2018. From next month onwards, you can bid adieu to daytime brunches and events as the main room will become an exclusively night-time venue, after which it’ll become The Proof Collective’s global headquarters. At least we’ll still have “pocket bar” Junior just behind the building to look forward to. And knowing the peeps at Proof, we’re sure there’s something fresh in the works.

Dakota Crescent

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

You’ve probably seen this estate appear in certain local films, documentaries and music videos, or heard about it a lot in the news. It’s one of Singapore’s oldest public housing estates, whose old school design and architecture invokes a kind of nostalgia and charm that many modern estates now lack. We all succumbed to the fate of this quaint neighborhood this year, and went on the sporadic tours that took place every now and then. But to everyone’s surprise, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong announced that they’ll be preserving the courtyard and iconic playground, as well as six of the blocks that will be developed for community use. Our voices were heard after all.


, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017
Photo credit: Kyo Singapore’s Facebook page

It’s not easy to last as long as they did and amass a strong following while they’re at it, especially in our shaky and unforgiving nightlife industry. We’ve seen it so many times over the years; clubs closing as fast as they’ve swung open their doors. The homegrown basement spot was one of the coolest places to be afterhours not only because of its location and vibe, but because they managed to carve a place of their own in Singapore’s nightlife scene. Their strict offerings of house and techno—according to director and co-founder of the group that ran Kyo, they were “the only ones that were doing this style and genre” at the time—brought throngs of punters to the fore, and attracted the likes of international superstars like Surgeon, Osunlade, and Ben UFO, just to name a few. Alas, another one bites the dust. However, they did say they’re “taking a break from the scene to reassess [their] direction and realign [their] strategies”, and that plans to reopen Kyo Singapore aren’t necessarily off the table; so there’s hope yet. Otherwise, you could always visit their KL outpost.


, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

Your favorite Chinatown rooftop hangout threw in the towel last Sep. Lepark was the go-to hole-in-the-wall that embodied the grittiness of People’s Park Complex while still offering great eats and drinks over the past three years. They were also strong proponents of our local music scene, often holding nights and all sorts of alternative events on their premises. While we miss them dearly, they’ve also made some vague mentions that they’re considering options to open elsewhere, but it depends on whether that venue makes sense for everyone, and is worthy of a “safe space that you guys will all wanna call home”.

New Majestic Hotel

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

By now, you would’ve known that the iconic hotel along Bukit Pasoh Road, which everyone seemed to know, ceased operations in Jun. But not without first holding a massive two-day art, fashion, food and lifestyle festival on their premises that saw more than 50 local designers, artists and food vendors taking over 30 rooms across four floors (you could even doodle on the walls, the rooms, the empty pool…). The venue will be turned into private members’ club called Straits Clan set to open in Mar 2018, which will be managed by The Lo & Behold Group.

Raffles Hotel

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

You’ve seen the hoardings and heard about the disruptions, but as one of Singapore’s landmarks, it was definitely due for restoration works. The last time they went through restoration works was in 1989; they were closed for a total of two and a half years and only reopened in 1991. Declared a national monument 30 years ago, the hotel enters its third and final restoration phase where the entire compound will be closed for a period of time. They’ll be back in action in the second half of 2018.


, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017
Photo credit: EmonightSG’s Facebook page

This one’s a doozy. While they left their cozy (read: cramped) abode at Boat Quay and moved into the basement of Chijmes, Refuge pulled their shutters for good and quietly left the scene sometime in Sep. The raucous Emonight party, where you can relive days of screaming to the likes of The Used, Taking Back Sunday and My Chemical Romance, was slated to take place on Sep 7, but made an announcement on Facebook on the day itself, saying that it’ll be held somewhere else because of “circumstances beyond [their] control with the venue”. Nonetheless, the show had to go on and they managed to secure a smaller venue with free entry for everyone.

Restaurant Andre

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017
Chef Andre Chiang. Photo credit: Edmond Ho

It came as a shock when eponymous Taiwanese chef Andre Chiang announced that his self-titled restaurant—which by the way racked up awards at every turn (including this year’s two Michelin stars, second position on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list and the 14th spot on the World’s Best Restaurants list)—would sing his swan song on Valentine’s Day next year after eight dazzling years to “go back to where [he] started, […] back to cooking, have a balanced life and cook happily”. There’s still a bit of time left to taste his take on French Nouvelle cuisine, if you manage to get a seat, that is.

Rochester Park

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

Another beautiful, lush spot gone for redevelopment. You can forget about having a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at either Nosh or Spanish tapas restaurant Una because they’ll both be gone by then. Rochester Park, owned by the JTC Corporation, is getting its lease taken back. Details on the redevelopment are still underway, but a little bird told us that JTC has plans to convert the space into a training facility (WHY!?). Sure, there’s the other enclave of colonial bungalows housing some cool F&B concepts in Seletar, but it just won’t be the same.

Rochor Centre

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

It has come to a point where we’re all just asking, “Okay, when is it going to go down?” The tears have dried up, the memories reminisced and the residents evicted; heck, there was even once when the iconic rainbow colored estate became a training firing ground for our soldiers “to strengthen [the Singapore Armed Forces’] capabilities in homeland security operations. The Land Transport Authority only announced in Oct that they’ll begin demolition works in early 2018, so you still have time to appreciate these HDB blocks from a distance before they become the Singaporean poster child of Miley Cyrus’ 2013 hit single (you know which one).

Singapore Cat Museum

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017
The Cat Museum, Muses & Mansion of Singapore’s Facebook page

There was a lot of confusion because of the various moving parts in this picture. In a nutshell, the Ministry of National Development (MND) found that the establishment’s founder Jessica Seet had illegally turned the third and fourth floors—which were meant for residential use—into a shelter and adoption center for about 30 kittens and adult cats. However, there were online articles circulating that reported the MND was evicting Seet and her cats, which supposedly turned out to be untrue, obviously (and because how can anyone resist those furballs, right?) In fact, it was her landlord’s independent decision to not renew the lease for the third and fourth floors. We just hope the kitties are feline fine in their new homes now.

Sungei Road Thieves’ Market

, Places we’ve had to say goodbye to in 2017

We all knew this was going to happen despite countless petitions and online sentiments. The final stretch of the 80-year-weekend market on the weekend of Jul 10 saw a large, unprecedented crowd of regulars and first-timers who came to pay homage to one of Singapore’s most unique places. Yes, there was misplaced nostalgia and anti-government sentiments going around, but it’s still sad nonetheless. Most of the peddlers and vendors are between 60 to 80 years old, and have voiced their concerns on their employability. NEA and other agencies have promised to match them with financial assistance schemes, but really, all they want is to be able to “fend for [them]selves and be independent”.