Alice in Asylum: Alice finds a safe haven in Geylang

We hit secret pop-up dining experience Alice in Asylum over the weekend, which went down—rather surprisingly—in red light district Geylang. The location wasn’t revealed until 24 hours before the party, but the undisclosed venue had been touted as an award-winning shophouse. So we’d assumed it’d be one of the many high falutin city restaurants like Restaurant ANDRE or Buyan

Thankfully, things weren’t quite so predictable. The event was part of a series of one-off pop-up parties called The Underbelly, hosted by art collective Flabslab and event agency The Experience Architect. And true to the spirit of the “pop-up” they kept things edgy, picking a privately-owned refurbished shophouse Unit #17 (Geylang Lorong 24A) for the night. The catering—by new private dining operation Clubvivre—for the dinner portion of the evening (8-10pm; $100), was also not in the least bit stuffy. Instead of a multicourse sit down meal, there was a casual penne pasta bar, bread station and tapas. More than dinner, it was a mingling and networking session—much like a 16th century Renaissance-style salon—where creative intellectuals could meet to exchange ideas.

The mood got more raucous for the bar experience later on (10pm onwards; $25), with free-flow Hendrick’s gin cocktails, live DJs spinning, a mime act, wacky photo booth, and the entry of younger models and expats. But it was still alternative, kind of like an underground party Andy Warhol might have thrown in 1970s Manhattan. 

Flabslab founder Jeffrey Koh says, “We had an older crowd for dinner and then a younger crowd for the bar experience—which is great because it helps folks who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford dinner to see the inside of this historic building. It’s quite a turnout—we expect 400 folks in total—considering we only had two weeks to promote the event.”

The organizing team’s still on the lookout for their next venue and project, but it this round was anything to go by, we’ll be back.

Hungry for more? Read about the other bi-monthly pop-up dinners that new private dining business Clubvivre caters