SCENE: Nightlife In Review Pt. 1 – Putting Da Glam Back in The Night

Like it or not, there’s a reason why the powers that be put the ‘club’ in ‘dance club’. Over the years, the element of exclusivity in the nightlife scene here seems to have diminished an awful lot and in an effort to pack in the dance-floors, clubs here have loosened door rules and dress codes.
2010 marked the start of a new era in nightlife with the arrival of the luxe and/or member’s only clubs. If you remember the days of Liquid Room, Centro and even the old Velvet Underground, the ones with the endless queues of beautiful people, clued-in punters and hot models, these new clubs are putting the glam back in nightlife.
Firstly, we’re going to get a double dose of Las Vegas-styled glitz in the form of clubs Pangea and Avalon which will take root in Marina Bay Sands, in one of its floating crystal pavilions, to be exact. Slated to open in the first half of next year, up-market bottle club Pangaea is fronted by legendary nightlife maven Michael Ault who once ruled the nightlife scene in New York, Marbella, Florida and London over the past decade while Avalon made its name in New York and Hollywood as one of the IT dance clubs of the city. Avalon already gave us a peek at what’s in store for us during the F1 weekend with two nights of parties featuring The Chemical Brothers, Steve Aoki, Steve Angello and Flo Rida.
Ku De Ta opened up on Marina Bay Sands SkyPark this September to much fanfare, and it’s one of the newest luxe destinations which it comes to living the highlife. The swanky club and restaurant, which originated in Seminyak, Bali and it’s even been dubbed Ibiza of the East, after the Spanish island that’s famous for its partying culture. Yes. We have it here. One thing that Ku De Ta boasts as well is a sky-high cover charge of $50, which includes one drink. The average cover charge at other local clubs is less than $30, which usually includes two drinks.
Another new addition to the party circuit is Filter. Touted as a ‘members-only’ club, the three-month old club has a strict door policy and memberships will be given to a select group of clients and friends. The club has seen its fair share of celebrities, millionaires and V.I.Ps. Non-members can pay a $35 cover charge but according to the club, this is rarely the case as the club only has a capacity of 200-300.
Says Wee Teng Wen, director of The Lo & Behold Group, “These venues serve a specific sector of the nightlife market and to that end have injected diversity to the scene, benefiting patrons with a wider array of options.”
Echoes Kavan Spruyt of Refinery Concepts, “These luxe/members-only clubs give a home to like-minded people or people who have the same interest and make sure they feel at home when they go out to drink or have fun. As much as these clubs are opening up, there are some which will survive, and some will not, it will be the same as any other clubs, opened or closed. Only time will tell.” Known for restaurant and bar offerings such as Kinki and Mimolette, Refinery Concepts opened La Maison in April this year. The club is related to the Parisian outfit Le Baron which also has an outlet in Tokyo.
What Spruyt means is that by promising ‘exclusivity’ and targeting the well-heeled, these clubs are alienating the rest of the nightlife crowd who although does not meet the club’s demographic, have money to spend and pushing them elsewhere. To quote an industry veteran,”There are more than enough pie crumbs to go around for all of us.”
In any case, it is interesting to see how all these pans out. If these places make Singapore nightlife more vibrant than it is already is, who’s complaining right? : P