Hubert Burda Media

The Best Live Jazz Spots in Singapore

We sound out the best of live jazz in Singapore.

Due to creeping gentrification and high rent, all we seem to hear about is the closure of our favourite restaurants and live music venues. Chef Andre’s leaving and the jazz scene, especially, has suffered. But as we bid goodbye to 2017 and the greats like B28, we’d like to remain optimistic about the future of live jazz in Singapore. There are several good ones that have stuck with us. Here’s what we have sound out.

Bob’s Bar

A semi-alfresco joint to kick back with an Old Fashioned and cigar in reclusion.

What about it?

Sentosa, where peacocks and 40kph speed limits rule, might seem a little lame. But past its artificial façade, it has its charm, and gems like Bob’s Bar will surprise you. Loosely modelled after Havana’s glory days and the hotel’s old-world charm, Bob’s Bar is the only Cuban-inspired bar in Sentosa. The low profile, subdued lighting is intentional, and it gets even more so as the drinks go by. Imbibe rum and feast on Caribbean BBQ wings as the band serenades you. One word of advice though, this place is easy to breeze by.

Who’s playing?

Fridays are reserved for the resident Latin live jazz band, but during the rest of the week, you’ll be hearing a mix of acoustic, jazz and lounge.

The fine print.

Open daily at the Capella Singapore on 1 The Knolls, from 12pm to 12am. On most days, the band will run from 5.30pm to 10.30pm, and on Sundays, 3pm to 7pm.

Monti

A pretty Italian restaurant that’s perfect for dates and all things special.

What about it?

Once a spot mainly for the bankers and their trophy dates, Monti has taken a new direction and we are liking it. Taking inspiration from New York’s Birdland and Tokyo’s Blue Note, Monti offers nightly live jazz to complement the pasta, cold cuts and omakase, if you’re feeling it. The space is divided into both the restaurant and open-air rooftop terrace where a separate bar sits.

Who’s playing?

The music programme will feature regulars like Beverly Morata, Skye Sirena, Stephen Francis and Rob Collins. Expect classic jazz, blues, soul and skunk jive.

The fine print.

Open daily at 82 Collyer Quay. Bands rotate from Wednesday to Saturday, while a solo pianist will take the stage from Sunday to Tuesday.

Lulu’s Lounge

A current hotspot for jazz and burlesque.

What about it?

Characterised after a ’60s New York backstreet club, Lulu’s Lounge is everything you’d expect. Scrumptious bar grub like wagyu beef sliders and crab cakes, and strong cocktails that will take a hit on both your liver and wallet. But obviously, the music is the biggest pull here. Nights begin with live acoustics, which are later followed by a fancy burlesque show. Stay for the burlesque, or not. Once you’re happy and inebriated, proceed to Bang Bang that’s just next door.

Who’s playing?

The Aynsley Green Organ Transplant, saxophonist Kaye from Darker than Wax, and raucous folk who just want to have a good time.

The fine print.

Open four days a week at the Pan Pacific on 7 Raffles Boulevard, from Wednesdays to Saturdays.

Astor Bar

For the influential and well-heeled. Yes, that’s you.

What about it?

Named after John Jacob Astor IV, the founder of St. Regis, Astor Bar is all about an immersive atmosphere and impeccable service. The interior might be a little yesteryear, but you’ll stop caring once the music and alcohol hits. Oh, and do order the Chilli Padi Mary, a spicy twist on the famous St. Regis Bloody Mary which was invented at the King Cole Bar in New York City.

Who’s playing?

Ron Sinclair, the bar’s celebrated jazz pianist and singer. He’s there daily from 6pm to 1am.

The fine print.

Open daily at The St. Regis on 29 Tanglin Road. If you’re there from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, the bartender should clue you in on their Champagne Hour.

Grand Shanghai

A swanky gem created in tribute to old Shanghai.

What about it?

Take a trip back in time to 1940s Shanghai and feast on drunken chicken, crispy eel and Peking duck before an old Chinese band. There are few better places in Singapore to congregate for live jazz and good Chinese food.

Who’s playing?

A respectable trio or quartet belting out old Shanghainese jazz, slow blues and other Chinese numbers. Feel free to make a song request or two.

The fine print.

Open Tuesdays to Sundays at 390 Havelock Road, King’s Centre. The band plays four sets every night from 7.15pm to 10.30pm.

Blu Jaz Cafe

Somewhere a little rough around the edges but down-to-earth.

What about it?

Despite the lousy ban on shishas, Kampong Glam is still thriving, and that includes Blu Jaz. It functions as a cafe in the day, but by night, it turns into a rackety den of loud jazz, stand-up comedy and sometimes, spoken word poetry. Go to Blu Jaz if you feel like hanging out with real people and socialising over icy jugs of draft beer and plates of sambal fried rice.

Who’s playing?

The bar hosts a large variety of bands that range from Latin and New Orleans to funk. Check out the schedule here.

The fine print.

Open Mondays to Saturdays at 11 Bali Lane, Kampong Glam.

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