Live music in Singapore is not something that the city state is famous for. That said, if you look hard enough, there are a handful of live music bars that are well worth a visit. Sometimes you’ll stumble across a venue on a night out that has a live band playing or acoustic singer, but there’s no guaranteeing the quality of the act or whether it’s to your taste or not. However, with these 5 picks from our Singapore Experts, you’re sure to be in for a great night with some of the best jazz, blues, rock, pop and even Latin music around town.
Read on to discover our 5 Best Live Music Bars in Singapore!
The Crazy Elephant
With its almost legendary-like status, The Crazy Elephant is the go-to for both rock fans as well as the passing crowds at Clarke Quay who are enticed in by the great live music here every night. The Crazy Elephant stands out from the rest of the area’s more polished joints with its scruffy graffiti-lined walls and no-frills furnishings, letting the music take centre stage rather than anything else. The alternating bands start at around 22:00 every night and you can expect rock music with every sub-genre under that. Drinks are reasonably priced too; at just over S$10 for a beer, this is one of the cheapest spots to drink at in Clarke Quay, as well as probably being the best live music bar in Singapore.
What you’ll hear: Rock Open: 17:00-03:00 Address: 3E River Valley Road, Clarke Quay Tel: +65 (0) 6337 7859
Blu Jaz Cafe
Bursting with bright colours and personality, it’s hard to miss Blu Jaz Cafe, which is located just a short walk from Bugis MRT on Bali Lane. The pleasant outside garden area is a popular spot for people watching, but inside is where the real action happens, with two different live music stages over the three floors. As the name suggests, the emphasis of the music is firmly on the jazz, but you can expect a mix of blues, soul, soft rock and a live DJ depending on the night. They have an ever-changing calendar showing their events on their website or give them a call on the number provided below.
What you’ll hear: Jazz, Blues, Live DJ Open: 12:00-01:00 (later on weekends) Address: 11 Bali Lane Tel: +65 (0)6292 3800
Hood Bar & Cafe
Live music bars in Singapore come in all shapes and sizes; Hood Bar & Cafe comes in the middle of a mall (Bugis+) and hosts some of the best local musical talent who play a range of indie, acoustic, jazz and soft rock. Decked out in lots of colourful artwork, you can have a look around at a few interesting pieces hanging from the walls and explore the funky main central bar area too, which is designed with a typical Chinese temple theme complete with a traditional red roof and Chinese engravings. The place is pretty big for a ‘cafe’ but it can get quite full on the weekends – so arrive early for the best seats before the bands start.
What you’ll hear: Indie, acoustic, jazz, soft rock, covers Open: Mon-Tue 17:00-01:00, Wed-Fri 17:00-03:00, Sat 12:00-03:00, Sun 12:00-01:00 Address: Inside Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street #05-07 Tel: +65 6221 8846
Cuba Libre Cafe & Bar
Singaporeans and expats might be a little too quick to dismiss Cuba Libre as just another tourist bar at Clarke Quay, but when it comes to live music and feel-good vibes, this lively bar wins top marks in our book. Yes, you won’t find too many locals here, but that’s all but irrelevant with cosy venue jumping every night (apart from Sunday) with their excellent house bands who play Cuban hits and some particularly fun Latino infused covers of pop songs. The dancing starts at around 22:00 and don’t forget to try one of the signature Mojitos – highly recommended despite the $S24 price. Come between 18:00-21:00 and ask them about their promos for discount drink offers.
What you’ll hear: Latin hits and covers Open: Daily 18:00-02:00/03:00 (no live music on Sunday) Address: #01-13 Blk. B Clarke Quay, 3 River Valley Rd., Singapore Tel: +65 (0) 6338 8982
Taking over from the famous Sultan Jazz Club at the same premises, this swanky little venue takes its music seriously, with a whole host of local and international acts taking to their intimate stage five days a week. Unlike other live music bars in Singapore, the acts here rarely diverge away from the jazz genre – although they do run the occasional DJ night with funk, soul and house music. The drinks list isn’t too extensive, further giving all the limelight to the bands, although you can take your pick from a small selection of wines, beers and spirits, with the drink of choice being whiskey to go hand-in-hand with the rather refined atmosphere. You can find this live music bar right in the centre of Kampong Glam, Singapore’s Arab quarter.
What you’ll hear: Jazz Open: Weds-Sun 21:00-02:00 Address: 2/F The Sultan, 101 Jalan Sultan Singapore Tel: +66 (0) 8139 9059