Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In the heart of Singapore's nightlife hub

Singapore: I was in Singapore on May Day, which, in this part of the world too, the countries observe as a holiday with most shops and establishments closed.
On the eve of May Day, after arriving from Bintan, I went to Clarke Quay Square which is Singapore's river front district and is commonly known as CQ.
I went there to explore another Indian restaurant called RAS Essence of India. This restaurant is located after crossing the CQ Square on the left before crossing the river bridge. As it is located in CQ Square it serves dinner till late night. That is, the last order is taken at 11:30 pm. I reached at 11:30 pm sharp, in the nick of time to place my order moments before the machines stopped closed for the day.
The restaurant was very basic and the food was OK. However, the service and the attitude of the staff left a lot of room for improvement. What surprised me was the fact that this restaurant, located in one of the most happening and expensive areas of Singapore, manages to carry on with its less-than-average service. Probably because being the only Indian restaurant in this prime location has helped it prosper.
It took me about 30 minutes to cross the Square from the taxi stand to reach this restaurant - a feat which I could have accomplished in a five-minute walk. The reason is that CQ is the hub of Singapore's night life and is usually choc-a-bloc. Thanks to May Day being a holiday the next day, the Square had no space to even stand at ease or walk freely.
I had never been to this Square before but the crowds, the restaurants and the whole feel of the place clearly passed on the message that this was the most happening night life in a Square. I would place it is above the Times Square in New York, Piccadily or Leicester Square in London, the Central Station of Amsterdam or the Main Square of Prague. I have visited all these places several times and on holidays as well but have never witnessed such a night life crowd in any other square anywhere.
I had no idea that the young Singaporeans are so fun loving. By the time I came out of RAS the crowd has actually swelled up even more. So, instead of going back to the taxi stand, I took the river bridge to cross over. There were youths with beer bottles in hand against the wall on either side. I took a cab from the 7/11 store bang opposite.
A new crop of nightclubs and food & beverage joints have come up in Clarke Quay to invigorate the nightlife and draw young crowds. No doubt the CQ architecture, by architect firm Aslop's, is one that gels well with the concept of what a vibrant streetscape should be. It has been transformed into a pleasant climate-moderated environment of landscaped arcades which protect visitors against the extremes of the Singaporean climate and maintain the temperature at 28 degree Celsius, covering the four internal streets and central courtyard.
The whole ambiance with elegant canopies providing environmentally friendly shading and cooling, belly dancers, street shops, bar lounges, music bands in different restaurants, outdoor cafes and a series of Chinese, Italian, Persian, Lebanese, Koreans and Japanese restaurants and hookah bars add to the spirit of the night life. Singapore is among the safest countries in the world and is relatively crime free. So mentally you are at peace.
ess bee

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