Photos featured may have been taken before COVID-19.
Visit Singapore’s Chinatown in the daytime, and you’ll be enchanted by its beautiful temples, rich heritage and cultural landmarks. Drop by in the evening though, and you’ll see it transformed into a buzzing nightlife district, home to award-winning bars, speakeasies and hot supper spots.
Whether you’re looking to chat with a bartender over a tipple or take your taste buds on an adventure, this guide will help you navigate this enchanting district. Round off your exploration by discovering Chinatown’s many food options after dark.
Maxwell Food Centre
Singapore’s reputation as a food paradise is on full display at the ever-popular Maxwell Food Centre. With over 100 stalls to pick from, this is one of the best spots on the island to broaden your horizons, and discover the sheer variety of Singaporean hawker food.
Venture beyond the Michelin Bib-Gourmand certified Tian Tian Chicken Rice and explore the varied dishes available here. Popular options include Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim Sum’s guo tie (fried dumplings), and Fu Shun Shao La Mian Jia’s medley of roasted meat dishes.
Tian Tian Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre. 1 Kadayanallur Street #01-10/11, Singapore 069184. +65 9691 4852.
Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim Sum at Maxwell Food Centre. 1 Kadayanallur Street #01-92, Singapore 069184. +65 9662 3501.
Tue, Thu-Sun 11.30am-8.30pm.
Fu Shun Shao La Mian Jia at Maxwell Food Centre. 1 Kadayanallur Street #01-71, Singapore 069184.
Chinatown Complex Food Centre
While you won’t be able to sample all the offerings at the 200 stalls housed within Chinatown Complex Food Centre, you’ll certainly be spoilt for choice. Singapore’s largest hawker centre is often packed with hungry locals, so we recommend visiting early to avoid long queues.
If you’re feeling peckish, opt for a pre-drinks snack at Ann Chin Popiah and Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao. The latter is famous for its juicy xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and spicy Szechuan wantons (Chinese dumplings). Hungrier diners should consider stick-to-your-rib classics from Lian He Ben Ji Claypot Rice or Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck.
Ann Chin Popiah at Chinatown Complex Food Centre. 335 Smith Street #02-112, Singapore 050335. +65 8189 4699.
Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao at Chinatown Complex Food Centre. 335 Smith Street #02-135, Singapore 050335. +65 9743 5287.
Wed-Sun 11.30am-3pm, 5-8.30pm.
Lian He Ben Ji Claypot Rice at Chinatown Complex Food Centre. 335 Smith Street #02-198/199, Singapore 050335. +65 6227 2470.
Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun 4-9pm.
Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck at Chinatown Complex Food Centre. 335 Smith Street #02-156, Singapore 050335. +65 9018 9052.
Tue-Thu, Sat & Sun 10am-6pm.
For tipples and stellar spirits
With elegant wood interiors, quiet jazz music and a meticulously-curated selection of spirits, D.Bespoke is the ideal oasis for the discerning connoisseur. This elegant establishment has been around for 25 years, and has clinched a spot on the Asia’s Best Bars list since 2017. The bar’s trove of alcohol—which includes a rare collection of Japanese whiskies—will give even aficionados an education on the nuances of world-class spirits.
D.Bespoke. 2 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089816. +65 8141 5741.
A regular fixture on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list—with rankings from 2016-2019—Gibson boasts stellar cocktails in an unpretentious environment. Be sure to sample their namesake concoction, made with Roku Gin and homemade Ginjyo sake-vermouth.
If you’re looking to grab a meal before partaking in drinks, Humpback—a lively restaurant located just below the bar—specialises in oysters and other fresh seafood, with dishes like scallop ceviche and grilled octopus.
Gibson. 20 Bukit Pasoh Road Level 2, Singapore 089834. +65 9114 8385.
Mon, Wed & Thu, Sun 6pm-12am; Fri & Sat 6pm-2am.
Humpback. 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089834. +65 9772 9896.
Mon, Wed-Fri 5-11pm; Sat noon-11pm; Sun noon-9pm.
Chef-owner Ryan Clift’s Tippling Club is a regular haunt for both travellers and locals looking to take their tastebuds on an adventure.
Spanning three shophouses along Tanjong Pagar Road, this classy restaurant-bar boasts an ever-evolving menu of cocktails, from concoctions referencing artists like Basquiat to creations like Full Fathom, made with pepper, vodka, eucalyptus and walnut.
Tippling Club. 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088461. +65 6475 2217.
Mon, Thu-Sat noon-12am.
Junior The Pocket Bar
Forget about Old Fashioned cocktails. Instead, embark on a globe-spanning education into the world of liquors, by award-winning (and irrepressibly enthusiastic) mixologist Peter Chua.
This hidden watering hole distinguishes itself with fresh themes and featured spirits every few months. Learn about the intricate tastes of agave and absinthe, venture into the tropical escapism of Tiki bars, and let the bartenders here regale you with tales of Prohibition-era New Orleans.
Junior The Pocket Bar. 6 Ann Siang Hill Road, Singapore 069787. +65 8121 1462.
Looking for a tipple that doubles up as a conversation starter? Head over to Native. This award-winning bar champions all things Asian, with produce foraged from Singapore and alcohol sourced from across the region.
To savour a drink that draws inspiration from the tastes of nonya* cuisine, we suggest sampling the Peranakan cocktail, made with Jackfruit rum, laksa leaves, candlenut and gula melaka (palm sugar). Other drinks on offer—like their Pineapple Arrack—are certain to enrich your imagination.
*Nonya cuisine is also known as Peranakan (meaning "local born") cuisine. The cuisine comes from people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.
Native. 52A Amoy Street, Singapore 069878. +65 8869 6520.
For night owls with supper cravings
Kko Kko Nara
If you think that only colonels know how to make great fried chicken, you should pop by Kko Kko Nara along Tanjong Pagar Road. This unpretentious eatery serves up crispy Korean-styled fried chicken, and is a great option for large groups.
The restaurant opens until 1am, so rest assured that you’ll have ample time to make merry before sating your appetite.
Kko Kko Nara. 68 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088489. +65 6224 8186.
Chinatown’s culinary delights aren’t just for night owls. Click here for a guide to this heritage district’s range of delectable food offerings.