From dawn till dusk, the neighbourhood of Keong Saik is a place where the traditional and the modern fuse seamlessly together.
Originally named after Chinese businessman Tan Keong Saik, this creative enclave is a bustling hub for local artists, discerning gourmands and lifestyle enthusiasts alike.
Its conserved shophouses— some of which date back almost a century to the 1920s— stand in stark contrast to the backdrop of the Central Business District’s skyscrapers.
Many of these shophouses are now homes to a trove of world-class restaurants, hip bars and bustling creative hubs, making the neighbourhood a great place for a bout of urban exploration.
Whether you’re a morning lark or a night owl, Keong Saik’s eateries, bars and gathering places are certain to pique your interest. Here’s our guide of the neighbourhood, encompassing activities and places of interest for all hours of the day.
The Working Capitol
More than just a neighbourhood filled with heritage, Keong Saik is a home to hip bar, businesses and eateries. To soak in the buzzing atmosphere and supercharge your lunch conversations with creative energy, drop by Shake Shack.
Located just across the road in a 1920s heritage building owned by The Working Capitol, this world-famous fast food chain serves up a range of mouth-watering American comfort food. Chow down on their signature burgers, and remember to leave some space for their sinfully delicious frozen custards.
Fun fact: The exclusive Eye of the Tiger frozen custard is a tribute to the heritage of the building, which used to house the original Tiger Balm factory. This traditional ointment has been used to alleviate aches and pains for over a century, and is used by celebrities and athletes across the globe, from Lady Gaga to former NBA superstar Jeremy Lin.
Shake Shack at The Working Capitol. 89 Neil Road #01-1, Singapore 088849.
Ripple Root Wall Mural
Once you’ve grabbed some grub, you’ll want to venture outside the building and hunt for the mural painted along its walls for a perfect OOTD opportunity. This whimsical piece of street art was created by RIPPLE ROOT, a dynamic local art duo whose works are inspired by nature and wildlife.
The Working Capitol mural by RIPPLE ROOT. 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109.
Keong Saik Bakery
If old school eats are your thing, you need to pay a visit to Keong Saik Bakery, an establishment that fuses old-world charm with modern baking techniques. Grab a seat indoors, admire the delightfully kitschy retro interior, and partake in a selection of sweet treats and locally-inspired creations.
We recommend sampling the bakery’s Chendol Delight, a cake that fuses traditional chendol (local iced dessert) ingredients with rich coconut custard.
Keong Saik Bakery. 41 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089146. +65 6909 3199.
Heart of Darkness
It’s never too early in the day for a tipple or two. If you’re looking for an ice-cold beer and delectable comfort food to fuel your midday exploration of Keong Saik, Heart of Darkness makes the perfect pitstop.
Dig into dishes like the Darkness Gyoza—dumplings stuffed with beef, kimchi and vermicelli— or nachos loaded with chilli, cheese, guacamole and sour cream. If you’re feeling peckish, you’ll want to top for their signature burger, topped with rendang (coconut beef stew)-inspired sauce.
This gastrobar also boasts a whole range of award-winning craft beers on tap, from Indian Pale Ale to Stout.
Heart of Darkness. 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109. +65 6208 7940
Singapore is home to a constellation of world-class restaurants, and the neighbourhood of Keong Saik is no exception.
Located in the heart of the Bukit Pasoh conservation area, Meta is a Michelin-starred restaurant that pays homage to both East and West with its fusion dishes.
Chef Sun Kim’s inspired menu combines Korean flavours with Japanese cooking techniques and ingredients sourced from Australia. Culinary creations here include lobster in a traditional seafood stew and Korean porridge with abalone and lilybulb.
Meta. 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109. +65 6513 0898.
Potato Head Singapore
A multi-concept F&B and lifestyle establishment housed within a heritage building, Potato Head Singapore is a club, a bar and a restaurant all in one.
As you explore the four floors of the venue, you’ll be greeted by the whimsical art of David Bromley, marking a night that you won’t forget in a hurry.
American comfort food lovers hankering for a bite can enjoy the gourmet burgers at Three Buns, a hip burger joint that also doubles up as a space that supports creatives through collaborations and apparel launches.
If cocktails, great music and buzzing nightlife are what you crave, venture up to Potato Head’s third floor and rooftop. The former houses Studio 1939, an elegant speakeasy with a vast collection of fine spirits, while the latter is a space holding a tiki-themed rooftop bar, playing a range of genres from funk to soul.
Get acquainted with the regulars and bust out some dance moves— the party’s just getting started.
Potato Head Singapore. 36 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089143. +65 6327 1939.
Classic cocktail connoisseur? You’ll want to befriend fellow lovers of mixology at Gibson. Located along Bukit Pasoh Road, this intimate award-winning cocktail bar has won numerous accolades, including a number 22 showing at the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018.
The bar has recently updated its menu to include 17 new, Asian-inspired cocktails across three distinct menus: Classic, Southeast Asia and Japan-inspired. The low-key ambience and conversation-starting cocktails here make this a great venue to meet fellow night owls and appreciators of fine drinks.
Gibson. 20 Bukit Pasoh Road Level 2, Singapore 089834. +65 9114 8385.
Artisanal alcohol and fantastic flavours come together in an unforgettable experience for your tastebuds at The Guild.
The brainchild of Young Master—an independent brewery with a host of accolades to its name— this taproom serves up an intoxicating blend of natural wines, delightful cocktails and artisanal beer on tap.
Sample a vast selection of Young Master brewery’s ales and pilsners or quench your thirst with traditional cocktails like the Bourbon Highball or the Guildhouse Gin & Tonic. The food menu here is equally inspired, with chef Alton Huang adding his own unique spin to comfort food like crispy chicken and calamari.
The Guild. 55 Keong Saik Road. Singapore 089158. +65 9042 3900
If you’ve fallen in love with Keong Saik and would like to fully immerse yourself in the neighbourhood’s charms, you should consider a stay at Hotel 1929. This boutique hotel gets its name from the five conservation shophouses that make up the current building, and boasts 32 individually-designed rooms that take inspiration from Singaporean heritage.
Guests will have opportunities aplenty to make new friends at this establishment: The hotel encourages mingling in its kitchenette area—where guests are welcome to cook their own meals—while the patio makes a great space to relax and grab a quick breakfast.
Hotel 1929. 50 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089154. +65 6226 8929.