Bugis is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world

Niki Bruce
·Contributor
·6-min read
Haji Lane in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Haji Lane in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

We all love different parts of Singapore for different reasons, and we have our own ideas about which neighbourhoods are the coolest, but one international survey has decided that Bugis is now the coolest neighbourhood in Singapore.

According to the annual Time Out index survey for 2020, Bugis in Singapore was nominated the 29th coolest neighbourhood in the world. Over 38,000 took part and ranked various neighbourhoods around the world into a top 40 list with Esquerra de l’Eixample in Barcelona coming in at number one.

So, what makes Bugis the coolest neighbourhood on our island? The Time Out team listed places like Good Luck Beer House, Gelam Gallery, and Atlas, while lauding the district’s “kampung spirit”. As for some of the coolest people in Singapore, they agree that there is lots to love about Bugis, even agreeing that Atlas is one of the top spots.

Read on to discover why Bugis is the coolest neighbourhood in Singapore

The area around Bugis Street has always been on the edgier side of life; before WWII it was the spot for exotic ‘ladies of the night’, and the first home of Singapore’s vibrant trans community - check out the iconic film Bugis Street (1995).

FOOD & DRINK

Here’s a list of some of the coolest places to eat and drink in Bugis.

25 Degrees Burger

200 Middle Road, Hotel G

A burger, wine and liquor bar based on its LA originator inside hipster Hotel G.

Albert Centre Market & Food Centre

Queen Street #01-81

Home to fabulous hawker food plus great wholesale dry goods and provision stores upstairs.

Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall

12 Haji Lane

Hip mix of fresh Asian flavoured cocktails and classic hawker-style food.

Arabica

56 Arab Street

While there are a few outlets around Singapore, the coffee outlet on Arab Street is probably the favourite with its hip location.

Artichoke

161 Middle Road

A perennial favourite for genuine Middle East food and ambience in a retro-hip interior.

Asanoya Boulangerie

15 Queen Street, #01-03

A Japanese brand, this cafe was founded in 1933 in Tokyo and continues its reign in the world of classic and traditional breads, cakes and more.

Atlas Bar

600 North Bridge Road, Parkview Square

Glamorous and golden, Atlas Bar is best known for its stunning Art Deco interior making it worth a visit just for what it looks like, but the afternoon tea and cocktails make it worth staying.

Beast Bourbon Bar

17 Jalan Klapa

American southern comfort food like cornbread and pimento cheese in a hip interior.

Blanco Court Prawn Noodle

243 Beach Road

Considered to be one of the best places to enjoy prawn noodles in Singapore.

Cicheti

52 Kandahar Street

Unique small plates of Italian delicacies based on traditional Venetian bàcaris with a rustic-chic vibe.

Cô Hai Bánh mì

359 Beach Road

Considered some of the most authentic Vietnamese food available in Singapore.

Ginette

200 Middle Road, inside Hotel G

Another perennial favourite for its fine French food and casual bistro vibe.

Hjh Maimunah Restaurant

11 Jalan Pisang

Beloved for yummy and authentic nasi padang dishes.

Kampong Glam Cafe

17 Bussorah Street

An established spot for classic Singapore and Malaysian dishes in a comfy, casual space.

Maison Ikkoku

20 Kandahar Street

This award-winning bespoke cocktail bar remains a firm favourite for drinks and modern Japanese cuisine.

Merely Ice Cream

91 Bencoolen Street #01-13 Sunshine Plaza, Opposite NAFA Campus

Home to delicious small-batch ice cream that’s made fresh on the daily.

Mother Dough Bakery

749 North Bridge Road

Super popular, this artisanal bakery cum gallery was recommended by so many people, that it has to be on the list.

Mr. Stork at Andaz

5 Fraser Street, Level 39, Andaz Hotel

Probably more popular for its hip rooftop location and ‘private’ cabanas as it is for its food and drinks. Reservations in advance needed.

Prince Coffee House

249 Beach Rd, #01-249, 4-min walk from the Masjid Sultan

This is a traditional old school Hainanese cafe, and another perennial favourite spot for its retro Chinese Western food.

So France

7 Fraser Street Duo Galleria #01-51/56

Fab French food in a typical French brasserie interior, plus lots of lovely French provisions.

Symmetry

9 Jalan Kubor, #01-01

Popular for French-style sharing plates and weekend brunch.

The Masses

85 Beach Road

Popular for its mix of French and Asian cuisines, as well as its mission to make ‘happy people’.

Tom's Palette

51 Middle Road

Hand-crafted ice cream and gelato with unique and traditional flavours, plus you can also take an ice cream making class.

Wildfire Chicken & Burgers

80 Bencoolen Street, #01-15, located at NAFA

Multiply award-winning burgers - including the winner of Asia's Best Burger - in a fun environment.

Yat Ka Yan

190 Middle Road, #02-08 Fortune Centre

A classic spot for traditional Cantonese homemade desserts and snacks.

SHOPPING & CULTURE

It might seem like there’s just food and drink in the Bugis neighbourhood, but there are also lots of great shopping spots as well as places to get your cultural fix.

Basheer Graphic Books

231 Bain Street

A cult favourite specialised bookstore for design books and magazines related to architecture, interior design, art, graphic art and more.

Coda Culture

76-74 Aliwal Street

Home to every kind of feather, glitter, mirrored and stone fashion trimming you could ever want.

Goodluck Bunch

26 Bali Lane, 2-min walk from the Masjid Sultan

Offers a wide range of hip streetwear brands from around Asia and the world.

Grammah

66 Haji Lane

Cute and cosy vintage fashion store with a wide range of fashionable bits and pieces.

Hajjah Fatimah Mosque

4001 Beach Road

Established in 1846, this mosque is a unique architectural mix of Islamic and European styles.

Kuan Yin Thong Hood Cho Temple

178 Waterloo Street

An important temple for Kuan Yin, it’s believed that whatever you wish for within the walls of the temple comes true.

Our Lady Of Lourdes Church

50 Ophir Road

A fabulous old building, there’s a lovely chill-out spot by the canal where you can even see underwater fauna when the water is clear.

Retro Gate

5001 Beach Road, #04-16 Golden Mile Complex

A hip, huge space for some of the best streetwear and vintage clothing choices in Singapore.

Scene Shang

263 Beach Road

Hot spot for furniture, homewares and fashion with a stylish Asian twist.

Supermama

265 Beach Road

One of the coolest Singapore retro stores that stock a wide range of handmade, locally made homewares and souvenirs.

The Good Old Days

CSL/D4, Bugis Village Level 2

Not to be confused with a cafe of the same name, this vintage fashion store is home to an eclectic mix of retro and traditional clothes and accessories.

The Projector

6001 Beach Rd, #05-00 Golden Mile Tower

An uber-hip, retro movie theatre that features indie and foreign films, live music on the weekends, craft beer and snacks.

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