Its leering name alone serves notice that Clarke Quay’s latest funhouse isn’t wowing a highbrow clientele, and that’s before you’ve even ordered a ‘Duck My Sick’ (puh-lease) and ogled the pole dancers. Yes, crazy night owls, Se7en 1nch is here to drag your knuckles floorwards and rock our all-too-salubrious riverside scene into stone-age submission.
Loud, proud and priapic, it’s the brainchild of veteran scenester Keef Ong, whose passion for rock’n’roll has spawned studios and bars across Singapore since the’80s, such as the still-thriving Crazy Elephant. Half-inching the Elephant’s penchant for boozy, bluesy ribaldry, and teasing your trousers with a parade of flesh exposing femmes, Se7en 1nch’s testosterone-fuelled den of iniquity thrusts the wanton bacchanalia of Patpong right into the heart of Clarke Quay (minus the ping-pong balls, natch).
On the graffiti-strewn rear stage, Filipino house band Last Clean Shirt rips through manly rock anthems with amped-up efficiency from Monday through Saturday, while Keef himself mans the DJ booth, spinning an eardrum-busting mix of psych-rock, classic rock and metal. You can soak up the beers with cheeky bar snacks (‘Strip My Chick Down’), but it’s the cocktails that most impress: six sizzling variations on absinthe which, like the bar itself, rock an enticing blend of sweet and tart. The Red Bull-enhanced Seven Inch Bitch should induce a serious second wind, and for those with more money than sense, the tequila’n’sambuca-flavoured Flaming Suicide has invariably crackbrained consequences.
A significant departure for Singapore’s bar scene, Se7en 1nch stands tall and throbbing, an unashamedly downmarket emblem of our fast-liberalising city. The speech-slurring drinks and tinnitus-inducing megawattage will seduce pre-club hedonists; tumescent stag-night staggerers will lap up the libidinous ambience; and, hey, even couples shouldn’t necessarily abstain. After all, it’s well known that absinthe makes the heart grow fonder. Jonathan Evans