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Intermission Bar
Photograph: Matin Latif/The ProjectorIntermission Bar

The best LGBTQ+-friendly places in Singapore

Connect with the LGBTQ+ community beyond the usual gay bars

Cam Khalid
Cheryl Sekkappan
Written by
Cam Khalid
&
Cheryl Sekkappan
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The area between Tanjong Pagar and Outram Park is not exactly known as a “gaybourhood” per se, but there’s no denying that everyone under the rainbow gravitates towards Neil Road for popular gay bars such as Tantric Bar & May Wong’s Café, Out Bar, and the now-defunct Taboo Club. It’s one of the few places where you can paint the town rainbow without anyone judging you.

But as the local LGBTQ+ community, as well as its allies, are raising their voices to promote a more inclusive Singapore, more places are embracing the camaraderie with open arms. After all, love is a human right. From an independent cinema and bookstore to everyone’s favourite brunch spot, here are the best LGBTQ+-friendly places in Singapore – beyond the gay bars.

RECOMMENDED: How the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore is staying connected and the best gay bars in Singapore

  • Things to do
  • Literary events
  • Queenstown

Singapore's first and only LGBTQ resource centre and library, Pelangi Pride Centre offers a neutral and friendly space for you to explore your sexuality. Head down to its resource library within the Free Community Church to suss out books devoted to LGBTQ+ issues and HIV education, and attend regular talks, screenings and other group activities to get involved with the local queer community.

  • Cinemas
  • Independent
  • Kallang

The coolest independent cinema in town is also proudly queer-friendly. Occupying the site of the historic Golden Theatre, this refurbished cinema runs an eclectic selection of indie, arthouse and mainstream films. Alongside regular programming is the annual Pink Screen which showcases the struggles and victories of LGBTQ+ communities all over the world through film. On-site is Intermission Bar, which also plays host queer-friendly events and drag parties such as RIOT!, a show hosted by our local queen Becca D’Bus.

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  • Film
  • Rochor

Swing by this filmmaking and photography hub to further your knowledge in either craft – or just to check out some really cool art. Established in 2003, Objectifs organises regular photography exhibitions, films screenings, talks as well as courses and workshops. The visual arts centre champions diversity and inclusion, exemplified by dynamic programming that embraces LGBTQ+ and other minority communities. 

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Tanjong Pagar

This venue is currently open for takeaway and delivery only.

From the Home of The Blue Spin group – you know, the fab folks behind the famous gay bars Tantric, Backstage Bar and May Wong’s Cafe – comes a pizzeria that dishes tasty slices till late (currently open for takeaway and delivery only). Expect nothing but the freshest 12-inch pizza as the baked Italian dish is all handmade with love on the spot. Toppings include the classic Margherita, pepperoni, and Hawaiian as well as local flavours like the popular sambal seafood, tom yum seafood, and otah. The pizzeria also comes with a garden-inspired setting for a relaxing, comfy dine-in experience.

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PS Café
  • Clubs
  • Tanjong Pagar

This venue is currently open for takeaway and delivery only.

Got some tea to spill? Share the hot goss at one of the many PS Cafes on the island – the one in Ann Siang Hill is particularly popular among the LGBTQ+ community. Not many people are aware of this but the café was actually a spinoff of Project Shop Blood Brothers, a menswear shop frequented by gay men. The first café opened its doors within the shop’s Paragon outlet, and soon after the company traded fashion for food. Today, PS Café is synonymous with brunch (and sticky date pudding!), and often hosts various networking nights for the LGTBQ+ community.

What started with a support group that met regularly in a member’s living room has grown to become one of Singapore’s most established non-profit LGBTQ+ organisations. It’s known for its counselling services via hotline, WhatsApp or face-to-face sessions, allowing LGBTQ+ individuals to talk and share without worrying about being judged or rejected and helping them get through the difficulties they face. 

“When counselling clients coming to our office in Chinatown for the first time and see the décor (colours, rainbow flags), they tell us that they find it a safe and queer-affirming space to share their issues with us,” shares executive director Leow Yangfa in our Pride Month 2020 feature.

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  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Outram

This LGBTQ+-friendly independent Chinese bookstore dates back to 1995. Starting out across the National Library, it eventually settled at a quaint space on Bukit Pasoh Road. Grassroots Book Room aims to stimulate Chinese reading among Singaporeans, carrying an impressive collection that covers Chinese history, politics, literature, philosophy, film and drama. It also offers a wide range of local and international titles across fiction and non-fiction.

  • Art
  • Kallang

This venue is temporarily closed.

The first thing you’ll notice when you enter soft/WALL/studs is its library room, which has a warm, inviting vibe to it. Books covering visual art, writing, anthropology, history, design, politics, farming, film, and more can be seen lining the walls and shelves. The cosy space makes for a welcoming, quiet reading spot, as well as a place to be one with your thoughts and reflect. It’s also great for camaraderie as Soft/Wall/Studs brings different artists together including writers, filmmakers, art workers, and researchers through exhibitions, events, workshops, game-making, and more.

Online

Despite closing its physical doors last year, business is as usual for BooksActually on its online store. The team has been diligently keeping up with orders so you can get your books delivered to your doorstep promptly. Besides its wide variety of titles, the bookstore is known for the largest collection of local literary publications including some out-of-print ones. It’s also one of the best places to find books about the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+ experience in Singapore by local authors. Here are some books to check out.

The brains behind the most colourful trivia nights in Singapore, Prout is a community-based app that builds safer spaces to help connect and champion a healthier LGBTQ+ community. It has also hosted various events such as Meet Your Next: Housemate with 99.co, which highlights the clear housing issue for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as its signature Queer Trivia Night, which is hosted by “Singapore's TOP everything” Preetipls. Not just for the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore, Prout has also gone regional by launching Qurrent, Asia’s first LGBTQ+ News Telegram channel that delivers weekly updates directly to users.

Pride Month

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