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Stage Live Music and Restaurant
Photograph: Stage

The best live music venues in Singapore

At these live music venues, facing the music has a much more exhilarating meaning

By Time Out Singapore editors
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The nightscape of our city is filled with an endless array of bars, cafés, and restaurants ready to tug at your heartstrings or urge the old-school headbangin’ and foot-tapping with some live tunes. Scream your heart out to your favourite rockin' hits, or kick back with soul-enriching jazz. These are the best live music venues in Singapore that you’ll want to clear your evening schedule for – with a beer or cocktail in hand, of course.

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Rookery

Restaurants Raffles Place

Rookery has the makings of a perfect night-out: a wide variety of hearty grub, affordable drinks, and entertaining live performances. Grab a seat near the stage, and get ready to be serenaded by local pop-rock duo Sandz and Gideon as you enjoy affordable drinks and signatures like its crispy pork belly ($17) and har cheong gai wings ($16). The duo takes the stage every Thursday and Friday evening to help you unwind with a tipple in hand – the perfect way to get ready for the weekend.

Time Out Singapore in partnership with Rookery

Esplanade Theatres on the Bay

Music City Hall

When it comes to catching a live music performance, the Esplanade is a no-brainer. Make a beeline for its series of free live sets by local artists at its various venues happening daily. Soak up the stunning view of the bay at the spacious outdoor theatre or chill at the air-conditioned indoor concourse, either way, you're in for a riveting evening.

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Kult Yard
Photo: Kult Yard

Kult Yard

Bars and pubs Bukit Merah

You've probably heard the nursery rhyme that goes: Jack and Jill went up the hill to catch some live music. No? Well, there's definitely a new bar up a hill in the bustling Chinatown. New nightlife hangout, Kult Yard, has called a former police barrack at 195's Pearl's Hill Terrace home. Brought to you by the brains behind Kult Kafe, it's is a brand new cool sanctuary for musicians, design studios and makers. Find a secret flight of stairs that lead you to refreshing cocktails, aptly named Kultails, that blends local flavours like gula melaka and sambal belacan.

Stage Live Music and Restaurant
Photograph: Stage

Stage

Bars and pubs River Valley

Bring your appetite for live acoustic music to Prinsep Street where you'll find this intimate gastropub. Request for your favourite song by scanning the QR code here and submit your dedication. While the stage lights up for the band at 8pm, you can satiate your hunger with a hearty plate of mouth-watering Western grub like rib-eye steak, or the local-inspired chilli crab pizza or laksa pasta. Wash it all down with refreshing drinks including housepours that go as low as $6.

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Barber Shop
Photo: Barber Shop by Timbre

Barber Shop by Timbre

Clubs City Hall

The baby of the Timbre family swung open in 2014 with one mission in mind: to put live music front and centre. True to the group’s calling card, it’s mostly blues, classic rock, funk and other barn-storming genres that ring out at this den in The Arts House. There's also an open mic session on Thursday if you're looking to show what you've got.

Maduro

Bars and pubs Members' clubs Tanglin

Bring your appetite tipples and tunes to Dempsey's latest addition. Besides shelving a variety of scotch and whiskeys from all around the world, the cocktail bar and listening lounge also hosts two live music nights –1819 Tuesdays and Tiara Friday Club – dedicated to all your favourite classics from swingin' jazz to classical music. On May 24, 25 and 28, indulge in its opening weekend specials featuring jazz songbird Melissa Tham, jazz veteran Alemay Fernandez, acclaimed jazz pianist Tan Wei Xiang, The Steve McQueen’s former percussionist Aaron James Lee and freelance bassist Kenji Nakano.

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Le Noir

Restaurants Marina Bay

Showing no signs of slowing down, Le Noir opens its second doors at the Marina Bay Sands. This live music venue shines its spotlight on an array of local talents alongside signature bands, taking you from chill acoustic sets to hand-clapping singalongs from 6.15pm daily. Guests can also enjoy all-day and all-night dining menu including tantalising starters and sharing plates like crab cakes and salmon ceviche, delectable mains like steak tartare and handmade pizzas, and more, while soaking in the sweet sounds of live music.

Cool Cats
Photo: Raymond Toh

Cool Cats

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars City Hall

Jazz things up at Cool Cats, the NCO Club's live entertainment lounge, which sees a rotation of resident artists gracing its stage. Lay eyes on the secretive speakeasy that exudes the enigmatic charm of the prohibition era. Plus, its cocktail menu is inspired by moments in music. There are 14 tipples available that cover everything from 1800s ragtime to legendary jazz artists Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington.

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Monti

Restaurants Italian Raffles Place

Over at Fullerton Pavilion is this swanky Italian restaurant and bar that's pulsing with life by the bay. Jazz up your musical romantic escapade and let the restaurant’s resident jazz band carry you through the night from 7.30pm with soothing blues and funk as you dig into hearty plates of Italian dishes. The lineup changes monthly with regular appearances by jazz stalwarts Jeremy Monteiro and Stephan Francis.

LuLu’s Lounge

Clubs Hip hop and R&B City Hall

Inspired by the back alley clubs of New York in the 60's, LuLu's Lounge is the antithesis of the mega-club experience, with its blinding lights and deafening music. Instead, chill with LuLu's on Wednesdays, where the club opens early to entertain guests with two hours of live jazz and free canapés before the club pumps out boogie music reminiscent of the 70's.

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The Powder Room

Bars and pubs Raffles Place

Its smack-in-the-CBD location means it’s yet another watering hole for the post-work set. Apart from the other bars within distance, The Powder Room's flapper ’20s Art Deco-style interior oozes an irresistible bougie charm, giving you the richness your after-work session deserves. The atmosphere here is further elevated with live jazz bands and playful drink mixes that encourage you to loosen your tie or kick off your heels.

Astor Bar

Bars and pubs Hotel bars Orchard

If the typical bar scene isn’t your cup-of-tea, and you’d rather be somewhere with a little more class, then Astor Bar is the place for you. To complement your cocktail from the bar’s wide range of selections, soak in the captivating tunes of resident Jazz pianist-singer, Ron Sinclair, as his smooth voice replaces any worries on your mind.

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Hard Rock Cafe
Photo: William Lai

Hard Rock Café

Music Music venues Orchard

Well, its name says it all. This Orchard hideout is one of the longest-standing live music venues in the city. It's not all hard rock as well. Hard Rock Café consistently rotates a variety of genres like rock and reggae to keep its line-up fresh. It also maintains strong ties with the local music scene and champions up-and-coming artists.

 

Crazy Elephant

Bars and pubs Raffles Place

More than two decades. That’s how long this institution has been around. With its interiors reminiscent of American dive bars – graffitied walls, silly jokes on screens, wood everywhere – it shouldn’t shock you that good, old-time rock ’n’ roll rules the stage. The blues start at 10pm, when a cavalcade of cover bands with serious chops belt out your favourite Jimi Hendrix and Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes.

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Hero's

Bars and pubs Wineries Raffles Place

Try imagining one of those timeless Wild West saloons, but without the dangerous gunslingers and with good modern music instead. That's what you get at Hero’s. With its stone and brick walls decorated with longhorn skulls and saddles, this Wild West-style bar has a resident pop-and-rock band that puts on a rodeo of a time every night starting at 10pm.

Timbre@The Substation

Music Music venues City Hall

Follow the beat of the drum to this hidden nook along Armenian Street. Timbre@The Substation is one of Singapore's live music stalwarts that's stood the test of time. There's live music by local bands every Monday to Saturday where you can send your requests in via SMS – just be kind and make sure you only stick to one Justin Bieber song per session.

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Switch by Timbre

Music Music venues City Hall

Mandopop/rock doesn't get the kudos it deserves from the city's music elite, but there’s no denying the genre is the most commercially successful in Singapore. This bar and restaurant by the Timbre group pays reverence to those who can rock their Beyond (even though, yes, we know they're not Mando) and Wu Bai. Resident bands rotate every day of the week, sans Sunday, with tunes ranging from Jay Chou tearjerkers to harder numbers.  

Wala Wala Cafe and Bar
Photo: Stanley Yeo

Wala Wala Cafe & Bar

Clubs Bukit Timah

One of the best music bars in the city. On the ground floor, enjoy a cold one at the distinctive yellow-lit bar and catch the game on several flat-screen TVs. The bar upstairs hosts a variety of local acts with a focus on raucous rock music – just how we like it.

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McGettigan’s

Bars and pubs Raffles Place

As well as being purveyors of Guinness, Magner's, Gaelic football and other sporting ventures, this Irish mainstay also hosts amazing live music sessions every Wednesday to Sunday with some with cracking covers getting everyone singing along making for one of the best atmospheres in town.

Going Om

Bars and pubs Rochor

Inspired by the Himalayan mountains, this sanctuary takes finding your zen to the next level, easing the body and mind after a long day at work. Kickback and relax with a bucket of beer while listening to the soothing tunes of both international and local talent starting from 9pm. Performers include Fairuz, The Lost Hat, The Jukuleles and many more.

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Bob's Bar

Bars and pubs Hotel bars Sentosa

Mojitos, Cubanos, Latin music – and even sweet, sweet jazz – you’ll get them all in spades at Bob’s Bar. Besides rum-based cocktails and a menu of bar bites that range from the familiar (wagyu beef sliders, anyone?) to the mildly exotic (Ensalada Serrana), the joint gets a shot of Cuban charm thanks to its live house band that takes the stage over the weekend. Oh, and an alfresco terrace means you can sip on your sundown cocktails in style.

Señor Taco

Restaurants Mexican Raffles Place

For an authentic taste of Mexico, look no further than this taqueria. Besides serving comfort food like tacos, quesadillas, botanas and specialties from the different regions of Mexico, it also serves up live Latin tunes. Grab a margarita and dance to groovy melodies of salsa (both kinds), rumba, mambo, bolero, and cumbia, as well as the traditional sounds of a mariachi band.

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Cuba Libre Cafe & Bar

Music Latin and world Raffles Place

Dance all night long at Cuba Libre – there's a spacious dancefloor where you can show off your moves and you won't be the only one. On different nights, the live band belts out salsa, bachata and other Latin Amercian dance numbers you can't help but groove to. The drinks are decent too, making this a must-visit bar on the Clarke Quay stretch.

Acid Bar

Bars and pubs Central

If you like late-night live music performances, you can join the hordes of people packing this place. Practically bursting at the seams on weekends, you’ll be hard-pressed to even find a decent spot to stand in. But if you can manage the discomfort of feeling like a sardine in a can, start filling yourself up with some of the brews and you’ll be partaking in the rowdiness in no time.

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The Mad Men Attic Bar

Bars and pubs Pubs Raffles Place

Music, drinks, food, and an ambience like no other all under one roof, well actually… all under no roof. At this balcony bar – covered with street art for that fun modern-industrial look – spits out a range of musical genres from R&B to pop-rock from a selection of artists, bands and DJs. To accompany these tunes: beer, illuminated skyscrapers and the star-filled sky.

Shuffle Bistro Bar

Restaurants Singaporean Raffles Place

This second-storey, 150-seater acoustic music venue is another notch in Clark Quay's formidable live music belt. While many on the list stick with more western music genres, Shuffle often features quality Mando-pop acts, which is a nice change of pace.

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scape
Photo: *Scape

*SCAPE

Shopping Shopping centres Orchard

More than just a lifestyle hub for Singapore's youths, *Scape also makes an ace spot for budding musicians to hone their skills and flex their chops. Graduates of the *Scape's music programmes include indie darling Linying and our March cover star YAØ have performed at the Orchard hotspot. For a taste of the local music scene, check out *SCAPE Indie Series: Crossroads Vol. 1 on May 25.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Attractions Parks and gardens Tanglin

Grab a picnic basket and head to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage hosts a myriad of free music performances, including the NParks Concert Series in the Park, Garden Sounds and Music Day Out. The Symphony Lake also makes an ace spot for an evening of classical music, acapella shows, intimate acoustics and throwback tunes. Remember to BYOB (bring your own blanket) – because grass stains are a no-no.

Get in the groove

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