Itching for a sonic experience beyond the bedroom? What better way to appreciate the art of music at some of the city's best music stores and bars. Take some time to peruse the crates for that elusive record, sample a limited-edition Les Paul, or discover your new favourite band from the speakers. Go beyond shopping with tasty bites, innovative cocktails or specialty coffee at the in-store cafés and bars. Meet like-minded people who have their finger on the pulse for fresh sounds through music events hosted by these venues.
For avid audiophiles
An audio aficionado’s paradise, Swee Lee’s colossal Star Vista flagship store boasts a diverse range of musical instruments, accessories, DJ equipment, amps, pedals, microphones and more. Browse through aisles of keyboards and pianos, drums and percussions, guitars and basses from brands like Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, and Marshall. Gift a music maven with kitschy novelties, books, and vinyl that are available too.
After, take a break at the in-store cafe, Swee Lee Social Club. Refuel with tasty bites, coffee and ice cream from Singapore’s very own Common Man Coffee Roasters and Island Creamery.
For hypebeast vinyl collectors
Choice Cuts Goods + Coffee moonlights as a great spot for a fix of vinyl and coffee. The crate-digging haven is well stocked with enough urban gold on its shelves ranging from funk and soul to hip-hop and global sounds. Top it all off with merch of bands, artists and cult streetwear brands like Obey.
Perk up with specialty coffee blends from Latin America, organic sodas from Melbourne Soda Co., and craft beers like Red Racer, Pirate Life, and Brewdog. Happy Hour runs from 4pm to 8pm but drop by on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons where resident and guest DJs spin an eclectic selection of records. Not just for pro turntablists, customers can also host friends for an in-store listening party.
For regular themed nights
A record store by day and a bar by night, White Label Records stands out on the music lovers’ map. Thumb through a selection of 7 and 12-inch records from various eras and genres, as well as rotating hot new cuts from local and regional acts.
Soak up the music with signature tipples such as vodka-based fresh fruit mojito, and the tea-based Long Island, or handpicked single malts and gin, craft beers, boutique champagne and wines. Meet other music enthusiasts at special trivia nights and themed parties where founders Kurt and Darren showcase records from their diverse personal collections. And if you like what you hear, make a special request to have the record tracked down.
For local music and jamming sessions
Home to Singapore’s independent record label Lithe Records, this intimate music emporium also carries an eccentric streak of titles that include those by local bands under its label such as Astrid and Forests, and Japan’s Heaven In Her Arms. It’s a good start to get acquainted with local music. Keep an eye out for live in-store performances where customers can get up close and personal with some of the city’s up-and-coming acts.
Beyond music discovery and shopping, Lithe House also comes with a studio complete with instruments as well as recording and rehearsal services for those seeking to squeeze a jamming session.
For serious musicians
Embark on a sonic adventure at the AV-dominated mall that houses high-end, hi-fi equipment including speakers and turntables to specifics like phono preamps and digital-to-analogue converters.
When it comes to records, the stores here are dedicated to the heavier end of the spectrum. Serious collectors will appreciate the range of second-hand gems, rarities and limited editions of everything from 60’s jazz and 70’s pop to 80’s heavy metal found at Memory Lane, while being impressed with the extensive catalogue of jazz and classical music records as well as affordable turntables from Rega and Audio Technica at Simply Music.