This just in: the glorious, colourful Bugis is officially the coolest 'hood in Singapore – and 29th in the world. The list, which was compiled with the help of Time Out editors and experts, ranks 40 of the planet’s cultural and culinary hotspots in 2020.
Every year, we quiz 38,000-plus of city-dwellers in our annual Time Out Index Survey, telling us which bits of their city they loved. Everybody has their favourite part of the city, and deciding on a winner wasn't easy. But based on a shortlist of thousands of responses, Bugis has been crowned the best neighbourhood in the city. What was once a port for pirates and quarters for prostitution has transformed exponentially into a classy (and artsy) precinct with new developments like Andaz, the National Design Centre and the modern National Library branch.
This year, the coolest neighbourhoods are still the ones with a fascinating mixture of people, innovative and inclusive food, drink, arts and culture, and that hard-to-define buzz that draws people from across the globe. But in 2020, more than ever, we've called the shots on the areas where people, community and businesses have helped each other through shared tribulations: places that represent the soul of the city.
Bugis' 'kampung spirit' shone during Singapore's 'circuit breaker' period, thanks to local businesses like Good Luck Beerhouse. The craft beerhouse has been lending a helping hand to fellow food and beverage businesses on the street such as Bergs Gourmet Burgers and heritage hawker Blanco Court Prawn Mee, along with other F&B businesses. The artsy enclave also bowled over locals and editors with ridiculously cool venues like the kaleidoscopic back alleys that make up Gelam Gallery, independent art space Coda Culture, retro cinema The Projector and laidback watering hole Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall, to name a few.
It's places like Bugis that prove Singapore is about far more than skyscrapers – catapulting it to number 29 on our list of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world. It joins a handful of uber-cool neighbourhoods around the globe like Downtown L.A, Yarraville in Melbourne, Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong – with Esquerra de l’Eixample in Barcelona coming on top.
Kudos, Bugis! You've done Singapore proud.
Share your favourite Singapore neighbourhoods and local spots with us via the #LoveLocal hashtag – and follow Time Out’s Love Local campaign as we celebrate and support the independent food, drink and culture venues that make our cities great.
Check out the other 39 areas that made our 2020 list of the 40 coolest neighbourhoods in the world.