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Rails
Photograph: Rails

Notable Singapore restaurants, cafés and bars that have permanently closed

Bid goodbye to these places that won’t be making a return

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Written by
Fabian Loo
Contributor
Cheryl Sekkappan
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It's been a tough year for the food and beverage (F&B) industry in Singapore – particularly so for some establishments. Many had to quickly pivot to serve a takeaway-only crowd during the 'circuit breaker', along with rental concerns, cash flow issues, and safe distancing limitations. And for a handful of restaurants and eateries, the damage has proved too much to handle. Now that we are emerging out of a period of heightened alert, another handful of F&B businesses have unfortunately shuttered. 

As we cautiously celebrate the ability to dine out, we’d also like to say goodbye to these local dining establishments that won’t be reopening their doors in the near future. Thanks for feeding us and we hope to see you somewhere down the road soon.

RECOMMENDED: Everything we know about Singapore's Phase 3 plans so far

Closures during preparatory stage of transition

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Tanjong Pagar

Originally a bar and dance club slated to open in April 2020, Rails finally opened as a bar and lounge in February 2021 after working around pandemic regulations. The third concept by The Phat Cat Collective, Rails provided a unique nightlife experience in Tanjong Pagar, with its steampunk aesthetic, inspired cocktails and mouth-watering collaboration with Chix Hot Chicken. Sadly, after all of that, the business announced in a recent Facebook post that it would be closing for good "due to the ongoing challenges and disruptions of operating a bar due to the nightlife restrictions during the COVID pandemic." 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Tanjong Pagar

Nightlife in Singapore is really not having it easy. In the same breath as announcing the closure of Rails, A Phat Cat Collective also revealed that it will be closing beloved retro arcade bar and discotheque NINETEEN80 due to disruptions and restrictions on nightlife during the pandemic. This was the go-to place to dance to retro hits from the 80s to 00s, hit up arcade machines for games like PacMan and Mortal Kombat, against the backdrop of classic Memphis and retro synth-wave interiors. NINETEEN80s (and Rails) will be missed, and we can only hope that A Phat Cat Collective will come back with fresh concepts once nightlife is able to resume again in Singapore. 

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Bootle's
Photograph: Bootle's/Facebook

Bootle's

After little more than a year in operation, Bootle's at Havelock Road is shutting down. The gourmet grocer stocked organic and ethically-sourced produce, alongside wines, craft beers and in-house bites and bakes. Reasons for the closure remain unclear, but Bootle's is currently holding a clearance sale – this includes remaining stock of wine (now going at only $15 per bottle), 50% off the butchery, as well as equipment such as ovens, chillers, mixers, storage racks and more. 

Closures during P2HA

  • Restaurants
  • Tanjong Pagar

This traditional zi char establishment has been at Amoy Street for over 26 years, feeding the CBD crowd with dishes like prawn paste fried chicken and milky fish head noodle soup. But come May 30, Swee Kee Eating House served its last group of customers due to the rising operation cost. "We had weathered the World War, Economic Depression and SARs. However, the challenges of Covid-19 and a CBD location have proved too much and too challenging for us to sustain with continued monthly losses in this current climate,'" it said in a Facebook post. Thankfully, the Greenwood and Outram outlet remains open for those who crave a taste of its homely fare.  

  • Restaurants
  • City Hall

Slate opened along Purvis Street in February 2020, serving up inspired brunch plates and hearty meals. While it was able to weather through the 'circuit breaker', the period of heightened alert proved too much for the eatery. "Though we were more experienced and equipped this time around, the loss of foot traffic, and as a result, momentum, brought us to our knees," said the founding team in a Facebook post. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Bedok
  • price 2 of 4

Popular zi char restaurant Thai Pan will serve its last customer come June 30 2021. The eatery, best known for its rendition of butter squid and fried rice, comes located within compounds of Mandarin Gardens condominium, and is popular among residents and those living around the area. But rising cost and a dip in footfall have resulted in the owner's decision to shutter the business, according to reports by Shin Min Daily News. 

  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Orchard

Indonesia restaurant Rice Table decided to close on May 15, following the expiration of its lease. It is best known for serving up rijsttafel, a Dutch term that translates to 'rice table, and is used to refer to an elaborate meal filled with numerous side dishes. 

Closures during the 'circuit breaker'

  • Restaurants
  • Raffles Place
  • price 3 of 4

This breezy riverside restaurant has announced that it will close its doors come January 10. During this holiday period, it will continue to serve a festive menu. Summerlong first opened in 2017, as part of The Dandy Collection's group of concepts. "On the bright side, this gives us the creative space to introduce exciting new concepts that we plan to roll out in the early part of next year," shares co-founder Rohit Roopchand. 

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Tanjong Pagar

Sum Yi Tai and its accompanying secret bar, Mona Lounge, has shuttered in November due to rental issues. But it assures us that it's not goodbye; in a Facebook post, the team said that "We are looking to move the brand somewhere with a good landlord, so if you love what we do, stay tuned."

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • City Hall

Au revoir, Antoinette. This Parisian-themed patisserie will cease operations from June 30, closing both its physical outlets at Penhas Road and Millenia Walk as well as its online store after a nine-year run. Antoinette’s owner, chef Pang Kok Keong, revealed that the reason for shuttering was due to the levy incurred from operating in the shophouse unit at Penhas Road. Antoinette is known for its French pastries and hot bistro menu, served in a classy, chic Parisian-style setting. Keep a lookout for chef’s Kok Keong next plan, which is to open a Hakka noodle stall in a food court.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Tanglin

This minimalist café is best known for its white-washed interior and trending desserts – from colour-changing drinks to a jiggly bunny tart. Unfortunately, the hipster hotspot at Tanglin announced that it won’t be returning after the circuit breaker in a Facebook post, but will continue to offer delivery and take-out till the end of June. “Thank you for all the support and love you have shown us throughout the years,” says the owners in a Facebook post.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Tanjong Pagar

Modern Japanese izakaya Chi Kinjo was one of the first few victims that announced its closure on March 28. In a Facebook post, the bar, which specialises in mod-sushi and whiskey highballs, shares that “Chi Kinjo cannot survive the current crisis”. The eatery was already suffering from “many other ailments”, but the pandemic “has dealt the last blow and we no longer have any ammunition left to try”. But while it’s no longer serving up its mini chirashi bowl and sashimi, it’s sister concept Sum Yi Tai remains open for Asian-inspired tapas and cocktails.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary Asian
  • Tanjong Pagar

This contemporary South-East Asian restaurant by The Spa Esprit group will not be returning in Phase 2. “We are officially closing Ding Dong as of June 2020,” it shared in a Facebook post. The cheeky restaurant, which started in 2014, is best known for serving up a modern interpretation of local comfort food.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Orchard

The Chinese restaurant, located on the fifth floor of Ngee Ann City, has shuttered for good. After a 16 year run, the restaurant announced the closure of its Orchard outlet on June 10. Its other concepts and outlets remain operational.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Tanjong Pagar

The intimate back alley restaurant has also shuttered for good, according to reports by The Straits Times. Its sister restaurant, Moosehead, remains open and available for dine-in, delivery and takeaway.

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  • Restaurants
  • City Hall

Plentyfull, a modern casual restaurant at Millenia Walk, has closed its bright, expansive dining space. The place is best known for its healthy, fresh offerings that range from grab-and-go options to à la carte plates. “Closing our first outlet is not an easy decision, but we believe it is the right one for this season,” shares founder Claudia Sondakh is an open letter on Plentyfull’s website. “While we slowly re-focus and find a new home, you can still have a taste of restoration at our sister concept, Plentyfull Bakery & Deli at Great World.”

  • Restaurants
  • Outram

The revolutions at one of Singapore’s only rotating restaurants have come to a halt. After 43 years of operations, Prima Tower is the latest victim that's been forced to shutter for good. The heritage restaurant is best known for serving up authentic Bejing fare, while offering a rotating, panoramic view of Harbourfront.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pan-European
  • Marine Parade

Homegrown bistro and bar, The Starker Group, announced its closure on June 4. Its outlets are best known for the signature Starker Fresh Beer, brewed in Singapore, and served with a variety of bar grub. “It’s goodbye, for now,” says the Facebook post. “We may be back to tap,” reveals the group, hinting at a possible return in the future.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Raffles Place

Surf and turf restaurant The Pelican announced on June 22 in a Facebook post that its One Fullerton outlet will cease operations from the end of the month. Its sister concepts, The Marmalade Pantry and Fat Cow remain open to receive diners. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Raffles Place

Vianney Massot Restaurant is the first Michelin-starred restaurant to fall victim to the stay-home measures. Its lease at HongKong Street is due to expire in July, and it decided to close for good. Fortunately, the restaurant has revealed that it is working on finding a new home soon.

What lies ahead for the F&B industry?

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