Catch free flicks
Go for The Substation’s First Take (45 Armenian St; 6337 7535, www.substation.org. First Mon of every month; 8pm), a free movie series showcasing short films from Singaporean directors, which takes place on the first Monday of every month. The annual series culminates in December with a nighttime showing of the favourites of the year. Directors featured in the past few months have included Iskandar Ramli, Chong Ren Rong, Jocelyn Lee and Daniel Yam.
Have a friendly feud over board games
The first of its breed in Singapore, Settler’s Cafe has been a board-game geek’s hideaway since 2003, with over 550 different names like Blockus and Citadels piled high. They’re also the gentlest on the pockets, with a $8 package offering three hours of pure dice casting, card shuffling and one-upping from Mondays to Thursdays. Saturday’s Big Gulp package ($9.90) is just as enticing, with free-flow (soda) drinks and board games for four hours from opening to 6pm.
On weekdays, Mind Café’s (various locations including 60A Prinsep St; 6334 4426, www.themindcafe.com.sg. Sun-Thurs 2-11pm; Fri-Sat 2pm-3am) $7.90 package lets you clock in four hours of cracking your noggin with its well-stocked shelves of board games as well as free flow of house pours. Have a laugh with rowdy party favourites like Taboo or stew over more obscure, strategy-based teasers like Munchkin and Carcassonne.
Catch tunes on the waterfront
Before music junkies grow weary from digging deep into their reserves for acts like Sondre Lerche and Andrew Bird, the Esplanade, like a Good Samaritan, cushions the usual blow to wallets with free performances at dusk every weekend. Their On the Waterfront series casts its net wide, spotlighting everything from Mandopop evergreens to alternative acts from the region. November sees Indian rock vets Parikrama fusing heavy rock with classical Indian elements. Outdoor Stage, Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Dr (6828 8377, www.esplanade.com). Every Fri-Sun; various times. Free.
Trivia night, drink in hand
Cram your brain with fun facts before heading to Picotin. This bistro schedules a trivia night on second Wednesdays of the month at 7.30pm. Show up with a team of up to eight, or try and latch yourself on to another table of the smartest-looking folk in the room. While throwing back a bottle of beer (starting at $8) or sipping on your Martini Bianco ($9), remember that strict rules regarding Blackberry and iPhone use have been instated, so no cheating. Best part? You stand a chance to go home with a $100 restaurant voucher, or even limited-edition wines. You may leave a better (or at least richer) person than when you arrived.
Shake your booty, girls
All the ladies are invited to Recognize! Studios on Thursdays to join open dance classes for $10 (first class only, $13/member and $17/non-member thereafter). Shake your hips to hip hop beats in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror, and feel like a badass with the graffiti-covered wall in the background. The folks from Recognize! boast that their classes enhance a woman’s ‘sense of sexiness’ – only one way to find out… #05-31 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Rd (6509 0650, www.recognizestudios.com). $10.
Request your favourite song
The first thought that bubbles up whenever someone mentions Timbre is ‘ace live music’ (the second’s usually ‘roast duck pizza, stat!’). Each of its three incarnations has a tight roster of resident bands like Goodfellas and Raw Earth that happily accede to song requests and chat up the gung-ho, youngish crowd like old buds. Let your ears do the picking for you: The Substation and Arts House have livelier sets, while Old School veers towards mellow, unplugged guitar. But while the newer outposts have Sundays off, Timbre @ The Substation gives its punters a music fix all week. We suggest keeping tabs on 53A’s slot – they’re known to break out an X-rated parody of ‘I Will Survive’. Various venues (www.timbre.com.sg).
Limelight lovers can get their five minutes of fame, give or take, for little more than the price of a pint. Make for a three-song quickie – from classic rock to the latest hits – at Actors, where every spot in their makeshift band is free for rock-star wannabes to occupy. Meanwhile, Mandopop advocates can warble to their favourite ditties at backpacker shack Cow & Coolies. The ground-floor pub is a popular pansexual haunt with karaoke where everyone gets along, no matter which side of the fence they’re on. Crocodile Rock, a low-profile karaoke bar geared at ladies – and genteel men – that lets showerhead singer types yodel to their lungs’ content, and plies cheap shooters to boot.
Cool DJs with no cover
Slick, fidget-friendly choons are hard to come by when you’re strapped for cash. Lucky us, then, that Alley Bar’s daily 7-9pm happy hour isn’t its only trump card. Their extensive talent line-up includes Sugarlove, Ida and Rendra, and Nelson, to name a few, so your ears never get bored. The folks at Tanjong Beach Club see to it that their beachside playground’s always buzzing with slammin’ beats at no charge atop Sentosa’s entry fee – party philanthropy, really.