Checking Out Clarke Quay

Over the weekend my wife and I finally went down to Clarke Quay (pronounced “key”).  Neither my wife or I are very big drinkers and we’re not into the whole club scene, so we’d never had any desire to check out Clarke Quay, which is Singapore’s unofficial (or maybe official) party locale.  Since I’m heading off soon, we decided to scope the area out just to say we’d been there together at least once.

A view of Clarke Quay from across the Singapore River, where the Clarke Quay MRT station lets out at.

Coming out of the MRT station, you wind up across the Singapore River from where the clubs, bars, and “hip” restaurants are.  It’s actually very nice, walking along the river there.  The breeze was cool and there were a lot of people sitting along the edge chatting or eating ice cream.  The water itself was very brown, muddy and full of natural debris (leaves, as opposed to garbage), so it wasn’t much to look at, but it was still a very relaxing atmosphere.

Two boats tied up along the bar & club side of the river. I wonder if someone lives on them? I see air conditioners. A little further down (right in this photo) there was a docking area for a river tour ferry. I didn’t check the prices.

When we crossed the bridge there was more of a buzz in the air.  It was definitely a party area.  The club areas I’m used to in the US are usually dingy, dark, smelly looking places so I was a bit unprepared for the classy feel that Clarke Quay manages to convey.  There’s lots of glass, fancy restaurant facades, and good music playing.  The place also wasn’t packed with drunken idiots, at least when we went.  There were plenty of tourists walking around with cameras and even some families with kids in tow.

A stretch of Clarke Quay that runs along the river, shown in the first photos from the other side of the Singapore River.

One thing that impressed me about the place was the variety.  Clarke Quay isn’t all just about clubbing and getting wasted.  The area is packed with restaurants, from Hooters to Forbidden City (a cool looking Chinese food place) to a Mexican food place.  There are also areas that look like they’re set up for casual drinking, with comfortable lounge areas.  There was even a Coffee Connoisseur for people that want to get out at night but don’t necessarily want to drink.

This fountain marks the middle of Clarke Quay. When we first showed up, a few people were soaking their feet in the water to cool off.
This canopy covers the walkways to protect early arrivers from Singapore’s relentless sun. The sound system that’s hanging up there is probably for live performances.

Clarke Quay is the very essence of hip and trendy night life and as we headed home at around 10 PM we saw the crowds of fashionably dressed people showing up to show off.  We’re definitely going to have to head back out there to experience the evening and have some good drinks and good food.  Next time I’ll bring my camera too.  The pictures in this post are just from my phone.

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