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6 Hidden Places to Eat, Shop and Play in Bugis

Make like a local in Bugis with our insider guide

Visited the Bugis area in Singapore? You’ll probably think of busy shopping centres such as Bugis Junction and Bugis+, the National Library and Bras Basah bookstores, or colourful hipster stores in the narrow streets of Kampong Glam.

Few may know that Bugis harboured a saucy and salacious past marked by sizzling street hawker food, drunken sailors, and transgender performers enlivening its streets at nightfall.

Still one of Singapore’s most popular tourist attractions, Bugis boasts of a creative sensibility that unfurls in every alleyway. Escape with the team at PARKROYAL Serviced Suites Singapore, as we show you how you can let your hair down in this fabulously funky town.

1. Catch an Indie Movie at The Projector

Address: 6001 Beach Road, #05-00, Golden Mile Tower
Opening hours: 6:30pm to 11:30pm (Opens at 1:00pm on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday) 
Closed on Mondays

The Projector is Singapore’s most secretive cinema – one with a charming retro vibe in a fast-changing city.

A hipster remake of the historic Golden Theatre that once occupied this space tucked away on the fifth floor of Golden Mile Tower, The Projector curates and airs indie, foreign, classic, arthouse, and local films, as well as cult favourites at its two main cinema halls.

You can book your films online, up to one week in advance. Be sure to check out The Great Escape, an upcycled rooftop carpark bar with a view and honest oven-baked grub.

Get directions to The Projector

2. Walk Down Memory Lane at MINT Museum of Toys

Address: 26 Seah St, Singapore 188382
Phone number: +65 6339 0660
Opening hours: 9:30am to 6:30pm daily
Admission charges: $15 (adult), $7.50 (child/senior citizen)

If you love toys, you’ll love MINT Museum of Toys; this purpose-built museum houses a world-class collection of vintage toys, amassed by Singaporean owner Chang Yang Fa over three decades!

This fascinating museum showcases more than 8,000 toys and kiddy memorabilia from over 40 countries including Germany, Japan, India, US, and the UK. Expect to feel warm with nostalgia as your childhood memories come flooding back at the sight of classic toy favourites such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Strawberry Shortcake, Betty Boop, and even Ultraman. 

The museum’s name stands for “Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys,” and we daresay you’ll enjoy many of those moments while walking through all five levels of this toy wonderland nestled in Seah Street, Bugis. 

End your journey through yesteryear with a bite at Mr Punch Public House downstairs, which serves simple and delicious cafe grub inspired by its namesake - the famous Punch and Judy puppet show that was popular back in the 1900s.

Get directions to MINT Museum of Toys

3. Nurse Bespoke Cocktails at Maison Ikkoku

Address: 20 Kandahar St, Singapore 198885
Phone number: +65 6294 0078
Opening hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm, 6:00pm to 1:00am daily
(Closes at 2:00am on Fridays and Saturdays)

Maison Ikkoku, consecutive winner of Best Cocktail Bar in Singapore for 2015 and 2016, is a unique dining concept combining an artisanal café on the first floor, a cocktail bar on the second floor, and an event space on the rooftop.

Try the Signature Salmon Ikura Don or the Lobster Linguine, and wash it down with a bespoke cocktail designed just for you. Just tell the resident mixologist what your preferred poison is – tart, strawberry, or gin – and he’ll whip it up in a jiffy, and maybe add a surprise or two. 

Be sure to make your reservations early. 

Get directions to Maison Ikkoku

4. Marvel at Haji Lane’s Street Art

Address: Haji Lane, Singapore

Possibly one of Singapore’s most unique shopping destinations, Haji Lane is fashionable not just for indie fashion and homewares, but also its attractive street art. Apparently Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow was once spotted strolling down this artfully old-world street.

Expect to admire (and Instagram) larger-than-life artworks done by local and international artists such as “professional spraycationers” Yok and Sheryo, Oak and Bindi, and others. 

In between street art hunting, pop into indie fashion boutiques such as Mondays Off, and pick up some one-of-a-kind finds, or recharge with a coffee from I AM café or CAD café, and watch the hipster crowds go by.

Can’t get enough of street art in Singapore? Read our post featuring places to photograph street art.

Get directions to Haji Lane

5. Get Transported Back to the 1920s at ATLAS Bar

Address: Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 188778
Phone number: +65 6396 4466
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday: 10:00am to 1:00am
Friday: 10:00am to 2:00am
Saturday: 3:00pm to 12:00am
Closed on Sunday

Step into ATLAS Bar and be transported onto the set of The Great Gatsby – complete with dashing sommeliers, high-society clientele, and lavishly styled decor. Plus, the sommeliers at ATLAS Bar know their gin. (With over 1,000 different types to choose from and recommend, they’d have to, really.) 

Even the building that houses the bar has distinctive hallmarks. Parkview Square is affectionately called the Gotham Building due to its art deco influence and resemblance to Batman’s Gotham City.   

The grand lobby bar recently launched an afternoon tea set that looks stuffed with moreish delights, with savouries such as the crab croquette, cured salmon, and mock truffle ravioli with gorgonzola cheese, and sweets such as the salted caramel bon bon and madeleines. 

Top off the afternoon of grazing with your preferred tea blend. There is a fine selection to choose from, including a vintage Sicilian Blood Orange Pu Erh Tea and the Art Deco Blend, a black tea with gin botanicals, elderflower, and yuzu.

Get directions to ATLAS Bar

6. Zoom In On Vintage Camera's Museum

Address: 8C-8D Jalan Kledek, Singapore 199263
Phone number: +65 8591 8918
Opening hours: 10:00am to 8:00pm daily

Vintage Camera’s Museum is one of the Lion City’s newest attractions in Singapore, and possibly one of Singapore’s most interesting places to see. If the mention of vintage cameras sends a tingle down your photographer spine, you wouldn’t want to miss paying this museum a visit.

The museum itself is designed in the form of a Rollei camera, with an entry shaped like a lens. There are around 1000 cameras on display, from a replica of the world’s largest camera down to the smallest – an 11-gram camera.

Enjoy a hands-on experience playing with lenses, angles, and shutters. Guests are allowed to handle some of the vintage cameras on display. Opt for the guided tour if you need a layman’s explanation of these vintage contraptions.

The Vintage Camera’s Museum also screens regular documentaries on some of the more unique cameras of yesteryear. One such documentary features the Minox Camera, a.k.a. the spy camera used in espionage and featured in Hollywood detective thrillers.

Be warned: You may never look at your smartphone camera the same way again.

Get directions to Vintage Camera’s Museum

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