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“Clarke Quay, A Singapore Treasure”
Review of Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay
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Moonlight Adventure: Gardens by the Bay-MBS...
Ranked #51 of 879 things to do in Singapore
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
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Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed November 6, 2012

There was a time in its rush to development when Singapore indulged in a spree of demolition. Down came the traditional and picturesque shop-houses and colonial buildings and up went the ubiquitous non-descript skyscrapers – temples to mammon and globalisation. Then one morning someone realised that with every scoop of the dumper truck, Singapore’s history and heritage were being discarded.

Who, this person must have reasoned, wants to travel to a small island to look at the same slabs of glass and concrete that can be seen more conveniently at home? For Clarke Quay this was fortunate indeed.

From Singapore’s early days Clarke Quay was a transit hub, connecting the interior with Stamford Raffles original trading post, at the mouth of the Singapore River. For well over a century, until the early 1960’s, it continued in this role, until congestion, pollution and the development of Kepple Harbour sounded its death knell. Inevitably the Quay fell into disuse and dereliction.

Its salvation came in 1977 when the Quay was cleaned up, rebuilt and declared a conservation area: its revitalization began. The shop houses and go-downs along this palm lined river walkway were painted in pastel tints of blues, pinks, and greens, and their window shutters having a striking contrast of bright primary colours. The day I spent at the Quay was perfect; a tropical blue sky was dappled with high fluffy clouds.

Named after Singapore’s second Governor, Clarke Quay attracts a cosmopolitan crowd, from young and trendy to mature and sophisticated, who come to appreciate a lively shopping, and entertainment experience, that also boasts a Saturday flea market.

The bumboats that take tourists along the River revel in unlikely names such as Singapore Explorer and Quay Challenger, taking one of these boats along the River is to travel into Singapore’s past. Then with appetite roaring there is no better way to enjoy a meal than at one of the Quay’s many restaurants and cafes. Of course you will find ‘fusion’ food, but also a range of international cuisine; you can eat your way from Italian pastas and pizzas, through the whole gamut of South East Asian food: Indian, Thai, Malay, Vietnamese. The food hall serves value-for-money-grub and gives an authentic taste of Asian fare that makes little concession to the western palate it is definitely worth a visit.

Al fresco eating stimulates the appetite it rouses the thirst too. No worry, Clarke Quay has a number of pubs that provide something for everyone. Fancy some hip hop while you sip? Try Coco Carib, a pub where you can relax by the river and listen to the sounds of hip hop, reggae and salsa. They also have a limited menu but their mutton or chicken curry is a delicious steal at only eight dollars.

Hooters a little way down the Quay has live music every night, Wednesday is given over to a girls night of Ab Fab proportions; a great watering hole for the young and the young at heart. On the other hand, if it’s a quiet moment that you want as you dream by the gently flowing waters there are a number of other bars that will cater to the more reflective you.

The Cannery is a Victorian warehouse that now houses restaurants, entertainment and shopping malls. The Cannery and the attractive side streets are a bargain hunters playground. Hawaiian shirts, sarongs, ties, shirts and shorts, fancy goods and bric-a-brac all at knock down prices.

Clarke Quay offers the foot weary tourist a great antidote to the hustle and bustle of modern Singapore that is just on its doorstep. Its many bars and restaurants provide a link to the past while viewing the future.

2  Thank Suanphlu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,749 - 1,753 of 2,841 reviews

Reviewed November 1, 2012

Regularly busy and vibrant. Bars always welcoming. Beware that drinks are expensive out of happy hour, 7 til 9 PM on weekdays, not sure on weekends.

Thank KieranJudge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2012

A night time stroll down Clarke Quay and Boat Quay was like braving the beach front in a second division Spanish seaside town. Hassle from every restaurant. Picturesque in the daytime but I wouldn't bother at night.

3  Thank PMO44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2012

We stayed locally and found Clarke Quay a great place to cheaply sample the local food. Initially we were going to try the chilli crab at one of the restaurants but once we saw the wonderful selection of food carts opted to eat off them instead. It meant we got to eat a lot of 'samples' and try a bigger selection of cuisine. Steamed dumplings, samosa, chilli crab - it's all there! The only draw back was there was literally nowhere to sit and eat - you have to eat standing up while walking.

The restaurants themselves were nice if you're after a sit-down meal.

It was the mid autumn festival during our stay so the chinese displays were everywhere - colourful and fun, great for photos!

2  Thank freyjablue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 25, 2012

Visit this place to have a wide variety of food from different cuisines across the world. I loved the an American pub there which serves fantastic beer.

1  Thank Ching L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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