This is part of a new series where we rediscover the overlooked gems in our sunny little island. Each article will focus on a culturally-rich place in Singapore, and we’ll show you what’s fun and exciting there!
An insider’s guide to Bugis
With Bugis being the place to get cheap clothes, cheap food, and even cheap art supplies, it’s no wonder that it’s known as a shopper’s paradise. But upon further digging, we found that it has even more to offer, and we just had to share – it’s not often you’ll find a perfumery that allows you to create your own fragrances, an alleyway that takes you back through time, and a rooftop bar with teepee huts!
1. Sifr Aromatics
It’s always nice to be able to have something to claim as our own, and Sifr Aromatics is a place where you can create a scent that is uniquely yours.
Hidden amongst a myriad of tailors and carpet stores, it’s easy to miss the stylishly zen perfumery, which was started by the grandson of the founder of well-known 84-year-old homegrown perfume businesses, Jamal Kazura Aromatics.
The store also has plenty of antique perfume bottles for sale!
Everything there is handmade, from the drawstring pouches to the various scents, and if you book an appointment beforehand, you get to experience a one-on-one perfumery customisation with their friendly staff!
One such session takes about 2-3 hours on average to ensure that your likes and dislikes are fully understood, so that the staff can then recommend suitable fragrances that will ultimately come together to form your perfume.
We’re not kidding about the range of scents either – they’ve got everything from jasmine to sandalwood to tea.
Hands-on workshops are also held sometimes, where you can learn more about the art of perfumery, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming classes here if you’re interested!
Address: 42 Arab Street, Singapore 199741
Opening Hours: 11AM – 8PM Daily
Telephone: 6392 1966
Unbeknownst to many, 222+51 is a privately-owned arts and heritage space that’s home to a series of interactive murals dedicated to the landmarks of olden day Singapore.
These murals are the work of local artists Yip Yew Chong and Yuen Kum Cheong.
Located on the ground floor of 51 Waterloo Street, the murals are painted on old-school shophouse doors, which open to reveal even more fantastic paintings. Featuring icons like the old National Library, Odeon Cinema, and the National Theatre, it’s a major throwback that’ll fill those old enough with nostalgia, and the young’uns with wonderment – plus the inspiration to snap away on their cameras!
Address: 51 Waterloo Street/222 Queen Street, Singapore 188550
If you love the smell of freshly baked bread, head to Konditori, an artisanal Swedish bakery opened by the same folks behind the popular Fika Cafe. Small but quaint with pastries displayed on the windowsill, the bakery offers a wide range of both sweet and savoury bakes like croissants, madeleines, brioches, tarts, and even the traditional Swedish semla buns!
The best part of it all is that the bakes are handmade daily from scratch, and they also have coffee and tea selections on their menu for those who want a cuppa to pair with their order.
Address: 33 Bussorah St, Singapore 199451
Opening Hours: 10.30AM – 9PM Daily
Pop by next door to Lickety, Singapore’s first ice cream and egglet waffle dessert parlour that has a storefront that’s just as Instagrammable as their dessert – the door and walls are painted a striking Tiffany Blue with pastel-coloured bar stools by the window!
Their egglet waffle comes in 2 different flavours – Buttermilk and Red Velvet.
There are over 16 creamy ice cream flavours for you to choose from, which includes unique options like Red Velvet Cookies and Earl Grey And Fig, and they have an impressive variety of toppings too, with sweet treats like marshmallows, gummy bears, and pocky sticks.
Prices range from $8.90 – $12.90 for the ice cream and egglet waffle combo, and $4.50 – $8.90 for just the ice cream alone, depending on how many scoops you order!
Address: 34 Bussorah St, Singapore 199452
Opening Hours: Sun – Thurs: 11AM – 10PM | Fri – Sat: 11AM -11PM
Telephone: 6291 7670
5. Warong Nasi Pariaman
For those of you who love Malay cuisine, do yourself a favour and have a meal at Warong Nasi Pariaman, one of Singapore’s longest-standing nasi padang stall. Their recipes have been passed down for generations for over 60 years, and are all either home-invented secrets or truly traditional formulas.
Their signature is the Gulai Ayam, which uses chicken that is barbecued over charcoal for that smoky aroma and aftertaste.
Their meats are tender and well-seasoned, vegetables soft but not overcooked, and sauces fragrant and flavourful. Plus, while their homemade chilli looks unforgivingly spicy, don’t be afraid to give it a try – it’s actually manageable while still providing a satisfying kick, and really whets your appetite.
I could eat just plain rice mixed with their chilli – that’s how good it was!
It’s no wonder that the humble-looking store gets crazily packed with local Muslims during lunch and dinner hours, so make sure you head down early if you don’t want to wait around for a table to free up!
Address: 736/738 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198704
Opening Hours: 10AM – 8PM Daily
6. American Taproom
Beer lovers, drink to your heart’s content at American Taproom, a new watering hole tucked away in Waterloo Centre that takes their beer very seriously with over 30 different types of craft beer on tap.
That’s the most number of beers on tap in a bar in Singapore.
The beers are sourced from all over the world, including the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Denmark, and changes up to 8 kegs a day, whenever a keg finishes. This means that you can be sure that there’ll constantly be new brands and flavours for you to try every time you’re there!
Choose from wheat ales, IPA, stouts, and even nitro brews.
Plus, they use tailored beer glasses for different types of beer so that its aroma is brought out till the last drop – that’s true passion for beer right there.
Drinks aside, their menu is a pretty extensive list of American comfort food that goes well with beer. Think pizzas, burgers, fries, and fish and chips!
Address: #01-23, 261 Waterloo Street, Singapore 180261
Opening Hours: 12PM – 12AM Daily
Telephone: 9632 1570
7. Mr Stork
Where rooftop bars are concerned, there’s no doubt that Mr Stork takes the cake. Located 39th storeys above the ground in Andaz Singapore, the hotel’s bar offers a stunning 360° view of Bugis, an unhampered view of the skies, and even has private teepee huts to boot.
Aptly botanical-themed to match the whole concept of storks and lush greenery, their signature cocktails are herb and flower-based, which includes the refreshing Ruby ($20), an interesting mix of lemon, ginger, mint, vermouth, and Ceylon Arrack.
Do note that while the bar does have a substantial list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available, it has no main meals and serves only bar bites in terms of food. Make sure to give their Fried Chicken Rice Risotto ($14) a try – it’s amazingly fragrant and comes with a side of house-made chicken rice chilli that’s comparable to that of authentic Hainanese chicken rice stalls!
The delicious snacks are prepared by chefs from 665°F, the hotel’s premium steakhouse.
While thankfully open to the public for free, the bar doesn’t take reservations and as a result, all the huts are often snapped up by 7PM or so – try to make it down before then if you want to cosy up in one!
Address: Level 39, Andaz Singapore, 5 Fraser Street, Singapore 189354
Opening Hours: Sun – Thurs: 5PM – 12AM | Fri – Sat: 5PM – 1AM
Telephone: 6408 1288