From Singapore Hotels & Singapore Lifestyle
Clarke Quay with the tagline "wine.dine.good times" is past River Valley Road, lying near the mouth of the Singapore River, and bounded by Tan Tye Place and Canning Road. The site of Clarke Quay was the centre of commerce during the late 19th century. This quay, named after Singapore's second colonial governor, Sir Andrew Clarke, was transformed like Boat Quay into a dining, shopping and entertainment precinct in the early 1990s and has recently undergone another, highly distinctive, renovation that has cemented its status as one of Singapore's most popular nightlife haunts.
Today, Clarke Quay is still buzzing with life and activity. It is a delightful mix of modern and traditional. On the site are five buildings comprising 60 warehouses and shophouses, restored to their original 19th-century style, and now occupied by retail outlets, bars and restaurants. A reminder of its rich heritage is reflected in the vibrantly orchestrated concept. The waterfront godowns now play host to a colourful kaleidoscope of restaurants, wine bars, entertainment spots and retail shops. The bustling market atmosphere of bygone days comes alive amidst the rows of charming shophouses, pushcarts, and five-foot-way merchants. A festival atmosphere prevails in Clarke Quay, especially at night when cool breezes make open-air wining and dining popular, and stalls offer traditional satay. A night bazaar, offering mainly paintings and arts and crafts, also operates.
In fact, your jaw is likely to drop, either in horror or admiration, the first time you see the eccentric design of the new Clarke Quay waterfront. The wooden decks are OK, the gumdrops railings done out in kids' paintbox colours you might forgive, but the giant Dr Seuss - like lilypad umbrellas are just plain offensive, obscuring what was once a handsome strip of colourful shophouses, now painted in equally revolting hues. Opinions vary, but it somewhat looks like Jellybean Town.
Aside from marvelling at one of the world's most grievous design follies, or contemplating a ride on the G-Max Reverse Bungy, there are a couple of interesting places of worship near the quay. You can also enjoy down-and-dirty flea market shopping on weekends at Clarke Quay.
Named after Sir Andrew Clarke, the second Governor of Singapore in 1873, Clarke Quay was a hubbub of trade. Before containerised shipping was introduced, tongkangs (bumboats) plied this part of the Singapore River, ferrying cargo back and forth between ships moored in the busy port and the warehouses lining the river banks.
Many godowns, or warehouses, have been faithfully restored in Clarke Quay, but their new roles are a far cry from their original purposes. The Cannery - a complex of 30 retail shops and restaurants - once housed pineapple-canning factories. One belonged to Joseph Pierre Bastiani, a Corsican, whose name lives on in the J.P. Bastiani Wine Bar and Mediterranean Restaurant that now occupies the same site. Look out for Whampoa Ice House, built in 1854 by the prominent businessman and Legislative Council member Hoo Ah Kay, also known as Whampoa, to store ice shipped in from Boston.
Read Street's wine bars and cafes occupy the 1891 godown built by Tan Yeok Nee, a wealthy Teochew pepper trader who is best remembered for his classical Chinese house off Orchard Road. Clarke Quay takes on another role on Sundays as the venue for a flea market with some 70 stalls offering trinkets and collectables, including stamps, phone cards, pins and Coca-Cola paraphernalia.
Top Few Things-To-Do
- Ride on the G-Max Reverse Bungy
- Having a drink at one of the Pubs
- Shopping at the Clarke Quay Flea Market
Read Bridge spans across the river and connects Clarke Quay with Riverside Point, a complex of shops and restaurants that bears no hint of its seedier past when it was a gathering place for secret societies, opium smokers and ladies of the night. Cross Merchant Road to Magazine Road where the ornate Tan Si Chong Su Temple stands.
Bice Bistro, Brewerkz, Coriander Leaf, Fish Tales, Highlander, Hot Stones Steak & Seafood Restaurant, Key Largo, King Satay, Metropole Herbal Restaurant, Moghul Mahal Restaurant, Monaco, Peony Jade Restaurant, Quayside Seafood Restaurant, Saint Pierre, Thanying, The Tapas Tree, Winegarage
- Phone: (65) 6337 3292
- Address: 3 River Valley Road, Singapore 179024
- Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay MRT Station