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Thursday, 26 May 2016 03:03

Guide to hipster life: What’s on at Bras Basah. Bugis Featured

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Hipsters are awesome. They are independent thinkers who appreciate arts, culture, design, progressive politics and witty banter. They are,

contrary to what most people think, well-educated and have liberal arts, math or science degrees. Hence, it is no wonder everyone wants to be a hipster – even if their wallets say “No.”

But since it’s all about having your own opinion and reasons, as well as enjoying independent music labels, artisanal coffee and vintage fashion, who cares how much money you spend on being (and looking) hip?

If you are really keen on pursuing the hipster lifestyle, make Bras Basah. Bugis, Singapore’s arts, heritage and design district, your next hangout spot. The area is a treasure trove of heritage buildings, art, dining and lifestyle concepts, from backstreet coffee shops and quaint cafes to fitness gyms and pulsating dance schools.

Here’s what to do: Make a trip down to the area with your army of would-be Good Lifers friends to check out what the district has to offer. Stop by 222 Queen + 51 Waterloo Arts Centre, formerly the precinct of the Catholic High School, with your DSLR (if you’ve got one) and take plenty of Instagram-worthy photos. There is an entire wall of graffiti on the ground floor of 222 Queen Street and a series of heritage murals on the adjoining building for you to snap nice “selfies” and “wefies”.

#1. New heritage murals at 51 Waterloo Street

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Here’s what to lookout for at the ground floor of 51 Waterloo Street. A series of heritage murals depicting the daily activities of the residents of the Bras Basah. Bugis district.

Local artists Yip Yew Chong and Yuen Kum Cheong have painstakingly painted a series of six colorful heritage murals that showcase the lives of the people living in Bras Basah. Bugis district during the 1950s. Inspired by the district’s rich history, the artists hope that the murals will, at first glance, invoke a sense of familiarity, particularly among the old Catholic High boys.

Says artist Yip Yew Chong: “The murals are intended to provoke thought, emotion and connection to familiar scenes of our past. We hope that these recreated scenes will warm the hearts of older generations, as well as serve to let our younger generations learn and appreciate our heritage.”

A perfect destination for the design-loving hipster, 222 Queen + 51 Waterloo Arts Centre, you can take lots of hip personal portraits, selfies and wefies. 

#2. Purring cats and quirky lifestyle products at Cat Socrates

For a dose of furry cuteness, visit Cat Socrates, a quirky lifestyle shop smack in Bras Basah Complex. The 1,400-square-foot shop sells an eclectic mix of items, from self-published paperback tomes and local records, stationery, and funky-looking lifestyle, gardening and home and decor items. The shop is also home to brown colored rescue cat “Chestnut” whose favorite pastime is greeting visitors. If you love cats and cutesy stuff, this is the place to be.

The Bras Basah. Bugis district is also home to two cozy cat cafes. Overlooking the busy Victoria Street, The Cat Café is an expansive and lively cat café that is home to some 16 rescue cats now looking for a forever home. Located on the ground floor a two-story conservation shophouse in Kampong Glam, Meomi Cat Café makes the purrfect chill out place for visitors looking for some quite time to relax and sip a cuppa coffee with eight purring cats

#3. Drink and dine at Tanuki Raw


Thirsty and looking for a place to kick-back and have a cuppa Joe or zesty Singapore Sling? Nearby Bras Basah Complex is the National Design Centre. Once home to Singapore’s premier arts educational establishment, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, the restored building is now home to fusion restaurant , creative lifestyle store Kapok and the Ministry of Communications and Information.

Famous for its insane Happy Hour where freshly shucked oysters go for $2 and beers for $12 per pint, this fusion restaurant boasts an authentic menu and a prime ground floor location that attracts both locals and travelers. Arrive between 5pm and 7pm and you will be in for a great treat – its Happy Hour time. Enjoy free katsu-crust beef sliders (when you buy a cocktail or mocktail) and more. Tanuki Raw shares the same space with Kapok, after your meal, do not forget to browse the store’s collection of clothes, shoes, bags and more.

For those who make whiskey their drink of choice, stop by The Single Cask at CHIJMES. The Single Cask is designed like a private bar, with plenty of light hues and a well-stocked bar. It is easy to forget that you are still in a restored heritage building complex – surrounding the establishment are expensive restaurants and pubs that attract raucous crowds. Come during Tuesday night and you will be treated to a whiskey flight.

#4. Go museum hopping…


Art museums and galleries may not be the hippest of places to visit, but if you consider yourself to be a hipster, check out Singapore Art Museum at 8QNational Museum of SingaporeAsian Civilizations MuseumThe Private Museum and Art Trove. Take advantage of the free entry to keep up with the latest art and design trends.

If you plan to buy some artworks to liven up your personal living space, self-proclaimed design obsessive and founder of Archiwalks, Fabian Lua, says: “The iconic Old Hill Police Station, which is now taken over by the Ministry of Information, Culture and the Arts, is an excellent place to go shopping for artwork…There’s a bevy of art galleries on the lower level [of the building].”  

#5. And get a good foot massage at An Qi spa

After spending an entire day taking hipster pictures, museum hopping, drinking and dining, it is time to give your feet a little pampering. Head to An Qi spa, a 24-hour Chinese style spa, at Bylands Building (opposite Fortune Centre) to enjoy a 30-minute foot massage session. 

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