No, not a real tiger. They have long since been extinct in Singapore, even before Sir Stamford Raffles colonised the country for the British. Rather, I meant drinking a bottle of Singapore’s national beer, Tiger Beer, beside the Singapore River, in the midst of rampant Clarke Quay.
Clarke Quay has its own MRT station so it is easily accessible from all over Singapore. The first thing you notice in the area is that the reason it is called a ‘quay’ is because of its location on the serene Singapore River. Bumboats and tourist ferries can be seen sailing its waters to and from Marina Bay and even as far as the Marina Barrage. As such, many people arrive here for a drink via boat, rather than the traditional method of the MRT.
Clarke Quay is full of quaint buildings which are almost all transformed into bars and pubs. As you would expect with this being an entertainment district, these bars and pubs do not open before lunchtime, but many will stay open until the early hours of the morning. The central area of Clarke Quay is protected from the elements by overhead covers, which very aptly look like giant umbrellas! This means even a traditional tropical monsoon cannot stop revellers enjoying themselves!
Of course, the main highlight in Clarke Quay is the copious amounts of alcohol you will consume from the themed bars and pubs along the river, but if you look closely enough there are other small food-based attractions, such as the infamous Turkish Ice Cream Man, who will troll you all afternoon if you want some of his dondurma!
Everywhere you go, you can see promotions and flyers, encouraging you to spend money in that bar in particular. If you look even closer, you will see lots of crates of beer outside the bars which have been delivered in the morning and have not yet been taken inside to the fridges.
The greatest thing about Clarke Quay is the many themed bars and pubs, ranging from world war 2 style themes to good ol’ Irish pubs, and Italian wine bars. There really is something for everyone here, and if you are enjoying the area during the day, many of these establishments are family friendly, and serve great food!
At night, however, Clarke Quay becomes an altogether different animal, as you may expect. It is a very popular destination for backpackers, with hostels from all over Singapore usually organising nights out here. The fun is (usually) all very clean and good-natured, and nothing inappropriate goes on here – well, not that I have seen!
Further along the Singapore River, heading down towards Marina Bay and the CBD, is another little enclave called Boat Quay, which is a major haunt of Singapore backpackers. Boat Quay is basically a more traditional area of the Singapore River, with love seafood being served at little eateries all along the riverside.