Boat Quay

Boat Quay (8)

Do you want to dive into Singapore’s nightlife? Why not try the Boat Quay, an outdoor entertainment area full of restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs.

Located north of Raffles Place, just below the river, Boat Quay is one of the city’s most fashionable areas and one of the most charming outdoor spots to have a drink. We recommend you visit at sunset to enjoy the unforgettable views of the Singapore River. 

If you go back in time you will discover that, before becoming a nightlife hot spot, the pier was known for its frenetic commercial activity. It was built in mid 1822 and, 40 years later, had already become the city’s most important commercial district, with three quarters of the maritime trade. In those days, a typical sight at Boat quay was a hive of workers gilded by the sun moving up and down, loading and unloading heavy sacks of goods. A sight as typical as it was promising as it foreshadowed Singapore’s future success as a trading centre.

It is interesting to note why this location was so successful. If you look closely, you'll see that at this very spot the river forms a shape that recalls the belly of a carp.  This is a fish that, according to Chinese beliefs, is a source of prosperity and wealth. For this reason, the area quickly filled with colourful cottages. Rows of buildings where large companies set up their warehouses and offices during the golden period of the nineteenth century. There is another interesting detail: the height of buildings varies widely from one to the other. The explanation is simple: height was used to symbolize wealth, the higher the shop, the wealthier the shop owner.

Today, after a thorough refurbishment, these 108 colourful cottages have become chic cafes, fine restaurants, yuppie pubs and designer galleries.

A major renovation that is part of the project initiated by the Singapore government around 1977, aiming to revitalize the coastal areas. In Boat Quay, the plan was a success. The boats were moved to Pasir Panjang, the pier was declared a protected area and the quay became the city’s first entertainment centre. An area that, for many, is also the ideal place to relax and unwind after a day’s work. Welcome aboard!

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