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Singapore gay venues: contemporary

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 7 months ago


 

(For a discussion of places no longer extant where homosexuals used to socialise or cruise such as Le Bistro, Pebbles Bar, Treetops Bar, Vincent's lounge, Niche, Marmota/Legend/Shadows, Spartacus, Rairua, Boat Quay and Esplanade Park, see the article Singapore gay venues: historical).

 

Non-commercial/non-sexual venues

 

 

Presently located at #04-02/04, Yangtze Building, 100A Eu Tong Sen Road, not to be confused with the same unit number at Pearls Centre with which it is intimately linked.

 

[Image:YangtzeBuilding001.JPG230pxA view of the left portion of the Pearls Centre-Yangtze Building complex from Eu Tong Sen Street.]

[Image:YangtzeBuilding002.JPG230pxA view of the rightmost portion of the Pearls Centre-Yangtze Building complex, showing billboards for Yangtze cinema.]


 

A Singaporean Christian church which welcomes all people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or economic status. It conducts Sunday services at 10:30 am.

 

 

Set up by activists from Action For AIDS (AFA) to inculcate pride in being gay and in staying HIV negative, it is located at 22a Rowell Road, above the AFA headquarters, in the Serangoon or Little India area.

 

[Image:PelangiPrideCentre001.JPG128pxThe conservation shophouse in which Pelangi Pride Centre (second floor) and Action for AIDS (ground floor) are located.]

[Image:PelangiPrideCentre002.JPG230pxStairs leading up to Pelangi Pride Centre, just beside the Action for AIDS office.]

[Image:RowellRoadSpore001.JPG230pxRows of shophouses along Rowell Road where Pelangi Pride Centre is located, on the right.]


 

Its main features are the extensive library of local and international gay literature, whose catalogue can be searched online on its website, and an archive of Singapore gay history and culture. Open once a week on Saturdays from 3 to 7 pm.

 

Arts venues

 

The following list consists of exhibition and performance venues where many works dealing with LGBT themes or by LGBT arts practitioners have been held. However, they are not exclusively used for such purposes.

 

 

45 Armenian Street, tel: 6337- 7535, fax: 6337-2729, box office: 6337-7800. Founded in 1990 by the late Kuo Pao Kun, it is Singapore's first independent contemporary arts centre, centrally located in the civic district. Its sub-sections include a black box theatre, a gallery, a dance studio, the Blue Room and two multi-function classrooms. It was the venue for the nascent PLU Sunday meetings in the early 90s. The historic PLU 2 pre-registration discussion was also held in the Blue Room in 2003.

 

 

[Image:21TanjongPagar001.jpg128px]

[Image:21TanjongPagar002.jpg230px]

[Image:21TanjongPagar003.jpg128px]

[Image:21TanjongPagar004.jpg128px]

[Image:21TanjongPagar005.jpg128px]

[Image:21TanjongPagar006.jpg128px]


 

A growing arts, entertainment and lifestyle block managed by Guan Seng Kee Pte Ltd, just next to Ya Kun Kaya Toast. The lift serving the upper floors has a modern interior but is rickety and painfully slow. The building houses the following establishments:

:1) Space 21

An unrenovated 1950-sq ft art space and multi-function hall situated on level 3, the second home of Utterly Art.

 

[Image:Space21-001.JPG230pxInterior view of Space 21.]

[Image:Space21-002.JPG230pxAnother view of the interior of Space 21.]

[Image:Space21-003.JPG230pxView of the doors leading to multipurpose hall on level 2 21 from the courtyard outside.]

[Image:Space21-004.JPG230pxPortion of the courtyard on level 2.]

[Image:Space21-005.JPG230pxAnother portion of the courtyard on level 2.]

[Image:Space21-006.JPG230pxAnother view of the courtyard.]

 

:2) MOX Bar & Café [http://www.mox.com.sg/] on level 4.

 

It is a versatile venue which can be transformed into a bar-cum-function space equipped with lights, sound and platforms to hold events like product launches, birthday bashes and cabaret shows. Tel: 6323-9438, fax: 6227-9647.


[Image:MOXBar001.JPG230pxView of the exit at MOX Bar & Café.]

[Image:MOXBar002.JPG230pxInterior of MOX Bar & Café.]

[Image:MOXBar003.JPG230px]

[Image:MOXBar004.JPG230pxLounge area with grand piano in the background.]

[Image:MOXBar005.JPG230px]

[Image:MOXBar007.JPG230pxGarden swing in one corner.]

 

:3) The Attic

 

The topmost floor is a vault-like loft under the same management as MOX Bar & Café. It has a seating capacity of up to 150 people and is suitable for exhibitions, fashion shows and performances. It was the former location of the Sunday services of the Free Community Church [http://www.freecomchurch.org/](from 2002 to 2004) and Toy Factory Theatre Ensemble [http://www.toyfactory.org.sg/index2.htm](from 2004 to 2005). Currently, it houses Bianco which contains a small bar and has an all-white decor. Dr. Russell Heng's talk When Queens Ruled! A History of Gay Venues in Singapore was held here on 16 Aug 05 as part of IndigNation, Singapore's first gay pride month.

 

[Image:BiancoSpore001.jpg128pxStairs leading up to the entrance of The Attic/Bianco.]

[Image:BiancoSpore002.jpg230pxThe compact bar of Bianco.]

[Image:BiancoSpore003.jpg230pxView of the interior of Bianco nearest the entrance.]

[Image:BiancoSpore004.jpg230pxView of the other half of Bianco, showing the DJ console, screen and central row of square bed-rests.]


 

  • Utterly Art [http://www.biotechnics.org/2utterlyart.html]

 

208 South Bridge Road, Level 2 (above Xposé), Singapore 058757. Tel: 6226 2605, fax: 6226-2645, e-mail: utterlyart@pacific.net.sg. It is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 11:30am to 8pm, and on Sundays from 12 noon to 5:30pm. It is closed on public holidays, but open on Christmas and New Year's Eve till 5:30pm.

 

[Image:UtterlyArt001.JPG128pxExterior façade of Utterly Art, on the second floor, viewed from South Bridge Road.]

[Image:UtterlyArt002.JPG230pxThe glass door next to Xposé's entrance leading to the stairs to Utterly Art.]

[Image:UtterlyArt003.JPG230pxAn exhibition of paintings by Martin Loh.]

[Image:UtterlyArt004.JPG230pxA view of Martin Loh's artwork in a corner of Utterly Art, next to the windows.]


 

It provides exhibition space and management services to a diverse and vibrant range of local and Asian artists, and internationally-renowned photographers. The most active gallery on the Singapore art scene, it is a leading showcase of works by established painters like Martin Loh and Chng Seok Tin, as well as popular young artists like Trina Poon.

 

It was the venue for the very first event of IndigNation, Singapore's historic, inaugural, government-approved gay pride month celebration in August 2005. This was an exhibition of paintings by artist Martin Loh entitled Cerita Budak-Budak, meaning 'children's stories' in Peranakan Malay. The event was followed up with [Contra/Diction - A Night with Gay Poets] held on 4 Aug 05, Singapore's first public gay poetry reading session which was attended by over 70 people, with standing room only.

 

Bars, pubs and karaoke joints

 

(For drag queen performance bars such as the Boom Boom Room and Gold Dust, see the article Transgender people in Singapore).

 

[Image:TanjongPagarRoadMap.JPGleft325px|Map of Tanjong Pagar Road with the red strip having a high concentration of gay bars along it. Other gay establishments are also located along Neil Road and nearby areas.]

Most of Singapore's gay bars are located in the Tanjong Pagar constituency, through the heart of which runs Tanjong Pagar Road. This has earned it the nickname of Singapore's Castro Street after its legendary namesake in San Francisco. Gay establishments are found sporadically along Tanjong Pagar Road and adjoining thoroughfares such as Tras Street, Neil Road, Duxton Hill, Ann Siang Road, as well as nearby districts such as Chinatown.

 

 

This grand daddy of all gay karaoke joints, along with the now-defunct Babylon, was originally located along Tanjong Pagar Road. It provided divas with an outlet to show off their vocal skills for almost 10 years before drawing its shutters on 24 July 2004. It was later resurrected at 3 Duxton Hill, a stone's throw away from its former location. Tel: 6220-6966.

 

[Image:InnerCircle001.JPG165pxExternal façade of Inner Circle viewed from Duxton Hill.]

[Image:DuxtonHill001.JPG294pxRow of shophouses along Duxton Hill where Inner Circle is located.]


 

Ample parking space is available just outside or at the Craig Place building along Craig Road which houses a multi-storey carpark.

 

A pub-cum-disco originally located in Tanjong Pagar on the left half of where Happy today stands, it was one of the most popular with the trendy young crowd for 7 years since 1997 and attained quasi-icon status.

 

[Image:Taboo001.JPG235pxExternal façade of Taboo viewed from Neil Road.]

[Image:NeilRoad001.JPG235pxRow of shophouses along Neil Road in which Taboo is located.]


It closed in August 2004, only to be reincarnated at 65/67 Neil Road (opposite Tantric Bar and near where Rairua sauna used to be). Tel: 6225-6256.

 

 

13A Trenggannu Street (at the corner with Temple Street), Chinatown, tel: 6227-1712.

 

[Image:BackstageBar001.JPG230pxView of Backstage Bar, on the upper floor, proudly displaying the rainbow flag, from the corner of Trengganu and Temple Streets.]

[Image:BackstageBar002.JPG230pxLocation of Backstage Bar, on the right, along to Trenggany Street, left.]

[Image:BackstageBar003.JPG230pxLocation of Backstage Bar, on the left, next to Temple Street on the right.]


 

A cozy, nicely decorated, gay-owned bar, with a balcony for flirting with passers-by. Fridays and Saturdays are particularly jam-packed. The staff are very hospitable and drinks are reasonably priced. It is located close to multiple clubs and gay saunas, opening daily from 7pm until the wee hours.

 

 

70 Amoy Street. Gay-owned and staffed, the bar offers room to enjoy cocktails, meet people and indulge in chit-chat.

 

[Image:CapriceBar001.JPG128pxExternal façade of Caprice, viewed form Amoy Street.]

[Image:CapriceBar002.JPG128pxThe shophouse in which Caprice is located.]

[Image:AmoyStreet001.JPG230pxRows of shophouses along Amoy Street in which Caprice is located.]


 

The decor is modern and warm with natural wood flooring and fixtures. Friendly, professional and attractive staff make one very welcome. It is a nice addition to the local club scene and is close to other clubs and discos.

 

  • Oso café restaurant

 

145 Telok Ayer Street, opposite Thian Hock Keng Temple, tel: 6323-4642, fax: 6836-0266.

 

[Image:OsoRestaurant001.JPG230pxExternal faade of Oso, viewed from Telok Ayer Street.]

[Image:OsoRestaurant002.JPG128pxCorridor with Oso on the left, with 2 red lanterns hung above its doorway.]

[Image:ThianHockKengTemple001.JPG230pxTelok Ayer Street with the tourist landmark Thian Hock Keng Temple on the left, just opposite Oso.]


 

A gay-owned and managed bar serving fusion cuisine, beer, wine, and cocktails. A cosy place for friends to gather, sing karaoke, and spend quality time together. Frequented especially by Chinese-educated bears, it spins good music and has a soothing ambience.

 

 

[Image:TantricBar001.JPG165pxTantric Bar proudly hanging the rainbow flag above its entrance.]

[Image:TantricBar002.JPG294pxThe row of shophouses along Neil Road in which Tantric Bar is located.]

 


 

78 Neil Road (across from Taboo), tel: 6423-9232. It is a gay-owned and managed bar, the first to drape a rainbow flag above its main entrance. It has an open courtyard and a great atmosphere with a world music ambience. Weekends groove to the deepest "deep house". It opens daily from 8pm to 3am. The crowd is gay but gay-friendly straights are also welcome.

 

 

208 South Bridge Road, #01-01 (in the same building as Utterly Art), tel: 9842-7849. A gay-owned, second home for anyone seeking Prince Charming or looking for a nice cozy place to dine with their dates.

 

[Image:XposeBar001a.JPG235pxExternal façade of Xposé Café, Bar and Restaurant viewed from South Bridge Road]

[Image:XposeBar002.JPG235pxVitrine of Xposé.]

[Image:XposeBar003.JPG132pxEntrance of Xposé.]

[Image:XposeBar004.JPG235pxPicture at the left of the entrance to Xposé]


 

It serves authentic Thai food prepared by Chef Deang, with 20 years' cooking experience, who cooks home-style dishes with a passion. Karaoke starts after 8:30 pm abetted by a great sound system to accompany one's crooning. It especially welcomes bears, chubs and their admirers. Regulars, who tend to be Chinese-educated, chat on EFNET IRC, channel [#GAYCHUB@SG].

 

The management allowed the organisers of IndigNation[http://www.yawningbread.info/indignation/events.htm], Singapore's inaugural gay pride month in August 2005, free use of its premises to conduct the historic, first-ever public talk on homosexuality to be held in an indoor venue since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's 2004 liberalisation of the rules governing these events. The lecture was entitled "Same sex love in classical Chinese literature" and was delivered to a capacity audience by Dr. Tan Chong Kee on 2 Aug 05 [http://www.yawningbread.info/indignation/reviews.htm].

 

Lesbian bars

 

44A Tras Street, tel: 6220 5271. It is one of the few girls' hangouts with a pool table. Week nights are strictly for ladies with Saturday being the only night when male companions are welcome.

 

[Image:AlternativeBarSpore001.JPG165pxExternal façade of Alternative Bar, on the second floor, viewed from Tras street.]

[Image:TrasStreet002.JPG294pxRows of shophouses along Tras Street, where Alternative Bar is located.]


 

It is located on the second floor, accessible from the staircase beside Legend bar. To drive away the Monday blues, it is free pool all night long. Opening hours are from 9pm onwards on weekdays and Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and public holidays.

 

 

95 Club Street, tel: 6325-9595.

 

[Image:Club95Spore001.JPG165pxExternal façade of Club 95 viewed from Club Street.]

[Image:ClubStreetSpore001.JPG294pxRow of shophouses along Club Street where Club 95 is located.]


 

Situated in a busy night life area in downtown Singapore, this lesbian-owned and managed bar offers a relaxed, cool, modern style, with excellent music and a friendly welcome. Saturdays are theme nights. It is open daily from 7 pm till late. Happy hours are from 7-9 pm.

 

 

30 Mosque Street, tel: 6221 1239.

 

[Image:CowCoolies001.JPG235pxExternal façade of Cow & Coolies viewed from Mosque street.]

[Image:MosqueStreet002.JPG235pxThe rows of shophouses along Mosque Street where Cow & Coolies is located.]


 

A pub for womyn to showcase their vocal prowess, belting out the latest Chinese hits.

 

47 Neil Road.

 

[Image:SkyBarSpore001.JPG235pxExternal façade of Sky Bar, undergoing renovation, viewed from Neil Road.]

[Image:NeilRoad002.JPG235pxShophouses along Neil Road, where Sky Bar is located.]


 

A karaoke bar run by lesbian owners, it is patronised by a mixed gay and lesbian crowd. It holds soup nights and pool tournaments.

 

Discos

 

Opened in August 2004, taking over when Taboo vacated, at 1 Tanjong Pagar Road but incorporating double the space with the takeover of the next-door unit which gives it a sizeable dance floor.

 

[Image:HappyDisco001.JPG230pxThe building along Tanjong Pagar Road where Happy is located.]

[Image:HappyDisco002.JPG128pxEntrance to Happy.]

[Image:HappyDisco003.JPG230pxLeft side of main bar in Happy.]

[Image:HappyDisco004.JPG230pxRight side of main bar in Happy.]

[Image:HappyDisco005.JPG230pxRear courtyard of Happy.]

[Image:HappyDisco006.JPG230pxLounge area in Happy.]

[Image:HappyDisco007.JPG230pxDance floor and curtained stage in Happy.]

[Image:HappyDisco008.JPG230pxDJ console to the right of the dance floor.]

[Image:HappyDisco009.JPG230pxSecond bar to the right of the dance floor.]


 

Celebrities and wannabes sip "happysexuals" (their signature vanilla, vodka and lime cocktail). DJ Marvin Kam is in the house. Long queues on weekends.

 

  • [Why Not?]

 

[Image:WhyNotSpore001.JPG235pxExternal façade of Why Not? viewed from Tras Street.]

[Image:TrasStreet001.JPG235pxRows of shophouses along Tras Street, where Why Not? is located.]


 

56-58 Tras Street, very near the Tanjong Pagar MRT station, tel: 6323-3010. Former karaoke pub which was converted into a disco after the karaoke craze died down. Less posturing and more wild dancing than at Happy.

 

  • Cocconuts at Cocco Latte- located at 76 Robertson Quay #01-09, along the perimeter of the Gallery Hotel at Mohd Sultan Road, tel: 6735-0402. 2-storey club with an intimate lounge area on the first floor and DJ on the second. Despite unique features like kitschy decor, striptease poles, flashing neon signs, drink specials and date-matching via number tags, the atmosphere is rather sedate. Open Tuesdays to Sundays. Sunday nights is Cocconuts, a boyz party from 7pm-3 am.

 

 

 

  • Onyx- at One Fullerton (opposite Fullerton Hotel), Collyer Quay. Nearby Raffles Place MRT station. Formerly known as Centro and the song remains the same: the shirtless worshippers are here to hook up to the beat and soak up the sex, sweat, and muscle. Sunday is their ONS (One Night Stand) gay party night and women are discouraged from entering by charging them higher entry fees.

 

69 Circular Road, #01-01, tel: 9191-4846.

 

[Image:RAVSpore001.JPG235pxExternal façade of RAV viewed from Circular Road.]

[Image:CircularRoad001.JPG235pxRows of shophouses lining Circular Road, where RAV is located.]


Singapore's first gay after-hours club spinning progressive and tribal house. RAV decks itself out in a vibrant coat of red and a kaleidoscope of enticing lighting. There is a cozy semi-enclosed chill lounge off to the left of the dance floor. Saturdays and Sundays, 3am to 6 am.

 

:Located at 17 Jiak Kim Street, tel: 6738-2988, Zouk was built inside 3 warehouses along the Singapore River that date back to 1919. Still one of Asia's trendiest clubs, the interior design was influenced by a mish-mash of styles from Moorish North Africa and Gaudi's Park Guell to Aboriginal art and Turkish baths, with a mix of minimalist furniture, mirrored walls, high-tech lighting and plasma screens thrown in.

:The complex is divided into 4 distinct areas. The flagship Zouk club which is globally renowned with a mainly house and techno policy is a favourite with many gays. It is accompanied by Phuture which covers big beat, drum & bass, down tempo, nu jazz and anything experimental. Meanwhile Velvet Underground aims to achieve an intimate club experience. This is a place for slightly older clubbers with cosy alcoves and comfortable lounge areas as well as a well-stocked champagne cocktail bar. Another section is the Wine Bar, a pre-club bar and chill-out zone with an outdoor seating area and a café offering hot dogs and sushi.

:Zouk club is very organised about who is spinning on which dates. The best time to meet gay folks is when guest DJs are in attendance, so the schedule on their website should be checked. However, because of the upscale, mixed crowd, discretion is warranted. Packed on Fridays and Saturdays. Wednesday is the Retro day, although not really that gay. When big-name international DJs perform, one should arrive between 7-9pm to get cheaper tickets as prices rise after 9 pm.

 

Saunas

 

  • Raw [http://raw.maleculture.com/]

45 Ann Siang Road #02-02 just behind Maxwell Food Center and a 5-min walk from the Tanjong Pagar MRT station, tel: 6222-2252.

 

[Image:AnnSiangRoad003.JPG230pxShophouses along Ann Siang Road. Raw sauna is located right at the end of the row on the left.]

[Image:RawSauna004.JPG128pxRaw sauna, occupying the rightmost unit, next to Ann Siang Hill. The big square pink sign advertising its location is seen jutting out from the third level.]

[Image:RawSauna005.JPG230pxThe ground floor, permanently closed entrances to Raw, formerly doorways to Raw's gay restaurant and drag queen cabaret-cum-disco which closed down after several months of operation.]

[Image:RawSauna001.JPG128pxEntrace to Raw sauna, facing Ann Siang Hill.]

[Image:RawSauna002.JPG128pxSide wall of Raw sauna, facing Ann Siang Hill.]

[Image:RawSauna003.JPG230pxRear view of Raw sauna, with its sun-tanning roof garden visible from Ann Siang Hill below.]

[Image:MaxwellFoodCentre001.JPG230pxMaxwell Food Centre, located along Maxwell Road at the base of Ann Siang Hill, is a popular hangout for gay night owls on weekends after the nearby pubs close.]


 

The third sauna established by entrepreneur Max Lim in 2003, its competitive advantages are its budget entry fees, 24-hour opening times and a 'barracks' containing individual rooms for those desiring to stay for prolonged periods. It pioneered the concept of theme nights, which later spread to all saunas. This introduced variety and catered to subsegments of the gay crowd such as chubs, foam party lovers, minority races, foreigners and sun worshippers. It also experimented, for a short period, with an à la carte restaurant on the ground floor, a transvestite cabaret and male undergarment/swimming trunk fashion shows. It was the only sauna to proudly hang a rainbow flag, an LGBT icon signifying diversity, outside its main entrance. It is located next to Ann Siang Hill, already a popular cruising ground. Membership is no longer required.

 

 

An upmarket sauna at 17 Upper Circular Road between Boat Quay and Clarke Quay. The Raffles Place MRT station is closest. Tel: 6223-0017.

 

[Image:OneSeven001.JPG235pxClub One-Seven - an upmarket gay sauna along Upper Circular Road.]

[Image:UpperCircularRoad001.JPG235pxThe row of shophouses along Upper Circular Road in which Club One-Seven is nested.]


 

Nude nights start on Friday from 7pm till Saturday morning. Saturdays from 7pm to midnight are 'short towel', and after midnight it is 'skin'." It was the first to have an al fresco swimming pool which later had to be covered up, as office workers in the neighbouring building could have a bird's eye-view of the frequently naked men lounging around the poolside. The floor above, which was formerly occupied by a bank, was acquired and renovated at great expense in 2004 which effectively doubled its cruising space. Two men were arrested here by undercover policemen for homosex in 2003. Their penalty was commuted from a potential 2-year jail sentence under section 377 of the Singapore Penal Code to a mere $600 fine under section 20 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act in what may be a landmark ruling in Singapore legal history, as far as gay rights are concerned.

 

 

6 Loke Yew Street. The City Hall MRT station is the nearest. Tel: 6336-6328. It has private suites, group areas, a steam room, jacuzzi, hydrojet cool pool, café and private sun deck. Open Mondays to Fridays from 4pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon. The crowd is a mix of locals, expats and visitors. It is billed as Singapore's largest gay sauna and also the most expensive. Its monthly nude "full moon parties" held once a month on the 15th day of the Chinese lunar calender, and youthful attractive patrons are the greatest attractions. It has been consistently ranked as the most popular sauna in Singapore through various polls.

 

  • V-club [http://www.vclubcafespa.com/]

 

7 Mosque Street, near Chinatown, tel: 6221-2729.

 

[Image:VClubSauna001.JPG128pxShophouse in which V-Club is located.]

[Image:VClubSauna002.JPG128pxEntrance to V-Club.]

[Image:MosqueStreet001.JPG230pxRow of shophouses along Mosque Street, in which V-Club is located.]


 

A 3-level sauna appealing to a mainly Chinese-educated clientèle. It has the most nude nights in a week, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

 

 

182 Telok Ayer Street near Tanjong Pagar, tel: 6221-0367.

 

[Image:ShogunSpa001.JPG230pxExternal façade of Shogun Spa, viewed from Telok Ayer Street.]

[Image:ShogunSpa002.JPG128pxShophouse in which Shogun Spa is located.]

[Image:TelokAyerStreet001.JPG230pxShophouses along Telok Ayer Street, where Shogun Spa is located.]


 

The Box was Singapore's first cruise club, a concept which proved less popular locally, so it was later converted into a sauna. It was one of the last saunas to introduce nude nights. No membership is required.

 

 

2 Jalan Pinang, near Bugis Junction outside the CBD. Parking is available at the Golden Landmark Hotel. The Bugis MRT station is closest. From here, it is a 5 min walk in the direction of Sultan Mosque. Tel: 6295-5668. Established by a naturalised Frenchman, it has a full gym, a café with free Internet access (the first gay sauna to offer such a service), and a large steam room. The entrance fee is inexpensive and no membership is required. It is patronised by a crowd of all nationalities. Nude nights are on Sundays; Thursday nights are for 20-somethings only. Another 4 men were arrested here in April 2005 in a police raid masquerading as a night-time fire-safety inspection. The outcome of this case is still pending amidst the apparent official backlash against the rising incidence of HIV infection amongst homosexuals in Singapore.

 

 

05-01, Sultan Plaza, 100 Jalan Sultan near its junction with Beach Road, tel: 6392-2396. It is unique amongst gay saunas in that it charges a standardised entry fee of $19 and that it closes relatively early even on weekends.

 

[Image:SultanPlaza00.JPG230pxView of Sultan Plaza from Jalan Sultan.]

[Image:SultanPlaza002.JPG230pxSide façade of Sultan Plaza.]

[Image:SultanPlaza003.JPG230pxSide entrance of Sultan Plaza.]

[Image:DiamondHealthCentre001.JPG230pxSnazzy new entrance to Diamond Health Centre.]


 

It started as a straight sauna offering massage by women masseuses, but gradually gained a predominantly gay, elderly Chinese-educated clientèle. This phenomenon of homosexuals eventually forming the majority of patrons in a previously straight establishment is affectionately locally known as "colonisation". It was the first sauna to have a coin-operated karaoke machine on its premises, free buffets and Hollywood/Hong Kong movie screenings, all of which proved to be very popular. It closed in early 2005 for renovations and reopened for business on 29 May 2005 with a relocated entrance but has, since the latter date, been patronised mainly by elderly straight Chinese customers, making it more of a mixed sauna again. Recently Wednesday nights have been promoted for chubs and their chasers, with this phenomenon spilling over into the weekends.

 

Outdoor venues

 

Being frequented mainly at night by a stigmatised minority in fear of running afoul of the law every time they congregate for social or sexual intercourse, outdoor gay hangouts have remained largely unknown to the mainstream public. It was only in the mid-90s that police harassment of homosexuals at these venues stopped, although sporadic complaints by members of the public may still be investigated. The following list, which includes cruising areas some conservative gays may feel does not cast a favourable light upon the Singaporean homosexual image, has been drawn up for the sake of academic comprehensiveness and as a record of the collective local gay memory.

 

(For transgender (transvestite/transsexual) venues such as Bugis Street, Johore Road and Changi Village, see the article Transgender people in Singapore.)

 

[Image:HongLimParkMap.JPGleft325px|Location of Hong Lim Park on the map.]

Also officially known as Hong Lim Green, it was the first and formerly the most famous Singaporean gay venue listed in the première international gay tourist reference, the Spartacus Gay Guide. It was affectionately code-named "Honolulu" or "Hollywood" in the early years by some English-educated gay men. Later, after the fame of the movie, others also nicknamed it "Jurassic Park" as an irreverent dig at the geriatric homosexuals who frequented the place. Cruisy at night for more than half a century, its dim lighting and tall shrubbery provided ideal conditions for quickies between gay men, especially elderly Chinese-educated ones, until the bushes were pruned and bright lights installed in the early 90s to deter such activities. Nightly cruising and sex also took place in a small 2-storey shopping centre which was demolished and replaced by the present car park. The setting-up of the Kreta Ayer Neighbourhood Police Post in an old building next to the car park was also considered a measure to curb late-night cruising. Straight patrons were shocked at some young boys holding hands and wrote letters to the newpapers in the 80s to complain. In spite of several police patrols in which these boys were questioned, no one was charged as nobody was caught flagrante delicto. Photographs:


[Image:HongLimPark01.JPG230pxView of one of Hong Lim Park's signboards with the fountain on the right]

[Image:HongLimPark02.JPG230pxView of the Speakers' Corner signboard with the Clarke Quay MRT station exit visible in the background.]

[Image:HongLimParkMRT001.JPG230pxA close-up of the MRT station exit conveniently located next to Hong Lim Park.]

[Image:HongLimPark03.JPG230pxA park signboard with the Kreta Ayer Neighbourhood Police Post visible in the background.]

[Image:HongLimPark04.JPG230pxThe stone table and benches where young boys and other gays used to gather and chat especially in the 1980s.]

[Image:HongLimPark06.JPG230pxThe perimeter footpath with Furama Hotel visible in the background.]

[Image:HongLimPark07.JPG230pxThe newly-constructed toilets next to the community centre.]

[Image:HongLimPark08.JPG230pxThe car park next to the park where a 2-level shopping centre used to stand prior to the 1980s.]

[Image:HongLimPark09.JPG230pxWooden benches strewn along the periphery of the park make ideal resting spots to chat up other men.]

[Image:HongLimPark11.JPG230pxA close-up of the Speakers' Corner signboard next to the police station.]

[Image:HongLimPark12.JPG230pxA warning agaist instrument-augmented commotion.]

[Image:HongLimPark13.JPG230pxA close-up of the Kreta Ayer Police Post viewed from the main road.]

[Image:HongLimPark15.JPG230pxA visiting patrol car viewed from the car park next to Hong Lim Green. Policemen used to patrol the whole Boat Quay area on bicycles in the 1980s and early 1990s in an attempt to deter nighttime cruisers.]

 

  • Fort Road Beach- a secluded stretch of reclaimed land near Fort Road in Tanjong Rhu, visited by gay men since the 1980s. Nude sunbathing or swimming sometimes takes place as it is remote from public view and no one is disturbed. Its future as an idyllic gay venue is uncertain as development plans may bring it into direct public access. Less frequented stretches of beach include the more secluded areas near Changi Point which in the past were occasionally visited by heterosexual Gurkhas and Korean construction workers who served as the draw for local gay men, the segment of East Coast Parkway near Big Splash and the area near the People's Association chalets.

 

Cruisy at night since the early 1990s, but much less so since a landscaped sanctuary named Ann Siang Hill Park was built in 2004 with adequate illumination so that clandestine activities are not so convenient.


[Image:AnnSiangHill001.JPG230pxEntrance to the lane leading up to Ann Siang Hill.]

[Image:AnnSiangHill002.JPG230pxHistorical activities on Ann Siang Hill signboard.]

[Image:AnnSiangHill004.JPG230pxFirst courtyard encountered on the way up Ann Siang Hill.]

[Image:AnnSiangHill005.JPG230pxWall against which 2 stone benches were located where gays used to sit, chat and fondle each other.]

[Image:AnnSiangHill010.JPG128pxApproaching the second courtyard near the summit, another area of concentrated cruising activity before the landscaped park was built. There were no stone benches here, so people mainly cruised standing up or walking around.]

[Image:AnnSiangHill015.JPG230pxTimber-constructed patio at the summit. The wooden swing where gays used to sit was removed in mid-2005 probably for safety reasons.]

[Image:AnnSiangHill011.JPG230pxGoing down the stairs leading to Ann Siang Road.]

[Image:AnnSiangHill013.JPG230pxChia Ann Siang historical signboard.]

[Image:AnnSiangHill014.JPG128pxWooden gateway to Ann Siang Hill Park.]

 

 

[Image:AnnSiangAlley001.JPG128pxThe most notorious alley in the Ann Siang area, just behind the Club Street open carpark. It still experiences considerable nightly cruising traffic today.]

[Image:AnnSiangAlley002.JPG128pxA formerly cruisy alley branching off from Ann Siang Road, before the mushrooming of gay saunas made street cruising less popular.]

[Image:AnnSiangAlley003.JPG128pxAnother view of the same alley.]


 

Less popular after the sprouting of numerous gay saunas since the late 1990s and the development of well-lit commercial complexes like China Square which replaced the dark, dank, derelict shophouses where night-time cruising took place.

 

  • Katong Park- the previous toilet which was completely enclosed by 4 brick walls was a hive of activity. The new toilet, built in 2003 during a major redesign of the park, whose interior is visible from the outside via large gaps in the slotted timber walls is much less conducive to cruising, although some still takes place. Most homosexuals prefer to stroll in the fresh air along tracks traversing and skirting the perimeter of the park.

 

Enclosed/Indoor public venues!

 

More comprehensive and up-to-date listings can be found at the Utopia website's Singapore pages:[http://www.utopia-asia.com/tipssing.htm]

 

  • Toilets

 

  • Swimming Pools

 

  • Shopping Centres

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