Boat Quay is the place to go at night. It is always vibrant, there are lots of people around, some are tourists and many are local office workers. There are also a lot of expats.
There are more refined places to eat in Singapore but not many of them are located on the Singapore Riverfront. The views of the surrounding skyscrapers are worth putting up with some of the loud music and tacky advertising put up outside. Some of the restaurants. There are a lot of fish restaurants but you will find food from around the world.
Chinese trading vessels originally moored here. The gentle arc of this wide river gave protection from storms at sea. Three quarters of all the shipping business in Singapore was being transacted in the Singapore River and especially at Boat Quay by 1860.
One hundred years later merchant ships had grown too big and had moved away from the Singapore river harbour. Area became rundown but between 1980 and 1990 the area was revitalised and became one of the nightlife centres of modern Singapore.
Many visitors miss the wonders of nearby Circular Road. It runs parallel with Boat Quay and is full of restaurants, clubs, bars and cafes catering for the first day and hungry after work. Executives and secretaries from the central business district. Tourists are also very welcome. The whole area comes to life just before it gets dark and keeps going until very late. The weekends this can mean 3 AM in the morning.
Many of the clubs and bars have live music. Go for a wander down the road and listen to what is on offer. When you find your type of music just go in and grab a seat. Order a drink and some bar food prepared to enjoy your evening. One of the annoying things about walking around Boat Quay and Circular Road is that each establishment employees staff to spot potential customers heading past the door.
They engage in conversation, whilst showing you a menu with pictures of what is on offer and in pidgin English try to convince you that their restaurant is the best in town. Luckily, most take no thank you to mean that you are not interested. Occasionally there is someone desperate to a commission that will be a bit more persistent and you have to be slightly more firm with them.