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17 March 2015

St Monica's

I have to admit that Boat Quay is not generally my first choice of places to go for a night out in Singapore these days.  Nearly five years of living here have made me appreciate there is a lot more to the island than this little stretch, but when St Monica's came on to my radar I was curious and decided to give it a go.  St Monica's is at the far end of Boat Quay, well past all the initial bars and restaurants that engulf the unsuspecting tourists as they explore this spot.  Make sure you keep on walking to discover it for yourself.

St Monica's is marketed as a dive bar which, according to Wikipedia, is an informal pub or bar often considered disreputable, sinister or a detriment to the community.  When I thought about it a little more I realised that I have often described places as dives (though maybe not in Singapore) and that this was never meant in a complimentary way.  St Monica, after who the bar is named, is the patron saint of alcoholics, disappointing children, victims of adultery and difficult marriages which only adds to the idea of it being a thoroughly dodgy but, let's face it, an interesting type of place to go to.  These two points got me even more curious!  St Monica's didn't disappoint and is rather cool and definitely worth a visit whatever your personal situation may be.

The bar is actually in the former location of the Spiffy Dapper, look out for the sign (pictured below) above the side entrance door of the shophouse and make your way up the steep, dark staircase to the second floor above.  Once you are inside you'll instantly notice that St Monica's is stripped back, dimly lit, basic and wonderfully unpretentious, a breath of fresh air amongst all the other bars in the area.  The decor is minimalist with simple tables and stools for sitting on and just a couple of framed collages of various rock band logos on the wall behind the bar.  There is no drinks menu to peruse, what you see behind the bar in terms of beers (they carry a range of American and English craft beers), ciders and spirits is what they have but the barmen can also make you a cocktail or two if you want.  I'm not a beer drinker so stuck to spirits and also had a cocktail, a particularly good daiquiri.  I do need to get back again to sample some others though.  My husband tried one of the beers, as recommended by the barman, an unusual whisky based one from Scotland.  The beer is brewed with Scottish water which is then conditioned in barrels used to mature Scotch whisky giving it a unique taste.  You can see the bottle in the photo below.



Looking towards the bar

The soundtrack to enjoy your drinks too is a fabulous rock one, there was some great music the night we visited and plenty of those rock anthems we all know and can sing along to from the 70s and 80s.  It's loud and fun and has had me humming a few of those classics all week!  With St Monica's laid back vibe it'll be no surprise that it feels like you can go there dressed as relaxed as you want, it's all about turning up, enjoying a few drinks and having fun.  Naturally being on the second floor of a shophouse in Boat Quay also guarantees a nice view over the Singapore river and down on to the crowds passing by below.  We sat right by the windows and there was something sort of fun about spying down on everyone walking past underneath.

Peeking out on Boat Quay below from the shophouse windows

View towards the Central Business District and Boat Quay from the Elgin bridge

I loved St Monica's and its 'couldn't care less' attitude and think it's definitely a welcome addition to the scene in the Boat Quay area.  Somewhere I would definitely choose to go to again.  Go find it too asap and let me know what you think!  


St Monica's is open Monday - Saturday from 6pm - 1am.  

Check them out on Facebook or on Instagram, @stmonicas_sg 

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