They’re niche, arguably hipster and definitely random.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

They’re niche, arguably hipster and definitely random. Swop mainstream bar visits and restaurant meals for these niche concept spaces. Anyone for Game of Thrones golf with an order of mead? By Clara How


Golf shakes offits stuffy, polo shirt-wearing older demographic in the form of this so-cool-it-hurts mini golf course and cocktail bar. The Australian parent company owns and operates the local incarnation, which opens in December 2018 with 27 pop culture-themed holes (Game of Thrones, E.T., and Jaws) across three courses, including a Singapore themed hawker centre hole. Previously occupied by Shanghai Dolly, the neon, technicolor, two-storey club takes 450 people (each hole is around 15 sq m in size, which is a good fit for groups of five). Packages are available if you’re looking to book for parties. The nosh is equally brash, with brightly coloured burger buns, outsized food and cocktails topped with jelly beans and fairy floss.

3 River Valley Road Prices from $12 a person. https://holymoly.sg


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"Go big: Neon buns hold threepound burgers here."
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You know that with “ownself make” in the name, local flavours are bound to take the throne. And they do – in a quintessentially Singaporean three-room HDB space. Private supper parties have been trending, but Ownself Make Chef is so popular that dinners are snapped up months in advance. If you don’t recognise Chef Shen Tan’s moniker, you may remember her signature nasi lemak, which appeared at Revolution Coffee; her first restaurant, Wok & Barrel; and the now-closed Ujong at Raffles Hotel. The chef’s humble kitchen in Commonwealth plays host to 12 guests eager to sit down to an eight-course mod-Sin meal, which changes every month. The humour is as bold as her flavours – expect menus like Lock Stock & Broth, and Rice to All Occasions, featuring unusual takes like Nasi Lemak Dessert and homemade meatballs and bone broth in Bak Chor Mee.

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Before there were mobile games, there were board games – no Pokemon Go can hope to capture the US$9.6 billion (S$13.3 billion) board game industry. The conveniently located King and the Pawn is a board game cafe that carries 300 games and also provides liquid courage (or knowledge) in the form of craft beer, cocktails, wine, and locally roasted coffee.

The kooky interior kicks it back old-school with decor that pays homage to classic favourites – a tiled wall that mimics Tetris, coasters made from Scrabble tiles, and Snakes and Ladders wall art.

Don’t know where to start? If you have a large group, go with Cards Against Humanity, Sushi Go Party! and Red Flags. Duos might compete over Klask (a game similar to air hockey, but with magnets), and strategy games like Patchwork and Raptor.

Level 2, 24 Purvis Street www.kingandthepawn.com
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"The food is so good, people sometimes forget to make their move."
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This record store is not just a throwback. Sure, the vinyl records it sells are fairly niche (city pop, funk & soul, dub, electronic, even Japanese jazz), but the place, integrated with a bar, has made nostalgia so cool it’s a hashtag. Created by the founders of online community #vinyloftheday (a marketplace and app with an international following of music lovers buying and selling vinyls), the brick and mortar store offers curated collections, a selection of cassettes, and an astute drink menu created by bar consultants. Music-themed nights, live acts and signature cocktails featuring fresh fruit and vodka are on the menu.

#01-01, 28 Ann Siang Road www.facebook.com/whitelabelvotd 
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The 2018 tent life is more bohemian glamour and less teenage tarp tents: queen-size beds replace sleeping bags; fairy lights and lanterns are used in favour of torches; and services provide games, hammocks, and customisable decor.

Glamping City provides a novel alternative that outshines staycations because of the option to customise. You can choose a theme (say, The Great Gatsby or Arabian Nights), a special occasion (a birthday package), or even the location (have a big, crazyrich backyard? Your tent can be set up there!). The people have spoken: Six out of 10 Glamping City customers customise their packages, which have included outdoor movie screenings, a campfire in Sentosa, and personal BBQ chefs.

It’s proven so popular that within the first month of starting the company in 2017, it expanded from one tent to 15. (While you may find glamping options on Airbnb, you don’t get the luxury of curating your preferences.)

With “experiential” being the operative buzzword, the glamping trend is also the ultimate social media cachet. Remember: You didn’t sleep in a tent if you didn’t ’gram it.

A couple deluxe tent starts at $170. www.glampingcity.com 
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You might think that getting the chef of your favourite restaurant to casually show up at your party and cook you a meal is the stuff of fantasy (and your stomach talking). But luxury event planner The Inside Access, launched this August, wants to do just that – create a bespoke dining experience for clients by tapping on its extensive network in the culinary scene.

Founder Arron Goh has more than 17 years of experience in F&B, and what gives him the edge over the competition is that he has the contact list to prove it. Name a preferred chef, and he’ll sort it. Arron’s pulled off yacht parties for a Chef on Board experience, with an extravagant example being Drew Nocente from Salted & Hung on one yacht, and the famous Sembawang White Beehoon zi char team on another.

Food is just one of the aspects Arron takes care of. For a surprise birthday party at a client’s home, not only did Arron get the team from Pollen to take care of the food, he turned the house into a club, complete with music man Jeremy Monteiro and a DJ.

If you’re not up for a party, you’ll appreciate the option of private Food Tours, where you can state your foodie preference: enjoying meals in notoriously hard-tobook restaurants, or exploring hidden street treasures and watering holes tucked away in smaller alleyways.


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"Some of the dishes served up by the Pollen team in the Chef on Board series."