Singapore: Drinking with an angel

 |   |  2 min read

Singapore: Drinking with an angel

It's always a pleasure — and sometimes even necessary given the humidity — to just plonk down in one of those cheap street-corner eateries in Singapore and take in the passing parade of diverse humanity over a cold bottle of Tiger beer.

But sometimes you might want for ambience which is a little more classy . . . and for that you need Divine, a huge bar (maybe half the size of rugby field) on the ground floor of the distinctive Parkview Building near Little India and Arab Street.

The Parkview – which opened in 2002 – has always seemed an oddity, even in Singapore's diverse architectural landscape.

IMG_7364The statues in the garden are of an eclectic bunch (find the common thread between Churchill, Plato, Dali and Dante if you can) and the building itself is some weird amalgamation of Art Deco as re-imagined by self-aggrandising Mussolini. (It's all about the imposing, inhuman size).

You could imagine with the right lighting an especially broody Batman movie could be shot here where Empire State-meets-Metropolis (the 1927 movie, not the Auckland apartment tower).

IMG_7360With grandiloquent d├ęcor, false balconies about six metres above the ground floor, heavyweight furnishings and wine racks stacked behind glass above the main bar which reaches at least 10 metres behind the main bar, Divine is muscular, sophisticated, slightly kitsch and out to impress.

Very impressive is the young girl in a tutu and angel wings who “flies” up that wine cellar on a hydraulically operated hook.

In the tower block above are offices and some embassies, and latterly with new buildings closing in around it Parkview is actually seeing less and less of that park out the back.

But in the sophisticated bar that hardly matters as your eye is engaged by the ceiling murals, oversized fittings, other patrons in for cocktails after work or the band which plays at night in the balcony above the other bar at the far end of the room.

Of the beers on their lengthy beverages list you can find Italian, Czech, Irish (it's Guinness, of course), Australian, American and Belgian all represented. So if it's a cold Tiger and a street parade you were interested in, Divine isn't the place.

Let's not kid ourselves, this doesn't come at cheap Singapore prices. A whisky and soda (with “hand-cut ice” of course) clocks in at around $22 — the ice looked much like what comes out of my plastic tray at home — although the lengthy cocktail list is pitched between $22 and $26.

That actually doesn't seem unreasonable . . . given you get to see an angel fly for wine every now and again.

IMG_7340

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Travels articles index

Dumfries, Scotland: Oor Rab

Dumfries, Scotland: Oor Rab

One of the most cherished books in our house when I was a boy was a collection by Robert Burns, or “Rabbie Burrrns” as my mother said. The book was little bigger than a matchbox,... > Read more

Fiji to Vancouver and beyond: My life lovin' friends: Parts One and Deux

Fiji to Vancouver and beyond: My life lovin' friends: Parts One and Deux

Part One: Travel isn't usually conducive to long-term friendships. Any fork in the road can mean you and your new-found companions may part company, paths never to cross again. Which made is... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Lenny and Squiggy: Foreign Legion of Love (1979)

Lenny and Squiggy: Foreign Legion of Love (1979)

You don't dig into From the Vaults looking for good taste or class, but you do find oddities like this which resonates on many levels throughout rock culture. Lenny and Squiggy were the... > Read more

Mamadou Diabate: Courage (World Village)

Mamadou Diabate: Courage (World Village)

As the son of kora player N'fa Diabate who was a founder of the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali and with the great Toumani Diabate as a cousin, Mamadou was born to play the kora. For this, his... > Read more