Once notorious for gambling and opium dens in the early 20th century, Duxton may have cleaned up its act, but it’s offbeat creative energy remains.
Today dotted with charming bars, fantastic restaurants and unique activities, one continues to find fascinating characters on its streets. Watch the neighbourhood go from day to night, and you will be in the company of yogis up for a morning workout, entrepreneurs hustling at one of the many cafes and revellers knocking down well-deserved drinks. Easily accessible from Tanjong Pagar and Outram MRTs, Duxton Hill is an oasis conveniently located in the CBD.
If you’re looking to soak in Duxton’s cool, this is the neighbourhood guide for you.
*Please note there will be further changes to the Covid-19 restrictions post the Phase 2 Heightened Alert on 13 June 2021. It goes without saying, the safety of everyone remains a top priority.
Things to do in Duxton
1. Discover heritage at Tea Chapter
Discover the art of Chinese tea appreciation at Tea Chapter. On the fringes of Duxton Hill, Tea Chapter is the largest and oldest tea house in Singapore. Enjoy relaxing hand-picked teas with a friend, or take part in an appreciation workshop to discover the fine arts of the brew. Be sure to try the Imperial Golden Cassia ($9 and up), a light Oolong that was served to Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Tea Chapter in 1989.
Address: 9 Neil Rd., 088808
Tel: 6226 1175
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sun. to Thu.); 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Fri. to Sat.)
2. Be productive at The Co.
To call The Co. just another coworking space is selling it short. A modern interpretation of the local community centre, The Co. aims to create a space that brings people together through culture, well-being and social initiatives. Nestled in a heritage shophouse in Duxton you will find collaborative event areas, shared workspaces and private offices. Day passes start from $45 and include coffee and tea, showering facilities as well as the usual office amenities.
Address: 99 Duxton Rd., 089543
Tel: 6950 2730
3. Look your best at Sultans of Shave
Ask any gentleman and he will confidently declare his barber is one of the most important figures in his life. The head honcho is someone you confide in, run things by and, of course, entrust your image with. Quite the responsibility! Nobody does it better than the good people at Sultans of Shave. Having served over 60,000 customers, Sultans of Shave provides more than just exceptional haircuts – be it a traditional shave, trim or even beauty treatments. Prices start from $55 for a haircut. (Duxton too far to travel? See what other top barbers are running shop around SG.)
Sultans of Shave
Address: 15A Duxton Rd., 089481
Tel: 6220 0201
Opening hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.); 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sat.); 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sun.)
4. Check out Duxton Plain Park
At first glance, it would be easy to mistake Duxton Plain Park as a simple park connector. Duxton Plain Park is in fact the remnants of the Singapore-Kranji Railway Line, which connected Kranji to the Singapore River. Today, it continues to move people as the shortest walk to Duxton Hill from Outram MRT, while providing a green respite in the city. Do spot (respectfully) a yellow-green Keramat along the park, a Muslim shrine said to belong to Sharifah Rogayah, the granddaughter of Habib Noh, a famous 19th century saint. (If you are looking to explore other parks, check out other hidden parks in Singapore.)
Duxton Plain Park
Address: Entrance via New Bridge Rd., Neil Rd., Kreta Ayer Rd. and Yan Kit Rd.
Where to eat and drink in Duxton
1. Pastaria Abate
Run by the friendly Gino Abate, Pastaria Abate sells authentic freshly made pasta and sauces at prices that don’t break the bank. Popular favourites include the Mixed Mushroom Pasta ($18.80) and Al Ragu ($18.80). Don’t forget to also treat yourself to a delicious Fried Mozzarella ($10.80) while you’re there!
Address: 86 Neil Rd., 088846
Tel: 8201 5155
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Daily)
On Duxton Hill, Praelum is one of Singapore’s best wine bars, managed by Gerald Lu, a two-time National Sommelier Champion and current President of the Sommelier Association of Singapore. Praelum’s team is knowledgeable about all things red and white, and always ready to give a suggestion about its ever-expanding cellar.
Praelum Wine Bistro
Address: 4 Duxton Hill, 089590
Tel: 6238 5287
Opening hours: 12 to 10:30 p.m. (Daily)
3. L’entrecôte The Steak & Fries Bistro
Tres chic! You can transport yourself to the heart of Paris at L’Entrecôte for an authentic French bistro affair. L’Entrecôte keeps things simple, with its signature Trimmed Entrecôte Steak ($38), doused in a legendary sauce and accompanied by a fresh salad and all you can eat fries. We recommend the Half-Baked Chocolate Cake ($16), served warm with a vanilla bean ice cream.
L’entrecôte The Steak & Fries Bistro
Address: 36 Duxton Hill, 089614
Tel: 6690 7561
Opening hours: 12 to 3 p.m., 5:30 to 10 p.m (Sun. to Thu.); 12 to 3 p.m., 5:30 to 11 p.m (Fri.); 5:30 to 11 p.m (Sat.)
4. Lucha Loco
Meters from L’Entrecôte you will find Lucha Loco, an electric Mexican cocina serving contemporary Mexican food. Enjoy warm Quesadillas ($16 each) to go with your tequila or Mezcal as you enjoy the fantastic garden beats that bring people back to Lucha Loco time and time again.
Address: 15 Duxton Hill, 089598
Tel: 8798 1035
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Daily)
5. Kreams Beer
Kreams Beer is the sister establishment to CafeKreams, an autumn-inspired cafe along Maxwell road. The Kreams concept is inspired by the days of spring, on the other hand, and offers casual after-work pints and cocktails and larger than life decor. Kreams signature is the So-Maek, a three layered drink of beer, soju shot and your choice of fruity beer ($13 and up).
Address: 60 Duxton Rd., 089524
Opening hours: 5 to 10:30 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.)
6. Latteria Mozzarella Bar
Cheese lovers, this one’s for you. Enjoy the widest selection of Mozzarella and Burrata cheeses to be found in Singapore in the idyllic setting of a Duxton shophouse. For lunch, Latteria offers a three course menu ($32), which includes the not-to-be-missed Linguine ai Gamberi. So grab a friend, a glass of wine and enjoy a quiet afternoon at Latteria.
Latteria Mozzarella Bar
Address: 40 Duxton Hill, 089618
Tel: 6866 1988
Opening hours: 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Daily, closed for Sat. lunch)
7. SG Taps
Despite its name, SG Taps does so much more than just good beer. Go for the specialty craft beer, with a daily selection of 10 on tap, and stay for the selection of Japanese-Singaporean fusion food, including the sophisticatedly named W.A.N.I (Wild Agri Next Innovation), a deep fried dish of crocodile and prawn tossed in wild spice ($19). Wowza!
Address: 13 Duxton Hill, 089597
Tel: 9815 4420
Opening hours: 12 to 10:30 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.), 1 to 10:30 p.m. (Sun.)
8. Xiao Ya Tou
Don’t sleep on the good Asian cuisine available in Duxton Hill – and Xiao Ya Tou is the jewel of the crown. With a classic interior that seems to be lifted from a period film, Xiao Ya Tou serves up familiar local cuisines refreshed with modern touches. Yet the food remains grounded and deliciously simple. Do try the Crispy Tofu ($17) and Lobster Kueh Pie Tee ($20). As with most Asian cuisines, Xiao Ya Tou’s plates are best enjoyed when it is shared.
Xiao Ya Tou
Address: 6 Duxton Hill, 089592
Tel: 6226 1965
Opening hours: 4 to 11 p.m. (Mon.), 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Tue. to Fri.), 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Sat. to Sun.)
9. Fung Kee Hotdogs
Does it get any simpler than a hotdog? Fung Kee Hotdogs does classic Swedish and Scandinavian hotdogs, and it does it well. But what makes it such a hit are the many drink options you can pair your hotdog with. Champagne, cocktails and beers – the possibilities are almost endless to put a boozy twist to a childhood classic.
Fung Kee Hotdogs
Address: 68 Duxton Rd., 089527
Tel: 9838 0436
Opening hours: 11:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Wed. to Sun.)
No list on Duxton Hill is complete without Bar-Celona. One of the few places where you will find the Spanish sparkling wine cava, Bar-Celona aims to make its bubbles affordable, selling high-quality cava directly imported from Spain and at a reasonable price. Pair an icy glass or two to go with their delicious oysters ($2 for 1 on Tuesdays) and you will be ready for a siesta soon.
Address: 21 Duxton Hill, 089604
Tel: 9299 7495
Opening hours: 5 to 10:30 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.)
11. IB HQ
The quaint, 30-seater IB HQ was opened only in 2018, but has already made a name for itself as one of the best cocktail bars in Singapore. This classic space is home to welcoming bartenders, charming characters and fantastic cocktails – all the right ingredients for a good night out. We recommend the Tiramisu ($24), with coconut infused rum, chocolate and vanilla liqueur shaken with espresso.
Address: Level 2, 76A Duxton Rd., 089535
Tel: 9025 3234
Opening hours: 5 to 10:30 p.m. (Tue. to Fri.), 3 to 10:30 p.m. (Sat.)
Where to shop in Duxton
1. Duxton’s indie bookstores
In and around Duxton, you will find a collection of independent book shops, curating a selection of everything from best-sellers to emerging stars. Whether it’s the Chinese literature focused Grassroots Book Room or the quirky Littered With Books and The Moon, there is nothing quite like the serenity of a bookstore, and no better way to unwind productively than with some casual browsing.
Grassroots Book Room
Address: 25 Bukit Pasoh Rd., 089839
Tel: 6337 9208
Opening hours: 12 to 8 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.), 12 to 6 p.m. (Sun.), Closed on Tuesdays
Littered With Books
Address: 20 Duxton Rd., 089486
Tel: 6220 6824
Opening hours: 12 to 8 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.), 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Sat. to Sun.)
Address: 37 Mosque St., 059515
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.), 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sat. to Sun.)
2. Monument Lifestyle
Part retail store, part cafe, Monument Lifestyle celebrates the simple pleasures of everyday living through food and objects. Discover many brands exclusive in Singapore to Monument such as the fantastically trendy Kimonos by Duxton, a mens-wear label founded by the same brains behind Monument Lifestyle.
Address: 75 Duxton Rd., 089534
Tel: 8792 8849
Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.), 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Sat. to Sun.)
3. Tong Mern Sern
Walk along Craig Road, and you will find a shop with a banner that boldly proclaims: “We buy junk and sell antiques. Some fools buy, some fools sell.” This is Tong Mern Sern, one of the few shophouses in the area that has not been refurbished. Packed with a never-ending collection of curios, Tong Mern Sern takes you back into time, pushing back against the throwaway culture of consumerism today with each vintage clock and porcelain bowl.
Tong Mern Sern
Address: 51 Craig Rd., 089689
Tel: 6223 1037
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.), 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. (Sun.)
Girl, put your records on at Retrophonic, an independent record shop dedicated to the world of vinyl, with records ranging from classical to reggae to mando-pop. Retrophonic sells record players as well for those who can’t wait to get started on their collection.
Address: 53A Duxton Rd., 089517
Tel: 6221 8130
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Wed. to Sun.)
5. Lululemon Duxton
Lululemon needs no introduction, and its Duxton location combines locally inspired design with community themes to make shopping for athleisure gear a luxurious experience. With a retail store and an open space dedicated to hosting fitness, health and mindfulness classes, Lululemon Duxton aims to be at the centre of wellness in Duxton, amidst the many fitness studios and gyms in the area.
Address: 79 Duxton Rd., 089538
Tel: 6221 8130
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.), 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sun.)
6. Maison 21G
The Maison 21G flagship on Duxton Hill allows you to create your own signature scent. Pair ingredients such as Sage Supreme and Cedar Caviar to capture your personality through haute perfumery. For a date idea, Maison 21G offers perfumery workshops ($150 each) for a fun, interactive session led by its expert perfumists.
Address: 77 Duxton Rd., 089536
Opening hours: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Daily)
By Thomas Soh / Images provided from the respective businesses’s website and social media accounts.