Keong Saik Road is a one-way road located in Chinatown within the Outram Planning Area in Singapore. Its Chinese name is called 恭锡路. The road links New Bridge Road to Neil Road, and is intersected by Kreta Ayer Road. The road has seen itself transformed from a residential area to a red-light area to the current commercial area over the years.
Keong Saik Road- Red Light District
Because of its proximity to Smith Street, which was a notorious red-light district at the turn of the century, Keong Saik Road evolved into to a red-light area in the 1960s as many brothels came to be situated in the three-storey shop houses that lined both sides of the street.
Keong saik road used to have a concentration of clan associations where well-to-do merchants and businessmen would meet for recreation in the forms of food, gambling and entertainment by women. Some of these women eventually became mistresses of these rich businessmen and were housed in the rooms above the association premises. some would stay with an servant, hired by their businessman lovers, to serve them. So, keong saik road is also known as the mistresses avenue.
With rapid urbanization of Singapore after its independence, the road shook off some of its notorious past. Since the 1980s, most of the brothels have moved out of the area, though about 10 are reported to be still in operation there in 2003.
Some Popular Bars in Keong Saik Road
Chinatown’s Keong Saik Rd is the new Bar and restaurant place to be seen. Now, some young businessmen have taken over many street’s shophouses, transforming them into classy cocktail lounges and high-end eateries. The following are some very popular bars or restaurants in this road.
1. The Library
One of the stand-out venues is The Library Bar, styled in the spirit of the illegal speakeasy bars in prohibition-era United States. From the outside, it looks like a small, innocuous glass fronted room with a bookshelf at one end. But walk up and tell the bookkeeper the secret password (you can get it from Keong Saik Snacks next door) and you enter the bar – a dimly-lit with some truly imaginative and spectacular cocktails.
Address: 47 Keong Saik Rd
2. The Retrospective
Get transported back in time with this 80s and 90s-themed bar and restaurant. From the ancient arcade games to the menu, everything about this place will conjure some memories decades past.
Address: 21 Keong Saik Rd
Tel: 6223 1334
3. Taratata Bistrot
Charming Parisian bistro decor, an impressive wine list, and French classics like escargots ($24) rich with butter and garlic as well as Burgundy-style beef simmered in red wine ($37) make a meal here a special treat.
Address: 35A Keong Saik Rd
Tel: 6221 4506
4. Keong Saik Snacks
A joint project by British celeb chef Jason Atherton and famed local hotelier Loh Lik Peng, this casual eatery serves up a selection of simple, if sometimes underwhelming, bites like shaved asparagus, beet and radish salad ($18) as well as grilled bone marrow with London gentleman’s relish ($19). They’ve also just launched a weekend Punch Brunch menu (Saturday-Sunday 11am-4pm).
Address: 49 Keong Saik Rd
Tel: 6223 0660
How to Get Keong Saik Road?
1. Nearest Bus Stop
Bus 80 and 145
Walking 1 mins from bus stop B05241
2. Nearest MRT station
Outram Park MRT (NE3/EW16)
Walking 2 mins from Exit H to here