Bars that play good tunes are far and few between in Singapore (there are only so many times we can endure Chainsmokers and Twenty One Pilots, much less on loop), and with the highly likely demise of iconic music hotspot Blu Jaz Cafe coming soon, things are looking bleak for those of us who are fussy about our background music.
Literally shining a light in the poorly lit district of Ann Siang Hill, White Label is a welcome refuge for those with a bit more refined taste than the hoi polloi that may frequent the vicinity. This time, good music is put front and center — and that’s because the venue is a proper record store by day, and a bar by night. Also, it’s one with legitimately good sound systems.
And, no corporate overlords here — the place was set up by music lovers for music lovers. The integrated record store and bar is a vision conceptualized by the same folks behind homegrown website and vinyl records community marketplace #vinyloftheday.
Having established themselves as an online space for like-minded music geeks, White Label is considered to be the brick-and-mortar rendition of their concept. And if it comes with physically digging through records, regular party nights with live DJs, as well as a constant stream of drinks and bar bites (including limited lunch sets), all the better.
We hear that the kitchen’s still tinkering with its food menu, but as of this article’s publication date, they’ve been serving up bar bites like spicy edamame ($6), spam fries ($6), potato salad ($6), and chicken teriyaki tsukune ($8).
In drinks, White Label’s array of signature cocktails come courtesy of Jerrica Lee, alumna of hip Shanghai cocktail lounge Craft. Lee brings in an emphasis on the fresh flavors of natural ingredients cutting through the booze, which is evident in the extra gingery, extra citrusy Moscow Mule ($16) and the fresh fruit mojito ($16 small/$20 large).
The White Label Iced Tea ($20), a spin on the Long Island that blends in pu’er tea and goji berries, is solid, too — but for our money, the Chrysanthemum vodka martini ($20) is the best way to get buzzed fast. Non-cocktail options include a rotating selection of spirits, wines, and beers. Pabst Blue Ribbon ($10) features prominently in the drinks menu, too, which shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s into this kind of scene.
Back to the music. White Label founders Sharon Seet (behind Esplanade’s The Analog Vault), Kurt Loy, and Darren Tan — both veteran DJs in the local nightlife scene — are already planning a bevy of special music-themed nights at the space, with Boiler Room-esque live streams (check out Singapore Community Radio) and gigs to be held in the future.
Dance floor-shy types can come too, and simply choose to peruse the curated records on sale, which Tan mentioned will focus on local and regional offerings. Word is that White Label will be bringing in mint original pressings of famed ‘80s Japanese pop princess Mariya Takeuchi’s landmark record Variety — more popularly known to millennials as the Youtube Suggestion Girl behind “Plastic Love”.
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Incoming shipment this week! We have these limited copies of Mariya Takeuchi – Variety LP in mint condition and some even includes the original obi strips. This album includes her top hit, “Plastic Love”. Please take note these are only available for purchase from tomorrow, Thursday 1pm onwards. Read more about this amazing “Plastic Love” hit via http://cratedig.us/plasticlove or click link on our profile. P.S.: We don’t do reservation for this record, thank you for your kind understanding. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #whitelabel #recordstore #singapore #asia #vinyloftheday #recordshop #bar #event #annsiangroad #music #mariyatakeuchi #annsianghouse #disco #vinyl #vinylcommunity #vinylcollection #vinylcollectionpost #vinylcollector #tatsuroyamashita #recordcollection #records #cafe #beer #annsiang #japanesepop #jazz #citypop
“We feel that nothing transcends the analog experience of record store shopping,” commented Tan.
“There is no better retail therapy than walking into a record store, thinking that you already what you want, before leaving with some unexpected new finds,” he said.
White Label is at 28 Ann Siang Road, #01-01
Mon-Tues 11am to 9pm; Wed, Thurs, Sat 11am to 12pm; Sun 11am-5pm