Six nightlife and food and beverage operators, including The Butter Factory, are looking to open a restaurant and cafe at the Asian Civilisations Museum. Government tendering website GeBIZ showed that the National Heritage Board had recently put up a tender for an operator to run the museum’s restaurant and cafe in Empress Place, which overlooks the Singapore River.
The tender closed on Aug 26.
The Butter Factory announced on Thursday that it would be closing its 8,000 sq ft nightclub at One Fullerton when its lease ends next March and has made a bid for the museum space.
When contacted yesterday, The Butter Factory’s executive chairman Tay Eu-Yen brushed aside all queries regarding the bid for the museum space, saying: “This has nothing to do with the club.” Ms Tay, 35, said that she was unable to disclose her plans for the Asian Civilisations Museum space due to confidentiality reasons.
The Butter Factory had said on Thursday that it would not be renewing its lease at One Fullerton as it could not reach an agreement on the rent with landlord Sino Group. It said that The Butter Factory’s co-founders are exploring new venues to launch a new club concept.Ms Tay declined to talk about locations she is considering or details of what the new concept would be, citing confidentiality reasons. But she said it was business as usual at her other outlets, Sauce Bar at the Esplanade and restaurant- bar OverEasy at One Fullerton, which The Butter Factory opened in a joint venture with lifestyle group Lo and Behold in 2011.
“Butter’s closure does not affect these bars,” she said.
The Fullerton Heritage, which oversees the space The Butter Factory is occupying, is “presently exploring new partnerships to bring a fresh enhance the vibrancy of its tenant mix”, says its general manager Giovanni Viterale.
The Straits Times understands that Fullerton Heritage had approached lifestyle group Massive Collective in June to take over the space. Massive Collective runs a stable of nightclubs including Fenix Room and Dream in Clarke Quay, and restaurant Match and nightclub Bang Bang at Pan Pacific Singapore. The Prive Group co-owns Match and Bang Bang.
The Butter Factory is one of the oldest home- grown nightspots in Singapore, along with Attica in Clarke Quay and Zouk in Jiak Kim Street.
It launched as a boutique hip-hop and R&B club in Robertson Quay in 2006, before moving to its more spacious One Fullerton venue in 2009. A franchise outlet for Butter opened in Kuala Lumpur in 2012, but closed down earlier this year after The Butter Factory Singapore terminated the franchise agreement over contractual breaches.
Apart from Butter, the other operators who have made a bid for the Asian Civilisations Museum spot are AR Restaurant Group, which owns modern Partners, a subsidiary of leading F&B operator The Prive Group; Tadcaster Pubs, part of Tadcaster Hospitality which manages bars such as Molly Malone’s and BQ Bar in Boat Quay; the Lobby Of Scandinavia Holding; and Goodwood Park Hotel.The space, which covers about 1,490 sq m, was formerly occupied by restaurant IndoChine River.
The tender put up by National Heritage Board stated it was looking for a “qualified operator to run a flagship or destination restaurant and a cafe with mass appeal”.
It also said that the “concept must be relevant to the museum’s mission and the cultural landscape in the vicinity”.Bidders contacted by The Straits Times said they were unable to share their proposed concepts as it was still early days.
Mr Yuan Oeij, 45, chairman of the Prive Group, said he picked the Asian Civilisations Museum because of its location.“It’s fantastic and it fits in with our plans. But it is a very large space, which can be challenging, so you’d need the right concept there because rentals are unlikely to be low.”
Mr Alex Chew, 29, co-founder and director of Bacchanalia, said he is thrilled at the potential opportunity to open a restaurant and cafe there.
He added: “Our team is always inspired by the recipes, ingredients and history of South-east Asian cuisine that our diners rediscover through our creative approach to food.”