Vroom for F1 parties: At least six new clubbing destinations join the list

Party ar Bang Bang, a new club at Pan Pacific Singapore. -- PHOTO: BANG BANG
Party ar Bang Bang, a new club at Pan Pacific Singapore. -- PHOTO: BANG BANG
Dance with English DJ Miles Slater at Podium Lounge. -- PHOTO: PODIUM LOUNGE
Dance with English DJ Miles Slater at Podium Lounge. -- PHOTO: PODIUM LOUNGE
Groove at the Johnnie Walker Circuit Lounge party. -- PHOTO: 1-ALTITUDE
Groove at the Johnnie Walker Circuit Lounge party. -- PHOTO: 1-ALTITUDE
Enjoy the 360-degree rooftop view, with 70 per cent visibility of the track from the 63rd floor at 1-Altitude. -- PHOTO: 1-ALTITUDE
Enjoy the 360-degree rooftop view, with 70 per cent visibility of the track from the 63rd floor at 1-Altitude. -- PHOTO: 1-ALTITUDE

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to start your party engines.

Singapore's Formula One party calendar is in overdrive, with at least six new clubbing destinations joining at least 15 others in the merrymaking next weekend.

The new party pitstops - many barely a year old - include art gallery cum nightclub Canvas at The Riverwalk, Fashion TV-linked nightclub f Club at Clarke Quay, club lounge Altimate at 1-Altitude in Raffles Place, dance club Bang Bang and the Poolside Pitstop bash at Pan Pacific Singapore hotel.

There is also new rooftop club lounge Empire at 50 Raffles Place, slated to open its doors officially next Friday, the same day the F1 race here flags off.

Club operators and event organisers are pulling out all the stops to woo the well-heeled. A behind- the-scenes F1 experience, an unbeatable view of the race action, a stellar line-up of rap stars and top international guest DJs as well as entertainment acts from belly dancers to stilt-walkers are just some of the offerings.

Taking place in and around the circuit, these champagne-fuelled bashes are an integral part of F1 weekend where A-list celebrities, race heroes and the local party elite hobnob every year.

The cover charges at these parties usually range between $30 and $100 a person, with table bookings requiring a minimum spending that run upwards of $1,000.

Ms Melody Chan, 27, marketing and events manager of f Club, says: "As F1 is a major event here, many will hop on to the F1 bandwagon to hype up their business. Clubs and lounges have to up their ante in order to provide an attractive line-up of events. This leaves consumers spoilt for choice."

The club is dangling carrots such as free glasses of champagne and a chance to win diamonds worth $20,000 to rev up sales. It will also feature a star-studded entertainment line-up that includes Method Man and Redman from legendary American hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan.

Bang Bang, which opened last month at the space formerly occupied by nightclub Mink, will feature guest acts such as the Infiniti-Red Bull Racing team's DJ Erok and hot electronic dance music DJ Politik from Los Angeles.

Noting that many of the F1 parties "tend to be lifestyle-driven events", Bang Bang creative director Sarissa Schwartz, 28, says the club will focus "more on unadulterated fun and getting back to the high- energy silliness of nightlife".

For example, the club will be using carbon dioxide gas blasters, confetti cannons and other production elements to inject the "high-energy" feel.

As of yesterday, the club is already fully booked for next Saturday night, and Friday night is filling up fast too.

Meanwhile, Canvas says it will offer something different by catering to an "alternative crowd" who prefer drum and bass, techno and electronica. Its head of marketing and communications, Ms Audrey Choy, 25, says the line-up includes a DJ set by Irish electro rockers Two Door Cinema Club and English drum and bass DJ Dub Phizix and MC Strategy. The club will host the official F1 Williams Martini Racing team's closing party on Sept 21.

With competition hotting up, seasoned F1 party hosts such as Zouk, Tanjong Beach Club, Ku De Ta at Marina Bay Sands, 1-Altitude in Raffles Place and the annual Johnnie Walker Circuit Lounge are also striving to keep things fresh.

At Tanjong Beach Club, the F1 festivities kick off tomorrow night with the Full Steam Ahead beach party, helmed by veteran DJ One With Aldrin, who will be performing with tabla player M.S Maniam.

Tanjong Beach Club is one of the official party venues for champagne brand G.H Mumm, along with f Club, Lantern at Fullerton Bay Hotel and the Poolside Pitstop Party at Pan Pacific Singapore.

Mr Phillip Poon, 37, a creative director of Massive Collective, the co-organiser of Poolside Pitstop, says this year's party will be extended to two days instead one, and will feature more local and international DJs. Last year's Poolside Pitstop attracted 700 partygoers.

About 50 per cent of the bookings for next Saturday have been filled while only 25 per cent of Sunday's bookings are still available.

The annual Johnnie Walker Circuit Lounge roving party, which started in 2009 - it was called the Johnnie Walker Jet Black party before being renamed in 2012 and is one of the most popular F1 bashes in town - is throwing not one but two parties this year.

Its first party will be held at The Butter Factory in One Fullerton on Sept 19 and the second will be at new nightspot Altimate at 1-Altitude the following night. Party guests will stand to win prizes such as a VIP Formula One Paddock Club experience, where they can enjoy a tour of the pit lane and killer views above the pit garages.

"Consumers want a taste of the glamorous race action and our F1-themed parties will give them the chance to step inside the elite and exclusive world of Formula 1," says Mr Mal Dixit, 41, marketing director of Moet Hennessy Diageo Singapore and Malaysia, which represents Johnnie Walker.

1-Altitude, which houses restaurant Stellar, gallery-bar 1-Altitude and new club lounge Altimate between the 61st and 63rd floors of One Raffles Place, is banking on its "killer view" and entertainment line-up to draw revellers.

1-Altitude offers a 360-degree rooftop view, with 70 per cent visibility of the track from the 63rd floor. Middle Eastern belly dancers, Brazilian drummers with samba dancers, acrobats from China and LED-lit stilt-walkers wearing F1 helmets will also entertain.

1-Altitude's general manager Ian Sim, 42, says: "Our view is unbeatable both from the rooftop and Altimate on the 61st floor." He says the venue is expecting a full house for all three nights, with a turnout of between 700 and 800 people per night.

Despite the competition, Mrs Schwartz of Bang Bang says the variety of options "only adds to the party scene in Singapore" and will enhance the experience of visitors in town for F1, enticing them to come back again.

A spokesman for rooftop restaurant and club lounge Ku De Ta, which is expecting a full house this year, agrees, adding: "New F1 parties come and go every year, which is fine as it keeps the F1 nightlife scene interesting."

Hong Kong native and Singapore permanent resident Peter Leung, who parties at different venues across the island during the F1 weekend each year, says there are "so many parties to choose from", which makes it difficult to figure out which ones will have the right vibe and crowd. This year, he will be heading to new club Empire on Friday, and may check out parties at restaurant bar Catalunya and the Poolside Pitstop at Pan Pacific Singapore.

Mr Leung, a private investor and founder of social networking app Asia Elites who declines to give his age, says: "It's a great chance to catch up with friends, network and meet people from all over the world.

melk@sph.com.sg