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More than Mambo Jambo: 5 things to know about Zouk

Published on Aug 21, 2014 5:58 PM
 
Zouk, one of Singapore's most iconic and popular nightspots. -- ST FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE - Zouk clubbers will not have to move the party elsewhere for awhile yet.

One of Singapore's most popular nightspots was given a one-year extension for the lease on its premises at Jiak Kim Street on Thursday, with a further extension to 2017 promised if it manages to secure a new location by June 30 next year. 

The area where the club is currently located is slated for residential use, under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) latest Master Plan. And while the land has not been set up for sale yet, it is surrounded by residential units, and there have been complaints about the club's patrons littering and causing noise pollution by residents living near the nightspot.

The club has enjoyed great success in its 23 years at its current location in warehouses gazetted for conservation, becoming an icon here and a must-go venue for those looking to experience the clubbing scene.

Here are five facts about the self-described "club like none other in Asia".

1. It is considered one of the best clubs in the world

Party-goers at Zouk welcoming in the new year at the end of 2012.  -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT

Zouk has been named Singapore's Best Nightspot Experience by the Singapore Tourism Board a record nine times, but the rave reviews are not just from within Singapore.

It placed 7th in the latest DJ Mag's Top 100 Cubs (considered an industry standard), beating out other world-famous clubs such as the Ministry Of Sound in Britain and Los Angeles' Avalon. It's highest ranking was 5th, in both 2012 and 2013, quite a feat considering the competition it faces from other cities known for their nightlife such as Ibiza and Las Vegas.

The club has also been mentioned in global publications such as Time and Wired.

2. It is housed within historical buildings

Zouk is housed in three historical warehouses that have been gazetted for conservation.  -- PHOTO COURTESY OF ZOUK

The land on which the club is located had three dilapidated warehouses - built in 1919 - on it when the club owners tendered for the location. Instead of tearing down the buildings, the owners cleaned it up, restoring its facades, and renovating the interiors to a more modern design while keeping its traditional architecture.

There have been multiple revamps of the place since it opened its doors in 1991, with the last major one being a $7-million refurbishment in September 2005, when the whole club remained closed for a month. 

3. There are 5 different "clubs" within the complex

The interior of Velvet Underground, one of the clubs at Zouk.  -- ST FILE PHOTO

While there is a main dance hall that bears its name, there are four other outlets on its premises, with different themes to suit differing needs or tastes. 

Zouk is the largest, with a capacity of 1,500, cutting-edge lighting and multi-level dance floors, and it regularly features international DJs and live performances, among other functions. There is the exclusive Velvet Underground, launched in 1994, which was split into a Dance and a Lounge experience in 2011. Phuture, which opened in 1996, is smaller and has (as its name implies) a futuristic setting and an LED wall that was unveiled in 2012. To round it off is the Wine Bar, which is meant to be a pre-party meeting place or post-event chillout spot.

4. There is a branch of the club in Kuala Lumpur

Exterior of Zouk in Kuala Lumpur.  -- ST FILE PHOTO

Located in Jalan Ampang, Zouk KL opened to much fanfare in March 2004 with a $45,000 launch party. The interior decor of some of its dance halls mirror those in Singapore, but it also has its own take on what its patrons want, with other units such as Aristo and Barsonic that are not found in Singapore.

The owners are moving to a new $14.8-million facility in an entertainment hub called Trec in Jalan Tun Razak in January next year, as its lease on its current location runs out at the end of this year.

5. It is behind Singapore's biggest dance party

Fireworks being set off at Zoukout 2013.  -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT

Every year since 2000, the club organises Zoukout, seen as one of Asia's largest music dance festivals. Usually held at the end of the year on Sentosa, the event attracts people from all over the world looking for an electronic music extravaganza.

Besides boasting huge crowds - a record 41,000 people turned up at last year's affair - the organisers of the event regularly manage to get some of the dance genre's biggest names to come and grace the festival. Among the renowned DJs to turn their tables at Zoukout are Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Avicii, Tiesto, David Guetta and Paul Oakenfold.

 

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