Iconic nightclub Zouk moving to Clarke Quay

Crowd outside the popular nightspot Zouk in Jiak Kim Street on June 18, 2014. -- ST PHOTO
Crowd outside the popular nightspot Zouk in Jiak Kim Street on June 18, 2014. -- ST PHOTO

It will invest $10m in the space once occupied by lifestyle firm LifeBrandz

ICONIC home-grown nightclub Zouk has finally secured a new home - at Clarke Quay.

The 24-year-old nightspot will bid farewell to its Jiak Kim Street home next May.

It aims to start operations in Block C of Clarke Quay by next June at the earliest and September at the latest.

It will take over a 30,000 sq ft space formerly occupied by public-listed company LifeBrandz. Earlier this year, the beleaguered lifestyle group was forced to close all its food and beverage establishments. It had suffered a series of business failures and said at the time that "the venues are deemed not sustainable or commercially viable".

These outlets included nightclub Fenix Room, live music venue Aquanova and gourmet hot dog eatery HopDog.

The announcement by Zouk yesterday ends months of speculation about where it would move.

Zouk had been given until the end of this month to secure an alternative location, failing which it would have had to vacate the premises when the lease expired in December. By securing a location, it will be allowed to extend its lease till 2017 if it wishes to.

The authorities have said that the club has to move as it is incompatible with the Robertson Quay area, which is likely to see more housing under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Master Plan.

Zouk founder Lincoln Cheng, 67, said he is happy to have found a new home for the club, "where it will continue its legacy for the next generation".

He said: "The move to a new venue was inevitable... so when the space at Clarke Quay became available, we set out immediately to move to the new venue, to make our new home at the earliest opportunity."

In choosing the location, he said he had considered every potential venue "very carefully", from location and accessibility to the cost of building it up. He will be investing $10 million in the new Clarke Quay home.

Zouk was founded in 1991, when Mr Cheng converted a row of three derelict warehouses along the Singapore River into Singapore's first commercial dance club that brought electronic music to the forefront.

Over the years, the 40,000 sq ft superclub has brought in some of the best international music acts in the world, including Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork and top-ranking DJs such as Paul van Dyk, Tiesto, Hardwell and David Guetta.

It continually ranks as one of the top 10 nightclubs in the world in British publication DJ Mag's annual top 100 clubs poll, alongside famous ones such as Green Valley in Brazil and Pacha Ibiza in Spain.

The club has also outlasted fierce competition in Singapore's nightlife, including brand-name nightspots such as Ministry of Sound and Cafe del Mar.

With the securing of a new location, Zouk will also be able to continue its annual outdoor ravefest, ZoukOut.

Held at Sentosa's Siloso Beach each year, the two-day event attracts tens of thousands of dance music fans. This year's ZoukOut will be held on Dec 11-12.

Advertising executive and club-goer Daniel Foo, 30, wonders if Zouk is making the right move, given LifeBrandz's recent exit from Clarke Quay.

He said: "Given the track record of the space, it doesn't sound like a good move but then again, Zouk draws a loyal crowd, so maybe it will be a good thing for the whole of Clarke Quay."

Zouk's head of business development and public relations, Ms Sofie Chandra, acknowledges that there will be regulars who will be saddened by the move.

She said: "I believe that Zouk has had its loyal following because of what it was and what it represented. We will have elements within the new club to keep the memories from 25 years alive and well, and the new venue will give Zoukettes a chance to create new memories."

melk@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2015, with the headline 'Iconic nightclub Zouk moving to Clarke Quay'. Print Edition | Subscribe