There’s no shortage of drinking spots in Singapore, but none are as iconic as the clarke/boat quay area.
Though it might lean towards the more expensive side of things (there are definitely cheaper places to get your drink on), tourists and locals alike still flock there every week. And if Zouk sets up shop in your backyard you must be doing something right.
The central location and high traffic make it the perfect place to set up a bar, so much so that even 7-Eleven have set up one of their own.
Well…kind of, at least.
It’s A Store And More
While 7-Eleven has always sold cans and bottles of alcohol, their outlet at 82 Boat Quay is home to a beer tap that serves up fresh pours for $4.70.
This clearly isn’t a dabao situation either — an open-air seating area has ben set up opposite the convenience store, and a hand-drawn sign below the tap lists the various “munchies” that you can order alongside your drink.
There isn’t anyone tending the tap, so just head on inside, tell the cashier you want a beer (never thought I’d be ordering one at 7-Eleven), and he/she will head out to serve you.
Just because you could doesn’t mean you should, though, and as I watched the cashier-bartender hybrid pour my beer, one word kept running through my head:
Good Idea, Bad Execution
Turning a 7-Eleven into a makeshift bar might sound like a novel idea on paper, but it’s actually a lot less exciting in reality.
Firstly, the only brand on tap is Tiger Beer — not exactly the most exciting of choices — and the amount you get is pretty much equivalent to a standard 330ml can.
All 7-Eleven’s sell said can at $4.10, which means that you’re actually paying 60 cents more for the privilege to drink out of a plastic cup. And it doesn’t help that the surrounding restaurants and bars are serving drinks in actual mugs at pretty competitive prices (at happy hour, at least).
If you can look past the #aesthetics of the fancy sign, you’ll also realise that the food on offer are the same things they’ve had in their ready-to-eat section for years.
Don’t get me wrong — I love me some Butter Chicken Briyani, but if the price and presentation remains unchanged, what’s stopping me from getting it from my neighbourhood outlet instead?
I can’t help but feel like more could be done to make the place feel a little more unique — I left with a bad taste in my mouth, and it wasn’t the beer.
I’m not sure who 7-Eleven was targeting with this half convenience store / half bar concept — CBD businessmen looking for a quick midday drink? Bored tertiary students who have nothing to do after their classes? Tourists who’d be reeled in by the novelty of it all?
I’ll probably never know, but what I do know is that it wasn’t me.
7-11 Boat Quay
Address: 82 Boat Quay, #01-02, Singapore 049870
Opening Hours: 24 Hours (alcohol available from 6am to 11:59pm)
(Header Image Source: Discover SG)