Longplay: Haji Lane's newest haven for hipsters

We didn’t think hipster central Haji Lane could get any cooler, but say hello to the neighbourhood’s new music lounge and bar, Longplay, a super stylish audiophile temple.

Longplay: 4 Haji Lane/33 Arab St, S189197/S199732
Longplay: 4 Haji Lane/33 Arab St, S189197/S199732
11 Mar 2015

Longplay: 4 Haji Lane/33 Arab St, S189197/S199732

We didn’t think hipster central Haji Lane could get any cooler, but say hello to the neighbourhood’s new music lounge and bar, LONGPLAY, a super stylish audiophile temple.

The retro-hip Longplay is so cool it has two addresses. It’s a long, narrow and sleek space that cuts across two shophouse units, with one entrance on Haji Lane and the other on Arab Street. But that’s not the reason for its name. The key selling point of this music lounge and bar (by Unlisted Collection, the group behind trendy digs like Burnt Ends) is a kick-ass sound system and selection of “long-play” or LP vinyl records that provide the vintage soundtrack here. 

THE LOOK: There are two main areas: an intimate 16-seat counter surrounds the open kitchen and bar at the Haji Lane entrance, and the Arab Street entrance opens into a 30-seat “music lounge”. The bar is all swish industrial: lots of wood panelling and the usual tungsten lamps. The music lounge — darker, sexier and gorgeously retro — is fitted with custom-made leather chairs and brass tables, each broken up by curtains for a little privacy. The space is designed by Shanghai architecture firm, Neri & Hu, evoking classy lounges from the ’60s and ’70s. 

The look
The look
11 Mar 2015

The look


Commanding pride of place here is a cool sound station costing a sweet six-figure sum. Two sleek UK-made Wilson Benesch turntables pipe music through two huge ATC speakers, apparently the largest in Singapore. It’s all geek-speak to us, but it sure looks purdy. Only vinyl records, spun by a resident DJ who’s in after 8pm, are played here, so you get a charming, crackly vibe to some of the older, un-remastered tracks.  

The vibe
The vibe
11 Mar 2015

The vibe

The sweet spot is in the middle of the music lounge, where you get the full blast of the atas sound system. The sound is warm and intimate, like a live performance, and the playlist mostly vintage picks: think The Beatles, Miles Davis and the occasional Japanese ’60s pop, providing a nostalgic buzz. Unlisted Collection’s boss, Loh Lik Peng, 43, is an ardent vinyl collector, and there are over 1,000 records here, many sourced from old record stalls and flea markets.  

The bites
The bites
11 Mar 2015

The bites

The food, created by Market Grill chef Colin West but cooked by in-house chefs, is mostly stylish bites to share and fare better than the drinks. The best thing on the menu: the tender, skillfully fried Togarashi Squid ($14), coated in a crispy, spicy batter, and served with a robust dip of ground chilli peppers, paprika and olive oil. 

The bites
The bites
11 Mar 2015

The bites

Also good is the Corned Beef Sandwich ($18), crusty sourdough bread packed with house-made corned beef that’s deliciously soft, fatty and served with pickles (though our colleague found that the meat had too strong a taste of what seemed like cinnamon). 

The booze
The booze
11 Mar 2015

The booze

The quirkily-named signature drinks are devised by bartender Nicholas Quattroville from The Library. Get the Land of the Raisin Son ($20), named for it’s raisin-infused Tequila, grapefruit, lime and honey. It’s a girly-sounding drink that packs a real punch: rich and syrupy with a tart, grapefruit zing. 

The booze
The booze
11 Mar 2015

The booze

Less convincing is the Hit the Road Jack ($25), a “nightcap” the bar will advise you to ta pow. It’s served in a bottle and paper bag. Cute, but the drink itself, a potent mix of bitter Cynar, Italian digestive Fernet Branca, wood-infused Jack Daniels and cardamom, is too medicinal for us.  

4 Haji Lane/33 Arab St, S189197/S199732. Tel: 6291-3323. Open daily except Mon. Tue-Sat noon-3pm; 6pm- 3am; Sun 2pm-10pm. Last orders 30 min before closing. www.facebook.com/LongPlaySG

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