The new concept kicked off on Wednesday and will run for four days a week.
Singaporean techno club Headquarters has opened its doors for the first time since March as the country's number of new COVID-19 cases stabilize.
The venue's second floor, called Upstairs, has officially transformed into a socially-distanced bar open from the afternoon until 10:30 PM. The first floor remains closed.
Live performances of any kind, including DJ sets, are still banned in Singapore, so the bar's decks remain empty for now. Dancing isn't allowed and masks are mandatory for patrons when they're not eating or drinking. Groups are limited to five people and to ensure limited capacity, Upstairs is reservation-only.
"We're still trying to work with the relevant authorities to explore options as to what we can or are allowed to pivot to," says Eileen Chan, who cofounded Headquarters in 2016 with Clement Chin. The duo also run an agency called The Council that operates two other venues, Tuff Club and Somewhere, both of which remain shut.
Over the past month, Singaporean authorities have urged nightlife operators to switch to a food and beverage business model or exit the industry entirely. In November, the government announced a pilot program for a staggered reopening of nightlife but applications are only open to a limited number of establishments.
Changing the business model has been "a long and painful process" but it's paid off, according to Chan. "It's been heartbreaking seeing the room that once held so many beautiful souls left empty for the past eight to nine months," she tells RA. "It feels nice to finally be able to welcome back all the familiar faces. It's truly the people that make our space feel like a home."