Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Chinatown ‘hipster hangout’ Lepark to close by end of month

SINGAPORE — Tapas bar and rooftop restaurant Lepark, a popular “hipster hangout” in Chinatown, will be shutting its doors at People’s Park Complex by the end of this month.

The three-year-old rooftop restaurant Lepark and the surrounding multi-storey car park were put up for sale in August. TODAY file photo

The three-year-old rooftop restaurant Lepark and the surrounding multi-storey car park were put up for sale in August. TODAY file photo

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — Tapas bar and rooftop restaurant Lepark, a popular “hipster hangout” in Chinatown, will be shutting its doors at People’s Park Complex by the end of this month.

The three-year-old establishment and surrounding multi-storey car park was put up for sale in August. The property, which holds 648 parking lots and a 2,800-sqf retail strata unit, is valued at an indicative asking price of between S$55 million and S$60 million, marketing agent Savills Singapore reported.

Speaking to TODAY, Lepark co-owner Carmen Low, 30, said that, with its lease ending and the sale of the property, it was unable to stay on despite drawing a healthy crowd.

Lepark’s rooftop space has hosted various pop-up events, including outdoor movie screenings, yoga sessions, art markets, and a pet adoption drive. It also works with Getai Group, a collective that curates cross-cultural pop-up festivals.

Lepark has even been sought out by young couples looking for a location to take their wedding photos.

Ms Low, who calls herself a “Chinatown kid”, said that she was inspired to bring some “soul” to and tap underutilised spaces in the heritage-rich Chinatown neighbourhood where she grew up. Her family ran a traditional Chinese medicine business in the area for three generations.

The abandoned car-park space at People’s Park Complex was once viewed as a “dead space that would not be able to thrive”, she said, but it has now turned into a vibrant enclave that attracts young people, families and even tourists going off-the-beaten track.

Lepark, which was named to play on the Malay word “lepak”, which means “to chill out”, is one of the first few stops for foreign visitors hosted by the Singapore Tourism Board. Patrons get a different experience from, say, visiting a museum, Ms Low said.

News of the impending closure have come as a blow to some loyal customers. For Mr Kenneth Lee, 30, an architect now working in Japan, he was drawn to the space due to its “unpretentious” vibe and “iconic” location. He visits Lepark twice a month with his friends.

He added that part of the attraction of the place is its somewhat hidden location, and there is sense of “discovery” and adventure for first-timers hunting it down — be it through a flight of stairs or through an unmarked lift.

“Lepark appeals to people, like myself, who are eager to support local businesses that remain true to their roots and connect with the arts and culture community ... Knowing (that it will close down) is bound to disappoint a lot of people for sure,” he said.

Mr Emmanuel Lek, 34, who works in retail, went to Lepark for the first time last month with his fiancee, after watching Ah Boys To Men actor Maxi Lim’s video about the restaurant-bar on social media.

“We had not known that such a place existed in Chinatown and were hoping to drop by (more often) to chill and relax,” he said, adding that he is saddened by the news of the closure.

For now, it is business as usual until Lepark’s last day of operations on Sept 30. It will still be organising a festival to create awareness about dementia. While the team is still exploring its options for relocation, Ms Low, who is also the co-founder of eatery Afterglow on Keong Saik Road, also in Chinatown, said that the company is in discussions with various parties, such as property developers and cultural associations.

“To go to a new rooftop at a shopping centre, that’s very easy, but we want to take our time to find something that really represents (the) Singapore (identity),” she said.

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.