Butter Factory to close
One of Singapore's hottest nightclubs, The Butter Factory, will shut its doors after its lease expires in March next year following a six-year tenure at One Fullerton.
Operators of the 8,000 sq ft club said yesterday that they made the decision after being unable "to come to an agreement with the landlord on rent".
However, restaurant-bar Overeasy, a 5,000 sq ft venture between The Butter Factory and lifestyle group Lo & Behold at One Fullerton since 2009, will remain open.
When contacted yesterday, Ms Tay Eu-Yen, who is the club's executive chairman and is co-founder of Butter Factory Group, remained coy on future plans, saying only that "with the end of our lease, we have decided to give The Butter Factory a break and are going to explore new concepts".
On the rent situation, Ms Tay, 35, said: "As with all commercial transactions, there are times when parties disagree and have diverging objectives. Our landlord has been very fair and we regret that we are unable to accept their offer."
But Ms Tay said that the club, which crafted a distinctive brand that marries flamboyance, electronic music and youthful exuberance, has had a good run since it moved to One Fullerton in 2009.
The club opened in March 2006 at Robertson Quay at a cost of $500,000. It moved to its current location later.
The move to the new premises at One Fullerton cost the five Singaporean co-owners $2 million.
Ms Tay, who is also the vice-president of the Singapore Nightlife Business Association, said: "When we moved into One Fullerton, it was to help revive the area... We are glad that we have achieved that and it is very fulfilling to know we succeeded in turning a place around."
Nightlife operators say such rebranding exercises are not unusual.
Mr Godwin Pereira, 40, director of lifestyle and hospitality group Limited Edition Concepts (LEC), said: "It is always good to come up with new brands to give your club a new lease of life."
He added that the people behind The Butter Factory are "credible operators", so he trusts they are keeping things "fresh and exciting".
Established in 2012, LEC owns and manages The Vault in Circular Road and Club Kyo in Cecil Street.
Clubber Jolene Tan, 24, told The New Paper that The Butter Factory "is a unique club that offered unique parties" and will be missed.
The Butter Factory also owns the quirky 5,000 sq ft bar Sauce at the Esplanade, which opened in 2011.
In August 2012, The Butter Factory opened a franchise outlet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 10,000-sq ft, two-storey nightclub was set up at a cost of $2.45 million.
But in January, it terminated its franchise agreement with Malaysian operator JV Entertainment due to "numerous" contractual breaches.
The Butter Factory will celebrate its ninth anniversary at One Fullerton at the close of its lease.
"When we first moved into One Fullerton, it was to help revive the area... We are glad that we have achieved that and it is very fulfilling to know we succeeded in turning a place around."
- Ms Tay Eu-Yen, executive chairman and co-founder of the Butter Factory Group
Clubs shuttering aren't a bad thing, really
The news that The Butter Factory will vacate its premises when it lease ends in March next year will certainly leave some clubbers mourning.
For those who don't know about the place, the club occupies two loud rooms and plays different musical genres from hip-hop to electro.
There is no denying The Butter Factory has had a good run. Business remains brisk, if the long queues where club-goers continue to wait up to an hour to gain entry, is any indication.
But what makes the club cutting-edge is its "personality". Despite being one of the oldest and most established clubs here, it continues to make a mark with its quirky concepts and crazy party vibes.
For example, their patrons (as well as the club's co-founders Bobby Luo and Ritz Lim) are known for their crazy homemade costumes that they whip up for nights out.
It also actively promotes music at the grassroots level by featuring home-grown DJs and giving clubbers an alternative to the mainstream clubs here.
Already, many are wondering if the vibrancy of One Fullerton will take a hit once the nine-year-old club pulls down its shutters for good.
But don't be fooled by the doomsayers who say The Butter Factory's imminent closure spells trouble for the Singapore clubbing landscape.
Let's not put gloss on it. Clubs closing down can only be a good thing, and new ideas and concepts are just what clubs need to keep things interesting.
Co-founder Luo said as much yesterday: "We want to keep giving people new experiences, every future concept that we launch, we want to make sure there are surprises in store."
Surprises are good.