The Mitre Experience

It takes a special sort of person to appreciate the Mitre Hotel, which is why the only people I’ve ever taken there have been the Orgers and Alec. Last week a second Orger outing was organized by Don and Yen, who hadn’t had the “Mitre experience” yet but were determined to before the place either got a) more popular or b) razed to the ground by order of the public safety powers that be. And of course, as we knew they would, they loved it. (Read Yen’s love here.)

We perched on the dusty couches, sipped our sub-$4 beers, and talked about ghosts. (Terry and Don had just seen Shutter and were impressed.) At first we were the only ones there. Later, a couple swam into view, apparitions emerging from the black deeps beyond the porch lights. At some point a dog started howling in the distance.

I forgot to bring my camera this time, so these pictures are from when I took Alec there. They’ve been left fairly dark and dingy rather than sexed up too much in Photoshop, but still don’t even come close to evoking the atmosphere of the place – they lack the creepy walk up the driveway, the smell of musty decay, the feel of the brittle upholstery crunching beneath you as you sit down and crane your neck at the gaping holes in the ceiling.

Interior of Mitre Hotel bar
From the bar, looking towards the door
Mitre Cat
On the wall next to the bar
Old Door Grill
A close-up of the door grill, including the pack of stray chairs which lurk outside


  1. Plastic garden furniture.. mmm, classy!

    Nice to see some nice dirty, dingy, smokey pubs though. They’re dissapearing rapidly in Ireland. People want shit pop music and drinks with fruit in them.

  2. I’ve drunk in some shitholes in my day.

    I’ve drunk in bars with no windows, not because of strip shows, but because the regulars would smash them. I’ve searched out illicit shebeens in unGodly parts of London for those all important 5am last few pints. Down alleys that smell of pee and heroin. I remember one late night secret which had only one toilet to serve nearly a hundred carousing Spanish gypsies (mostly). The lock was smashed and the door naturally swung open affording a full view of the occupant, and sometimes occupants, to the entire bar.

    So when Michelle said she was taking me to a dingy Singaporean bar I had to make an effort to sound enthusiastic. I expected Outback or perhaps a run down 70’s karoke bar with a dirty floor.

    Well I’m ashamed to say I was shocked. This is truely the shitiest place I’ve ever drunk in. The pictures just don’t convey the true filth and delapidation. The final picture makes the decay look almost romantic in a cheesy Mediteranean villa kind of way.

    So I sat in one of the musty seats and drank my beer while Michelle flitted back and forth enchanted. I was trying to decide whether the bar was so bad that it transcends terms like crap and attains the term ‘character’. Just after the first photo was taken a rat squeaked from a chair beneath me and dashed accross the room with, what seemed, unnecessary haste. Character, yup, loads of character. I didn’t finish my beer.

  3. Sorry to create a 3 degrees of separation link here…but does Yen know a Renee at Columbia?

    Anyway, that bar looks awesome. We should go there one day when Alec gets here.

  4. Ack michelle, we really need to hang out sometime. I fuckin LOVE the mitre hotel although the last time I went there me and my friend Alex broke down in tears for obscure reasons. I usually tend to go at about 6am when you have to drink on the plastic furniture outside and listen to gnarly old mudrockers tell really bad ghost stories…

  5. Incontinence!

    Dublin had a fairly bad heroin problem during the times I lived there. There were particular lanes and pedestrian ways that addicts used to use at night to shoot up. I’ve kinda become familiar with the pungent smell of pee that they leave in their wake. In summertime its particularly overpowering.

    Due to fast economic growth the junkies have now mostly moved on to cocaine to reflect their improved fiscal status. You’ll find them in the shit bars which James frequents listening to new metal and rap. They still drink cider cause they’ve no sense of taste nor any respect for their bodies.

  6. There shall be no more dissing of cider on this blog!

    Laces: God, because I’ve never been there at a time when the grill was closed, I never thought people sat on those chairs outside. An occasion for wearing your housepainting trousers if ever there was one.

    Kelly: It’s matrockers (I’d prefer to hyphenate it though), but give Laces a break lah, he’s an ang moh.

  7. I’m afraid I might have gone overboard with my criticisms of the Mitre. Or at least that I was too one sided. Despite my misgivings, I couldn’t help being charmed by the place. And I’m looking forward to offering it much more of my patronage in the years ahead. After all, I’m sure you can build up a natural resistance to Weil’s Disease.

    Oh and, as a result of a passioned interjection my James, I offer the following correction: “Nu-Metal”. With brave new bands out there fighting the established systems of spelling, I can rest easy in my bed, knowing that the spirit of rebellion lives on.

  8. So it’s pronounced “mudrockers” but spelt “matrockers”? Good to see singlish has also adopted english’s esoteric approach to spelling…

  9. In Singlish, “Mat” is a potentially derogatory (like nigga, it depends on which context it’s used in, and by who) term for a Malay, and rhymes with “mutt” rather than “the cat sat on the mat”. As with all Singlish words, the consonant at the end sounds flat, so we pronounce “mutt” like a lager lout from Sarf London rather than the Queen swearing at her corgi,

    Hence, “mud-rockers” when heard = “mat-rockers” when spelt.

    And there’s your Singlish lesson for the day! :)

  10. I was impressed with the usage of the term, to be honest.

    Alec: I always thought it smelled like what I thought “acrid” was derived for

  11. spelling “mat” as “mud” seems more degratory than it already connotes. heh.

    I never really saw it as too degratory tho’. When Taufik won, I lept into the air and yelled “MAT ROCK!!!!!! MAT ROCK!!!!!!”

    Patrick thinks that mat rockers are the coolest and most down-to-earth stereotype group of people he’s met. That explains why at Zouk, I constantly see mat-rockers I’ve not seen before coming up to him yelling his name and high-fiving him.

    Anyway, don’t know how long you’ve been in Singapore/Asia, Laces, but haven’t you realized that we don’t really pronounce our last consonants, and all words kinda taperoffintoeachother? That’s the beauty of Singlish…it sounds incoherent to anyone else but us.

  12. But would you have leapt into the air and yelled MAT ROCK! if you were, say, in Geylang Serai, rather than in your flat? Even though I know you meant to celebrate rather than offend, I still wouldn’t, because I think some Malays could feel offended, and who am I to judge the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of their feelings when I am a member of a majority race which dominates pretty much everything here? Obviously, I may act differently if I were among Malay friends who I knew didn’t mind.

    That’s why I say it’s all about context, like nigga, gook, and “Stuff those fields of Athenry up your arse, paddy!” – the last of which I have definitely used, on appropriate occasions.

  13. The Mitre rocks. Cheapest beer in town, and it’s nice and cold. And it’s truly dingy – rats, warts, and all – which is a welcome antidote for all these places that try too hard. I can’t imagine who might choose to stay in the hotel part, though.

    Why oh why does Singapore not have decently sanitary dive bars?

Comments are closed.