Colbar: The Colonial Bar at Whitchurch Road

Colbar, which is short for Colonial Bar, was first opened in 1953 by Mr Lim at Jalan Hang Jebat to serve as the unofficial canteen for members of the British Army.

On its 50th anniversary of establishment in 2003, Colbar was initially slated for removal to make way for the construction of a major semi-expressway to connect Queenstown to the Ayer-Rajah Expressway (AYE). The Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) who were masters of the one-north development at that time decided to step in, and together with members of the community, worked with various governmental organisations to preserve this legendary eating house.

Colbar

The fonts, texture and colours of colbar remind me of the stalls i used to see at Pulau Ubin

Colbar Exterior

The refurbished part of colbar’s outdoor dining, on top you can see numerous holes in the clay tiled rooftop

So from August 2003, Colbar moved from its original location to its current premises at 9A Whitchurch Road. Interestingly, the many fragile materials such as clay roof tiles, timber screens and solid timber swing doors were carefully reused in the construction at its new premises.

Much attention was also paid to the unique architecture of the building, with the colours and texture of the old Colbar meticulously matched and applied throughout the building.

Colbar officially reopend its premises on 25 February 2004.

Colbar interior

The timbre walls and refurbished tables in the interior of colbar

Colbar interior 2

This weighing machine is operated by a 10 cent coin, in the back you can see the original sign of jln nang jebat, Colbar’s original location

FOOD & ATMOSPHERE

Food wise there is nothing much to rave about given that most items are rather pricey. There are however a large number of artisanal beers to choose from and the crowd there consists of a wide variety of people who all look extremely comfortable in the carefree setting that Colbar provides.

There is also something about the original décor, missing clay tiles from the roof, and countless mosquitoes that makes you feel that you are really somewhere away from an increasingly urbanised society.

I also personally love the collage of Colbar Football Club (Colbar F.C) photos that are lined throughout the interior of the wall. It does seem that this was their regular drinking spot after the game and if you look closely, many of the members stay on the team for more than a decade.

Colbar is definitely a place to head to if you just want to unwind and read a book, and is also a great chance to explore the many unique white bungalows that line the Portsdown & Whitchurch road areas of which i will look to explain in a future post.

Colbar interior 3

Sitting inside colbar

Colbar interior 4

A view of the interior from the outside

Colbar Football Club Collage

A collage of the supporters of Colbar F.C

Colbar F.C

One of the annual Colbar Football Club pictures

How to get there

Colbar is pretty inaccessible, the easiest way is to take a taxi in directly to Whitchurch Road.

Alternatively you can take a bus service 191 from between Buona Vista MRT or trudge up the hill from the one-north circle line station (25 mins at least).

8 comments

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  2. Hello, may I know if we could have permission to use your photos of Colbar in I-S magazine?

    • nickyeo

      Hi Rong En,

      Sure feel free to use any of the photos here as you please, no credits required, main aim of this blog is to share more about Singapore’s history with people anyway 🙂

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