Why do people keep going back to Timbre (Substation)

I used to visit Timbre every weekend but I’ve been avoiding it for more than a year now.

1. The queue can be an hour long
If you do not reserve a table in advance and arrive at the restaurant after 7pm, there’s already a queue forming. If you come after 9 just for drinks, you can forget about getting a table before the first set ends.

2. Reservation by email
Timbre doesn’t do reservations by phone. If you ever tried calling their number you’d be put on hold till Armageddon. They avoid picking up the phone by making you book through their website. This means you’d have to book a couple of days in advance, which is fine if it’s an exclusive restaurant, NOT a bar type restaurant where the median age is 20.

3. By 730pm
Even if you were to book a table you had to be seated by 730pm otherwise they’d give up your table. Considering this place is not known for its food but for the live acts that only come on at 1030pm, that’s almost a 3 hour wait. That’s 3 hours of iPod music I’ve to sit through.

4. The band starts at what time?
Okay I’ve better things to do than to wait for something to happen.

5. Parking
The car park here is perpetually full. I’m pretty sure not all the cars belong to the crowd here so who the hell do these cars belong to?!

6. World class toilets
With a seating capacity of about 200 pax in a venue serving alcohol, they have 2 crummy unisex toilets. The toilet doors used to be the foldable sort without a proper latch. If someone were to open the door with force, the air pressure in that small space can jar the other door open. They have since fixed the doors but the place is still crummy. Something one would expect of a kopitiam (coffee shop) standard.

7. Tablets?
Each table had a tablet attached to it that serves as a menu which you can also make your order. So they had the money to install tablets at almost every table but they can’t fix the toilet situation?

But then people do keep going back because:

1. The music

Timbre was one of the few places in recent years to promote local talent. There have been many such places in the past 20 years such as the older bars and pubs who used to have 5 or 8 man bands with names such as Energy or Tokyo Square and they sing rock songs at hotel bars. Timbre belongs to the newer batch of music bars supporting this generation of local bands that also sing covers, some even venturing into their own music. What’s great is that people love Top 40s hits and they love to listen to these songs performed live. Short of flying around the world chasing after these bands at a high price, these bands brings the entertainment to you on a weekly basis. What’s there not to love?

2. The bands

Timbre’s nightly fare of music is supported by Goodfellas and 53A, 2 really good bands who love to perform for the people who love to listen to them. ‘Nuff said.

3. The audience

I was a little dubious of the audience at first as they tend to sit there with the look of indifference all over their faces. However once the band started, the crowd came alive. They were actually singing along to Fun’s We are Young, with pockets of people waving their arms in the air like in a football stadium. Cheering friends celebrating birthdays on stage as the band make a fool of them in the name of good fun. The song dedication board came alive with song requests and also silly messages and jokes which everyone could see at the same time. Sitting there clapping along, I figured these were the reasons why I still come back to Timbre when the discomfort of getting there wanes in the face of good entertainment.


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