Being cooped up in an office cubicle all day drives even the calmest among us crazy. Settle down with free Wi-Fi and a good cuppa to get your productivity game on at these cafés instead.
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The quaint café has botanical interiors and an Instagramable pink neon light sign greeting you at the entrance. Pop by the sweet little spot at Telok Ayer and indulge in the selection of delightful cakes such as earl grey lavender cake (6 inch, $65), rose raspberry cake (6 inch, $65) and the crowd favourite gula melaka avocado cake (6 inch, $65). If stylistically-natural bouquets are your kind of aesthetic, you’re going to love the blooms here too.
This might be a wine bar by night but during the day, Wine & Chef welcomes freelancers and hot deskers with free Wi-Fi and $3 coffees. If you prefer to write drunk and edit sober, it has an exclusive range of over 250 wines including Cavalier Bartolomeo Altenasso Barolo DOCG ($59) and Tenuta Uccellina Rambela Bianca Ravenna IGT Famoso ($32), while house pour wines start from $6 per glass and $25 per bottle.
Located on the ground floor of what used to be the Telok Ayer Chung Hwa Free Clinic, My Awesome Cafe takes the old-school aesthetic and knocks it out of the ballpark with equal parts knack for sourcing and creative ingenuity. You can’t help but be motivated in this space full of quirks and history that buzzes with energy.
Although the lunch crowd is a busy one, get there early to find yourself an upcycled vintage school desk to work on. Coffees range from $4 to $6, and you’ll be distracted from your work with the breadth of food and beverage choices on offer. Try the açai menu for some superfood brain power ($6.50-$18.50), or, for a more substantial dish, the protein-packed My Awesome Salad ($16).
The regular crowd Creatives and CBD types popping in for meetings.
Part-café, part-gallery space, Artistry with its white-washed walls and concrete floors makes for a soothing sight for square eyes. When you're in need of a pick-me-up, order a Liberty bean coffee ($3.50-$7), tuck into a chilli crab burger ($25) or, if you’re on a health streak, the yogurt ice cream with granola and fresh berries ($14). When you’re done with your work, you can stay on to catch one of the spoken word performances or band tribute sing-alongs that start around 8pm, hosted about twice a week at the venue.
The regular crowd Designers, musicians and art students.
This Duxton resident provides a space where diners can set up ‘therapy’ sessions, so grab your colleagues and keep your spirits high by jumping on the Earl Grey trend with tea-flavoured ice cream, a supplement to the waffles that come with maple syrup or salted caramel sauce ($13). The espresso bar uses Costa Rican beans and coffees range from $4 to $4.40, paninis $11 to $15 and all-day breakfast $3.50 to $11.
If you’re looking for something savoury, there’s a 'guilt-free' version of eggs Benedict, made with avocado, salmon on a tortilla, and yogurt saffron sauce. It's lighter in calories, so no excuses not to work because you’ve got a food coma.
The regular crowd Students, mostly.
Eclectic decor and mismatched furniture dominate this casual chill-out spot along Arab Street. It does a mean double beef burger that’s topped with caramelised onions and veg ($22). Have it with a side of truffle tater tots ($5), seasoned with truffle oil and grated Parmesan. For a more localised spin, try the beef dendeng version of a burger, its patty dripping with satay sauce ($18). For drinks, sip on coffees from $3.50 or try the café’s bandung latte ($5) and for dessert, order a plate of its fancy goreng pisang ($11).
It’s a bit of a trek to get here, but that could be a good thing if you need to avoid your usual distractions. With the office-like opening hours, you’ll be sure to get what you need to do done and dusted without suffering the dreaded overtime.
The Reservoir Road blend, by Sydney’s esteemed Single Origin Roasters, comes recommended and is served in a variety of pours, such as the café’s signature affogato ($6) – put together table-side, it includes a cookie crumble under a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Food-wise, there’s a café’s worth of standard salads ($10-$12), sandwiches ($10-$13), pasta dishes ($12-14) and brunches ($16.90).
The regular crowd Staff from the offices in the area, and students.
Snug like a living room, Book Cafe has long been the go-to for a quiet catch up with a book or a comfy spot to bang out a bit of work. There's also a printer that's free to use. For sustenance, look to its extensive menu, with all-day breakfast options like pancakes ($5.95-$9.95) and eggs Benedict ($15.95), as well as a slice of its signature apple pie ($5.95). Premium teas are from Tea Forte ($8/pot), which is worth swapping your usual coffee for ($4-$5.50).
The regular crowd Bookworms and the literati.
‘Do you know the Muffin Man that lives in Drury Lane?’ With this café on Tanjong Pagar, we can’t help but hum the lyrics to the nursery rhyme that inspired it. Incidentally, it’s also what the owners – three keen home baristas and two chefs – had in mind when they decided to start this café. They've since moved on from selling muffins to specialising in all-day breakfasts, salads and sandwiches. Pair your dishes with a coffees, smoothies or a cup of tea. In addition to its range of baked goods (including cakes and tarts), some simple food items are available as well, such as baked eggs (from $12) served with homemade baked beans, cheese, toast and a choice of protein, or the steak sandwich ($8) with caramelised onions, which works well as a quick lunch option.
You know what to expect: high ceilings, exposed beams and bulbs, wood-topped tables, and an open coffee bar. Use this as quiet place to buckle down and get some work done – and pick from the impressive array of coffee choices while you're at it.
The Slayer Espresso that drips from beans roasted on-site will have caffeine-heads wired. Apart from single-origin espresso, pour-over, French press and siphon coffees, there's also a full menu of bread-heavy items and a more substantial night menu. The food ranges from $12 to $16; coffees from $4.30 to $5.70.
The regular crowd Scientists and techies.
Nothing like pizza to calm a growling stomach. One Man Coffee is a cosy nook that shares a shophouse space with gourmet pizza bar Crust. Which means that on weekdays, you'll have the option for a full pie paired with coffee ($3-$5.50) from famed Melbourne outfit Axil Coffee Roasters.
Artisanal bakery BAO ($3-$4.50) supplies the pastries and light brunch options are available ($7-$10), such as nutty brioche French toast served with homemade berry compote or caramelised banana (both $10).
The regular crowd Students and post-work types.
Paddy Hills manually brews its coffee using the V60 and Aeropress, and also uses a Slayer to jet out Iyego Gatuba AA beans ($7). Inspired by Australian café culture, offerings here include the squid ink tagliatelle ($23) for daytime eating. By night, it serves up to Asian tapas dishes. The lobster somen ($28) is an individual portion while the TFC, or ‘Taiwanese Fried Chicken’ ($15), is its version of san bei ji, served in sharing portions.
At this hotel café that never sleeps, the dilemma is in deciding which drinks to have. Do you go for a cup of coffee ($3.50-$7) brewed with beans roasted by local travelling baristas Nomad the Gallant, a Prana chai masala blend ($6) with spices from India, Sri Lanka or Guatemala, or max out your daily calorie count with a messy, dessert-topped milkshake ($11)?
Whatever you end up with, you’re in good company as you tick off that to-do list of yours. There's also a selection of sandwiches ($8) and salads ($8-$10) to power a quick bit of work.
The regular crowd Business trippers in Singapore.
With blue Peranakan-style tiled walls contrasting against dark timber floors, the rustic, hipster-pleasing interior features quirks like upside-down potted herb plants that teeter precariously from the ceiling, while natural light floods in to create a bright and cheery workspace. Most dishes sport familiar-to-locals ingredients, but with restaurant-level finesse and more forgiving prices.