Looking for a quiet place to do work but not a fan of the stuffy office or library environment? We don't blame you, being cooped up in a cubicle all day drives even the calmest among us crazy. Venture beyond your friendly, neighbourhood Starbucks and settle down with free Wi-Fi, power points and a good cuppa to get your productivity game on at these cafés instead.
More than just a museum store, Gallery and Co has a cosy space to dine and chill. Settle down in one of the mismatched chairs – there’s free Wi-Fi running throughout the entire National Gallery. Time your visits when there aren’t any major exhibitions happening and you should be able to concentrate with ease. And if you feel stuck, take a walk around the stunning space teeming with inspirational art pieces. We reckon there’s no better way to feel more cultured than working in a museum.
Modelled with a warm industrial look and calming Korean drama OSTs playing in the background, this spot is easily one of the best places in town to get some work done in peace. Its abundance of seating areas and power plugs, coupled with their extensive menu of premium drinks and food ensure maximum concentration as you enjoy uninterrupted work sessions while keeping the hunger pangs at bay.
If you’re those that don’t do well in a clinical environment (fluorescent lights and boring work desks just aren’t the most encouraging), then The Moon and its whimsical decor will do you well. Look to the literary geniuses that line the bookshelves for some inspiration, it stocks some strong female voices that you can purchase and bring home. It also serves coffee from Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee (from $4), and a matcha lemonade ($7) for a unique caffeine boost.
The 95-seater has different areas to match your differing working style. Kick back and lounge on the swing seat, or settle down on the tables with warm wooden fixings. Have an award-winning barista pull you a satisfying cup of coffee that will surely give you the boost you need. When you're feeling peckish, the café also serves up treats like the maple sea salt cheesecake ($9) and fluffy skillet pancakes ($12).
Located between Cook Street and Tras Street – hence its name – this social library at Six Senses Maxwell houses 3,000 books that visitors are free to pick up and browse. Settle into one of its plush velvet settees and choose between coffee, tea, kombucha or an alcoholic beverage if you so please. There are also local snacks to munch on if you start to feel peckish. Power points are hidden among the bookshelves between fake tomes of literature and the Wi-Fi is stable and free. Plus with hours that extend from 7am to midnight, this spot is almost like a fancy co-working space without the pesky fees.
For those of you that like to bang out a report with a bottle of beer by your side, Little Creatures is for you. The industrial-chic space is home to the brand's full line-up of craft beers including its flagship pale ale (from $9) alongside a selection of other brews exclusive to Singapore. But if it's caffeine you're craving, Little Creatures has teamed up with Schibello Coffee Roastery deliver your daily fix from 8am. Settle into a quiet corner where you can enjoy free Wi-Fi alongside some of Schibello's more unique pours that are meant to be sipped an savoured, such as the raspberry and pomegranate cold brew.
Tiong Bahru is in no shortage of work-friendly cafes but Plain Vanilla takes it one step higher with a secret extension beyond its main space. There, you'll find students and working professionals alike typing away on their laptops while sipping on PV's affordably priced coffees as well as those hard-to-resist cupcakes. Choose from a dozen flavours ($3.90 each): chocolate hazelnut’s a bold, Nutella-fuelled prize crowned with more nuts; red velvet’s made with Valrhona chocolate and capped with a thick cream cheese frosting; and cookies and cream’s a chocolatey affair with smashed Oreos weaved into its frosting. You’ll want to collect ’em all, we promise.
What the heck is a jaffle? Well, ask the Australians – after all, it was conceived from Down Under. A jaffle, named after the jaffle iron invented in 1949, is basically a toasted sandwich. And Amber Ember, a café located right smack in the middle of Serangoon and Kovan MRT stations, may be the first to bring this slice of Australian gastronomy to our sunny shores. Splashed out in shades of dusty pink and warm neutrals, the Instagrammable café offers six jaffle options with its signature purple sweet potato mash. From the lot, we spy with our little eye Chessus Take The Wheel ($14), featuring a pulled pork-mac and cheese stuffing. There are also other food items such as bacon cheese fries ($12) for sharing and a range of pastas. Amber Ember also takes the coffee culture seriously, where cuppas (from $2.50 for an espresso to $6 for a mocha) are brewed from single-origin Guatemala. And yes, the café is extremely work-friendly with power points and free wifi; what’s more, its relatively ulu location means lesser crowds, so you’ll get a spot there for sure.
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, while house pour wines start from just $9 per glass.
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).
This Duxton resident provides a space where diners can set up ‘therapy’ sessions, so grab your colleagues for some ice cream, and supplement it with waffles that come with maple syrup or salted caramel sauce (from $12). The espresso bar has coffees that ranges from $3.50 to $6.50. If you’re looking for something savoury, there’s a 'guilt-free' version of eggs Benedict ($17), 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.
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 ($8.90), seasoned with truffle oil and grated Parmesan. For drinks, sip on coffees from $3.50 or try the café’s bandung latte ($4.50) and for dessert, order the horlicks panna cotta ($8).
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.
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.
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-$6). Light brunch options are available ($11-$19), such as nutty brioche French toast served with caramelised banana, strawberries, and candied walnut ($15).
Or check out these co-working spaces
For all you café-hoppers
Grab a cuppa on your way to work or swap your regular cafeteria lunch meals with atas ones at these joints that not only serve a great change of environment from your bleak office walls, but also menus that'll satisfy any empty bellies. RECOMMENDED: The best cafés in Singapore
You can't walk two steps without passing by a café or coffeeshop in Tiong Bahru – but which ones are worth dropping in on for a cuppa or two? Here are our top picks.