My ideal start to any morning is to hunt down a great cup of coffee to kick start the day. When we first moved to Singapore there was a select few cafes where you could find a very good ‘cup-of-joe’, however the number of ‘specialty coffee’ houses or cafes has risen drastically over the last 18 to 24 months. We are now very much spoilt for choice!
The list below outlines a few of my favourite cafés in Singapore. Whether you’re a local, or a visitor just passing through, this list should help perk you up.
Here are my top spots by neighbourhood:
Monument Lifestyle goods and café: An uber-trendy coffee shop and menswear retail space all-in-one. The coffee is excellent with a good range of espresso based coffee (the cortado, flat white, cappuccino are all VERY good) and the staff are super friendly and welcoming. The café serves up some delicious food, our favourites being the ”toasts”: thick artisan bread topped with tasty combinations such as smashed avocado & lemon zest, or banana & peanut-butter. YUM! Located on Duxton Road, come here for great coffee, a touch of shopping, or simply to enjoy the chilled out space.
The Alchemist: A great little takeaway coffee bar located in International Plaza right next to Tanjong Pagar MRT. Open on weekdays only, the Alchemist is a minimalist coffee bar which keeps its menu simple with a choice of two beans, served white or black. Perfect for coffee on-the-run. Specialty coffee also available.
Omotesando Koffee: A Japanese coffee company which has recently opened a quaint coffee bar in ‘Downtown Gallery’ Singapore. What brings me to Omotesando is the really fun (and tasty) iced cappuccino which ”bubbles” as the cocoa is sprinkled on top. Perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up to help survive those hot & humid afternoons. Closed on Sundays.
Common Man Stan: Centrally located on Stanley Street, this café is conveniently open every day of the week. If you like your coffee strong, then this place is for you. I tend to order the cappuccino or cortado (both excellent!) and if you’re ‘hangry’ there is a great array of brunch options, including my current go-to: the cacao granola.
Free the Robot: A funky little café by day and cocktail bar by night, the discreet entrance is easy to miss. Inside you’ll find a very cool space and a decent caffeine hit, so either opt to sit in and soak up the quirky vibes, or grab a takeaway to continue on your journey. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Nylon Coffee Roasters: A unique coffee bar tucked away at the bottom of a HDB (i.e. government housing) building. This place is ALL about the coffee! Beans are roasted on site, and the interior replicates a traditional coffee bar with minimal seating. Enjoy your coffee at the standing table inside the air-conditioning, or sit outside on small benches lining the front windows. Closed on Tuesdays.
40 Hands: Located on Yong Siak Street (aka Tiong Bahru’s café street) this is a great neighbourhood brunch spot. Bustling on weekends, most likely due to the mouthwatering food options, this cafe serves up a great flat white, espresso or cappuccino. Expect a queue for tables on weekends, but you can always grab a takeaway coffee (and a cheeky slice of banana bread) while you wait.
Tiong Bahru Bakery: This bakery is a Singaporean institution, with pastries so good you’ll think you’re in France!! Perfect for a coffee and pastry breakfast, or pop by for a lunchtime baguette or quiche. TBB serve up Common Man coffee, so you’ll get your hit from a well prepared and strong coffee, ready for the day ahead. Open daily.
Common Man Coffee Roasters: This is the home of the Common Man brand – combining a retail space for take home beans, a barista training room, and the original CMCR brunch spot. The café is heaving on weekends, but if you are lucky enough to be on holiday this would made a great place to check out during the week.
Grounded by CMCR: Upstairs above the main CMCR café, Grounded is located on a leafy open air balcony outside the Yoga Movement studio. This café has a more chilled out vibe than downstairs, but with the same awesome coffee. The menu is lighter compared to downstairs; featuring fresh smoothies, tasty salads, and moorish avocado on toast.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware: Located within the vicinity of Little India and Farrer Park, this café channels an industrial-chic decor from its former hardware store roots. There is seating inside with bar stools circling the coffee bar, or if you enjoy being outside then grab a seat in the cute urban garden space. CSHH is also open in the evenings, with a pop-up craft beer kiosk for those craving a refreshing beverage.