Wifi, enough power sockets and a cup of strong coffee are essentials when you’re conducting casual business meetings in cafes.
It’s hard to find cafes that check all the requirements and still have a cozy ambience. That’s why we’ve rounded up our favourite cafes in Singapore that are perfect for you to bring your clients or colleagues to.
This quaint little hideout near Wilkie Edge Mall serves up art jamming sessions along with its brews. The feel’s rustic and conducive for heartfelt chats. The setup feels like a spacious living room thanks to three partitioned wings – the main cafe area, the painting studio and a backyard. These seat up to 80 people in all.
The menu is adventurous, with options such as chilli crab pasta, a decaf sweet potato latte and sticky date shake. Noteworthy, too – the boldly flavoured lattes (roast almond, coconut, hazelnut, caramel, etc). The crowd swells during lunch on weekdays, and breakfast and tea on the weekends.
This dark cosy joint on the second floor of an Amoy Street shophouse is a cafe by day and a gastrobar by night, although a barista hints that boozy options are available any hour of the day. It’s an old-school drinking den hiding in an eclectic attic. Cold coffees here are served on the rocks in lowball whisky glasses.
Curious cake options such as salted egg earl grey and chocolate black sesame are on hand to keep you satiated. Ask for the secret menu, too, to see what the staff have in store that day.
73 Amoy St Second Floor, 069892
Strangers’ Reunion is a pillar of the local cafe scene for a reason: it offers the quintessential hipster experience without feeling generic. The airy 80-seater serves up coffee that’s on point – as you’d expect when the cafe’s co-founder is a three-time national barista champion. If you aren’t up for coffee, there’s a wide range of teas, cold drinks, hot chocolate and a range of craft beers and ciders.
The cafe’s extensive all-day breakfast (which lasts till 5pm) includes the standard benedict options, but also has surprises such as beetroot corn fritters. Weekends bring further brunch specials to the table. After 6pm each day, pastas and meaty mains become available for a hearty meal.
35 Kampong Bahru Rd, 169356
CMCR is owned by the Spa Espirit Group, the brains behind other popular outlets like Skinny Pizza, House at Dempsey and Tiong Bahru Bakery, so you know you’re in good hands. The 90-seater places patrons rather closely together, which makes it a great place for a casual chat between larger groups. These guys take their coffee very seriously – they roast their own beans and have some hand-built Synesso machines all the way from Seattle.
For food, go for the sweet potato carrot cake and top it with ice cream. Also try the Turkish Common Man Breakfast, and pancakes with caramelised banana. Sadly, the only power sockets available for use are behind the bar. Costumers are welcome to juice up their devices here.
22 Martin Road, #01-00, 239058
This cafe occupies the second floor of a former Duxton Road shophouse, up a inconspicous flight of stairs. Push past the thick wooden door at the top to be greeted by warm chatter and the comforting aroma of coffee.The 55-seater can sometimes get crowded, so avoid peak periods.
Food recommended: the croque madame, and the cafe’s the full-bodied lattes. Weekends tend to pull a late brunch crowd until 4pm, giving the impression that time slows down while within. Group Therapy takes home the power socket crown with no fewer than 10 electrical outlets available to patrons.
49 Duxton Rd, #02-01, 089513
This gem may face stiff competition along Rangoon Road, but it is more than holding its own. A floor-to-ceiling shopfront window lights up the wood-heavy interior during the day. Opt for the communal table on the first floor if you’re open to socialising. Otherwise, move upsters for a cosier environment, or stay in the al fresco area if it’s too chilly within.
Highly recommended is the affogato – aside from espresso that’s robust and full-bodied, the ice cream sits on a bed of delectable biscuit crumbs. Other great options in the 80-seater are the Shio-Koji Octopoke starters, and their surprisingly good burgers.
129 Rangoon Rd, 218407
Off Owen Road, this cafe is schizophrenic in all the right ways. The ground floor formerly housed an al fresco bar and seating area with beers on tap, while the upper floor was a cross between a library and a hipster’s living room, with ample comfy couches suitable for casual sessions, and stately oak tables for when the laptops and spreadsheets have to be laid out.
There aren’t too many standout items on the menu (the mushroom soup is gold), but the fare is adequately well-done, plus the portions are generous by cafe standards. What’s worth paying for is quiet time, as the regular clientele respect the unspoken understanding that everyone’s there to get some work (or reading) done. Even groups of four keep their voices to tops excited whispers, before settling into a work rhythm again. Return the favour by keeping conversation civil (and the boozing downstairs), and you’ll have found yourself a new go-to for when a peaceful afternoon seems desirable.
160 Owen Rd, 218953
The lobby of Lo&Behold Group’s offices is a reading salon open for public use. It is also managed by tea purveyour A.Muse Projects who provides a selection hot and cold teas. As it is not officially a cafe, the salon operates on tips alone. Check out the coffee table books around the salon for inspiration.
267 Beach Rd, 199545
A cafe and retail space, modeled after Californian boutiques. The petite cafe area is brightly-lit and offers comfortable banquette seatings – great for productive meetings.
Coffees and teas here are imported from San Franciscan roasters Four Barrel Coffee and tea house Samovar Tea & Chai respectively. Small bites include open-faced toasts and sandwiches made in collaboration with Park Bench Deli.
75 Duxton Rd, 089534
Occupying two shophouses along Emerald Hill, the artisanal teahouse specialises in Chinese teas. Tea Bone Zen Mind offers tea sampling sessions, a two or three-affair with snacks on the side.
The best part? Private tatami rooms can be booked ahead for more formal meetings.
98 Emerald Hill Rd, 229374
By Liao Xiangjun and Jasmine Tay; This article first appeared on The Peak, May 2018.
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