Sip your hot tea as you get lost in a good book at one of these cosy, quaint bookshops.
There’s nothing like getting lost in the world of a good fiction novel or learning a life lesson or two from Michelle Obama. But to take that experience up a notch, head to a bookstore cafe. Not only are you able to cosy up in a comfy couch with fluffy cushions in a beautifully decorated and peaceful space, these often charming and whimsical spots also provide food and drinks, so you’re able to stay immersed in a fantasyland for hours on end without disturbance.
From the newly opened Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop that #SingLit purveyors would love, to enjoying a good book with a side of delectable dishes and cocktails at the Cook & Tras Social Library, here are eight bookstore cafes in Singapore to chill out at and tick off your cafe-hopping list.
Whether you’re a bookworm, a bibliophile, or a sapiosexual, this list will be a dream come true.
Fans of Singapore literature will not find Epigram an unfamiliar name. After all, the local publisher is known for its strong emphasis on local authors and supporting and advocating for stories with local flavours. If you haven’t jumped onto the SingLit bandwagon, now’s your chance at the Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop. At the cafe — a gorgeous space with glass walls and natural sunlight streaming in — you can sip on a cup of brew by Huggs Coffee (Sumatran coffee and masala tea, anyone?) and indulge in pastries and sandwiches while leafing through a locally authored or published book or two from over 400 titles available. You can even buy any book — they allow cashless payments for book purchases — that caught your fancy on the spot. You can also commemorate your visit with a picture for the ‘gram with the 11m long bookshelf that would serve as a great backdrop to show off your sapiosexual life.
Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop is located at The URA Centre, 45 Maxwell Road, #01-01, 069118.
A chance visit to a bookstore in her hometown in Pakistan prompted graphic designer and branding consultant Sarah Naeem to start her own bookstore cafe to recreate and share the atmosphere and feeling she had gotten there. The first floor of the Moon, as the bookstore-cafe-event space is called, is where you can find tons of books on sale and its cafe, while its second floor space is an Instagram-worthy reading area reminiscent of someone’s living room. The homey spot is decorated with cushions, throws and rugs — an welcoming invitation to get lost in a book, with options ranging from young adult fiction to non-fiction and children’s books. The cafe also serves a selection of coffee, teas and food including haldi doodh, or golden turmeric milk, avocado toast and chia seed pudding. In addition, The Moon also champions female writers, who make up over 50 per cent of the offerings. We’re so down with that.
The Moon is located at 37 Mosque Street, 059515.
It might be easy to miss the Open Book Cafe located at Bukit Pasoh because it is located at the back of bookstore Grassroots Backroom. Differing itself from the bookstores that stock mostly English titles, Grassroots Backroom and Open Book Cafe stock mainly Chinese tomes so it is a great place to expand your literary horizons, all while enjoying a yummy beverage and a sweet treat. The cafe has a charming, homely vibe with wooden tables and benches filled with fluffy cushions that will make you want to while away a rainy afternoon poring over a book.
Open Book Cafe is located at 25 Bukit Pasoh Road, 089839.
As the name suggests, The Book Cafe in Robertson Quay is a place for bibliophiles to unwind and leaf through various magazines and books. The cafe serves a large array of food including all-day breakfast dishes such as Eggs Benedict, French toast and pancakes, and main menu dishes such as chicken schnitzel, ravioli and kimchi fried rice. Of course, there are also desserts, hot and cold beverages and yay — wine. The Book Cafe is also a conducive space to work as there are power plugs and WiFi available for patrons — just remember to keep your volume down to keep it a peaceful nook for everyone.
The Book Cafe is located at 20 Martin Road, #01-02 Seng Kee Building, 239070.
Another option along Bukit Pasoh Road, The Reading Room Cafe Bar is a bookstore cafe by day and an energetic bar by night. Dark wooden tables, plush chairs, sophisticated artwork and floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with books will greet you at this quaint cafe that is also dotted with vintage paraphernalia and European-style decor. Besides the cosy yet lush ambience, the cafe is also known for its extensive food selection, from Asian classics such as teriyaki salmon don to Western favourites such as steaks, pastas and baked goods and treats. One of our favourite spots for a quiet and reflective afternoon.
The Reading Room Cafe Bar is located at 19 Bukit Pasoh Road, 089833.
Brought to us by the people behind Tanjong Beach Club, rooftop bar Loof and French restaurant Odette, Looksee Looksee is the Lo & Behold Group’s answer to a picturesque reading room and tea house. Positioned as a place to allow thinkers and entrepreneurs to craft their next big thing, Looksee Looksee serves artisanal tea from local speciality tea company A.muse Projects while shelves are lined with books from experts in fashion, art, design and food, all in a beautiful pastel and minimalist themed space.
Looksee Looksee is located at 267 Beach Road, 199545.
Photo: Jing Si Books and Café
Founded by Buddhist organisation, Tzu Chi Singapore, Jing Si Books and Café — which means to contemplate in silence — was created as a reprieve from the pace of modern city life. The quiet and cosy cafe is designed with an Oriental zen concept and is filled with its own English and Mandarin publications relating to Dharma, spiritual development, education, medicine, and holistic living. The space also plays host to public talks by renowned speakers who share their expertise on topics of life and spirituality.
Jing Si Books and Café is located at Block 134, Geylang East Avenue 1, #01-219, 380134.
Can’t decide if you want a meal, a cocktail or to get immersed a book? At Cook & Tras Social Library, you can do all three at once. Located within luxury hotel Six Senses Maxwell, Cook & Tras Social Library positions itself as a bar library where they offer Straits cuisine such as Nonya Chicken Curry, Prawn and Pork Ngoh Hiong and the iconic Laksa, and Western staples such as burgers and sandwiches. The baroque-style space, which boasts an opulent decor with lavish hardwood floors, carpets and plush chairs, has over 3,000 book selections and will definitely make you forget that you’re located in the centre of Singapore.
Cook & Tras Social Library is located at 2 Cook St, 078857.
By Ho Guo Xiong, May 2019
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