If Singapore had an equivalent to “a gentrified neighbourhood where hip cafes thrive”, one would have to look no further than Bugis. Located near the city centre, Bugis is easily accessible via train and from there, a whole world of cafes open up for the coffee connoisseurs and gastronomes.
(Please note that this list is accurate as of 14th Jan 2020. As with the cafe scene, let alone the one in Singapore which is even more volatile, places come and go on fortune’s whim.)
Cafes in Bugis MUST VISIT
% Arabica Singapore
% Arabica might have began as your “humble neighbourhood Japanese cafe” but now, it is an international cafe chain. Even as it recently opened its second branch in 313 Somerset and a third in Chip Bee Gardens, % Arabica has managed to avoid the traditional pitfalls of losing quality control with its expansions and continues to win people over with its hot and iced coffees set in Instagrammable yet clean and minimalist spaces. However, a word of warning, these coffees are for the die hards, pricing up to $10 for the iced ones!
56 Arab Street
Afterwit is less cafe and more tacqueria, though it does have black or white coffee and, uniquely, serves Mexican spiced coffee and cold brew tea as part of its beverage menu, along with a slew of Mexican dishes such as tacos, burritos, quesadilla, and chimichangas, all of which have been certified halal.
778 North Bridge Road
Tel: +65 6299 3508
Sun to Thurs: 12pm – 10pm
Fri and Sat: 12pm – 11pm
Picking up literally where crowd favourite Artistry left off, Earlybird has taken over the popular space in Jalan Pinang with bird themed decor and menu items such as Chicken and Pancakes, a twist on the popular American Chicken and Waffles dish. Only time will tell if Earlybird will rise to the prominence of its storied predecessor.
17 Jalan Pinang
Mon to Thu: 8am – 9pm
Fri: 8am – 9.30pm
Sat: 9am – 9.30pm
Sun: 9am – 8pm
Tel: +65 9788 6858
A staple in the Haji Lane region, Going Om has been a restful sanctuary amidst the bustling neighbourhood for years. Rather than your regular western styled coffee, it serves mainly Vietnamese coffee and come nightfall, the venue turns into a bar with specialty drinks, beer and wine, though its food menu is available from day to night.
Inspired by the spirit of the Himalayan mountains, Going Om also offers alternative services not seen in other cafes such as card readings, holistic healing, as well as yoga and meditation classes.
63 Haji Lane
Tel: +65 8363 5640
Sun to Thurs: 12pm – 12am
Fri and Sat: 12pm – 1am
(Closed on Mondays)
Joo Bar by night, Juju Coffee by day, this cafe was born when the operators decided to extend their operation hours to the daytime. Their specialty would have to be their cold brew coffee (made from Allpress beans) though they serve regular coffee as well, and if you linger till nightfall, the cafe transforms into a Korean bar and restaurant, serving Korean fare and the only one which brews and serves their own unique makgeoli (known as “farmer’s liquor”, an alcohol made of unfiltered grain).
5 Tan Quee Lan Street Singapore 188094
Tel: +65 9230 0293
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm
Quarter Life Coffee @ Bunkerbunker
While Quarter Life Coffee might not offer fancy lattes or magics, it more than makes up with its showcasing of unique single origin coffees from around the world. There are usually four types of coffees available and they provide tasting notes for your consideration. There is even a tasting flight of the coffees and cold brew.
Set in a retrofitted container unit in the midst of an art gallery space, with indoor and outdoor seating, this cafe is only a stone’s throw away from Laselle College of the arts and the Rochor MRT station. Quarter Life shares the space with Motley, which provides the food component of the cafe. Its menu features western fare all set below $12, which you can wash it down with a cool craft beer, so a visit to this eclectic space will not burn a hole in your pocket.
120A Prinsep Street, 187537
Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
It should be noted that Stateland Coffeehouse only opens from 12pm onwards but what makes this cafe interesting is its double feature appeal: like Quarter Life, Stateland Coffee shares its space with another eatery, Brother Bird, which serves up delectable soft serves of conventional and local flavour and hybridised mochi-pastry creations! If you’re feeling less adventurous, there is also a red-velvet waffle available and if you prefer your sweets in coffee form, they offer unique flavoured lattes such as apple pie and Speculos!
32 Bali Lane,
Tel: 9800 7628
Tue: Closed, Sun – Thu: 12pm – 10pm, Fri – Sat: 12pm – 11pm
True to its belief in Aussie culture, Symmetry serves up the full gamut of coffees (did someone order the piccolo with soy milk?) made with Ecetera Coffee Beans. The interior decor evokes the imagery of hip cafes such as Brother Baba Budan in Melbourne, the coffee capital of the world and birthplace of cafe culture. By night, the coffee is replaced with spirits and beers, with a menu that offers quintessential Aussie fare that differs between brunch, lunch and dinner and then again between the week days and weekends.
9 Jalan Kubor, #01-01
Tel: +65 6291 9901
Mon: 10.30am – 9pm
Tue to Thu: 10.30am – 11pm
Fri: 11am – 12am
Sat: 9am – 12am
Sun: 9am – 7pm
Working Title recently moved from its original base of operations at Arab street to North Bridge Road, placing it smack dead in the cafe region of Bugis. Serving the full range of coffees, Working Title is mostly known for its list of burgers, from the classics to its fully stacked creations.
783 North Bridge Road
Monday – Thursday; 12pm to 10pm
Friday; 12pm to 11pm
Saturday: 10am to 11pm
Sunday: 10am to 10pm