Have you been feeling a little on edge recently? Being constantly surrounded by media, the stifling loneliness of working alone, bidding your plans farewell – it feels like it’s been awhile since you had anything to look forward to.
You might’ve had to cancel the one bar hop night, but you can always go for the midday option of relaxing at a cafe. With coffee, tea, and even gins; coupled with plush and alfresco environments, it’s time to take a chill pill and slow down even as the world isn’t.
Here are 15 wonderful cafes across Singapore with the best food, drink and environment for you to chill out.
This unabashedly girly café is decked in fairy lights, flowers, and lots of baby pink.
It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you adore this cutesy aesthetic, Little House of Dreams is definitely for you.
While its Dempsey café with the hidden alcoves and floral patterned seats is no longer open, you can still head down to their similarly themed Tiong Bahru outlet. Chances are you’ve already seen it online somewhere before, as the café has a very defining and popular flower-adorned doorway. They’ve announced a change coming to the installation on 30 March though, so keep your eyes peeled for something just as or even more Instagram-worthy.
Where: 58 Seng Poh Rd, #01-15, Singapore 160058
You wouldn’t think it, but Birds of a Feather – this pretty-as-a-picture café with ethereal cloud lamps, verdant walls of ferns, and skylights has an unexpected streak to it.
You won’t find any eggs benedict or croissants here, but instead contemporary Sichuan fare.
Still, you can grab some teas and tisanes at the bar to sip on while reading. Perhaps some cucumber mint or white pear ginger to complement a serving of Asian spice poached pear? Mm.
Where: 115 Amoy St, #01-01, Singapore 069935, tel: 6221 7449
Antoinette during weekday tea-times is a lovely quiet space to get some reading done. Not only can you sit back with a pot of tea, you should also try their creative and refreshed new menu – an exciting range of 5 creations of Antoinette’s Souffle Pancakes – both savoury and sweet, including a bubble tea, as well as a Singapore-inspired flavour. Plus, a renewed French bistro-style all-day menu with new savoury items.
The space is ornate, decorated with large velvety Victorian-style chairs, vintage frames, candelabras and even a fireplace to boot. But everything has a worn-down quality to it, giving the place a welcoming charm.
Just be sure to go when it’s not that crowded, as it can get noisy during lunch and dinner times when Antoinette is usually full.
Where: 30 Penhas Road (off Lavendar Street), Singapore 208188, tel: 62933121; 9 Raffles Boulevard #01-28 Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596, tel: 6235 5109
This pretty tea lounge and art jamming space in Mandarin Gallery already has a bit of a rep for being a spot for tai tais, thanks to its refined look.
And while it is pretty to look at, with a mod-Victorian décor style and lush trees filling the floor-to-ceiling glass panels, the teas are definitely worth trying.
In addition to the usual high tea sets which feature fruit and floral teas as well as Chinese and Japanese teas, there are also ‘tea’tox beverages like the Honey Lavendar Tea which comes with a sprig of organic lavender in the cup – which helps infuse the aroma of lavender even more.
The one that piques our interest the most though is the dessert tea ‘Lady Yang’, a lychee tea you pour over a skewer of saccharine lychees dusted in rose powder. Yum.
Where: 333A, 04-14 Orchard Rd, 15, 238867, tel: 6235 8370
Part art school, part café, My Art Space is great to hang out at when it’s a sunny day.
Why? The ample sunlight that streams in through the skylights and glass walls, as well as the surrounding greenery from Istana Park will make you feel like you’re away from the city though you’re in the heart of it.
Walk past the studio where art students will give you serious painting inspo, before entering the café to find a cloudy glass floor that shows glimpses of the fountain the building is perched on.
Then choose a simple cup of Gryphon tea from a cutesy palette-shaped menu before settling down in a corner. Beautiful location that’s unpretentious and fuss-free. We think you’ll like it here.
Where: 31 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238888, tel: 9012 9717
Reading sanctuary with high tea sets and quintessential café nosh by day, bustling bar with tapas, wine, small-batch ciders, and cocktails by night. You pick the kind of scene you want.
What about us? We’d happily stay here from day to night. There’s an endearing mess to this place. Random knick-knacks are strewn around; an assortment of wooden chairs, upholstered seating and stools are clustered around small tables; and pictures bordered in vintage frames fill any wall space that isn’t already covered with rows of books.
Bring your own book or make a gamble and find one to read from The Reading Room itself.
Where: 19 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089833
We picked Mellower for the ambience and view. There’s bean bags on the second floor if you want to kick back; barstools and tables which overlook the street crossing so you can people watch while you take a break from reading.
Also, we think Mellower deserves brownie points for presentation. You drink comes with a petite vase of fresh and colourful blooms – a nice accessory for a flatlay.
Where: 108 Middle Rd, #01-01 Bernhard Schulte House, Singapore 188967, tel: 6255 0820.
This tiny tea salon and reading room located between the bars and cafes from Beach Rd is a hidden gem you’re not likely to notice till you’re actually in front of it. Painted in likeable tones of millennial pink and stone beige, with the occasional cacti and fern to add splashes of pine green, we feel we’re in an Insta picture when we’re here. There are books on G&B, art, and design you can read about, but unless you’re into those kind of things we recommend you bring your own book.
A small, selection of teas curated by A.muse, a local handcrafted tea purveyor, is available, and you can pay as much as you want for it – as long as you pay a minimum of $5 per pot. Come here if you’re down for some intense reading. When we visited on as weekday afternoon, it was so quiet we felt like we were in a library!
Where: 267 Beach Rd, Singapore 199545, tel: 6338 8035
In the hipster enclave of Tiong Bahru, Plain Vanilla’s known for some really good cupcakes.
Pair the sweet treat with some loose tea leaf and settle down in the open storefront which has its look changed from time to time. The last time we saw it, there’s a wooden swing, wooden tables that are close to the ground, carpet grass, and pretty bicycles with cane baskets on the front that you can rent for a quick and fun cardio session ($10 for one hour, $18 for two hours, and $20 for three hours).
We don’t know about you, but we’re getting mod-kampung vibes, and we love it.
Where: 1D Yong Siak St, Singapore 168641, tel: 8363 7614
If you want to head somewhere a little more central (or don’t really wanna sit on the ground), try Mercure Singapore Bugis and indulge in Asian desserts like pandan crème brulee and golden durian pillows.
The lobby is nice to hang out at, but if you’re doing a staycation, take your book and tea up to the pool, so you can dip your toes in the water while having a view of the town.
Where: 122 Middle Rd, Singapore 188973, tel: 6521 6088
The Rabbit Hole – you may have seen it pop up on your feed, with your friends standing at the distinct hole-shaped entrance – is a garden bar that specialises in gin.
While you can order a pot of tea, we don’t see anything wrong in indulging in a glass of gin topped with flowers, fruits or herbs to counter the heat when reading alfresco.
Or you could take it inside and sit at the stunning bar that’s draped in greenery while you watch the bartender fix a drink for you.
Where: 39C Harding Rd, Singapore 249541
Wildseed Café is a must go if you’re a nature lover. That’s because the retail partners of Wildseed Café, Poppy Flora and Nature Studio, are a part of the reason why the café stays so impeccably decorated with a beautiful mix of foliage and flower arrangements.
If you’d like, you could sip on an original cocktail that has been made using fresh herbs from the nearby garden. Pretty neat.
Where: Level 1, 3 Park Lane, Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore 798387 tel: 8126 7524
When you step past the nondescript wooden door of the shophouse where Tea Bone Zen Mind is located, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a different area entirely.
Instead of a home or regular shop, you’ll find a koi pond, cushioned seating areas to sip tea at, and an overall zen atmosphere.
Venture up the wooden stairs, and you’ll see private tea rooms that are reminiscent of a traditional Japanese tatami room. It really doesn’t feel like Singapore anymore, and we recommend Tea Bone Zen Mind for times when you want to escape it all.
Where: 98 Emerald Hill Rd, Singapore 229374, tel: 6334 4212
You’d be reminded of old-school Singapore at The Coastal Settlement. Smooth cement floors, blue and white china in rickety wooden cabinets, and tonnes of retro memorabilia that line the shelves all remind people of simpler times.
We like the inside-most part of the café a lot – where you’ll find lots of big armchairs and floor-to-ceiling glass panels that show you the tropical greenery outside.
It feels a little bit like a chalet with an old-school charm, so if that wins you over more than elegant tea rooms, The Coastal Settlement is for you.
Where: 200 Netheravon Rd, Singapore 508529, tel: 6475 0200
Atlas is known for being the best gin bar in Singapore, not to mention one of the best bars in the world. You’ll find an incredible selection of rare gins, wines, and whiskeys in the collection. But did you know that this regal looking bar also serves fine teas?
Try the Atlas afternoon tea set along with the Atlas art deco tea blend which incorporates dry gin botanicals, elderflower and yuzu. You’ll also get moreish canapes to snack on as part of the set. We love hanging at Atlas because of the intricate design and art – it feels like we discover a new detail each time we return!
On a side note, you might want to make a reservation before heading down, unless you’re going on a weekday afternoon, when there isn’t much of a queue.
Where: 600 North Bridge Rd, Parkview Square, Singapore 188778, tel: 6396 4466
This post was updated on March 28, 2020.