We love our cafes. Cafes with great coffee, cafes that serve up beautiful brunches and bottomless mimosas, and our editor-approved cafes that the cool crowd flocks to.
But we have a special place in our heart for the cafes that make the perfect hideaway nook to burrow in and laze your weekend away in a quiet bliss.
So we combed through all the places we know and came up with 21 gorgeous spots that you’ll want to stay at all day with a pot of tea and that one book you’ve been meaning to read for the longest time.
Start making those weekend plans right now.
Photo: Instagram / @arteastiq
This tiny tea salon and reading room located between the bars and cafes along Beach Rd is a hidden gem you’re not likely to notice till you’re actually in front of it.
There are books on F&B, art and design you can read about, but if that’s not quite to your taste, 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 a weekday afternoon, it was so quiet we felt like we were in a library!
Looksee Looksee is at 267 Beach Rd.
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If you’re feeling a little fancy, you’ll find the beautiful Cook & Tras Social Library nestled in luxury hotel Six Senses Maxwell right up your alley. Designed with a classic library-themed interior (but, of course) and timber bookcases, this bar and social dining outfit has communal seating options as well as semi-private spaces.
Choose from an extensive array of Asian teas (and kombucha!) plus an all-day menu of small dishes comprising Straits Heritage cuisine and Southern-European flavours made for sharing. Then pull out your book of choice (from over 3000 titles!) and get comfy on a plush armchair or sofa.
Cook & Tras Social Library is located in Six Senses Maxwell (on the street level).
Photo: Cook & Tras Social Library’s Facebook
This minimalist space is tucked in a corner of Chjimes, and collaborates with coffee growers and roasters from around the world, to bring you a strong cup of java to go along with your book.
With bar seats, couches and chairs to choose from, pick your desired spot and settle down with a book and whatever is available on their seasonal menu – it specialises in toast. This brightly lit Scandi space is an Instagrammer’s dream – white walls, greenery, earthy tones for the furniture…and free Wi-Fi.
Glasshouse is at 30 Victoria St, #01-03 Chijmes.
Upon stepping into indie cafe and bookshop The Moon, you’ll be transported into a quiet and tranquil sanctuary for bookworms.
The former antiques store was transformed into this Chinatown hideaway in 2018, with seats both on the ground floor and first floor.
More than 70% of the books have been written by women, and range from Jane Austen to Ponti (by Singaporean writer Sharlene Teo).
Sip on the Haldi Doodh (golden turmeric milk) and settle down into one of their plush armchairs or bean bags that sit in the cosy first floor space, replete with potted plants and carpets. It’s like having a home away from home. It also holds film and documentary screenings, as well as group meditations and workshops.
The Moon is at 37 Mosque Street
Reading inside a museum may seem a little bit of an artsy overkill. Well, not at Gallery & Co. The restaurant is located inside National Gallery Singapore and no, you don’t have to pretend to appreciate art to be in here. Other than being attached to a shop selling interesting and artistic knick knacks, the restaurant is closed away from the museum galleries.
And it’s not a boring space, the decor often mirrors the exhibits’ themes, and there nice window seats (full-length windows) that have plenty of natural light for you to read.
But be warned, the 2pm sun can be rather harsh.
Gallery & Co. is at 1 St Andrew’s Rd
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 atmosphere.
Not only is it pretty to look at, with a mod-Victorian decor style and floor-to-ceiling glass panels that look out to lush trees, 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 Lavender Tea which comes with a sprig of organic lavender – this further elevates the aroma of lavender in your cuppa.
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.
Arteastiq is at Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rd.
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Decked in soothing white and grey hues, Lady M’s airy and sophisticated interiors are major draws for a respite from busy shopping strips.
Its Orchard Central flagship store is perpetually busy, but you may find its boutiques at Scotts Square and South Beach a tad quieter. Linger over its famous mille crepe confections, as well as a selection of artisal and delicately perfumed tea. The boutique even has a list of recommended tea and cake pairings.
Lady M Scotts Square is at #01-06/07 Scotts Square and Lady M South Beach is at 26 Beach Road, #01-17.
Photo: Her World Brides
This quaint cafe allows you to have your afternoon latte surrounded by lovely fresh blooms and overhanging ferns, given it doubles as a florist, too. It’s hard to miss this place – there’s a lush floral arch right at the entrance that’s made it to many an Instagram post.
The cafe serves up hearty brunch options but it’s the desserts and beverages that steal the limelight – from prettily plated souffle pancakes scattered with dried blooms to Mermaid’s Tears, a vivid blue butterfly pea-infused tea with honey lemon.
Bonus points for animal lovers: It’s a pet-friendly cafe!
Cafe De Nicole’s Flower is at 224 Telok Kurau Rd, #01-01.
Reading sanctuary with high tea sets and quintessential cafe 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.
The Reading Room is at 19 Bukit Pasoh Rd.
Billing itself as a “socially-conscious multi-concept store” and emanating chill resort vibes, it dishes wholesome food and beverages sourced from fair-trade and eco-friendly producers, including premium tea from the Amba Estate in Sri Lanka, which works closely with the local community and share 10% of its revenue with the local tea pickers.
When you’re done with reading, you can also browse a curation of eco- and socially-conscious products, or get a manicure in-store – we could spend hours here.
The Social Space is at 333 Kreta Ayer Rd 01-14.
Photo: The Social Space
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Yeah, we’re bending the rules with this one a bit as Mellower’s primarily a coffee joint and tea only comes second.
Still, we picked Mellower for the ambience and view. There are 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. Your drink comes with a petite vase of fresh and colourful blooms – a nice accessory for a flatlay.
Mellower Coffee is at 108 Middle Rd.
Photo: Instagram / @grace 18
You wouldn’t think it, but Birds of a Feather – this pretty-as-a-picture cafe with ethereal cloud lamps, verdant walls of ferns, and skylights has an unexpected streak to it.
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? Mmm.
Birds of a Feather is at 115 Amoy St.
In the hipster enclave of Tiong Bahru, Plain Vanilla’s known for some really good cupcakes.
Pair the sweet treat with some loose leaf tea 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.
Plain Vanilla Bakery is at 1D Yong Siak St.
Photo: Instagram / @alexxrex
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If you want to head somewhere a little more central (or don’t really wanna sit on the ground), try Mercure Singapore Bugis. It’s just launched the new Timeless Indulgence Afternoon Tea Set ($35++ per set) which includes a choice of either Western pastries and savoury bites or Asian desserts like Durian Creme Brulee and Cempedak Mousse Pillow, available at the chic lobby lounge, BARtistry@ONE22.
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.
Mercure Singapore Bugis is at 122 Middle Rd.
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 in a charming alfresco setting.
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.
The Rabbit Hole is at 39C Harding Rd.
Photo: Instagram / @thewhiterabbitsg
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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.
Tea Bone Zen Mind is at 98 Emerald Hill Rd.
Photo: Instagram / @Yuriiina
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 cafe 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. High tea sets with free-flow coffee or tea are also available daily from 2-5pm.
The Coastal Settlement is at 200 Netheravon Rd.
Photo: Instagram / @Singaporeactually
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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 can also try one of its exquisite and delicate cakes which are made without any added sugar. (Any sweetness comes from the fruits used in the cake.)
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.
Antoinette is at 30 Penhas Rd and Mandarin Gallery.
Part art school, part cafe, 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 the surrounding greenery from Istana Park make you feel like you’re away from the city though you’re in the heart of it.
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.
My Art Space is at 31 Orchard Rd.
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 and 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.
Atlas Bar is at 600 North Bridge Rd.
Photo: Instagram / @atlasbarsg
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to get brunch or not, you’ll want to check out this brunch spot nestled along Robertson Quay. Set yourself up in one of its comfy rattan chairs, order a coffee and finish up that book you’ve been reading. Its resort-inspired decor will make you feel like you’re out of the city.
But, if you start feeling peckish, grab a bite at the unlimited salad buffet bar with vegetables, pastas and desserts ($23), or feast on a steaming bowl of Shakshuka. My personal fave? The Real Turkish Breakfast. It’s a spread that’ll last you through a couple of chapters.
And if you’re not one to stay seated for an hour, take a stroll along Robertson Quay. The riverside breeze will definitely relax your mind.
Summerlong is at 60 Robertson Quay #01-04
Text: Sara Mahendran Additional reporting: Hayley Tai, Natasha Venner-Pack and Michelle Lee