The students hogging seats at Starbucks aren’t the only ones who need to get work done.
More and more Singaporeans are now working remotely or freelancing, which means there is an-ever growing demand for cost-efficient cafes to work at that offer free wifi and power outlets.
Here are our top picks!
7 most cost-efficient cafes to work or study at in Singapore
|Cafe||Nearest MRT||Price of coffee||Price of a main dish|
|Wakey Wakey||Nicoll Highway||$4.50 to $5.50||$15|
|The Muffinry||Telok Ayer||$5 to $6||$7.50 to $8.50|
|The Book Cafe||Chinatown||$5 to $6||$16 to $18|
|d’Good Café||Holland Village||$5 to $6||$15 to $17|
|Dal.komm Coffee||Somerset||$5 to $7||$8 to $10|
|Mellower Coffee||Bugis||$5.50 to $9.50||$8 to $10|
|Starbucks||Various||$6 to $8||$7|
Looking for something a bit more hipster, er, I mean, artisanal? You’ll find just that at Wakey Wakey. With its floor-to-ceiling glass windows and al fresco area, you’ll be able to people watch when you get bored of staring at your laptop.
While the cafe itself does not provide free wifi, the building in which it is situated does, although it is not terribly fast. Expect to pay about $4.50 to $5.50 for a coffee and $15 to $16 for a grain bowl.
Address: 302 Beach Road, #01-04/05 The Concourse Skyline, Singapore 199600
One issue about working at small cafes is embarrassment about there for so long without ordering a constant flow of drinks. At The Muffinry, you can simply sit upstairs where the power outlets are to avoid any awkwardness.
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This cosy cafe in the CBD serves up salads and sandwiches for about $7.50 to $8.50, and also makes a mean coffee for about $5 to $6.
Address: 112 Telok Ayer Street Singapore 068581
The Book Cafe
This cosy cafe near Robertson Quay has been around for almost 20 years, outlasting many of its hipster cousins.
Thanks to comfy couches and a selection of reading material for when your brain gets weary, The Book Cafe is one of the quieter and more pleasant options for an afternoon of work. They’ve got free wifi and power outlets which you won’t have to fight with secondary school students over.
A coffee will set you back about $5 to $6. It is a bit on the pricey side if you’re planning to eat, with most mains being in the $16 to $18 range.
Address: 20 Martin Road #01-02 Seng Kee Building Singapore 239070
There are now two d’Good Cafe branches, but the Holland Village branch is a better choice if you’re looking to get work done, thanks to the natural light and pleasant ambiance. The main drawback is that it can get quite packed with students at times.
Be prepared to pay about $15 to $17 for pasta dishes, and about $5 to $6 for a coffee.
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Address: 273 Holland Avenue #02-01/02
This is a Korean coffee chain whose main claim to fame in Singapore is the fact that scenes from K-drama Descendants of the Sun were filmed at one of its outlets.
Dal.komm has several outlets in Singapore, but its outlet at the Centrepoint is equipped with comfy armchairs and booths, and is spacious enough that you don’t feel guilty for staying too long. They’ve got fast wifi and power outlets.
You’ll pay for the privilege, though, as their special drinks are quite expensive, with their regular “mixtur” costing $7.50 to $8, and specials costing almost $9. If you’re on a budget, stick with their regular coffees, which are in the $5 to $7 range, and hot teas, which are around $5.
Their savoury food options mainly consist of toast, brioche and pizza, which you’ll pay about $8 to $10 for.
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Address: 176 Orchard Road #01-01/02/03/04/05/07/102/103 Singapore 238843
Despite its indie appearance, Mellower Coffee is actually a big chain from China. There are several outlets in Singapore, but we like the one at Middle Road for its street view and cosy yet spacious two storey layout.
A sandwich or pie will cost you about $8 to $10, while you’ll pay $5.50 to $9.50 for coffee. Not cheap, but you can sit there for a long time without the staff saying anything.
Address: 109 Middle Road #01-01 Singapore 188967
Okay, Starbucks isn’t exactly the most sophisticated of choices, but it is reliable because every Starbucks outlet offers free wifi and power outlets.
Another advantage of Starbucks is that, since it’s a big chain staffed mostly by part-timers, it is unlikely you will be nagged to buy more drinks after a certain number of hours of seat-warming.
While the prices cannot be said to be bargain basement, they are affordable considering how long one drink purchase lets you stay there, with the cheapest espresso costing $3.70 tall, a tall caffè latte costing $6.30, and a flat white $7.30. Most coffee options are about $6 to $8. When you get hungry, expect to pay about $7.20 for a sandwich or wrap, or about $8.20 for a salad bowl.
See the full list of Starbucks outlets with the store locator function on its website.
Is it more worth it to work at a co-working space?
As a freelancer, you’ve definitely asked yourself at some point whether you should join a coworking space and maybe even checked the prices.
A coworking space can be a good option if you absolutely need things like printer access and meeting rooms. Working in one can also remove the stress of needing someone to look after your laptop when you go to the toilet and having to fight for seats. Coworking spaces also often organise events so members can get to know each other, and it can be nice to belong to a community rather than remaining mute behind your laptop.
On the other hand, coworking spaces can eat into your earnings, with prices typically being about $50 a day. A subscription at a coworking space typically costs about $250 to $700 a month.
Depending on how many days a week you work and how much you spend each time you decide to work at a cafe, this might or might not be cost-effective. If you work 20 days a month outside of home and spend $20 each time at more expensive cafes, a coworking space might make sense. On the other hand, anything less than that and you could probably save money just by working in cafes or at home.
Despite the perks of coworking spaces, they are not for everybody. If you thrive on being able to change your environment often or frequently travel to meet clients, the fixed location of a coworking space might become a liability. In addition, not all coworking spaces offer late-night or 24-hour access, so night owls might found it counterproductive to join a coworking space that is only open until 8pm.
What’s your favourite cafe to work at? Share your recommendations in the comments!