Running a cafe in Singapore is tough business these days – all the more so in places like the CBD, where you get stiff competition from dozens of Tanjong Pagar cafes around you.
Now that many offices and coworking spaces provide free coffee, your basic $5.50 flat whites and lattes just don’t cut it anymore.
No, spoilt Singaporeans now want truly special drinks that they can show off on Instagram. Bonus points if it comes in a collectible bottle (because takeaway cups are hopelessly passe – you don’t want to be judged by your colleagues, do you!?).
On the other hand, putting coffee in a bottle or some other fancy container means that cafes can now charge a premium for this. So just how much is that trendy cold brew gonna cost? Here’s a look at 10 cult Tanjong Pagar cafes and their offerings.
Top 10 Tanjong Pagar cafes with cult signature drinks
|Tanjong Pagar cafe||Signature drinks||Price|
|The Populus||Cold brew white, black & Mörk Cold Chocolate||$5.50 to $7.50|
|Upside Down Coffee Alternatives||Specialty cold brew coffee||$6|
|Free The Robot||Free The Robot Signature, Robo One, Kopi Cola||$6 to $7|
|Five Oars Coffee Roasters||Pour-over coffee||$6 to $7|
|Lunar Coffee Brewers||Cosmos (black), Milky Way (white) cold brew||$7|
|Omotesando Koffee||Bubbling iced cappuccino||$7.50|
|Mellower Coffee||Tuxedo sea salt macchiato cold brew||$7.80|
|The Social Space||Vegan almond milk cold brew||$8|
|Dapper Coffee||Unicorn Tears, Gold Brew||$10|
|Bearded Bella||Cold brew coffee in a hip flask||$12|
The Populus (ex-Department of Caffeine) – White Brew Coffee ($5.50)
Opened by the folks behind once-cult favourite Department of Caffeine, The Populus Coffee & Food Co. is, surprisingly, not all that popular yet.
That might explain why they sell some of the cheapest bottled cold brews around Tanjong Pagar, starting from “only” $5.50 for a small white cold brew (the large one costs $7.50).
Other Instagrammable specialties are the Nitro Single Origin Cold Brew ($6.50), Mörk Cold Chocolate ($7.50) and the towering soft serve sundaes on waffles ($14 to $18).
Address: 146 Neil Road, Singapore 088875
Upside Down Coffee Alternatives – Cold Brew ($6)
Coffee “nano roaster” Upside Down Coffee Alternatives is a coffee nerd kinda place. They focus more on small batch in-house roasted coffee beans than on gimmicky shit like flavoured lattes.
Their signature blends are offered in cold brew form for a pretty affordable price tag ($6 for either white or black).
Alternatively you can opt to drink filtered coffee ($7), but there isn’t much seating space inside – it’s mainly alfresco.
Address: 115 Amoy Street, Lobby Space, Singapore 069935
Free The Robot – Robo One Chilled Vanilla ($6)
Free the Robot is a cafe so hip that you should probably brush up on your knowledge of craft beer, electric cars and cryptocurrency before you enter, in case someone makes small talk.
Obviously, normal lattes are too pedestrian for the FTR crowd. Instead, the signature drink here is a bottled vanilla milk cold brew called Robo One ($6).
Other popular drinks are the FTR Signature ($6), a hot latte topped with coconut oil, and the Kopi Cola ($7), which is exactly what it sounds like.
Address: 118 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068587
Five Oars Coffee Roasters – Pour-over Coffee (from $6)
Similar to Upside Down, Five Oars Coffee Roaster is a place for coffee nerds to cream themselves over different beans’ top notes.
If you’re into that, their pour-over coffee is relatively affordable at $6 for a hot one and $7 for cold. It sounds steep, but you do get a decent-sized carafe of coffee rather than a cup the size of a thimble.
Address: 39 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088462
Lunar Coffee Brewers by Atlas Coffeehouse – Milky Way ($7)
‘Twas a glorious day for CBD workers when cult Bukit Timah Atlas Coffeehouse opened Lunar Coffee Brewers in Tanjong Pagar.
You no longer have have to take the day off just to drink their signature bottled milky cold brew coffee, Milky Way ($7). Rejoice! There’s also a black version of it, Cosmos (also $7).
If you’re a tightwad who thinks $7 for a bottled drink is preposterous (me), opt for the Milky Way soft serve ($5.90) which is a bit more worth it since it’s ice cream.
Address: 6 Shenton Way, #01-49/50 OUE Downtown Gallery 2, Singapore 068809
Omotesando Koffee Singapore – Iced Cappuccino ($7.50)
When Omotesando Koffee opened in Tanjong Pagar last year, Singaporean hipsters chorused in unison, “that’s the cafe I went to in Tokyo!”
The signature drink here is the Milo Dinosaur-looking iced cappuccino ($7.50) which supposedly bubbles in your hand after a moment.
Address: 6A Shenton Way #04-01, The Work Project, Downtown Gallery, Singapore 068815
Mellower Coffee – Tuxedo Sea Salt Macchiato Cold Brew ($7.80)
Shanghai cafe Mellower Coffee started out in Bugis but quickly opened a few more outlets in the CBD to meet demand for its gimmicky promotional drinks, like Sweet Little Rain ($9.80 for a piece of cotton candy suspended over black coffee).
The current signature drink Tuxedo ($7.80) is a little more grown-up. It’s a cold brew coffee topped with sea salt and milk, a la Koi bubble tea.
Address: #01-03, Robinson Rd, Robinson 77, Singapore 068896
The Social Space – Vegan Almond Milk Cold Brew ($8)
Do you carry a reusable straw around in your canvas tote bag at all times? Then you’d best hurry down to The Social Space, a “socially-conscious multi-concept lifestyle store” that sells only ethically-made, feel-good products.
They’re one of the very rare place that sell a vegan white cold brew (it’s made with almond milk), though it’s pretty steep at $8.
Their other beverages aren’t as pricey, though the cafe focuses on tea. They also sell zero waste coffee beans and tea leaves with no packaging – just BYO mason jar.
Address: 333 Kreta Ayer Road #01-14, Singapore 080333
Dapper Coffee – Unicorn Tears ($10)
Since it turns into a speakeasy-style bar by night, Dapper Coffee is too dark and gritty to look like your run-of-the-mill cafe.
Nonetheless, people still flock here and go apeshit over their glittery signature drink, Unicorn Tears. It’s also available in glitter coffee flavour: Gold Brew. At $10 a bottle, it’s a lot to pay for a drink. But do millennials care? Nah.
Address: 73 Amoy Street, 2/F, Singapore 069892
Bearded Bella – Hip Flask Cold Brew ($12)
I guess appearing casually alcoholic is now a thing, because new-ish cafe Bearded Bella has started selling their cold brew coffee in a metal hip flask ($12).
$12!! Wah lao not shy leh… But at least you get 10% off your future cold brew coffees if you bring the flask back.
Address: 8 Craig Road, Singapore 089668
What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a fancy coffee in Singapore? Tell us in the comments!