Whether you like it or not the “hipster” is still alive and kicking, and whilst most people find them frustratingly “cool” and left of field, you’ve got to appreciate their attention to detail when it comes to the perfect cup of coffee, artsy shopping experiences and well poached eggs. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a wanky bastard when it comes to eating out (no Dome for this girl) and I love discovering new and quirky spots to eat, drink and play. Whilst traveling in Singapore last week this didn’t change, and poor E was dragged along to discover “hipster Singapore”, and I’ll admit I was pretty impressed. In the highly affluent city that is buzzing with the latest technology, fashion and fast living, there is still a lot of independent culture waiting to be discovered. Here are just a few “hip” spots to check out next time you visit SG.
Street art, coloured buildings, old school pastel shutters perfect for posing, vintage stores crammed with floral fifties dresses and cool restaurants serving tasty bites and fresh juice, Haji Lane is hipster heaven. Wander down the lane, pop into an local artisan store or three, have a lazy lunch at Mexican restaurant Piedra Negra and fight over the perfect photo opportunity with the rest of the tourists. I loved the chilled out vibe of this spot. A short walk from the Bugis MRT station and right by Arab Street, make an afternoon of exploring the area. The architecture is simply stunning and the mix of old and new is a beautiful juxtaposition. Once you’ve discovered all the lane has to offer and you’re thirsty Peaches Juice Bar just outside the lane on North Bridge Road serves the tastiest fresh juice out (try the Watermelon, Strawberry and Mint). Get lost and embrace the culture.
Haji Lane, near Arab Street, Bugis MRT
A bit of a hip designer hub located in the Clarke Quay shopping centre, Naiise is full to the brim with hand made jewellery, leather goods, organic make up, quirky home wears, fashion and the in between from all over the globe. Think rings with cat ears, tote bags printed with the most bizarre of designs, tea cups in every colour of the rainbow, hand made necklaces, artisan made ice-cream and the rest. You could probably spend two hours trolling through all of the stock. The store also provides workshops in calligraphy, inking and watercolours, so if you’re in town for an extended period make a day of it. Naisse is also perfect for Singapore souvenir shopping if you’re looking for something a little left of field. You won’t find the usual touristy things here, everything is a little bit different, and cool.
6 Eu Tong Sen Street, Central, #02-23, Singapore 059817.
Specialising in artisan cakes and great coffee to match, Two Bakers is a warm and inviting hipster cafe on Horne Road off the Lavender MRT stop. As you walk in the door you’re greeted by bright polka dot bunting, the smell of good coffee and a cabinet of the prettiest cakes you’ve seen in a while. We stopped by the cafe on two occasions whilst visiting Singapore, the first for an after dinner treat of Key Lime Pie and Raspberry Lychee Mousse Cake and the second for a brunch date featuring Sous-Vide Eggs, Salmon and Bagels. Both meals were beautiful in their own rights and if I lived anywhere near this cafe I’d be a lot larger than I am! Staff were friendly and the coffee is very easy to drink. Two thumbs up for Two Bakers.
88 Horne Road, Singapore 209083
The Bravery Cafe
Another Horne Road cafe off the Lavender MRT line, Bravery is a minimalist haven hidden behind a metal roller door on a street corner. The space is slick, artistic and calming, and on the occasion we visited there were plenty of vacant tables, plus a communal dining option if that is your thing. Menu wise it is quite small, but man they know what they are doing. I ordered the Salmon Board – a generous serving of smoked salmon, creamy scrambled eggs and fresh leaves served alongside a toasted bagel and cream cheese. Oh my! Taste buds happy dancing. The coffee is also nice and smooth, not the strongest blend but very drinkable, and don’t get me started on the latte art. Anyone who can make a soy coffee look good has won a fan in me! Australian baristas take note – it is possible to create art with soy milk!
66 Horne Road, Singapore 209083
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
One for the coffee lovers, CSHH serves various blends from all over the globe in an industrial style space. Popular with tourists and locals alike, I’d highly recommend this spot, purely just for the Nitro Black Matter cold brew ($7) on tap. Yup, on tap like a beer! The blend is smooth and quite strong, but goes down very easily. The cafe also serves a range of brunch dishes and sweet treats including an Earl Grey Cheesecake that looked absolutely divine. My advice, sit outside away from the crowds. The outdoor area has large fans to keep you cool and a minimalistic vibe to suit all kinds of coffee loving creatures.
150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207563
The Sinaporean’s really love an industrial X minimalistic vibe to decorate their cafes! Oberstrasse features hanging lights, quirky art on the walls, metal and wooden furniture so heavy I could barely lift my chair and a breakfast menu made with love! The also provide free wifi for their patrons (which is very important when traveling) and really really good coffee. Food wise it is your usual breakfast fare, but the coffee and service with a smile is worth a visit! Again, this place has perfected soy milk latte art! Impressive!
Blk 809 French Road, #01-50, Singapore
If you’re ever in Singapore take a moment to get away from the hustle and bustle and give the indie kids a chance – perhaps you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Plus it’s always good to shop local.
Have you been to Singapore? Have you discovered hipster Singapore?