The Best Cafes In Singapore For A First Date
STORY: Diane Lam
14 December 2019
At long last, the object of your affection has agreed to go on a date with you. Now comes the hard part: deciding where to go. A hawker centre feels too casual, but a restaurant feels too formal. Naturally, you start googling cafes.
But not all cafes are suitable for dates, especially not first dates, and especially not when you’re meeting someone for the first time (yeah, yeah, Riders Café and The Summerhouse came up first when you looked up “romantic cafes”, but good luck asking someone whom you have yet to meet in person to meet you all the way in Bukit Timah or Seletar).
Since first dates are usually a little awkward, and may require a quick escape, you need to choose a place that is casual, accessible, and that is quiet and well-lit enough to foster eye contact and conversation. You want a place that is ambient, yet not so romantic that you scare the other person away.
Not sure where to start? Consider these cafes.
Merci Marcel, Tiong Bahru
With its blush-coloured walls and hanging plants, this summery Parisian hideout on Eng Hoon Street is both romantic and relaxing. Bring your date here for brunch and order a platter of cheese and charcuterie to share. And if things go well, you can always extend the date at one of the little dessert shops or bookstores in the area.
56 Eng Hoon St #01-68
Find out more here
Also consider: Toby’s Estate, if you’d rather be transported to Melbourne than Paris.
In online dating, there’s a practice known as the “zero date”, where you and the other person meet to gauge your IRL chemistry before planning an actual first date. With its minimalist interior and small menu (which is mostly single origin coffees, with just two or three pastry items), Apartment Coffee is the perfect place to meet and then bid each other a prompt goodbye, should the connection fizzle.
161 Lavender St, #01-12
Find out more here
Also consider: Alchemist, located in Khong Guang Industrial Building in Tai Seng, which is roomier than Apartment but which also offers more coffee than food.
If you want to go all-out with the zero date, how about choosing a place that doesn’t even have seats? At Omotesando, located in a secluded corner of Downtown Gallery, you can make casual, non-committal chit-chat while enjoying a cosy cup of artisanal koffee.
6a Shenton Way Level 4
Find out more here
Also consider: NYLON Coffee Roasters, a coffee bar nestled inside Everton Park. Seats are limited, and there’s no food, making this another ideal place for a quick “chemistry test”.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
A predictable choice, we know, but PPP Coffee’s industrial-chic outpost in Jalan Besar has never failed us. It’s crowded enough to feel buzzy, but quiet enough for you to hear what the other person is saying. Aside from eating and drinking, you can watch the baristas do their magic at the 360-degree brew bar, shop for coffee gadgets at The Annex, and check out beans getting, well, roasted, at The Roastery. All in all, a good place to go if you and your date share a love for coffee.
Also consider: PPP Coffee in Funan Mall, which serves the same coffee, but in a more accessible venue.
Five Oars Coffee Roasters
From the outside, Five Oars looks like yet another “Instagrammable” Melbourne-inspired café (think: plants, white furnishing, neon signs), but once you go inside, you’ll realise that it resembles an upscale canteen, thanks to its spacious layout and large tables. The casual atmosphere, as well as the extensive (although expensive) menu make this the ideal place for those of us who need to eat on a date, but who want to forgo stuffy restaurant vibes.
Also consider: Common Man Coffee Roasters, which is even roomier, with a sizable all-day brunch menu.
We're not joking. This is the ultimate zero/first date spot. Located islandwide, completely devoid of pretension, open 24 hours and the prices? Chef’s kiss. From their new chocolate and cinnamon melts to the classic New York and Oreo cheesecakes, their menu can satisfy even the most picky of dates. The drinks? Delectable. We’re talking frappes, lattes, macchiatos, more frappes, and...the list goes on. If sparks can fly at McDonald's, they can fly anywhere.
Also consider: The actual McDonalds restaurant. Extra features include more seating and plenty of fillers if the date goes sour: screaming toddlers, orders being yelled out and the occasional drink spilling. There’s plenty to talk about.