Smell the roast during the day and come back in the evening to nose the wine. Cafes doubling up as bars during the night is not a new concept, but it’s one that has seen a recent pick-up, in part thanks to the dining-in restrictions brought about by the current pandemic. Rather than leaving the space empty and not in use during the evening, cafes are introducing novel concepts that complement their daytime offerings. Here are five establishments pulling a Jekyll and Hyde act.
Gather the Misfits × Mono Izakaya
It might seem like a peculiar name for a cafe, but Gather the Misfits has its roots as an online retail store. The team behind xhundredfold decided to open shop on Rangoon Road and today, Gather the Misfits is a cafe, retail, and event space all rolled into one. The cafe serves up fresh and bottle brews alongside favourite brunch items, while the retail space carries stationery, homeware, accessories and fashion items from local and international indie designers.
From Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm till closing time, Gather the Misfit’s night alter-ego comes out to play: Mono Izakaya is an izakaya that specialises in aged fish and meat, paired with unique cocktails. Besides aged tuna and swordfish, Mono has a range of donburi or rice bowls, including interesting flavours such as bulgogi duck rice and lychee sweet and sour rice with chicken karaage. On the drinks front, concocted tipples feature a range of base spirits such as shochu, yuzu liquor, umeshu, and sake, as well as a tidy range of sakes to pair with their Japanese-influenced bites.
217 Rangoon Road; gatherthemisfits.com
Old Hen Kitchen × Chooby Pizza
From the folks behind Old Hen Coffee Bar on Rangoon Road, Old Hen Kitchen — located on Owen Road and just a few block away from Old Hen Coffee Bar — is an offshoot cafe serving up specialty coffee plus tasty and comforting breakfast and lunch items: on their all day menu are dishes such as mochi pancake stack, maple bacon mac and cheese, fish and chips, and braised pork belly rice bowl.
Since June this year, the space has been doubling up as Chooby Pizza Wednesday to Friday each week, from 6 to 9pm. A hankering for true Neapolitan pizzas like the ones from Naples influenced the owners to make their own and create an intimate pizza experience at their space. Made using naturally leavened dough, the pizzas on offer include traditional flavours such as margherita and marinara, but also more experimental renditions such as the Pulled Pork, with bulgogi, pork shoulder, fior di latte, kimchi, pineapple, and fig chutney; as well as Spiced Coconut Chicken, featuring Tom Kha sauce, chicken thigh, mushroom, onion, Grana Padano, mozzarella, coriander, and chilli oil. Complementing the pies is a range of highly gluggable Italian natural wines and an ever-changing selection of craft beers. Pizza pies are also available for delivery.
127 Owen Road; Tel: 6291 0632; oldhencoffee.com; choobypizza.com
Parallel Coffee Roasters × Yen Bar
Parallel Coffee Roasters first opened in August 2017 as a takeaway coffee concept in the Central Business District. Its outlets at One Raffles Place and Raffles City catered heavily to the office crowds, but that took a hit when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and Singapore’s Circuit Breaker restrictions meant the working crowd didn’t go into offices. Thus, the owners decided to consolidate and open up a small cafe at Duxton Hill, selling affordable coffees, açaí, sandwiches, baked goods and kombuchas during the day, from Tuesday through Sunday.
Once evening hits, though, the place switches into Yen Bar. Following Parallel’s ethos of having reasonably priced drinks, Yen Bar offers up $10 cocktails, wines and beers, as well as finger food and the full Parallel sandwich menu. This has proven an opportune move, as regulars from the old outlets are coming by for both iterations of the space.
39 Duxton Hill; parallelcoffeeroasters.com
Stamping Ground Coffee × Nightcap
Easties in the vicinity of Siglap should be familiar with Stamping Ground Coffee. The charming neighbourhood cafe has been in the area since 2016, having moved there from its original Club Street location. Taking up a corner unit’s ground and mezzanine level at Goodwill Court, the cafe used to share its premises with a florist. When the florist ceased operations earlier this year, the folks behind Stamping Ground Coffee decided it was a good opportunity to expand physically and provide extra offerings to their customers.
After serving good coffee, seasonal in-house roasted selections, and all-day brunch during the day, the cafe turns into Nightcap come nightfall three times a week. From Thursday to Saturday, 6pm onwards, Nightcap becomes a much welcomed neighbourhood drinking hole, offering up wines — mostly natural, organic, or biodynamic — from boutique wineries, a curated list of craft beer, easy cocktails and a concise selection of tasty bar snack. Having been in the ‘hood for a while, the place sees quite a fair amount of regulars coming by both iterations of the space to quench their thirst. This bodes well, as there are plans to make Nightcap run through the week.
87 Upper East Coast Road; Tel: 9070 7610; stampinggroundcoffeesg.com
Tiong Bahru Bakery Eng Hoon × Le Vin Levain
When you have a bakery selling sourdough breads during the day, it seems only natural that, come evening, it offers up sourdough pizzas as well. And that is exactly what Tiong Bahru Bakery’s Eng Hoon flagship store has most recently done, while also pulling in the help of Spa Esprit Group sister concept Drunken Farmer to pair its pies with a unique lineup of minimal intervention wines. From the original Tiong Bahru Bakery outlet, which is actually in the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood, a new range of sourdough loaves that come in rye and cereal, plus sea salt and rosemary sourdough focaccia, are available during the day.
Every Wednesday to Sunday, from 6 to 9pm, Le Vin Levain takes over the space and the kitchen starts churning out sourdough pizza, whose sourdough base takes about 30 hours of fermentation to bring about a chewy, airy crust. Dig into pies such as the classic margherita or the intriguing Lardo and Confit Eggplant, which has confit local eggplants, slivers of lardo, black garlic honey and fresh marjoram layered over a ricotta base. To pair with the pizzas, Drunken Farmer’s natural wine expert Eduardo Bayo will be on hand to recommend by glass and bottles sustainable, low-intervention wines with a “glou glou” skew.
#01-70, 56 Eng Hoon Street; tiongbahrubakery.com