Singapore’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhood

Tiong Bahru

People looking for something different than the usual Singapore malls, the land of mass made clothing and common restaurants, should seek refuge in Tiong Bahru. In order to escape the new  mainstream world, one must travel to past. Tiong Bahru is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Singapore. Developed back in the 1930s during the British colonization. But today, this historic site has been revitalized by people who think differently. Cafes, book stores, vintage stores, bakeries, and pubs have shot up all around the Tiong Bahru area.


Visitors of Tiong Bahru should stop by Yong Siak Street first, since it has a large number of new cafe, stores, and restaurants. Many of them right next to one another. In the picture above, Books Actually, Strangelets, and Ikyu area all next to each other.

Books Actually

73624028-24ac-4662-9c0b-2f4d22b11887wallpaper (1)Books Actually is an independent bookstore that contains a wide collection of books that specializes in Fiction and Literature. What makes this bookstore different from the typical bookstores is the antique, rare, and out-of-print books that they hold. Plus in the back of the store, they have a cool section littered with old archaic trinkets. Ranging from old tapes, coke bottles, film, and cameras. Some of them are for sale, a perfect gift for someone who prefers things from the past. Also, beware of the cat that runs through the store.

Books Actually
9 Yong Siak St, 168645
Mondays: 11am~6pm
Tuesdays~Fridays: 11am~9pm
Saturdays: 10am~9pm
Sundays: 10am~6pm

Plain Vanilla


If you are having a sweet tooth, walk down the street to Plain Vanilla, hailed as one of the best cupcakes in Singapore by multiple food critics and bloggers. And now they are expanding their operation with their second store here in Tiong Bahru. Since they are still constructing their store, one might actually miss the storefront until their nose gets the scent of nearby cupcakes. After the construction is done, visitors will actually be able to see the magic in the kitchen. Recommendations from the online community is to definitely try out the Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, and Dark Chocolate Ganache. Other best sellers are the Red Velvet, Strawberry White Chocolate, and Milk Chocolate Chip.

Word of warning, make sure you arrive early after its opening, or else the popular cupcakes will most likely be sold out around 2:30PM after the lunch crowd gets to them first.  After that, don’t have high expectation of what they have left. Plus, they only make one batch a day to maintain their standard and quality.  Orders can also be made online through email or calling them up.

Plain Vanilla
1D Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168641
Tuesday to Sunday 12pm to 6pm
Closed on Mondays

Wood in the Books


Yong Siak Street also has something for kids as well, a bookstore! Take a look in here to find a replacement for the iDevices with a nice picture book. This independent bookstore carries picture books for all ages. The owner of the store personally picks the picture books, comics, and graphic novels. Even giving older adults a walk down memory lane as they reminisce about their favorite childhood story book.  They also hold pop-up storybooks, drawings, paintings, prints, and plush toys. They also hold workshop events where kids get together to read and make art!

Woods in the Books
No. 3 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru,, Singapore, Singapore 168642
Monday – Saturdays: 11am-8pm
Sunday & Public Holidays: 11am-6pm

Forty Hands Coffee

Forty Hands

Step into Forty Hands to chill and unwind with a great cup of coffee at hand. A place to relax with some friends as the aroma and sound of baristas crafting your coffee in the background. It is certainly the place to cup for an excellent cup of coffee, cappuccino, or latte. You may think that the fancy shaping of the cream on top of the coffee is all for show. But it actually shows how well it will taste due to the balance of milk and espresso.

For people who pop-in during the afternoon to escape the heat can also order a great selection of gourmet hot dogs. Definitely not your typical hot dog with mustard and kitchen. Choices like the Big Bang hot will will cause an eruption of different flavors and senses that tingles your mouth. The combination of spaghetti bolognese and breakfast scrambled eggs will pleasantly surprise you.

Forty Hands
78 Yong Siak St, #01-12 Tiong Bahru
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturdays: 8am to 7pm
Friday & Saturday: 8am to 10pm
Closed Monday

Social Haus

Social Haus

As the night comes to an end, look towards Social Haus for a cool refreshing drink. A place to come together with friends to sit around and talk. Come in before 8pm for Happy Hour specials for $8-$10 drinks.  There is also a good selection of burgers to choose from to accompany your drink as well.

Social Haus

11 Yong Siak Street, Singapore, 168650
Mon, Wed & Thu: 12pm–11.30pm
Fri: 4pm–midnight
Sat: 11am–midnight

Open Door Policy

Open Door Policy

Open Door Policy continues the Yong Siak’s trendiness with this modern retro gourmet restaurant. A good place for lunch or dinner and on the weekends, brunch. Opening the menu, you will be welcomed to a large selection of delectable choices. You’ll be even more amazed by the presentation, taste, and quality of the foods when it comes out. This is why you must be sure to make a reservation in advance as this place tends to be quite full, especially over the weekend.

Open Door Policy
19 Yong Siak Street, Singapore, 168650
Mon to Sun: 12pm–3.30pm, 6pm–11pm
Weekend brunch: 11am – 4pm
Save me a Spot!



Ikyu is a contemporary look on Japanese dining. Walk into the dark minimalistic interior with ambient lighting around. Creating a mysterious interior that sets the exciting vibe. The same thing can be said about the dishes as well, modern and minimalistic. The food keeps to the simple roots of Japanese foods but includes some western touches.  You wouldn’t expect this high end restaurant in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Singapore. Which is why it makes this hole in the wall even more exclusive. So don’t forget to make yourself a reservation before going.

5 Yong Siak Street, Singapore, 168650
Tues to Sunday: 11:30am-3pm, 6pm-10:30pm
Closed on Mondays
Save me a Spot!

Whenever or wherever you decide to go, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
And always remember, to skip the queue, use Kaimen to search, reserve, and eat!!!