Sip and surf to your heart's content

Republic Polytechnic student Nicholas Wong, 21, has avoided going to fast-food chains such as McDonald's and coffee chains such as Starbucks for the past six months.

His reason? He feels that most of the outlets do not offer enough power sockets for customers.

He prefers visiting his favourite haunt, The Book Cafe, in Martin Road, off River Valley Road.

It offers plenty of power sockets on top of free Wi-Fi.

He explained: "I like it when I can charge my phone and laptop and use the free Wi-Fi. It proves that the cafe is not stingy and is worth patronising."

Businesses do have to make a profit, so it is understandable that some cafes lack or limit Internet access and power sockets in an attempt to discourage patrons from lingering, as well as to keep customer turnover healthy.

But many cafes here buck the trend.

Pies & Coffee in Rochester Mall, near Buona Vista MRT station, has chosen to court students and office workers with free Wi-Fi and plenty of power sockets - and it seems to be paying off.

Its training and marketing executive, Mr Firdaus Wahab, said 30 per cent of Pies & Coffee's customers were students.

He explains how Pies & Coffee stays profitable: "Students tend to spend between $10 and $15 and hang around a few hours. If they like the cafe, they often become regular customers, and their friends too, for years."

Free Wi-Fi and power is a big draw for students.

Nanyang Polytechnic student Lee Wei Lynn, 19, admits she weighs the value of cafes before visiting to get her money's worth.

She said: "Having ample power outlets is a plus, while Wi-Fi matters as well."

Another Nanyang Polytechnic student, Mr Farihin Joehari, 21, prefers to study at home, but said he would not mind going to cafes which provide free Wi-Fi and power sockets.

D'good Cafe in Holland Avenue also offers free Wi-Fi and use of its power sockets.

The cafe is consistently packed with students, many of whom can be seen typing away on laptops.

D'good Cafe's marketing manager, Ms Jasmin Loh, said: "We offer free Wi-Fi and use of our power outlets to all our customers as a value-added service."

Some cafes go the extra mile. L'etoile Cafe in Owen Road offers its customers a variety of books and magazines.

The Loft Cafe in South Bridge Road even provides wireless charging pads for smartphones.

Digital Life visited about 15 cafes around Singapore and picked five of the most student-friendly cafes.

The most welcoming offer free Wi-Fi, ample power outlets, comfy seats and a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy one's cake and coffee.

If you need a good spot to read your books or use the laptop, check out these places.

And if we left out your favourites, do let us know.


d'Good Cafe
273 Holland Avenue, 02-01/02
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm (Sun to Thurs), 10am to 11pm (Fri to Sat)
Tel: 6219-9807

It is easy to miss d'Good cafe, even though it is in Holland Village - a popular area for dining - because the cafe is not at street level.

It occupies the second and third levels of a shophouse, which you reach through a narrow staircase sandwiched between a clinic and a restaurant. Only a blackboard sign marks its presence.

Although it is relatively new, having opened in 2012, the cafe seems popular with students.

Along with free Wi-Fi, it has more than 10 power sockets distributed throughout its four sections.

At the bar, customers can sit and chat with the baristas. The dining area on the second floor has a cosy ambience with rocking chairs, an artificial grass patch and an indoor garden swing which overlooks the neighbourhood.

The roof top on the third floor is a child-friendly space with high chairs, rocking horses, bean bags and even a giant teddy bear. It offers alfresco dining with a great view of the neighbourhood.

On the menu are Eggs Benedict, a full English breakfast (with bacon, sausages and eggs), pies, pasta, as well as Asian dishes. Main courses cost $13 to $16, while drinks cost $5 to $7.

However, what customers come here for are the coffee and cakes, which include a cheesecake trifecta (oreo/chocolate/cheese), as well as its signature maple seasalt cheesecake, which its founder, Mr Mike Chin, 45, makes himself. A slice of smooth crumbly yumminess costs about $8.

The cafe boasts a unique service. A customer can create his own blend by noting his preferences in a questionnaire, which the barista uses to prepare three types of coffee beans for "cupping", or tasting. The customer then ranks the beans and the barista decides on the ratio to use in the custom blend which a customer can name.

If this seems like too much bother, just order a latte and enjoy the beautiful latte art.

There is space to seat 95 people, so getting a seat is easy even during weekends.

The staff were friendly and courteous, but rather slow to clear dishes on the upper floor. There is no service charge or GST.

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