[Updated] The Monocle no longer sell coffee at the Holland Village, but give it out complimentary with purchase of items.
[Original Article] Despite a Straits Times article earlier in the year which printed, “Local service poses problem for Monocle”, the niche lifestyle and magazine brand Monocle has set up a café, bureau and retail shop in Singapore, finally.
The choice of location hardly comes as a surprise. Chip Bee Gardens, Holland Village. But of course.
Would we find Barbarella here? No. Her ang mo boyfriend? Very likely.
The Monocle is a global affairs and lifestyle magazine founded by Canadian Tyler Brûlé, and has cafes only in London’s Chiltern Street and Tokyo’s Hankyu Men’s. The Singapore outlet makes its 3rd café. Only drinks can be served at the moment.
74 Jalan Kelabu Asap is a 2-storey terrace shophouse, which looks like someone’s residential property. The outside area has seats within a garden, as you can sip a cuppa, and kind of people watch. Or break out in sweat.
The lower storey contains a takeaway coffee area, with fresh brews using La Marzocco coffee beans from New Zealand’s Allpress. Coffee is priced $4.00 to $6.00.
On the other side is a retail section with bags, clothing, accessories and of course Monocle magazines on set. Expect the likes of Comme des Garcons and Porter.
Do not expect anything cheap, because Monocle does appeal to a specific niche audience – some would say young and stylish; some cultural and hipster, or the well-travelled and knowledgeable.
A lady in all-black exclaimed, “I love everything here”, and quickly paid up for her Monocle subscription; while another in thick framed black spectacles who looked like he worked in a creative agency, took a few glimpses, and walked away, unimpressed.
The staff would be happy to make recommendations if you are not familiar with the brand. My take is: this is either you, or not you.
If you are hardly their target audience, then making a trip down for a cuppa and browsing would just be a tick on your bucket list.
The Monocle Café Singapore
74 Jalan Kelabu Asap Singapore 278267 (Holland Village MRT)