KULALA Weekends: The Chicest Bookstores In Singapore
Because we all deserve a Belle-in-a-bookstore moment. Your next literary gem – and favourite weekend hang-out spot – could be in any one of these.| November 18, 2016
Call us easily influenced, but the recent release of the Beauty & The Beast trailer has got us thinking about bookstores. Actual, physical wooden-shelves-wooden-floors-and-dim-lighting bookstores, where you can climb up a ladder and have your own Belle-in-a-bookstore moment. Singing optional but highly recommended, obviously.
With old constantly making way for the new on our little island, independent bookstores that keep things old-school are a rare breed in Singapore. It makes the few that we have all the more precious. One can always rely on big-name bookstores, but if you’re looking for flavour, indie independent bookstores are where it is at – and Singapore actually has some of those. We do!
Whether you’re looking for a place to pick up quaint literary finds, chill with fellow bookworms, or are just officially tired of buying books the mainstream way, these spots have you covered. They aren’t anywhere close to Shakespeare and Company in Paris or The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, but they each have something to boast about. Print lives on, y’all.
Basheer Graphic Books
One of Singapore’s best-kept secrets. The interiors are as old school and regular as it gets, but what’s chic is in its stockpile. A well-known spot among art kids, indie kids and fashion kids, Basheer stocks a plethora of books on art, fashion, design, photography – the like. The real gems, though, are the racks upon racks of old fashion magazines outside the store, retailing at half of their original price.
04-19 Bras Basah Complex, 231 Bain Street, Singapore 180231
Littered With Books
So cute, so quaint. Tucked in a little pocket of the very indie Duxton Road, Littered With Books covers book genres across the board. Coffee table books are in a bit of a short supply here, but you’ll have no problems finding popular titles. Those who don’t know where to start can take suggestions from the little handwritten notes stuck onto the shelves.
20 Duxton Road, Singapore 089486
Meet the OG of indie independent bookstores in Singapore. Besides stocking everything from fictional bestsellers to poetry and plays, BooksActually also champions writers from the local literary scene. It even has its own publishing arm called Math Paper Press, producing interesting titles like “From The Belly of the Cat” and “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”. BooksActually also has a knack for picking out books and editions with really pretty covers. If you’re looking for a gift for that really indie, hippie-dippie person in your life, start here.
9 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168645
The French Bookshop
Is it called “The French Bookshop” because it sells French books? Yes, yes it is. Whether you’re French, someone who speaks French or just a Francophile at heart, this place is your little Paris away from Paris, tucked in a little corner of Singapore’s most hipster district.
55 Tiong Bahru Road, Singapore 160055
The Book Cafe
So you like your science-fiction thriller with a side of chicken chipolatas – who doesn’t! While not exactly a bookstore, The Book Cafe welcomes all to grab one of the hundreds of books and magazines on their shelves. Pick a title, order a meal and take your own sweet time to bask in the slow-paced side of life.
01-02, 20 Martin Road, Singapore 239070
The Reading Room
Shophouse windows, walls covered in red, towering shelves filled with books, cushy vintage chairs and mismatched thingamabobs as decor – The Reading Room is the ideal book cafe in a nutshell. It is comfortable and cosy enough to laze in, yet pretty enough for Instagram. (Don’t lie – we know at least 25 percent of the reason why you’re there is because you want a ‘gram.) Plus, they serve food! And they have a bar!
19 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089833
Got a super-chic bookstore or book cafe that we don’t know about? Drop it in the comments below. If you find yourself bored out of your mind this weekend and just need one good reason to head out, check out our other weekend recommendations here.