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5 Conducive Cafés Near SMU (With Free Wi-Fi) to Study At For Finals

Securing a GSR of your preferred timing during finals season is undeniably a race of the fastest fingers (and internet speed). Real SMUggers will already have their preferred slot booked for 2 weeks in advance.

Seats in the libraries are often inconsiderably reserved from as early as 8am with possessions of all sorts, ranging from jackets and bags to water bottles and flimsy piece of foolscap. The benches lining the walls along the corridors of SRs can sometimes be fully occupied, and the basement’s ‘fish tanks’ are more often than not swamped.

Where, then, is the next best place to settle down to get some work done? Here's a list of interesting, alternative working spaces near SMU to drop by.

1. Ratio Café and Lounge

Photo Credit: JustCo

In the movie Passengers (2016), a human-like robot bartender named Arthur pours drinks while accompanying Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in the year 3000. Luckily for us, we will not have to wait another 979 dreadful years to experience such pampering from robots. The future has come knocking on our doors much earlier than expected.

In 2021, robotic arms are already pulling coffee and swirling sophisticated cocktails down at the Ratio Café and Lounge. I reckon that robotic limbs are not as intriguing as a humanoid robotic bartender that can give you dating and life advice like Arthur can, but I digress.

Nestled on the highest level of The CentrePoint shopping mall along Orchard Road, the Ratio Café and Lounge is a newly sprouted café specializing in shaking up both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Photo Credit: Silver Kris | Robotic Arms at Ratio café and lounge

Over 50 different beverages are prepared by three nimble in-house robotic arms. Within mere minutes, one of them can shake up fancy cocktails, while another whips up artisan coffees and lattes. The third one prepares traditional Nanyang Kopi and Teh by pouring and swirling them in muslin socks – just how your coffee shop uncle does it.

Photo Credit: Ratio app | Ratio’s Menu

What’s more, you are given the autonomy to custom craft almost all your beverages just the way you like it. Prefer coffee with three shots of espresso rather than one? No biggie! Gin or Vodka for your Dirty Martini? Totally up to you! This customization will be processed via the Ratio app, where you can tailor the ratio mix of your drinks based on your preferences.

This café, with serene ambience and cozy lighting, shares a space with Just Co’s coworking centre. Grab a beverage or any item off Ratio’s menu, and access to the coworking space is yours.

Their affordable quirky menu and cool robotic arms are one thing. Their spacious discussion tables, which make it the quintessential place for project discussions, is another. Coupled with the tranquil café ambience, a wonderfully conducive environment is set for you to focus and gather your thoughts. In the evening, the lights are dimmed to create a more ‘bar-like’ atmosphere.

Photo Credit: JustCo | JustCo's co-working space

Starting today, Ratio has an exclusive promotion for SMU students (I guess this is another wonderful perk of being an SMU student, huh). With the purchase of any first cup of beverage, you will get the second one at a 50% discount.*

This promotion will run from 1 April 2021 to 30 April 2021.

The Essential Café Checklist:

· Wi-Fi: Yes.

· Power sockets: Yes - charging spaces are at the annex corner and co-working space.

· Time limit: Unlimited, with a single free entry per day with something bought from the café.

Address: 176 Orchard Rd, #05-06 Centrepoint, Singapore 238843

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday (8:00am – 10:00pm), Saturday to Sunday (9:00am – 10:00pm)

Sidebar: Ratio’s Recommendations

The Pandan Latte has garnered the likes of many sweet tooths, while the Long Black and Ratio Blend (hot) have captured the hearts of fervent coffee lovers. The cocktails – the Green Appletini, Nutty Orange and Ratio Old Fashioned – are a hit among customers too.

2. The Book Café

Photo Credit: Time Out Singapore

Our libraries may be packed, but if you need shelves of books surrounding you in order to be productive, here's another study enclave. As its name suggests, you’ll be working and studying amongst shelves of books. But don’t worry, the place is not too crammed. As you feel your attention being stretched thin from the mind sapping revision, the magazines and books on the shelves are at your disposal for your perusal. You can grab something more from the kitchens too!

The Essential Café Checklist:

· Wi-Fi: Yes

· Power sockets: No

· Time limit: Unlimited

Address: 20 Martin Rd, #01-02 Seng Kee Building, Singapore 239070

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday (8.30am to 10.30pm)

3. Dal.komm Coffee Chain

Photo Credit: myfoodstory | Dal Komm @CentrePoint

Hailing from South Korea, the Dal.komm coffee chain has made numerous appearances in hit K-drama series such as Goblin and DOTS, and is one of the more popular study and working spots around town due to its well-furbished amenities. Nevertheless, seats are plenty (and comfy) so you won’t have to fight the crowd. On top of that, their menu of drinks and food bites have received multiple pleasant reviews online.

The Essential Café Checklist:

· Wi-Fi: Yes.

· Power sockets: Yes

· Time limit: Unlimited

Address: 4 outlets – at Funan Mall, The CentrePoint, Jewel @ Changi, and Marina Square

Opening hours: Monday to Sundays (10:00am to 10:00pm)

4. Lowercase Café @ LASALLE

Photo Credit: Lowercase

With aesthetic lights dotting the ceilings, the Lowercase café exudes a homey, ‘social community’ vibe, conducive for anyone to who wants to work or even chill out in. Located at Block D of Lasalle College, this spacious café provides ample of seats for anyone who patronizes their premise. The best thing is having to put down your worries of being chased out of the establishment, something you might experience at other coffee joints.

The Essential Café Checklist:

· Wi-Fi: Yes.

· Power sockets: Yes

· Time limit: Unlimited.

Address: Blk D #01-01, 1 McNally St, 187940

Opening hours:

· Mondays and Tuesdays (9:00am to 9:00pm)

· Wednesdays to Fridays (9:00am to 10:30pm)

· Saturday (11:00am to 10:30pm)

· Sundays (11:00am to 6:00pm)

5. Twenty Eight Cafe

Photo Credit: The Republican Post

The Twenty Eight Cafe is a spacious and minimalistic work-friendly cafe nestled along Wilkie Road. The natural lighting seeping into the cafe through its glass windows gives your endorphins and motivation levels a much needed boost especially in this hectic period! Not forgetting the vast open space and a full dining menu, coupled with their rustic and posh wooden furniture, you simply want to stay on for as long as you possibly can. With multiple power plugs found throughout cafe, you won't have to worry about scrambling to find a charging point to save your dying laptop!

The Essential Café Checklist:

· Wi-Fi: Yes

· Power sockets: Yes

· Time Limit: Unlikely

Address: 28 Wilkie Road, #01-06, Singapore 228051

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday (7.30am to 5:00pm)

With these additional recommendations, I hope finding another lovely spot to get some revision in and work done during the day will no longer be of a trouble for you. All the best for the upcoming finals!

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