Now Trending: All About the Coworking Restaurant
Picture the glistening cocktail glasses and massive floor-to-ceiling windows at SKAI Bar, a luxury bar on the 70th floor of an acclaimed 5-star hotel in Singapore. The space is packed, but not a single drink is being poured. There’s no server in sight. It’s 11 a.m. in the morning, and the bar is filled with the hum of small chatter and keyboard clicking. That’s because during the daytime, SKAI Bar isn’t a bar at all—it’s a coworking space!
One of the latest coworking trends to hit Asia is the “coworking restaurant” — the transformation of restaurants and bars into workspace. While this may sound strange at first, it’s actually an incredibly business-savvy and logical initiative. The idea has already gained traction elsewhere in New York City, which houses over 2,000 restaurants that only open at night and, thus, remain completely empty during the daytime. Meanwhile, with the recent rise of the freelance economy, the cafés next door are overflowing with independent workers on laptops, frantically trying to get tasks done.
The origins of restaurant-coworking
Spacious and KettleSpace are two New York City-based startups that first began to think of new ways to more effectively make use of spaces in cities. What could be done about the many empty restaurants and overcrowded cafés? First, they realized that restaurants and bars—struggling to pay rent and wages with little to no traffic during the workday—are eager to offer their spaces up for coworking. Second, they noticed that workers who are self-employed or contribute to startups and SMEs appreciate flexible working arrangements that cost less than traditional coworking spaces provided by big name brands. It was a perfect fit. Spacious and KettleSpace successfully partnered with several restaurants and bars throughout New York City, and Spacious is now expanding into other US cities like San Francisco.
An emerging trend in Singapore
Nowadays, more and more restaurants and bars are turning into coworking offices across the world—including Singapore. If you’re a remote professional, self-employed freelancer, or startup employee, you should definitely check these out. The membership fees at a coworking restaurant are often significantly lower than other coworking offices, the packages are flexible, and the ambience is more creative than a conventional office in a commercial building.
During the day, the restaurant or bar becomes an aesthetic office space with the office provider’s team members acting as hosts. The environment is suitable for those who crave a community of like-minded individuals—as workers are encouraged to collaborate with each other and help each other—as well as those who simply want a quiet corner of the room to work alone in.
During the night, the restaurant or bar reverts back to its original form, and Happy Hour commences! The natural transition from workplace to social scene creates a great opportunity for employees to network with visiting clients or other coworkers. Coworking employees are also often given special perks, such as freeflow coffee and tea during the day or discounts on drinks at night. Here are some of our favorite “coworking restaurant” spaces in Singapore:
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The Carrot Patch is a notable Singapore-based company that has been a leader in transforming underutilized spaces in the city into supportive and fun coworking office spaces. In addition to their flagship coworking space on Henderson Road, they now provide two restaurant and bar coworking offices: one at the lush SKAI Bar in City Hall and one at Level Up, an arcade bar in Clarke Quay. At these coworking locations, you can purchase an unlimited hot desk, a day pass, or a 10-day pass—this means that you can first try the space out for a day or two before deciding if you want to commit or not.
Read more about the latest launch here.
Ever notice that hotels have surprisingly conducive work environments? They’re cool, clean, and usually occupy central locations with great city views. Now, it’s possible to work at a hotel in Singapore without ever booking a room. The best part—a hot desk at this beautiful space is only $35 per day.
ClubCo, another Singaporean coworking network, has put a distinct spin on the restaurant-coworking trend by not transforming a restaurant into a workspace but combining a restaurant with a workspace. ClubCo’s coworking office at China Square Central is linked to its sister bistro Club Meatballs next door, allowing coworking employees to conduct business meetings while enjoying quality deli classics and freshly brewed coffee. Notably, ClubCo members get F&B credit equivalent to the amount of rent they pay to occupy the office space. What a steal!
Who should consider restaurant-coworking?
So the question remains: will a “coworking restaurant” work for you? Generally, this niche type of coworking space is suitable for workers who require flexible yet affordable working arrangements. For example, traveling consultants or other remote professionals who are away from their permanent office locations may be looking for a temporary workspace to settle in while abroad. In this case, a coworking restaurant is the perfect option because it allows these employees to have a quiet and business-focused environment they can work in for a few days.
Solo entrepreneurs and self-employed freelancers also fit well with the restaurant-coworking concept because they can easily just drop in during the day, open up their laptop, and get started!
Nonetheless, restaurant-coworking is also great for emerging startups and small teams that can’t yet afford to lease out a space of their own, or just want something different from the standard office setup. While restaurant office spaces can’t handle big conferences, they are great for hosting small group meetings in a casual setting with food and drinks.
When considering a new and innovative office space, whether it’s coworking or long-term, it’s important to know what you’ll be signing up for. Check out our handy guide to coworking to get a run-down of what to expect. The aesthetics of a bar-turned-office may be eye-catching, but you don’t want to miss out on essential amenities, such as high speed WiFi, printing and scanning services, and power outlets. You’ll also want your new workplace to be in an easily accessible location.
On our platform, GorillaSpace helps you fully understand what amenities are offered, what notable buildings or MRT stations surround the office, and how much you can expect to pay. If you have additional questions, you can always request a live chat with one of our Space Experts. GorillaSpace also offers exclusive deals if you book on our website, so keep an eye out!