About two months ago a friend tweeted me a link about a “café festival”, the first of its kind here in Singapore. Eight weeks and $20 later, this inaugural event was finally ready for the Instagramming public… to aggressively bash online.


When this writer attended the festival on Saturday, the cluster of colours at the Waterfront Promenade (next to the crazy horse sho- I mean… Cavalia) was a rather picturesque sight… but only from a hundred metres away. When we got close enough for the twelve booths to come into view, the horde of wandering caféhoppers did too.


Frankly, it looked like a pasar malam.

If the two rows of stalls were the riverbanks then the steady stream of sweaty, coffee-guzzling people in between could easily pass as a rowdy, pressurised meander.


First complaint: it’s too cramped. I’m not exactly sure why the twelve stalls had to be stationed as close as they were to each other, but the end result was not pleasant. The narrow walkway intended for two-way human traffic would have been charming if the mercury was a tad lower that day, but in Singapore’s tropical climate I’d prefer to be as far away from other perspiring humans as possible, thank you.

The three wooden long tables that were rather haphazardly placed right smack in the middle of the path didn’t help the congestion either.


But my biggest grouse is one shared by most all of the caféhoppers present: what the heck did we buy tickets for? The event was open to the public, but ticket holders (and VIP ticket holders) were promised a bunch (and a slew) of perks respectively.


Blame it on my personal greed and optimism (or maybe it was the $20 that I paid), but I was expecting “CHEAPER F&B PRICES” to translate to half-priced brownies. Imagine my disappointment when I realised a dollar was all that separated me (the “chic caféhopper with tickets”) from the others (the “public peasants”).

Faux snobbery aside, the economics just didn’t make common sense.


While I understand that the organisers also have to put food on the table (heh), it doesn’t take much of an economist to realise that I would have to forcibly ingest 20 quiches to just “break even” for the price of my ticket… after breaking my wallet and the seam of my pants, that is.

I’d love to say that I left feeling satisfied. Ripped off? Definitely. Cafés are sort of geared to overcharge you. But minus the ambience, good lighting for a #foodstagram shot, and most of all, air conditioning, Café Fest SG has bitten off a lot more than it can chew… and we’re the ones sporting the bite marks.


UPDATE: The organisers have noted the many complaints about the event and responded with this post on their Facebook page on Saturday.