Fancy a table or chair to go?
Some eateries allow you to not just dine, but buy their furniture too
By: Cheryl Faith Wee
The next time you eat out at a cafe, there might be more than just food on the menu. Some are serving up the chance to buy their furniture, too.
At least six restaurants here allow diners here to eat and shop at the same time.
You can chew over a variety of furniture offerings, ranging from Scandinavian designs to bespoke or vintage tables and chairs in unique designs.
Your take-away could even be the chair you are sitting on.
One of the first outlets to go the eat-pay-loll route is the seven-year-old cafe Tea Cosy in Plaza Singapura, which started doing this in 2009 after a revamp. The following year, bespoke cocktail bar Bar Stories in Haji Lane and cafe-cum-furniture shop ReStore Living jumped on the wagon.
The latest addition is the month-old cafe Carpenter And Cook near Upper Bukit Timah, which pairs vintage furniture mostly from Britain with quiches and sandwiches.
Selling furniture in a cafe has its perks, says Ms Eunice Yeo, 32, one of the three owners of Carpenter And Cook.
Ms Yeo says: 'Our vintage pieces give the cafe a character which attracts patrons.'
She adds: 'We have a unique look, with many one-of-a-kind pieces that contribute to the decor of our cafe, which is like a living museum. As we sell existing furniture, new pieces make their debut.'
Prices range from around $200 for an industrial chair to $6,500 for a metal cabinet. There are also other items such as 1950s amusement park lamps for $1,200 and weighing machines from the 1960s and 1970s for over $100.
Business overall at Carpenter And Cook has been 'encouraging' so far, with around 10 chairs sold, says Ms Yeo.
While ReStore Living declined to reveal sales figures, Bar Stories is sitting pretty. It gets a five-figure sum from its furniture sales each month and a six-figure sum from the bar.
So successful is the combo of food and furniture that the owners are opening another restaurant-cum-retail store called Tables Manners in Changi City Point in around two months. It will sell the dining chairs, tables and cutlery that the shop is furnished with.
Housewife Andrea Friedman, 26, bought a mid-century two-seater couch with curved armrests from Bar Stories in April for around $1,600, for her two-year-old son's bedroom. She says: 'It is hard to find something in this timeless design. It did not bother me that the piece was second-hand.'
At such places, some wear and tear such as stains on the fabric or scruff marks on the wood can be expected. But Bar Stories usually has new pieces of each design available for sale at its showroom, White House, in Mohamed Sultan Road. At places such as ReStore Living and Carpenter And Cook, the furniture pieces are usually sold as they are.
The co-owner of ReStore Living, Ms Liew Hwee Min, 35, says: 'We sometimes touch up some of the pieces upon special request, but customers usually prefer the preloved look.'
Prices at ReStore start from around $180 for a dining chair.
Finance director Ong Teng Teng, who is in her mid 30s, bought a 1970s three-seater sofa with pistachio-green cushion covers there for around $1,600.
She says: 'I do not usually buy vintage items but I wanted a classic design which I would not be able to find in other furniture shops here. I love this shop because, unlike the usual stores, you get a lot of time to try out what you like.'