Are you triggered by any or all of these words? Pyjamas. Blank email. Homes Under The Hammer. Twitter. Peanut butter. Spoon. Twitter. Blank document. Twitter. 4pm. Body odour. Pyjamas. If yes, then congratulations, you know what it’s like working from home.
There’s a reason why coffee shops exist: it’s to keep you from doing the above. But not all coffee shops are made for working in. Aside from good coffee you need somewhere comfy, with good wifi, and plenty of those sacred plug points. These are the best coffee shops in London with everything you need to get work done.
Covent Garden has plenty of cafes. Some are packed out 24/7, some are tiny and fill up quicker than you can say “I refuse to get on the tube before 9am”, and some have velvet sofas and a huge apple tree slap bang in the middle. Well actually, only this cute spot on Monmouth Street has that. It also has plugs everywhere, an air of calm that will help you not to send that passive aggressive email you just drafted in your head, and a menu with everything from brunch favourites to baked porcini pasta. This is a good spot to get a decent couple of hours work in, and the wifi is good enough to get by. Just don’t head here if you need to do some huge downloads because it could significantly slow you down, That, and the dessert menu.
‘Redemption Roasters closes at 5pm' are words that will give any freelancer goosebumps. In a city where your average coffee shop shuts down at 3pm, those extra two hours of caffeinated potential are a massive win. Better yet, this coffee house is open on Mondays too. There are a few outposts dotted around London but the Covent Garden spot is our favourite thanks to the winning combination of foliage and fast wifi. The ‘pour-over bar’ will get any coffee fanatics all excited and you definitely want to get involved in the rotation of sweet treats. The pastries in particular are great.
Fare Bar and Canteen
The best thing about being a freelancer is that you’re your own boss. And the worst thing about being a freelancer is that you’re your own boss. Fare Bar and Canteen in Clerkenwell is the kind of stylish all-day coffee spot that your boss (you) can definitely get on board with. It serves great coffee from 7.30am, there’s a shiny marble bar that makes for an excellent daytime office, and, importantly, it has plenty of tasty small plates on offer for when the boss decides it’s lunchtime.
There are a few things you need to know about Powerhouse Coffee besides the fact that it’s a spacious coffee shop in Clerkenwell that’s bathed in light. Firstly, it overlooks the train lines out of Farringdon Station, so—on top of all that light—if it’s your move to spend as much time gazing thoughtfully towards the horizon as you do actually looking and interacting with words and numbers on your computer screen, this place is for you. The second is that it has an excellent range of cold drinks and coffees, ranging from a special espresso roast from Climpson’s to a banana frappé which is 100% worth your while. Finally, it’s open until 5pm which is pretty much a USP in a city where most coffee shops close at four. N.B. there’s another spacious branch on nearby Whitecross Street (Fix Coffee) which is open even later.
There are many reasons why you should go to Söderberg in Soho. One is to sit down with a cup of good coffee while also being conveniently close to one of its many USB ports. Another is its seriously tasty cinnamon rolls. And really, the ultimate reason to go to Söderberg is to feel really, really cool. Do you look like you’re starring in a comedy sketch entitled The Sogfather after a bus splashed you? No problem, this laid-back Swedish spot is full of Scandi furniture, people wearing beanies, and an indie top 10 soundtrack that will make you feel human again. It’s open until 7.30pm during the week and its evening smörrebrod platters are an excellent reason to hang about for an extra hour or two if you’ve spent the day working here.
Just because your Instagram bio says ‘digital nomad’ now, doesn’t mean that you can’t get cabin fever from working in dingy cafés. Hit the Riding House Café in central which is a lovely and incredibly convenient place to post up for a few hours. The sofas and long communal table are a good shout and it’s also bright inside, which helps if you’re prone to a bit of seasonal affective disorder. There’s a varied all-day menu of posh brasserie dishes, but it’s also good for eggs in the morning. Bear in mind that it gets busy at peak times.
Farringdon isn’t exactly short of coffee shops, but Prufrock has been one of the best in London for a long time—both for the quality of its coffee and the environment you’ll drink it in. It’s laid-back enough for you to relax and go deep and finish that PowerPoint, and the service is also great.
Trampoline is one of those cafés where you can simultaneously convince yourself that you’re cool enough to write a memoir and also not care that you’ve got the crumbs of one of London’s best pain au chocolats down your top. A social enterprise café on Angel’s Camden Passage, it helps refugees find work while also serving hefty pastries and daily sandwiches packed with fresh ingredients. The bright orange fronting makes it hard to miss but what you might not realise is that there’s some lovely hidden seating upstairs and importantly, the coffee’s great too. Just be aware that it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Big Jo Bakery
For lunch and by night, this spacious and bright Hornsey Road spin-off from Newington Green’s Jolene is all about pizza and wine, but it’s really an all-day bakery so throughout the morning and afternoon you can eat pastries fresh from the ovens out back. You can also drink excellent coffee, and while we absolutely would not pitch up here with our laptop riser, trackpad, and external keyboard, it’s perfectly comfortable for those times when you need to do some non- or low-intensity screen work. There’s also plenty of activity at all times of day, as staff mill flour and prepare dough for the night’s pizzas, so loads to distract you while you hunker over the proposal you’ve been working on at one of the narrow, window-facing counters.
If you’re after a place to work with coffee, tea, snacks, and varying distractions, then you’ll enjoy Spiritland in King’s Cross. This music café and bar is comfortable and cosy, and just the right amount of cool. The amount that can distract you out of work, or disgust you into it. You can easily come here with colleagues, or bed in on your own. Which makes it particularly useful considering where it is.
Caravan King’s Cross is a huge all-day restaurant on Granary Square that takes the needs of freelance coffee drinkers very seriously. Not only is it open past 10pm throughout the week, but there are a couple of rows of workshop-style sharing tables at the back where you can get on with whatever you’re doing without having to worry about giving up your table for an incoming party of four trying to get some lunch.
Train station cafés are the world’s worst liminal space. Their sole use is as a time-killing environment, and yet time appears to stand still when you’re in them. But Coal Rooms, attached to Peckham Rye station, is an exception to this rule. The front coffee shop area opens at 6:30am and is a super useful place to get a bit of work done. Especially if you need to jump on the train at some point. The coffee and pastries are good, plus there’s an excellent restaurant at the back to tempt you away from work.
Sadly, this isn’t a cafe with a staff of lumberjacks that pass around pens crafted from disused oak, yelling “timber” everytime you check your phone, and swinging you over their shoulder every time you ‘accidentally’ open Twitter. But, what this Camberwell spot lacks in axe-wielding, plaid-clad men, it makes up for in excellent coffee, light bites, and local artists’ work for sale on the walls. During the week you’ll find plenty of people tapping away at their laptops upstairs, but you can pretty much always find a spot downstairs. Although the spot shuts promptly at 4pm, it’s worth noting that it opens bright and early at 8am with things like shakshuka and banana bread on offer.
Juliet’s Quality Foods
If you like your coffee shop with a solid side of great food, then Juliet’s is the Tooting spot for you. It may only be open until 3pm (so it’s probably a choice for the early birds), but this walk-in-only cafe is as likely to serve you a smoked pumpkin omelette with a massive whack of lemon salmoriglio as it is a latte and a couple of hours of uninterrupted peace while you finally get that presentation done. A ratio we entirely approve of.
Open from 8am-4pm, NOLA in Peckham does everything a neighbourhood coffee shop should do. It serves an excellent array of coffees, including a delightfully balanced batch brew. There’s a variety of seating options, including a couple of high-top window seats (always our first choice), an outdoor bench, and a bunch of two-seaters. It’s got some solid all-day brunch options and is also just a pretty nice place to be. It’s buzzy, friendly, and bright, which is probably why you’ll see as many MacBooks as there are tables if you come in here mid-morning or afternoon. This is to say that it can get busy, but we’ve always managed to grab a spot and are sure you will too.
The first thing you should know about Stir in Brixton is that it serves decent coffee. The second is that there’s a tiny black dog that’s always sleeping under one of the bookshelves by the till. Hello, 3pm petting session when you realise that digital agency still hasn’t paid you. As well as lots of exposed brick, there’s plenty of craft beer options, pastries, and enough seating that you can usually find a corner (and yes, a plug) to claim.
Despite being fairly cosy (see: small) Hej in Bermondsey makes for a good stop-off spot to get a couple of hours work done. There’s a large shared table which is laptop-free, which is excellent encouragement if you have work that doesn’t necessarily involve you knowing what Love Island contestant you’d hypothetically be. Otherwise there’s plenty of counter seating and some comfier sofa options, plus the coffee and cakes are good too.
If we’re talking incentives to get work done, a cold craft beer must be up there. Bean & Hop in Earlsfield is a cafe by day that does excellent sausage rolls and good coffee, and has an extensive craft beer list at night. The internet’s reliably fast and there are plenty of power outlets, and the cafe has the sort of laid-back indie feel that’s always welcome in this part of town.
The coffee shop that you daydream about always being in, maybe owning, and hopefully catching eyes over MacBook screens with ‘the one’ in, is the kind of cafe you want when you need to get some ‘work’ done. Popham’s is all of this and more. Less than 10 minutes from Hackney Central, the east London outpost of this bakery and cafe is airy, comfortable, and serves the kind of pastries where just one simply isn’t an option. Because a ham and cheese croissant needs something with custard in it to wash it down, right?
If one more person refers to you as ‘funemployed’ you’re going to force them to submit your tax returns next year and see who’s having fun then. But, on the plus side, being freelance means you can make all-day, small plates and coffee spot, The Attendant Shoreditch, your work zone for the day. Expect lots of foliage, cold brew coffee, whitewashed walls, and of course, wifi. They’re open from 8am until 5pm.
Coffee shops are to Hackney what teenagers are to Camden: there are loads of them there. But the best place to work in Hackney isn’t a coffee shop. Instead, it’s Martello Hall, the excellent pizzeria-slash-bar on Mare Street. During the day, there’s a comfortable first-floor lounge where you can get bottomless coffee and fast wifi for a tenner, and the ground area is ideal for a casual meeting or lunch. The pizzas and cocktails are fantastic for when you’re ready to say fuck it and call it a day.
The area around the Old Street roundabout is rammed with coffee shops, ranging from your Café Neros to the sort of places that take 20 minutes to make your drink. Problem is, most of them are noisy and horrible for actually getting any work done. Walk a few minutes up City Road to Coffee Junction which, owing to being slightly out of the way, is quiet and spacious, and perfect for settling in and going deep on that children’s novel/spreadsheet you’ve been working on. The mugs of coffee are big if you’re on a freelancer budget, and there’s also a nice outdoor area for meetings when the weather’s nice.
East London might just have more coffee shops where you can workthan any other corner of London. And of all of east London, you’d imagine Broadway Market would be the easiest place to find one. Oddly though, it isn’t. That’s why Market Cafe always feels like such a find. It’s got a solid brunch and lunch menu, so probably best to avoid peak hours. However outside of that this spot is spacious and friendly, it has a laid-back atmosphere, a good spread of plug sockets, reasonably good wifii, and—if you pick the right spot—excellent views of the canal. What more could you ask for?
Desk. Never heard of it? It’s a noun meaning Thing Some People Work At And Therefore Have Much Better Posture. Sounds appealing, right? Well, Forge & Co on Shoreditch High Street not only has long tables for group meetings and sofas for informal chats, it’s also got—dun dun dun—actual desks. Part co-working space and part all-day dining situation, the wifi is also nice and speedy.
Tuesday is your no-Zoom-meetings day and that means you can a) work from your bed, or b) work from this airy Notting Hill cafe which serves things like creamy mushrooms on toast. As tempting as your bed is, only one of those options comes with table service, Nutella-filled doughnuts, and a solid internet connection. We know which one we’d pick. Chocolate-stuffed treats aside, this spot is all hanging lights, exposed brick, useful plugs near most tables, and an airy feel to it that will make you want to stay until closing time at 6pm.
In the location of the former Dominique Ansel Bakery (RIP Cronuts), Chestnut Bakery is the kind of place we really wouldn’t mind moving into permanently. In fact, we would happily spend eight hours working our way through the menu of clay oven-baked flatbreads while typing away in the spacious dining room, preferably on a window table, or on the cute little terrace. You’ll have to be strategic about the plug situation, but if you get one, you’ll want to spend your whole day here.
TAB x TAB
Finding somewhere peaceful between appointments when you’re at the Queensway end of Westbourne Grove is as difficult as it is anywhere in west London. Luckily TabxTab ticks all the boxes. There’s a solid internet connection, plenty of sockets, efficient and welcoming service, and a variety of comfortable seating options, including a large terrace. When a big chain absolutely is not the thing you’re going for, this is an excellent option. And as long as you’re not looking for somewhere to work on Mondays and Tuesdays, when it’s closed, it might as well be your new W2 destination.
Formative is a slick, slightly industrial spot where you can quietly get on with stuff for hours without anyone disturbing you. That’s why you’re the boss of you after all. Besides proper cups of coffee and pastries, there’s not a huge amount going on here, but that’s what makes it so perfect when you’re looking for somewhere to get a bit of work done around Victoria Station.
As anyone who’s spent an entire day in a chain coffee shop knows, the amount of people willing to forgo deodorant in order to guarantee personal space and a plug point is extremely high in London. That’s why Greenspeares, a cafe 10 minutes from Knightsbridge station, is such a godsend. This cosy deli is a genuinely comfortable and lovely space to get some work done. The wifi is fast, there’s an upstairs and downstairs area, and plenty of healthy and tasty-sounding menu options. Be aware that it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Although the term ‘getting some work done’ has a very different meaning in Chelsea, Beaufort House is still an excellent place to settle in with your laptop. This being SW3, it’s more of a Sloaney bar than an indie coffee shop, but it’s relatively quiet during the day, it’s very comfy, and the drinks are good. If you’re really serious about this freelance lark, there’s a membership option for around £30 a month to use a dedicated members’ area that’s open until 3am.
Natoora is a little deli and cafe off Portobello Road that’s perfect to stop into for an hour or two. Although selling fresh produce is the main thing going on here, this store offers a daily changing menu of brunch-type dishes (see: healthy bowls and things on toast) depending on what produce has been delivered. There isn’t a tonne of seating, but grab a stool by the window and it makes for an ideal spot to power through some emails.
Someone actually managed to write a novel at this cafe in Shepherd’s Bush. That’s got to be at least a third as hard as setting up a website for your new personalised litter tray business. Not only does this place serve the kind of pancake-packed breakfasts that’ll actually get you out of your home office (your bed), but it’s also got the kind of jolly, rustic Riviera feel that’ll keep you chilled even in the midst of a panic that the website domain ‘pee-ow’ is already taken. Be warned, there can be a rush at lunchtime and when the local schools let out, but generally you can always find a table.
It’s hard to get work done in Notting Hill when you’re fighting for precious cafe real estate with a bunch of locals who are on their fourth glass of wine. Although most cafes along Portobello aren’t ideal for productivity, Bluebelles is an exception. Here, it’s always easy to find somewhere to work and unlike hanging around in Daylesford, staff are super accommodating to freelancers. As well as nice coffee, the cakes here are especially good.