The wheel wasn’t invented in an office. It was created by a bunch of cave people, and those guys worked remotely. They were entrepreneurial. Respect, cave people.
Nowadays, however, times are hard for the freelance worker. Apartments in the city are increasingly cramped, and roommates are increasingly listening to loud music. That’s where coffee shops come in. Although you can’t work at just any coffee shop. Your workspace needs wifi, a bathroom, and preferably some food. Because loitering in a place with outlets and free wifi is occasionally hungry business.
Little Skips is a neighborhood clubhouse in that part of Bushwick near the JMZ tracks. It’s a good place to go for a bagel when you’re hungover or to work during the week. They do a bunch of different different sandwiches, which should help keep you going while you do whatever it is you’re doing on your laptop. Just know that it tends to get crowded here, they cut the wifi on weekends, and you might run into someone that you had a Tinder date with once.
Bearcat is a cafe/bar in East Williamsburg that functions as a coffee shop during the daytime. So if you have a screenplay to write and you live off the L train, check this place out. The ceilings are high, there’s some nice tropical wallpaper, and they serve a bunch of food like chia pudding and smoked salmon on toast.
Uptown Roasters is, in fact, a roastery uptown - but they also have a few coffee shops. And if you’re looking for a place to work in Park Slope, this is one of your better options. The space is minimalist, with a little seating area off to one side and a couple of picnic tables in a little back room. There isn’t a ton of food here (just pastries), but the service is friendly and they make some quality coffee.
There are four Sweetleaf locations in the city, and we’re partial to the one in Greenpoint. Like the other spots, it’s filled with things like leather armchairs and candelabras - but this one has an open layout and some outdoor seating. There’s also a big garage door that they pull open when it’s nice out, so you won’t go too crazy sitting indoors here during the spring or summer. And if it’s cold out, just grab a hot beverage, find a couch, and get some work done.
The Roost is a coffee shop in Alphabet City that also happens to have a full bar hidden in the back. The bar doesn’t open until 4pm on weekdays, however, so it shouldn’t be too distracting if you’re trying to sit and finish some work. Overall, this is a nice, comfortable space, and it’s definitely cooler than your average coffee shop. So stop by in the daytime if you want to hang out on a couch or a stool while you use their free wifi.
Maybe you’re a student at Columbia or maybe you’re a freelancer who lives in Harlem, and you don’t necessarily want to spend all day at home. If you’re either of those things, you should know about Double Dutch. It’s a coffee shop near Morningside Park, and it has a lot of things going for it. There’s free wifi, plenty of seating, a few different sandwiches, and - most importantly - a back patio. If it’s nice out, sit out there and get some work done.
Milk and Pull has some hanging plants and hardwood floors that you’ll wish you had in your own apartment. So go sit there and work while you eat a donut or a bagel sandwich. There’s a nice amount of space, along with a big communal table that you can use for a group hang. The only catch is that it’s all the way out in Ridgewood, although if you live in that neighborhood, that isn’t really a catch.
Despite the name, you can’t actually get your facial hair trimmed at Mr. Mustache. It’s actually a coffee shop where you can get some avocado toast, some shaved ice, or a bunch of types kinds of lattes (lavender, cinnamon, rose, etc.). Although the real reason you come here is because it’s an under-the-radar spot near Union Square where you can sit down for a minute and maybe get some work done. Stop by, bring your laptop, and head to the sitting area in the back where you can work on your memoir.
There are several reason to get your work done in the West Village. It’s relaxing, for one, plus the multi-million-dollar townhouses should provide some professional motivation. So if you head over to that area, check out Rebel. It’s a low-key, neighborhood coffee shop, and it has a few nice tables where you can sit and hang out. It also has some nice big windows that you can stare out of when you feel like not working.
Perk is really just a nice, plain coffee shop on the Upper East Side where you can grab a stool and sit for a while. It’s isn’t especially big or fancy, but they have Stumptown coffee, Dough donuts, and - most importantly - wifi and a bathroom. So if you’re looking for a coffee shop uptown, consider this one. You might have to sit at a communal table with a few other people, but there are worse things in life.
Feeling the workweek blues? Do you want more from life? Have you come to terms with the fact that you can’t, at present, expect more from life because you have a sh*tload of work to do? Well, you can always take your work to Gotan, a comfy Tribeca spot where the food’s as good as the coffee. Bring your laptop, have a salad, and feel good about the fact that, unlike the employees here, no one’s making you wear a bowtie.
The Greene Grape is a grocery/wine store in Fort Greene, and Greene Grape Annex is their little cafe/bar. Think of it as a little clubhouse for the area. They’re all open all day, there’s plenty of food (like pastries and sandwiches), and there are lots of places to sit. It might get a little crowded during the day when it’s filled with freelancers on laptops, but it’s still a pleasant place to hang out.
Rex (Hell's Kitchen)
If you live in Hell’s Kitchen near 56th and 10th, you’ll want to know about Rex. It’s where you should be getting your coffee and egg sandwiches. Stop by and get a BEC with avocado on brioche before you go to work, or hang out and work for a while. Plus, if you get hungry in the afternoon, there are a few other sandwiches to choose from.
Wayside isn’t NYC’s premiere coffee shop, but it’s pretty low-key, and that’s why we like it. Unlike other places where you can sit with your laptop, this spot never seems to get too crowded (despite the fact that it’s tiny), and there are even a few tables outside when the weather is nice. The food isn’t anything special, but if you get extremely hungry while you’re working here, you won’t be too upset with one of their sandwiches. So if you’re looking for a calm place to sit near Union Square, this is an option.
The bathroom here is nicer and cleaner than most of our apartments. Granted, you don’t know what our apartments look like, but trust us. It’s nice. And so is the staff. This place was opened by a couple of Australian designers, and it’s a great spot in Williamsburg to sit with your laptop while you maybe eat some avocado toast. There area also a few seats outside, for those few weeks between Summer and Fall when you actually want to be outside.
We can always find a seat here. Plus, they have wifi, a bathroom, and even a bench out front where you can sit and catch the summer breeze as it flows down Metropolitan. Sometimes the breeze smells like garbage, but we like it nonetheless.
In the first season of Master of None, Aziz Ansari uses a coffee shop’s wifi to audition for a role. He does this at the Think Coffee on Bowery - but that location doesn’t actually have wifi. So if you really need the internet, try the Think on Mercer. It gets pretty crowded, but there’s plenty of seating, and they do a decent grilled cheese sandwich.
If you’re looking for a place to work on the Lower East Side, try Spreadhouse. It’s a big space, and it kind of feels like a garage filled with a bunch of couches. This place is very laid-back, there’s free wifi, and there tends to be a good donut selection, if that’s important to you. Just know that it gets a little busy during the daytime, and try to get here early if you want to claim a long-term seat.
Grounded is the kind of place you stumble upon randomly. It’s on the upper stretch of Jane where the city’s grid turns into dumb improvisational jazz, and it has a cozy neighborhood vibe. They also have wifi and a menu with things like sandwiches and smoothies.
Freehold is right off the Williamsburg Bridge, and it’s a spacious indoor/outdoor cafe/bar designed to feel like a hotel lobby. On Friday nights it’s a frat party, but in the daytime you can sink into a couch and type up your reports or spreadsheets or send fan emails to Justin Bieber.
Blank Slate feels like it should be in Brooklyn or Tribeca, not a few blocks from Murray Hill. So if you find yourself in the neighborhood, make the most of it. Spend a few hours here, and maybe get a sandwich or some s’mores dip that’s exactly what it sounds like. And feel free to transition from coffee to rosé as the day goes on.
When a child goes to bed on a quiet block of a quiet street in a small town and dreams of Brooklyn, Devocion is what they dream of. Their shop on Grand has exposed brick, a skylight, and repurposed pipes. They also roast their own coffee. So stop by and grab a table by a chest on a rug near a leather sofa that would look nice in an office of your own.
Gregory’s isn’t cute or quaint or chic or rustic. It’s really just useful. They have wifi, a bathroom, plenty of tables and chairs, and so many pastries you wonder whether the whole thing’s a pastry laundering operation. If you’re working uptown, check out the one on Lexington.
Ground Central isn’t necessarily a destination. It’s where you go when you’re in Midtown and you have work to do. Don’t get us wrong, there’s a nice sitting area, and they offer free wifi, but a true destination coffee shop in this neighborhood would need a little something extra. Free coffee, say. Or coffee they pay you to drink (because it’s Midtown). Although if you’re in the neighborhood, go hang out on the couch in the back.
Ground Support isn’t a chain, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like a neighborhood spot. We’re inclined to believe that’s because no one actually lives in Soho anymore. Still, if you have to do some work below Houston, the picnic tables here are a viable option, and the bagel sandwiches make for a good quick lunch.