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 remote workers. Apartments in the city are increasingly cramped, wifi is increasingly terrible, and more roommates are listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour on full blast. 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 for a few hours in a place with outlets and free internet connection requires adequate sustenance. Here are 20 of your best options around NYC.
If you want to handle some emails in a space that looks like the inside of a salt cave, head to Daughter in Crown Heights. This neighborhood coffee shop started out as a Kickstarter campaign but has now become a cafe with huge street-facing windows and a bunch of built-in banquettes that look like giant stones. In addition to its Stoneage-chic interior, Daughter also happens to be a mission-driven cafe in Crown Heights that donates to a rotating list of charities every month. So far, they’ve worked with organizations like Ancient Song Doula Services and The Water Project, but you should follow along on their Instagram for more updates. Swing by for a frittata and an iced coffee in the morning, or stick around and get some work done at a patio table outside.
Prince Coffee House
There’s a very long list of enjoyable things to do on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Getting work done isn’t on it. But with more than 50 coffee-adjacent drinks, bialy egg sandwiches, and 7am-11pm hours every day, Prince Coffee House makes it about as pleasant as possible. It’s also right at the entrance to one of Little Italy’s most concentrated strips of great shops and restaurants, so when you need a break, you’re not far from a bakery, cheese shop, or a massive botanical garden.
PLG Coffee House and Tavern
This coffee shop in Prospect Lefferts Gardens is like the second, bagel-filled home for everybody who lives in the neighborhood. It’s got a massive outdoor dining area where you can drink a frothy oat milk latte and scarf down an everything bagel sandwich during breakfast or lunch daily. Follow the lead of senators Chuck Schumer and Zellnor Myrie, and take a meeting here on a weekday morning.
Working from coffee shops is becoming a thing again, and if you live in Bed-Stuy, Corto is the perfect place to dip your toe in again. This small coffee shop just one block south of Peaches Hot House has an excellent backyard, crispy focaccia sandwiches, and free wi-fi that won’t cut out on you every 20 minutes. The only challenge you might face is finding a table since every up-and-coming model and amateur DJ within a two-mile radius is probably already treating this casual counter-service spot like an office. If you can manage to get one of the first-come, first-served tables here, celebrate with a handheld lunch involving prosciutto and burrata.
Waiting in line can elicit a few different reactions, like anticipation or an overwhelming sense that time has started playing at 0.5x speed. Or if you’re waiting in line at Kos Kaffe in Park Slope, you get the urge to start sniffing the air like Doug from Up. That’s because this cafe always smells intensely of baking biscuits, sizzling sausage, and frying eggs. Once you get your buckwheat pancakes or chicken schnitzel sandwich, head to a sidewalk table on 5th Avenue.
Buunni is a coffee shop that specializes in small-batch coffee beans from Ethiopia (where the owners are from). They have locations in both Washington Heights and Inwood, both of which have more than enough space where you can get some work done. But the Inwood location has been recently renovated, so if you’re looking for a calming space with long wood tables and lots of natural light in the area, come here. You can also preorder a whole range of Ethiopian food for pick-up and local delivery every day. In case you’re looking for some great coffee beans to send to someone that isn’t in NYC, Buunni also ships nationwide.
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.
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.
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.
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 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. Stop by any one of their other four locations in Greenpoint, Bushwick, Chelsea, and on the Upper East Side for a similarly pleasant working experience.
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.
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 head to the courtyard here and type up your reports, fill out 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.
Ground Central is where you go when you’re in Midtown and you have work to do. Although if you’re in the neighborhood, you could also just come here to hang out and drink something caffeinated. There’s a nice sitting area with couches in the back and they offer free wifi.
Ground Support isn’t a chain, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like a neighborhood spot either. It’s somewhat of a relaxed outlier on an otherwise very-fancy Soho street full of expensive clothing stores and pop art galleries. 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.