Working remotely used to be for freelancers and bitcoin miners, but now it’s the norm. One thing that’s certainly not the norm at the moment is sitting inside a cafe for hours on end, asking the person six inches to your right or left to watch your bag while you head to the restroom. That means many of us are using our apartments not just for almost everything, but for everything-everything. Fortunately, you have some options for places to get work done that aren’t where you also eat breakfast and fold your laundry. Namely, the places on this guide, all of which have wifi, outdoor seating, plenty of caffeine, and sometimes food and alcohol as well.
Come to this East Village spot around 5pm, and you might be mad we included it on the guide. Order a glass of Slovenian orange wine, and allow us to explain. From 9am-4:30pm on weekdays, this place from the people behind Ruffian - one of our favorite wine bars in NYC - uses its outdoor patio as a communal workspace. Reserve a spot through their website for $25 per person, and along with wifi and a charging station, you’ll get bottomless coffee all day. You can order lunch separately, and you should stick around until 5pm, when they do a daily Happy Hour.
Kos Kaffe Roasting House
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.
Compared to what’s served in the HSS, MSKCC, or NYP-Weill Cornell, all of which are about a block away, the coffee at Gregory’s deserves a Lasker Award. And compared to the stuff at other cafes on the UES, it’s simply better. Try it for yourself along with a smoothie or vegan breakfast sandwich at any of the four small tables on 1st Avenue, or while standing inside at the counter in the window.
If you had put off catching up on The Boys, or you had a different boss, you wouldn’t be in this mess. But you didn’t and you don’t, so now you have to spend your Saturday in front of your computer. Instead of letting your mind wander to dark places alone in your apartment, sit on the back patio at The West with a cheap beer and your laptop.
We’ll tell you that Citizens of Chelsea isn’t an avocado farm in Michoacán. We’ll also tell you that about two-thirds of the breakfast menu here includes or recommends adding avocado. Combine those two pieces of information, and you’re only left with one possible outcome - it’s an attractive, bright Australian cafe in NYC. Sit outside any day starting at 8am, and be productive, or go down internet rabbit holes that leave you with nothing but the knowledge that 92% of Mexican avocados come from the state of Michoacán.
The big outdoor courtyard at Public Records is quiet, and not just compared to when this bar and event space in Gowanus used to host concerts while blasting music in the big cocktail bar next door. It’s quiet enough that, after sitting at one of the dozen or so tables with a coffee from the cafe inside, the birds chirping in the trees above your head will be the only thing preventing you from focusing on what you need to be focusing on.
Along with a new outdoor patio, this all-day spot on the Upper East Side also has a bunch of socially distant high-tops inside. Get some coffee and a delicious BEC, and when writer’s block has you biting your shirt collar like the epiphany you’re searching for might just be on the next broken thread, take a walk a few blocks to the river or to Central Park. Or you could just close your laptop for a bit, and order any of their 20 draft beers.
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 condensed strips of great shops and restaurants, so when you need a break, you’re not far from a bunch of things on that very long list we mentioned earlier.
Along with its excellent people watching, this indoor/outdoor cafe at the base of The Standard East Village has a bunch of tables with strong wifi, as well as good wine and draft beer options.
Your outlets are all spoken for, and a printer isn’t about to replace your humidifier, or for that matter, your dehumidifier. Head to Dweebs in Bushwick. Print out whatever it is you need, and then work on the outdoor patio with a table full of Spectrum Coffee and Roberta’s pastries any day between 8am-3pm.
Blank Slate’s Midtown location is open for indoor and outdoor dining every day starting at 8am. It’s a good place to get some work done over a relatively healthy breakfast or lunch, and it’s an equally useful place to know about for meetings in Midtown East that aren’t your office. Feel free to transition from coffee and salads to rosé and M&M cookie skillets whenever the mood strikes.
Lincoln Station is a large coffee shop in Crown Heights with a new outdoor patio where you can work on your laptop starting at 7:30am during the week and 8am on weekends. Order La Colombe coffee and breakfast sandwiches during the day, and if you’re still hanging around at 5pm, take advantage of Al Di La’s on-site pasta pop-up, where they’re serving dishes like their fantastic tagliatelle al ragu and red beet and ricotta ravioli until 8pm.
It’s important to surround yourself with talented people. It applies to building a company, organizing study groups when you didn’t do the reading, and running a great cafe. Lenox Coffee is proof of the latter, offering snacks from Colson Patisserie, Davidovitch, and The Good Batch, as well as milk from Battenkill Farms. This Harlem coffee shop carries its own weight as well, roasting its own beans and baking its own bread and bagels daily. Enjoy all of it while working on the outdoor patio from 7am during the week or 8am on weekends.
Like most locations of this Oakland-based coffee chain, the interior of the one in Park Slope looks like some sort of Scandinavian furniture showroom without the furniture. Unlike most of the others in NYC, though, this one has a nice outdoor space with seats in an enclosed little parklet on the corner of 3rd Street a couple blocks from Prospect Park.
This Crown Heights cafe, which opened in August during the shutdown, has a bunch of sidewalk and patio picnic tables in front of Wild Birds, a bar and concert venue that takes the space over each night. Get some coffee and pastries any day between 7am-3pm, and grab a bottle of wine or bar of artisanal soap on your way out.
There are four Sweetleaf locations in the city, and while you can currently pick up very good coffee and vegan or gluten-free pastries at any of them, 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 outdoor seating.