Seattle’s Best Cafes For Getting Work Done

Our favorite coffee spots in Seattle for sitting down and getting some work done.
Seattle’s Best Cafes For Getting Work Done image

Whether you work remotely, need a weekend to catch up on emails, or got banned from your coworking space after stealing the kitchen hot sauce for the last six months, sometimes you need a coffee shop where you can get some work done. One with Wifi, outlets, and maybe even some snacks, because you can’t do anything without snacks. Here are the best coffee shops where you can actually get some work done.



Capitol Hill

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastCoffee & A Light BiteQuick Eats
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We typically try to avoid superlatives, but Vivace makes the best espresso in the city. It’s the kind of place that puts a lot of care into their coffee—they’ll even replace your ristretto shot for free if you drop it all over the sidewalk right after walking out with it (this has certainly not happened to us). There's always a constant buzz of activity, but it's never so crowded that you'll find it hard to concentrate. And if it's nice out, they'll raise a garage door which gives the whole cafe an open-air feel.

photo credit: Nate Watters

URL looks less like a coffee shop and more like those fully furnished model rooms at CB2 that make you feel bad about your own interior design skills (or lack thereof). It is in fact a coffee shop, with macchiatos and avocado toasts and all. The hygge vibes of natural wood and abstract paper lanterns make for an incredibly relaxing work session, as long as there's a seat available among the single long table and couple of small ones. And regardless of whether you're spending time in here or not, be sure to order the Walk To Work, a rich iced latte topped with a soft mound of cinnamon-dusted whipped cream. If you're looking for somewhere to get work done in First Hill, URL is an oasis in a neighborhood full of hospitals.

This place is small, but Anchored Ship is perfect if you need a calm place to park it and get some work done, but also like changing up the scenery once in a while without having to relocate to another coffee shop. There are window-facing bar seats if you like working while people-watching, a back room full of tables for the heads-down crowd, and if you’re lucky enough to find it unoccupied, a micro-loft with string lights and a living room set, sofa and all. They serve local Washington-sourced roasts like Kuma and Camber, and sometimes there’s a fun special, like lemon-lavender cold brew.

If doing tedious computer tasks all day in a space that looks like a multi-million-dollar Redfin listing is important to you, come to Santo in Roosevelt. With a surplus of work tables, a velvety green sofa, and slick black marble counter, it’s particularly useful if you have a meeting and want to appear like you have your sh*t together. Also, ordering their panela latte spiked with Colombian sugar cane and orange bitters is non-negotiable.

This place used to be La Marzocco Cafe, which hosted a different out-of-town coffee residency every month. Now, it’s just another Caffè Vita. Welcome to Seattle, we guess. But the charm remains—it’s a Space Needle-adjacent spot that’s perfect for answering emails while watching (and listening) to KEXP’s on-air shows that record mere feet away in a sound booth. If you get writer’s block while tapping away at that novel, buy some vinyl at the kiosk in the back, or count all of the beanies you see.

This South Lake Union cafe is all about the concept of hygge, so choose Cafe Hagen if you still want to be cozy in the middle of tech territory. Come here for the astroturf patio, lavender oat milk lattes, and stress-free atmosphere made even better by the abundance of plants that you don’t even need to water.

Not many coffee shops in Seattle work well for car owners—thanks for nothing, two-hour street parking. For a spot located in a strip mall with a free lot, check out Pilgrim in North Seattle. Their cold brew is refreshing, their Wifi is fast, and if you’re hungry, they serve a delicious mason jar of overnight oats loaded with peanut butter and crunchy granola. With a variety of hangout options from a long communal table to one-person booth seating, you could host anything from a solo laptop session to a huge lunch meeting.

Victrola has a great location, awesome espresso, a nice constant buzz of other working humans, and a communal table with enough room for you, your laptop, and your massive mug of liquid life. Victrola in Capitol Hill really checks all the boxes. Plus, in the summer, they have air conditioning—a must for when a heat wave strikes and you’d rather your iced vanilla latte not melt into a puddle of sadness the second you get it.

From the outside, Realfine Coffee looks like it could be a gas station. It’s small, it has a garage door, it’s in the middle of West Seattle, and it shares a building with a barbershop. But on the inside, it’s a well-designed space perfect for escaping when you want to make some headway on your inbox. The tables and shelves have plants on them, which gives the place a homey feel, and the coffee is great. Plus, if you’ve been working so hard that you’ve forgotten to trim your split ends, you can always pop in next door for a haircut.

Empire might seem like it’s just a coffee shop inside of a narrow renovated garage, but it’s so much more than that: they have a lounge and record shop upstairs, a relaxing rooftop patio up some more stairs, and serve some excellent food that’s way better than refrigerated breakfast burritos. We are big fans of their made-to-order belgian waffles, whether they’re topped with blueberries and powdered sugar or maple syrup and butter. Wash it all down with a homemade date-sweetened cashew milk latte.

Retreat is a great neighborhood place to grab a macchiato and work when you need to be surrounded by activity. People are always coming in and out of here, and there’s also an outdoor patio overlooking Green Lake. Not to mention that you could also drink cocktails and eat upscale bar snacks like burrata or braised short ribs. Your go-to sidewalk espresso hut definitely doesn’t have that. The best part is that if you need a break, there’s a three-mile lakeside walk just outside the door.

Push X Pull On Union keeps things simple. The design is minimal, the coffee is excellent, and the inside looks like your Amazonian friend’s open one-bedroom: white walls, giant windows, and a ton of succulents. The music isn’t too loud, the baristas are actually nice to you, there's a natural wine shop in case you want to grab a bottle to bring home, and the upstairs balcony bar is the perfect spot to sit with a mug of chai and a cheesy breakfast sandwich on sweet Portuguese bolo from Jen's in Portland—and, finally finish writing that article on great coffee shops for getting work done in Seattle. This example is purely hypothetical.

If you’ve ever tried to get work done at Barnes & Noble and ended up reading 16 magazines/using your pocket change to order a slice of peanut butter cheesecake only to miss your deadlines, Little Oddfellows is the coffee shop for you. It’s inside Elliott Bay Book Company, but removed from the bookcase-perusing action so you won’t get distracted. Their espresso is from Caffé Vita, and you won’t have to worry about skipping a meal in order to power through the entire day—they have a ton of panini, avocado toast, and pastries.

If you’re a person who prioritizes quality coffee above everything else, Milstead is your spot. They serve a standup cup of coffee, and also sell to-go bags of good beans for when you procrastinate and need to finish up at your kitchen table at 3am. Most of the seating is communal, so use this place if you’re great at tuning out all other humans, or you need a place for your team to work.

Fremont Coffee Company is perfect for when you really want to work from home, but you need to be in public in order to make progress on anything. It’s an old rickety house with a porch, hodgepodge seating arrangements, carpets, and really good coffee. Whether you want a simple americano or a hazelnut soy latte, you probably won’t want to leave, much like your own apartment. And with it located in the center of Fremont, there are plenty of great lunch options nearby.

Mr. West is perfect for an off-site meeting in a pinch. There are little nooks if you need some privacy, and a communal space as well if you need to spread out a little more. They serve delicious food, from curried avocado toast to croissant breakfast sandwiches, and the coffee’s great whether you're in the mood for black cold brew or a cardamom rose latte. It also doubles as an all-day wine bar where you can drink frozen rose cocktails and local wines made from grapes grown in the Pacific Northwest.

Maybe coffee’s not your thing. Miro Tea is the leaf-only club where beans aren’t cool enough to hang, and we’re OK with that. Get a personal hot kettle, or a glass of hibiscus-mint iced tea lemonade (a.k.a. air conditioning in liquid form). There are a lot of seats, baguette sandwiches, and if you can’t type one word without some form of latte coursing through you, their matcha is great.

The worst part about freelancing is making a plan to dive into a massive to-do list the same day that the sun decides to dive into its own to-do list, which consists of “shine today.” General Porpoise is where to spend the day inside without missing out on the sun. Massive windows let an insane amount of light into the cut space, their coffee is sourced from places other than Seattle (which is a nice change of pace), and most importantly, the homemade filled doughnuts are excellent (get the lemon curd). Just know that General Porpoise closes at 3pm, so get there early.

You’d like to work somewhere besides your couch, but you don’t actually want to see, talk to, or be breathed on by anybody. Head to Moonshot Coffee in White Center, a distraction-free espresso bar that doesn’t have a lot of seating, but is usually fairly empty. It’s only 15 minutes from Downtown, and the coffee specials rule.

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Suggested Reading

General Porpoise Coffee & Doughnuts image

General Porpoise Coffee & Doughnuts

General Porpoise is a very cute coffee shop in Capitol Hill with some very good homemade donut holes.

Anchored Ship Coffee Bar image

Anchored Ship is a small but useful coffee shop in Ballard that's excellent for getting work done. Plus, there’s a natural wine bottle shop in the back.

Preserve and Gather image

If you find yourself needing caffeine in Greenwood suburbia, head to Preserve and Gather. Their cortadito is great and you can buy bottles of the jam.

Espresso Vivace image

We avoid superlatives, but Vivace on Capitol Hill probably makes the best espresso in the city.

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