Modern people don’t just work in the office anymore. They work literally anywhere. And as the trend of “work from home” grows, you’ll find more people bringing their laptops to coffee shops because the home setting can be very disruptive. Though I call myself a Type-A person, I do feel it harder to be very efficient at home, especially in the winter, so I like to hide in the coffee shop to get my work done.
I’m pretty picky about a café.
- First, the coffee should be good. Though I’m not an expert in coffee tasting, I can taste the difference between good and bad.
- Then the place can’t be too crowded – too much noise will disrupt my thoughts, and I need my personal space.
- But it also can’t be too empty – too cozy to be productive.
- Last but not least, they should have some healthy eats and tasty pastries in case I get hungry.
I know, I’m high maintenance. But after some trial and error, let me share with you my top selections of the best coffee shops to work/study in New York City.
71 Pineapple St, Brooklyn, NYC
The coffee is delicious, but more importantly, the atmosphere and the layout make you very relaxed. Without too much natural light, the coffee shop has a gloomy feeling that reminds me of an attic or cabin in the woods. With children books lying around and an open bar-like setting, the café gets me in the mood to get a hot chocolate and finish a great book.
Their playlist is pretty dope, but the barista said they just put on a Pandora channel, so I guess all the baristas there have great music taste! They also have a cool news board full of fun events and performances information that worth a check.
3 Clinton St, NYC
This may be the most likely place if you want to catch me in the city because I like it here so much. The place has a super cozy and homey feeling that makes you want to stay there forever. It always gives me an exotic feel whether it’s the delicately-designed cups or the indie music, then I looked it up and found out the owner is from Morocco.
Most of the area is for dining, but there’s a giant table to share with people absorbed in their laptops. I usually crouch in the swing chair in the corner with my headphone. Yep, it’s my spot.
Their superfood acai bowls are worth a try. You can taste the freshness of the ingredients, and they are very fulfilling. I usually don’t eat at cafés, but I always have a bowl every time I’m at Pause to fuel my brain. You can’t imagine how much work I got done here!
116 Suffolk St, New York, NYC
The warehouse-like coffee place has an effortlessly artistic feel that makes you feel relaxed. The place is always loaded with many people, but it’s strange that I never find it too loud. Probably it’s because there is enough room for everybody and the seats are pretty spread out. There are tables, sofas, swings, and people sitting on the stairs. It’s crazy that I become super productive listening to people talking gossip next to me, but I guess that’s their magic.
Would it be weird if I say I come here for the restroom? I mean…the restroom wall. I get fascinated by the words on the wall every time. See for yourself!
(I just checked their website and found out that they also do video production, maybe that explains the artistic and chic vibe!)
25 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NYC (multiple locations, this is the one I went to)
Located in the DUMBO area, Brooklyn Roasting Company is a pretty spacious place in the warehouse area. With a strong coffee bean aroma forever in the air that makes you want to linger longer, the place always gives me a lab feel. But I guess it is like a lab with the baristas trying to come up with fantastic drink combinations.
It’s always buzzing, but it’s also pretty spacious so you can always find a seat at the vintage couches, chairs, and tables. Roughly half of the people here are for meet-ups, and the other half is working on the laptop.
Oh and emmm, try their donut!
128 Charles Street, West Village, NYC
It’s a tiny coffee shop with no more than ten seats. But most people come to order and go, so there’s a high chance that you can find a seat. Their window seats are the best! I love the window seat because it’s more inspirational rather than distracting to watch people walk by on the street.
The café has a Muji and Ikea feeling that can only be described as cute and romantic. They also provide light and healthy eats, as well as a selection of socially-responsible lifestyle items such as candles.
120 Smith St, Brooklyn, NYC
This is my favorite bakery in Brooklyn, maybe even in the whole NYC. It’s mostly a bakery, but no one would bug you if you bring your computer and sit in the corner. The entire place is infused with a strong aroma of flour and coffee bean, so I wouldn’t complain about that!
Bread (carbs) can help you concentrate and get work done, proven by me! It would be a huge pity if you don’t try their bread. Yes, I am pressuring you to do that. It’s said that they serve their finest breads and pastries in the top restaurants in the city. My go-to picks are the croissant and baguette.
156 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NYC (multiple locations, this is the one I went to)
I went to the café because I read the review saying “If I ever write a book someday, I would be doing it here.” And it’s true. It’s a great neighborhood spot for hiding out and getting your work done (especially if you are writing lol).
With the natural light coming through the windows, the coffee shop has a quiet and cozy feeling that makes me feel like a great writer. Some tables are for dining only, but there are still many seats for you to work on your laptop. They have multiple locations, but they are all in Brooklyn.
47 7th Ave S, New York, NY (multiple locations, this is the one I went to)
It’s not exactly a café but a co-working space. But I still want to put it on the list because it’s a great place to work. I walked past by this place every day, then one day I forgot my keys but got an urgent phone call in 10 minutes. So I rushed to this place and got myself a day-pass.
There are many seats by the window and three communal tables to share. They also have two phone booths that give you the privacy to make a phone call. You can bring your own food here to eat or get food delivered here, and there are free coffee and hot water. Day-Pass is $20, so I probably wouldn’t do it for a day-pass again, but if you are a remote worker seeking a place to work, I highly recommend here. Their staff is really helpful and friendly as well!
753 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NYC
As a product of The Greene Grape grocery company, Annex is a fresh and elegant coffee shop in the Fort Greene area. The all white walls, brass, and warm natural light in the afternoon give the place a hippie and artistic feeling. They have a wide selection of breakfast and lunch eats, and their pastry is also made in-house.
The wifi time is limited, but I think it’s ok because most people are here for a meet-up and sometimes wifi can be a distraction. Maybe I’m wrong, but the people here are super chic and stylish, so perhaps it’s a great place if you want to get some creative work done.
78 W 3rd St, New York, NYC (multiple locations, this is the one I went to)
It’s a pretty busy space in the heart of Washington Square. Their coffee is really good (Please excuse my poor knowledge of coffee that I can only say good or really good), but I know a good coffee roaster when I see it. They opened their first place in 1996 and has been a top choice of New York coffee roaster ever since. I usually get an Americano on the way to my morning workout, and it freshens me up almost instantly.
They don’t have wifi because they want to serve more dining tables. But it helps me to focus so every time I go there, I get my writings or readings done very productively. I didn’t get any food, but I saw the people next to me getting a huge salad bowl, and it seems delicious!
318 E 84th ST, NYC
The coffee place in the Upper East Side has two floors; The upstairs is an intimate space with the coffee roasters spreading the coffee bean smell, and the downstairs is pretty spacious with many chairs and a huge communal table to share. It’s a great place to get some work/study done with everyone else working hard on their laptop.
The place seems pretty standard, but the Eastern style furniture adds a special touch. And they have a pretty little garden with outdoor seating. With the weather warming up, it might be great to step out and enjoy the fresh air to take a break from the work once in a while.
I have a love and hate relationship with sharing these secret spots in the city because I am scared that they will become crowded if the word gets out. However, sharing is a virtue, so let me know if there are other places that you like to hide out in the city!