the best cafes to work out of in NYC

Because working from home is rarely actually productive…

The freelancer life tends to be glamorized, especially on social media. Work from home, in pyjamas? The luxury! But the truth is that unless you have a dedicated workstation in your home, it can be very difficult to get anything done. And if your home is an 8×10 room in a shared apartment, it gets even more difficult. 

instagram version of my working space.

That’s why most of us head out to a co-working space or pleasant cafe to shrink that to-do list. I’m still discovering new places, but here’s a current favorite list of excellent cafes and co-working spaces in which to be productive. 

When you want that funky, 90’s boho feel…

Grounded, 28 Jane Street, West Village

I’ve loved this place since 2011, when I first moved to the city and needed a cafe to call my hang-out place…different from the one where I worked. The tea selection here is incredible (I love Lapsang Souchong tea), and they make a mean bagel sandwich. They do have a requested time limit on tables. 

If you’re a “Friends” fan, this honestly feels like Central Perk.

When you want to feel like a super chic blogger…

and on the cutest teacups!

Maman, 211 West Broadway, Tribeca

Light, airy, and serves the. BEST. chai tea latte in the city. End of story. I’d describe this as French countryside decor. 

 It does run a little pricey, though, so be warned. 

When you want to feel like you’re in an Ivy League club and/or English pub…

Ground Central, (two locations) 155 e 52nd Street, Midtown East

there’s even a throne, if you feel so “Alice In Wonderland” inclined

I used to frequently sit in the Midtown East Ground Central, but now that one has opened on 8th avenue, I find myself going to the latter more. Mood lighting, dark bookshelves with a wide range of titles, and an excellent tea selection (the coffee is fine too; I just love tea) makes Ground Central feel like Arthur Conan Doyle did Sherlock Holmes edits while sipping on a beverage here. 

When you want to be surrounded by productive, focused artists…

The Artist Coop, 500 w52nd Street, Hell’s Kitchen

$15 buys you a day pass at this co-working space aimed at artists (especially those in the performing arts), but it includes as much coffee and tea as you’d like. Monthly memberships run about $60, which includes a lot of perks like 24/7 access, rehearsal space and events. 

To be honest, this is the only co-working space in the city I frequent, because I love it so much. SO MUCH. 

half of my insta-feed is just The Artist’s Coop

When you’re feeling super flush…

Ace Hotel Lobby, 20 w 29th street, NoMad

Feeling fancy but still want to be casual hip? This is one of my favorite places to work from…when I’m willing to spend the cash. Join every other hip, digital entrepreneur in NYC to lounge on the leather sofas, tap out launch notes on the communal tables, and snack on the delicious (if expensive) hummus plate. 

When you want to feel like you’re a Hogwarts student…

Jefferson Market Library

If you’ve ever dreamt of being an anguished writer, pouring out a story amidst books, stones and Gothic architecture, this is the ideal library in the city to do so. Sadly, the glorious upstairs tower room is closed until Spring 2021. *Wails dramatically*. BUT the dungeon (aka lower level) is still atmospheric enough to type away in. It really comes down to whether you identify more as a Ravenclaw or Slytherin…

When you want to feel a little macabre but surrounded by plants…

Edgar Cafe, 650 Amsterdam Avenue, UWS

I’m not sure if people come here to work, but the light Edgar Allen Poe theme, plants, and delightful coffee makes this a wonderful place for a meeting. 

When you want that Art Deco, European feel…

Mokum, 464 Amsterdam Avenue, UWS

On occasion, I do like to drink coffee. And when I do, if it’s served with a delightful biscuit, it makes my tea-obsessed heart that much happier. 

Mokum is light-filled and almost Art Deco inspired, without going too overboard. 

When you want that super neighborhoody, cozy cafe…

Sugar Hill Cafe, 410 W 145st, Harlem

This neighborhood spot has great breakfast and lunch options, and is right off the ACBD 145th st. stop. It’s fun, casual, and is almost like a smaller Grounded, but uptown. 

When you want that casual rustic-chic and are also ready for that coffee —> cocktail transition…

Uptown Garrison, 821 W 181st, Washington Heights

I’ve mostly used this to meet up with friends, but every time I do, there’s loads of people on laptops, and working. Next time I’m uptown, I’m going to make a point to come here. 

Plus, at 5 p.m. they transition to dinner, and let me tell you, not only is the food delicious, but the cocktails are really worth staying around for. 

Where do you recommend for laptop working in NYC? Let me know in the comments!


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