Working from a café sounds so appealing. Rock up when you like, take full advantage of the Wi-Fi, and enjoy a never-ending flow of fresh Joe.
At least, that’s the theory.
Some cafes are not conducive to work, and that flashing cursor never seems to move once you’re set up at a table. Finding your perfect work space is a very individual thing.
If you need to get a few hours of graft in next time you’re in the city, where’s best to park up with your laptop? Here are our favourite spots to work in London:
Music fans of a certain age will remember Heavenly Records, the label that inspired this bar-slash-coffee-shop-slash-workspace. Located near Oxford Street in the West End, this venue has supercharged the idea of a working lunch. Never mind free Wi-Fi: it has its own work space right there in the shop. And, because it’s separate to the bar, you’ll never struggle to hear yourself think.
Need a power socket? No problem, there’s one at every booth. Need coffee? Sure thing. The Social sells Tim Peaks’ finest Fairtrade blend. Yep, that’s Charlatans’ vocalist Tim Burgess’ coffee brand, served in designer cardboard cups.
The Social invites users to make themselves comfortable and settle in for the day, whether you need to code solo or hook-up with contacts for a meeting. It also has an on-site IT support contact offering 15 minutes per visitor for free. At the end of the day, you can head to the basement to unwind ‘til 1am.
The Social’s workspace is open from 9.30am until 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.
If you find yourself East and stuck for a power point, Brick Lane has just the spot for you. Café 1001 has been engineered for the working breakfast, lunch and dinner, with healthy, freshly made food made on site. It’s open from the crack of dawn and closes at midnight, ideal for the freelancer with a deadline to meet.
Like any good work space, Café 1001 has plug sockets dotted round the room so you can recharge your gadgets as you eat. If you need to get a little work done, you’ll enjoy free Wi-Fi, and there’s space outside to spread out at catch up with workmates old and new. Stay energised with good food: Café 1001 serves fresh juice, homemade pastries, burgers, kebabs and barbecued veggies cooked right there on site.
If you’re sick of coffee shop pre-packed cookies, you need to check this place out.
Café 1001 is open from 6am until midnight all week.
If you can’t function without a full French Press, Markus Coffee will delight and invigorate. This established coffee house was founded by the Hungarian Markus family in 1956 and has been at the same address since it first opened one year later. Coffee lovers, note: this place is the real deal.
Over the years, Markus Coffee has welcomed everyone from John Cleese to the President of Pakistan. Now run by a family friend, Markus Coffee sells 34 different types of coffee – one per day during that month-long assignment you’re prepping for. The intimate setting means you’ll also be able to park the laptop and get some serious work done, and the snacks you consume along the way won’t dent your expenses budget. Yep, Markus Coffee offers free Wi-Fi, too.
Markus Coffee is open Monday to Saturday 10am until 7pm, except Thursdays when it closes at 8pm. It’s open from mid-day until 6pm on Sundays.
While many coffee shops make great work spaces, many work spaces also sell great hot drinks. Timberyard’s two venues were designed specifically for the freelancer with itchy feet, and both offer home comforts and conveniences along with quiet working areas.
Like many London workspaces, both branches of Timberyard were built for freelancers who prefer to work in a collective space rather than on the sofa at home. There are meeting rooms, quiet areas and outdoor benches, so you can move around depending on the amount of background hum you’re after.
And the best thing? It’s free to use.
Timberyard opens from 8am until 8pm. There are branches on Old Street (EC17 9HW) and Upper St Martin’s Lane (WC2H 9DL).
If you head out with the laptop on a regular basis, we want to know what makes you tick. Great juice, craft beer, or space to charge your mobile – how do you like to work? Share your favourite London work spaces and freelance-friendly coffee joints in the comments below or via Twitter.