An Exhaustive, No-BS List of the Best Places to Work in New York City When You Don’t Have An Office

True story: When we quit our jobs in December in order to start Clover Letter, one of our bosses asked us, incredulously, why we would ever want to leave this fancy publishing house in favor of working from home.

The guy just couldn’t believe we’d choose a tiny Brooklyn apartment over the shiny walls of a corporation (with an in-house cafeteria and gym, so you would literally never need to leave). Our answer? We just aren’t “office people.” Nothing against office people, of course. Besides, there are more than enough coffee shops in New York to prevent any cabin fever. And considering a WeWork space starts at a cool $450/month, we figure spending a few bucks on overpriced, over-iced cold brew is worth it.

In the last few months, we’ve visited nearly every coffee shop in Brooklyn; and, when meetings bring us begrudgingly into the city, Manhattan. Because we live in Greenpoint and Clinton Hill, we tend to stick close to the G train (which we happen to love, haters!). We’re constantly asked for coffee shop recommendations, so we’ve compiled a list of 21 of the most freelancer-friendly spots in the city, complete with abundant outlets, strong coffee, stronger Wi-Fi, and even the occasional happy hour.

Clinton Hill/Fort Greene

Tilda All Day: We filed for the Clover Letter LLC at Tilda way back in December, and now, eight months later, Tilda has become a neighborhood staple. It’s great for upscale breakfast meetings (get the egg sandwich!) and they don’t shame you for whipping out your laptop after. It’s IRL Pinterest in the least annoying way. Head’s up, though: They close at 4pm, so take a coffee to-go. 930 Fulton Street

Meckleburg’s: This dimly-lit Clinton Hill bar and restaurant is perfect for those late afternoon work sessions that inevitably morph into happy hour. They’ll let you sit at a table (even if you’re not eating) and stay as long as you’d like. The beer is expensive (about $8 for a draft), but pro tip: a tall boy of Narragansett is only $5. 293 Grand Avenue

Urban Vintage: We want to like this spot. It’s got a charming interior filled with knick-knacks and cozy chairs, and it serves great iced coffee (on a silver tray, no less!). But because the internet is so unreliable, we don’t recommend going here for important work. Take your breakfast meetings over a delicious quiche, then head somewhere else to get shit done. 294 Grand Avenue

Brewklyn: Lame name aside, this Myrtle Ave. coffee shop is a pretty great go-to. You can nearly always grab a table inside or out, even if you’re rolling deep with a few friends (or, in our case, interns). The cold brew coffee is extremely strong, so it’ll keep you powered through the whole day — good thing the baristas aren’t the type to kick you out, even on hour four or so. 557 Myrtle Avenue

Peck’s: Where do we even begin? This Myrtle Ave. stop has the kindest dudes in Brooklyn working behind the counter, always at the ready with outstanding sandwiches, coffee, and — are you sensing a theme here? — beer. The backyard is so much of a dream we almost don’t even want to mention it; we often joke that we don’t need an office because we have the Peck’s backyard. But it’s not really a joke at all. Plus, you can bring your dog. 455A Myrtle Avenue

Brooklyn Roasting Company: While we’ve done work in the Manhattan location (which is surprisingly solid for a place on 23rd street), we highly recommend the Clinton Hill outpost across from Brooklyn Navy Yard. If strong iced coffee and fast Wi-Fi is all we need to be productive, then the sundrenched space (with comfy, diner-style booths) goes above and beyond. 200 Flushing Avenue

Brooklyn Public House: This Dekalb pub holds a special place in our hearts because it’s where we first came up with the idea of Clover Letter. We’ll come back every now and then, for the $4 happy hour special and solid Wi-Fi (and the kind bartender who lets us sit in the booth with our laptops). With a playlist that includes Britney Spears, Fifth Harmony, and Jason Derulo, it’s almost like you’re just out for the fun of it, rather than finishing up legal docs and filing invoices. 247 Dekalb Avenue

Bed-Stuy

Outpost: This Bed-Stuy coffee shop and restaurant is a summertime freelancer’s dream. The interior is huge; there’s a nice backyard with tables and plenty of greenery; and the coffee is decent. But all of these things also make it the most popular spot in the neighborhood, especially during warm months. Be warned: The internet’s not great. We once wrote and edited an entire newsletter here, only to realize that none of our changes had saved (thanks, spotty Wi-Fi). 1014 Fulton Street

Bedford Hill: We only came here once, but would absolutely return. It’s more of a chill-out spot than a “coffice,” if you will, but the bartenders are nice, they have pretty good bagels, and they’re another spot that serves both coffee and cocktails. 343 Franklin Avenue

Clementine: The best “I can’t believe this is vegan food!” vegan food spot in Brooklyn. Not to mention, it’s a surprisingly great place to work — good coffee, plenty of outlets, and surprisingly chill people. Plus, you don’t even have to leave if you get hungry (we recommend the grilled cheese and “bacon” sandwich, and the tempeh BLT, and…actually, just order one of everything). 299 Greene Avenue

Greenpoint/Williamsburg

Enid’s: We’ve gone to this place, located a block away from McCarren Park, at least once a week since starting our company. Usually it’s when we’ve have a particularly rough day, because we never, ever leave more stressed out than we felt when we arrived. The coffee is diner-quality, but its $3 drafts and Frozen Harrisons — a dangerous cocktail that’s just $5 after 4 o’clock — have gotten us through some tough moments. In fact, our pitch deck was perfected sitting on the Enid’s patio. 560 Manhattan Avenue

Sweetleaf: We once spent 7 hours in this Greenpoint gem when a spontaneous rainstorm descended and refused to let up. It’s not particularly close to anything (except for Queens) but it’s worth the trek, because the coffee is excellent, and so are the homemade granola bars that are definitely more unhealthy than the muffins but worth lying to yourself about. 159 Freeman Street

Budin: This Greenpoint Ave. cafe is lovely; its backyard is even lovelier. However. Budin became infamous on the internet for its $10 licorice latte — which we have yet to try, because it’s become infamous to us for accusing us of “running our business out of their coffee shop” and not buying enough expensive coffee. Which, fair. But when the tables are full of freelancers all day every day, being singled out like that is lame. 114 Greenpoint Avenue

The West: This place has tons of two-tops and bar seating, and an abundance of outlets. It also has a backyard that’s perfect for taking important calls and — even more importantly, a stellar happy hour that starts at 5 o’clock on the dot, making the coffee more expensive than the craft beer. Especially given that they charge an extra quarter for “light-on-the-ice” iced coffee. Bring headphones, though, because certain baristas have questionable music taste (and they’re not afraid to crank up the speakers). 379 Union Avenue

Black Star: If you’re stuck in Williamsburg and looking for a change, we highly recommend this bright spot off the Lorimer L train. Although the space is on the smaller side, it’s rarely crowded. The prices for both coffee and food are fair, so you can splurge on a sandwich without feeling guilty (hey, we’re on a budget here…) 595 Metropolitan Avenue

Sugarburg: This place has, hand’s down, the nicest baristas in all of Brooklyn. The dude who works daytime is totally delightful, and never makes you feel bad about occupying a booth for hours. The coffee is good; the beer is even better. 519 Metropolitan Avenue

Pudge Knuckles: This massive cafe on the Williamsburg waterfront (located directly in the bougie condos next to an Italian restaurant that wouldn’t be out of place in a suburban strip mall) would be ideal, except the owners keep forgetting to pay the bills. In fact, it was once seized by the IRS as we were working. Oops? 184 Kent Avenue

Grumpy’s: Some of the locations apparently have a ban on laptops, but the OG location in Greenpoint keeps the work-from-home crowd happy with tons of seating, killer cold brew, and A+ A/C (which is important when your apartment’s window unit just isn’t doing it). 193 Meserole Avenue

Devocion: Can’t say anything about the coffee or Wi-Fi, because every.single.time we’ve tried to work here, it’s been packed with freelancers (read: fashion bloggers, because Williamsburg). If you’re willing to get there early and stake out a spot, let us know how it is. 69 Grand Street

Black Brick: When Freehold’s insufferable (in other words, always) and Devocion’s no better (see above), this Bedford Ave. coffee shop is a nice refuge. The coffee’s good, the Wi-Fi is reliable, and the crowd is 85% more chill than the other two places. (But not totally chill, because this is still Bedford we’re talking about — if you want deeply chill, go to South 4th Bar & Cafe). 300 Bedford Avenue

Manhattan

The Coffee Foundry: When you find yourself in a meeting south of 14th, but don’t want to deal with the tourists of Union Square or the scenesters of Meatpacking, this unassuming place — that just so happens to turn into a karaoke bar when the clock strikes 6 — is an oasis. A dark, strange oasis with vinyl booths, decent coffee, and one of the nicest baristas in the city. 186 West 4th Street

*Please note: We only have one city suggestion because we usually hightail it back to Brooklyn after meetings. That said, if you have recommendations, we’d love to hear them. We’d be forever grateful to avoid yet another all-too-common between-meetings Starbucks stop…