Sometimes writing or working at home offers up way too many distractions. It seems like anything is more important than finishing a post.. Boiling sprouts, colour coding my sock draw, watching Ninja Warrior… To get more done I need to get out, so I usually flee to the nearest cafe with comfy seating, good wifi, plenty of power points and caffeine to keep me fully charged.
I decided to go in search of the best wifi cafes in London that offer all of this to see if any could match up to my beloved Cafe 1001 which is my usual blogging spot. I went on tour to discover 5 alternative spots where you can knuckle down and get some work done. I rate each location based on Wifi connection, power point accessibility, working atmosphere & the coffee.
//The Book Club
I’ve learnt that anywhere with ‘Club’ in the title is the place to be — The Breakfast Club proved this to me a long time ago, so when I read about The Book Club I knew I was in for a treat.
I can’t help but feel annoyed at myself when I walk into a place and think ‘HOW HAVE I MISSED THIS?!‘ Two minutes after entering TBC this reality had hit me, so I very quickly decided that it will definitely be somewhere I will be spending a lot of time in the future.
The Book Club is one of the largest cafes I’ve found so far, filled with natural light and plenty of seating. From the name I imagined it would double up as some sort of library or that I should have taken along a copy of Horny’s High Fidelity to fit in, but most seemed to be sat at their tables working and enjoying a bevvy (Yes this is a licensed premises so perfect if you are in need of ’hair of the dog’ or even to kick off a night out)
As it was a Saturday it was pretty packed so I had a wander and discovered a ping pong table. I wasn’t surprised as TBC is sibling to Queen of Hoxton - It’s all about the ping pong. It’s very much an East London hang out with some interesting ‘book art’ displayed on the walls, the interior of the cafe is quite attractive compared to others. I spent a considerable amount of time here and was even moved to make way for a party but due to the amount of seating it wasnt a problem. I was quite distracted by the constant murmur of the crowd but Hey it was a Saturday, can’t complain.
Overall despite the lack of power points I would definitely recommend The Book Club and no doubt this will become one of my regular spots. The wifi was reliable and they even serve food & booze, what more could I ask for?
I had been looking forward to an afternoon working in Fix, I had previously stumbled across it on a trip to the Barbican Centre and I was delighted with my new discovery.
When I arrived on my wifi tour I ordered my latte and felt spoiled for choice by the amount of seating. It was a tough choice between the people-watching window bar or one of the many battered sofas. I commend Fix for it’s abundance of power points giving me the option to sit virtually anywhere.
I sank into the sofa and input the complicated Wifi code– Capital F, small G, the number 5.. You know the sort you put in 10 times until you eventually decide ‘Yes, I am in fact dyslexic‘ My latte was perfect, served hot and creamy in a mug as opposed to a glass thats so hot I can’t touch it for 15 minutes.
So there I was sat, writing away in what seemed like the perfect setting. It was a good working atmosphere with the other customers quiet enough that I wouldn’t be too distracted (Which is always useful when you have the attention span of a gnat). I figured I had found the perfect blogging cafe on the second day of my tour. That was until I clicked to save a post and a screen of terror appeared “You are not connected to the Internet” …. WHUT?!?
I then endured a sequence of resetting, inputting impossible wifi password, disconnecting, reconnecting. No matter what I tried I could not get back online and almost lost my work in the process. Usually I would pipe up and ask the staff what had gone wrong but I couldn’t risk that happening again so I gathered my things, head for the exit and marched straight to my trusty wifi cafe Look Mum No Hands
It’s a shame that the wifi failed me because I felt I had found the winner. I may return on a day when I’m not seriously PMSing to discover what happened. I still love Fix, maybe next time ill Leave my Mac at home!
161 Whitecross Street, EC1Y 8JL (Old Street tube/Barbican Tube)
//Tina We Salute you
I discovered this curious little coffee shop with the ‘Coffee (In) touch’ app — An amazing app to discover wifi cafes which are displayed on a London map. Looking in their Top Pick’s I recognised a few, then my attention was drawn to ‘Tina We Salute you’ mainly because of the awesome name…. Who is Tina? And why are we saluting her?! (Answers on a postcard)
I ventured to the cafe’s location in Dalston on a day when I was almost terminally hungover. The funny thing about Dalston is that it’s vile yet seems to be home to some great alternative hangouts.
Tina We Salute you is hidden in the back streets, which in my state was the best place for me. I had taken along my buddy Kim who was on standby to call the ambulance. We were surprised when we first laid eyes on the pokey little premises. The pictures were surprisingly deceitful and in no way gave away the scale of the place. They had also recently changed the artwork on the walls, I had been excited to photograph the previous quirky design.
The cafe has a very local, friendly feel. The cheery staff were happy to explain what cakes they had on offer and I took a seat with a delicious almond crossoiunt. Always opting for a sofa I wasn’t close enough to the only power point so I was happy that my Mac was fully charged. I did take a minute to leave my comfy seat for the rocking chair.
The cafe itself is a little too small for me but nice if you are local and you are after somewhere very quiet, it’s a great working environment void of any distractions.
I had walked past this place a million times but never stopped to go inside. I’m not sure if that was down to its inconspicuous location –tucked underneath Waterloo Bridge or the fact that I’ve always thought it was another entrance for the British Film Institute.
The Riverfront is named as such because it’s located on the The South Bank of the Thames, which makes the abundance of outdoor seating a nice touch. However I took myself inside where I discovered the Daddy of all armchairs..
Check out this bad boy!
I turned my nose up at the ridged wooden chairs and claimed it as my own. I set to work awkwardly propping the Mac on my lap and glancing around for somewhere to plug it in. Low and behold the only power point I could find was located below a table, accompanied by my arch enemy– the wooden chair.
I felt very distracted by the bustle. It seems a lot of tourists had discovered The Riverfront too, but being in such an iconic location it was to be expected. I felt worlds away from my East London cafes and for some reason I just couldn’t settle. It’s probably one of the most attractive cafes I’ve seen and it’s also a restaurant and bar so really I never needed to leave.
Overall it’s a very modern cafe in a beautiful location and served one of the best lattes I’ve had in a long time but it’s a little too busy for my liking. The Riverfront lacks that cosy feel that I get from places like 1001. Possibly one of the best cafes in the area but not for work.
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XT (Waterloo station)
//Joe And The Juice – Soho
This shoebox of a cafe is fast becoming one of my favourite places to work. I’m not sure why, it doesn’t have the wow factor that ‘The Book Club’ has, but I seem to have fallen in love with it.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Joe n the juice then you should know that essentially it is a juice and smoothie bar as well as being a decent coffee shop.
After my frequent visits here Ive found it makes a nice change to occasionally order a drink that won’t temporarily give me ADHD. If you really can’t go without I recommend ‘The Power Shake’ or the ‘Espresso Shake’.
Joe N the Juice only seem to employ male staff that are easy on the eye, i.e. there is some serious man candy for the ladies and gay guys of soho. And I’m not sure if its shameful flirting or they are just generally being friendly but they are very chatty and once even promised me a heart in my latte… How many female customers have they used that line on?! Unfortunately the heart looked more like a dead leaf..
Although its small theres plenty of seating so I’ve never had a problem finding somewhere to perch my derrière. On my last visit I pulled a small table right over my lap and sat slouched in my seat whilst working. To the other customers it must have looked like I lived there. Every now and then the guys behind the counter would crank the music up and begin to dance… Maybe it wasn’t flirting after all! It was more than a little distracting but entertaining nevertheless.
Overall Joe n the juice in Soho is a great place to work and people watch, there is also a bigger branch in Regent Street which has huge sofas big enough to lie on. They serve a killer avocado sandwich which I now find myself constantly craving. It’s never too crowded and the staff are great.
65-67 Broadwick Street, W1F 9QY (Piccadilly Circus Tube)
Where are your favourite places in London to work?