(Note: I’m terrible. I’m sorry. I now have a goal of once a month and have joined a writing group. This should be doable. I hope you’re all still following!)
Date of Visit: October 9, 2012
Location: 178 N. 10th Street (between Driggs and Bedford)
Weekday Hours: 10am-6pm
Rating: 7 out of 10
Wifi: Free with a password they give you at the counter. It does go in and out quite frequently.
Music: Lots of 80s Whitney Houston. Very odd for a cafe in the middle of hipster Williamsburg.
Restroom: No, and this is where it loses points. You have to go to the bar across the street. Poor planning, if you ask me.
Food and Drink: It also loses points here. The cookies were big and soft and pretty good, but the tea was kind of terrible. It was standard Earl Gray, so I’m not sure what went wrong, but it was very meh. There is a foursquare deal of a free coffee or lemonade for your first check-in. So that’s good.
Crowdedness: Not too bad. No one sitting there when I arrived, and while people came and went during my time there, there was always a free table.
Comfort: standard kitchen-like wooden chairs, mismatched but comfortable. Some of the chairs had arm rests, which you don’t see everyday. Small tables which are impossible to share if you and a friend are both on your computer.
Staff Amiability to Linger: I suspect this place is very new, so they’re looking for patronage. They didn’t mind a bit that I stayed a couple of hours. They were also busy with the new refrigerator they had just received. An exciting endeavor indeed.
Plug Locations: A plug for every table! If that was a presidential campaign slogan you better believe I’d vote for this cafe.
Workability: I got the work I needed to get done, but that was because a) I had been working since 7am and didn’t have much more to do and b) what I did need to do was writing, and I didn’t need the internet. Having incredibly spotty internet was definitely a hindrance to sustained, continuous work.
The Little Extra: I got to work with my friend Chee, which is always a pleasure.
Of Note: A young woman overheard Chee and me discussing Foursquare and specials, and ended up signing up for it then and there. If you follow any of my other writing, you know I’m a fan of social media, and was happy to spread the love.
Overall: I always say that you need three things to work consistently in a cafe: the internet, a plug and a restroom. While the plugs were in abundance, the lack of bathroom and a consistent internet connection were worrisome. I would check them out again, if only because I chalk the internet connectivity to new business kinks that will be ironed out. However, if it continues I will not return again.
Date Visited: February 17, 2012
Location: 71 Pineapple Street (between Henry and Hicks Street)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Wifi: Password protected, but the name and password are freely given, and even written on the walks in chalk, so it’s no trouble to get on art at all.
Music: Perfect for working. A lot of Elliott Smith, Andrew Bird (a personal favorite), and a mix of old and new mellow songs. I did not break out my headphones once!
Restroom: One unisex. The walks are chalkboards, and they provide chalk, which leads to people staying in the bathroom a little longer than usual. Related: if you’re visiting this site because you found it written on the bathroom wall at Vineapple, welcome!
Food and Drink: They didn’t seem to have much in way of food, but I didn’t really ask. Good cheap tea (though they were out of honey), and a nice happy hour as well.
Crowdedness: There are plenty of people here, but also plenty of places to sit. I had to address some envelopes, and was easily able to spread out to do so.
Comfort: They pretty much have a seat for all types of people. Long tables, high benches, comfy chairs, and living room style couches. I sat at a table, but could see a man stretched out on one of the sofas, as if it really was his living room.
Staff Amiability to Linger: They have no problems with it whatsoever. They even have multiple book shelves, which seem to encourage lingering. Though when perusing the shelf closest to me, the first book I saw was Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. That is my mortal enemy of books!
Plug Locations: This (and not having honey) are the reasons it loses points. There do not seem to be easily accessible plugs over in the living room area. However at the tables there are plenty located right in the middle, so at least there are some.
Workability: Indeed. I was able to get a lot of different tasks completed, and even had time to write this blog post.
The Little Extra: Looking around, it is marvelous how much space there is. It’s a long way from the front to the back!
Of Note: I have a couple of friends who live in the area, which is why I decided to make the trek here (it’s not terribly easy to get here from Williamsburg). In doing so I scored a dinner invitation, which makes it well worth navigating the G train.
Overall: This place was recommended to me by a friend who really enjoys working here, and I can certainly see why. I may have to find more excuses to work in Brooklyn Heights!
Today, we have another special guest blogger. My friend Chris! Chris also works from home, and has a blog as well called The Blog of Justice. We often work together, and I asked him to write a post. Enjoy!
Date of Visit: September 27, 2011
Location: 158 Bedford Avenue (between N8 and N9th Streets)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Wifi: Free. Broke once or twice on me, but mostly OK.
Music: Didn’t stick in my head much. Williamsburg music.
Restroom: There’s one in the back. It’s covered in a lot of writing and stickers - pretty typical NYC bathroom.
Food and Drink: All sorts of tea and coffee. I had the Assuam (a black tea), which was pretty good. After a few pots I got jittery.
Crowdedness: Very. It’s hard to get a seat, there are frequent lines, and the whole place is narrow (but see the note below).
Comfort: There are some armchairs but it’s mostly standard coffee shop fare. The seats at the window are high and a little awkward if you want to use a laptop.
Staff Amiability to Linger: While they didn’t seem to notice, this place is busy and lines are always forming.
Plug Locations: A couple of old plugs along the wall.
Workability: You can do work there, especially if you are hyped up on caffeine. Cafe Talk came to join me, and we had some trouble making room for two laptops on one of the tables, but it was doable.
Of Note: THERE IS A BACKYARD THAT I DID NOT SEE WHEN I FIRST GOT THERE.
That Little Extra: There’s an old school Polish bakery around the corner. I did not find it to be that special, but it seemed like a good place.
Overall: It’s not a bad place to work, but there’s nothing special and it’s hard to get a spot. That being said, we did not originally notice the backyard seating, which looked pretty relaxing. If you stop by, you might want to check that out, but this is really more of a place to stop by and meet people than to do work.
Date Visited: September 17, 2011
Location: 524 Lorimer Street (@ Ainslie Street)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Wifi: Free, and works well even with a lot of people on it.
Restroom: Yes, several. The one in the front part that you can get to through a hidden door behind a coke machine-like thing. It kind of freaked me out, as I couldn’t even figure out where the door knob was. I eventually just went to the one in the back.
Food and Drink: Big cups of tea, and a late breakfast. However, this place is super expensive! It was over $3 for my cup of tea, and while it was large, it wasn’t $3+ large.
Crowdedness: Very, though it was a Saturday afternoon, and a popular place for brunch as well.
Comfort: Standard tables and chairs. It being crowded and all, expect to share these tables, especially in the front part, where some of the tables are off limits to computers.
Staff Amiability to Linger: They didn’t seem too keen on it, especially given the crowd. I wasn’t asked to leave or anything, but didn’t feel great staying too long either.
Plug Locations: Along the wall (duh) which did make my seat at the end of the table a little tricky to reach it. I was only there for a short time however, so didn’t need to plug in.
Workability: Pretty good, actually. Maybe the hustle and bustle of the crowd kept me on pace?
The Little Extra: I think it’s the lack of a little extra that gave this place its lackluster review. It’s a nice enough place, but the staff doesn’t seem to care, people are pushy, and there’s nothing that is a little extra to set it apart. Of course, this was a rare weekend visit, which could have have something to do with it.
Of Note: When they announce the fact your food is ready, they announce it through a pipe that magnifies the voice, which is cool. Also, there is an entire back are that you don’t really even realize is there until 2 hours have gone by (at least, that’s what happened to me).
Overall: Eh. I didn’t hate my time here, but it really wasn’t all that enjoyable. Perhaps it is the universe’s way of telling me not to work on weekends.
Date of Visit: First time was July 11, but I’ve been back there at least weekly since.
Location: 415 Graham Ave.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Wifi: Free and password protected. Ask the counter and they’ll give it to you.
Music: Great and varied. There’s lots of older jazz and blues numbers, and some 70 rock. Indie music for the modern ear. Nothing ever too distracting.
Restroom: Yes! A nice clean one, situated far in the back.
Food and Drink: If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I’m not really a foodie. I just kind of go and drink their hot tea and call it a day. This place however, has attracted even a non-foodie like me. For one, they have legit Southern-style sweet tea! Very exciting, as I’m from the South originally and sometimes just crave that sugary concoction. They also have delicious pie. The blueberry is especially my favorite. I get these two things together nearly every time I’m there, which is often.
Crowdedness: It’s a fairly crowded place. There’s always a seat, but you’ll most likely be sitting right beside someone during the busy times (around lunch). Make sure everything you have on your computer is kosher!
Comfort: Here’s where they lose a point. They have wooden folding chairs, or stools. Not much back support. But it is good for working, as you sit up and pay attention.
Staff Amiability to Linger: Totally fine with it. They are great with customer service, and seem to know a lot of the regulars, and greet them with enthusiastic salutations. I’m hoping to get to that level one day.
Plug Locations: They’re there, but you have to look for them. You should always be able to plug in at some point, even if you have to move seats.
Workability: Really the only thing you can’t do here is make a business call, as it can be too loud for you and too intrusive for others. When you don’t have any calls to place, it’s perfect.
The Little Extra: As mentioned before, the staff is really friendly. Even if they don’t know you, they still treat you with courtesy and respect. Also, the place is super open and light and breezy. Lots of natural light.
Of Note: Another way you know the sweet tea is legit? It’s served in mason jars!
Overall: Despite Variety Cafe being much closer to home, I find myself always coming here. It’s probably the combination of sweet tea, light and friendly staff. As I’m writing this they are closed for a week vacation. It’s also been raining and gray in NYC for the same amount of time. Coincidence?
Date of Visit: June 13, 2011
Location: 797 Grand Street (btw. Humboldt St and Bushwick Ave)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Wifi: Free and reliable. Use it on your computer, phone, tablet, kindle, etc.
Music: Great. Lots of 70s rock, David Bowie, the Kinks, the Beatles, the Clash, and many things in between. I thoroughly enjoyed the musical experience here.
Restrooms: Sadly, none. This therefore limits your time there, and lowers the rating.
Food and Drink: I enjoyed their selection of teas: small but varied. And they have lots of appealing vegetarian sandwiches, even for those of us who aren’t vegetarian! I had a delicious avocado delight. Also, because I reused my cup. My second tea was free. Hooray!
Crowdedness: It ebbed and flowed. As I’m writing this it’s only me and another laptop guy. Earlier lots of people came in for lunch and every seat was full. You’ll be fine here.
Comfort: Standard chairs and a couple of benches. My seat is a bench with a brick wall for a back, which works fine.
Staff Amiability to Linger: They seem perfectly okay with it. A lot of the people that came in are definitely regulars, and are greeted by name by those who work here. Also, the staff is largely Israeli, so if they cared that you lingers, you would definitely know it. It’s a great place to work as long as your bladder will let you!
Plug Locations: Only one, between the bench and the shelves by the counter. However, that’s exactly where I sat, so it was perfect.
Workability: I got tons done. So much so that I was able to write this post while still here. This never happens!
The Little Extra: Giving me a free tea and being so hospitable to those who come in is really great. It makes me want to make this my neighborhood place, which given that it’s in my neighborhood, could very well happen. Also anytime anyone sneezed, everyone blessed you!
Of Note: I speak a tiny bit of Hebrew, so was able to converse slightly with them. That’s always exciting to me.
Overall: Really the only negative part about this place is the lack of restrooms. I can’t wait to come back to Lula Bean!
Date of Visit: June 8 and 9, 2011
Location: 369 Graham Ave (between Conselyea St and Skillman Ave)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Wifi: Free and clear. Can get a little sluggish when there are a lot of people on, but I suppose that’s to be expected.
Music: The music caters to their audience (hipster), so lots of Lou Reed, Of Montreal, The Cure, etc. Fairly nice to work to, because it blends into the background for the most part. On occasion it got a little loud, but someone always went to turn it down.
Restrooms: One. But how many more do you really need?
Food and Drink: They have a sign that says everything the serve is locally based. Then how do they have English Breakfast tea, hmmmmmmm? I kid. Their tea is excellent, and they have lots of honey.
Crowdedness: Despite being a small place, they do well in maximizing their seating space. However I stopped by on two of the hottest days of the year so far, and every seat was taken. They keep the A/C running full blast, so you can’t blame people coming in to escape the heat. I was able to find a place to sit along the counter, and eventually moved to a table.
Comfort: They have benches and chairs, cafe tables and counters. There is quite an array of seating choices. And as mentioned earlier, they keep the A/C on full blast, which actually can get a little chilly after a while! I ordered a hot tea, and was very comfortable drinking it inside.
Staff Amiability to Linger: There are lots of people here working throughout the day. The staff seems fine with it. As long as you don’t abuse their hospitality, you should be fine.
Plug Locations: They have TONS of plugs. They are almost everywhere. Really the only place I didn’t see any were along the counters. You should have no problem plugging in.
Workability: Extremely. I have recently moved into the neighborhood, but don’t have Internet at my place yet, so have been coming here during the day. TWC sets everything up this weekend, but I suspect I’ll still stop by here on occasion for a nice change of scenery.
The Little Extra: It is a GREAT place for people watching.
Of Note: By far, this may be the most hipster place I have ever visited in my life. I knew going in that when I moved to Williamsburg, I’d be faced with this. And I even have my own hipster tendencies, what with a tattoo and bangs and vintage wheels and love of obscure indie music. But wow. Some people can really take hipster to a whole new level. I have much to learn.
Overall: I’m very happy with this location for work. Close to home, good tea, free internet, friendly folk, and cool on a hot summer day. We should all be so lucky to have a location like this in our neighborhood!
Date of Visit: March 9, 2011
Location: 272 3rd Ave (btw. President and Union) BROOKLYN
Weekday Hours: Not sure, but I got kicked out at around 530pm.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Wifi: Free and clear! There’s a password, but they’ll give it to you at the counter.
Music: They were playing a clearchannel owned radio station, but it was classic rock, which is nice to work to, so I approve.
Food and Drink: I was planning on eating there, but they closed too early. Their sandwiches looked full and meaty and delicious. Standard tea collection, but they are super generous with the honey, which I like.
Crowdedness: Not a bit. This is in the more industrial section of Brooklyn, so people were scarce. When I arrived there was a family, some teenagers, typical mother with stroller, and either a girl who was European or who wanted to be, because in any case she doesn’t shave under her arms and wears tank tops in 30 degree weather to show it off. It’s a bit jarring to sit across from that.
Comfort: Very. Standard chairs and tables, but they were perfect for working. There was also a low couch and table with magazines for those who aren’t interested in working.
Staff Amiability to Linger: I didn’t bother them, and they didn’t bother me. They didn’t even tell me they were closing; just kept putting up chairs until I finally asked.
Plug Locations: There were plugs for all! It’s a cafe talk miracle!
Workability: Perfect. I got there around 230pm, worked till they closed, and got tons done. As I head out to Bay Ridge often for volunteering, I will definitely stop by here again.
The Little Extra: The owner stops by, and is a very nice and jolly Brooklynite.
Of Note: I already mentioned the under arm hair. I was actually able to deduce her name through foursquare, as she was the only other person there when I checked in. She’s the mayor, and I have no plans to run against her.
Overall: A quiet, perfect place to work if you ever are super far west from Park Slope, but don’t like Red Hook. They also have exposed brick walls and a chandelier. I recommend!