(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.
I would be there every day if it were.
Cafe Talk whole-heartedly agrees. It’s not your office. If you don’t want to support the place you’re working, go home.
Date of Visit: May 2, 2012
Location: 139 8th Avenue (between 16th and 17th Street)
Weekday Hours: 7am-8pm
Rating: 3 out of 10
Wifi: Free, with a password.
Music: It was honestly too loud in there to hear much of the music. Even if they’re not busy.
Restroom: Sort of. They’ll sneak you through the kitchen if they’re not too busy, which is kind of cool but ultimately not, you know?
Food and Drink: Good standard fare of tea. I didn’t eat, but the food did look delicious and made with care. A lot of people came in to get lunch, as it was that time of the day.
Crowdedness: People were in and out, but very few stayed to sit.
Comfort: Not very. The tables were very small and close together. I kind of always felt in the way.
Staff Amiability to Linger: I actually didn’t linger very long, so it’s hard to say.
Plug Locations: One. High up on a wall. Not near a table. So, no.
Workability: Given that this is a blog dedicated to cafes that you can work in, I have to say Paradise Cafe does not live up to its name in that regard. But I suppose no one would patronize if it was called Inferno Cafe. It is one of the worst cafes I have tried to work in. It may be a great place to lunch or people watch, but after about 45 minutes I left for greener pastures (for me, the Tea Set).
The Little Extra: None that I could see.
Of Note: While not good for working, it is good for people watching and hanging around doing nothing.
Overall: Sometimes you need to take the time and just sit and watch people. And Paradise Cafe is perfect for that. But do not bring a computer “just in case” you want to do work. For it will not happen.
Oh yeah, I also recently went to New Orleans, and worked from a cafe there.
Date of Visit: April 13, 2012
Location: 2917 Magazine Street (at Sixth Street), New Orleans, LA.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Wifi: Free, but need to buy something to get to it, so not free?
Music: You’d think it’d be awesome and memorable, as we were in New Orleans. But nothing really stood out. Generic rock.
Restroom: Separate men and women’s. I know it’s weird, but I like when there’s distinction.
Food and Drink: Your standard fare of coffee, tea and baked goods. I had a peach mango black tea that was quite excellent.
Crowdedness: Full, but not stifling full.
Comfort: They only offered tables and chairs. And though they were two seaters, they were super close together, so you did feel a little bit on top of each other.
Staff Amiability to Linger: Doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Plug Locations: Scattered along the walls throughout. Sadly I couldn’t sit by a window because there wasn’t one nearby.
Workability: I was down visiting a friend with a baby in NOLA, so I took a morning to go here and get some work done without being distracted by her baby’s adorableness. It worked, and I got a lot done!
The Little Extra: There really wasn’t any, and I think that’s why I was so underwhelmed by this place. They could have done a little more to stand out, but they didn’t.
Overall: This is a chain in the Southern States, and you could definitely feel its chaininess. Unfortunately there wasn’t another place within walking range to my friend’s place. I worked there, but I didn’t enjoy it. And given I was in my favorite city outside of NYC, I was expecting to feel more of a local flavor. Sad.
Cafe Talk has been traveling a bit, and once again just being terrible at writing posts. Hopefully now that summer is approaching things will slow down a tiny bit. We’ll see. However, I’m currently in DC for work, and there’s no reason I shouldn’t write a post for here, is there? No. There is not.
Date visited: May 19, 2012
Location: 201 F Street NE (at 2nd Street)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Wifi: Free and secure, so make sure you ask what the password is. They change it regularly.
Music: Lots of 90s alternative, which is AWESOME. Nirvana, early Radiohead, Fuel, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. It’s like listening to the Buzz, or whatever the alt-rock radio station of your teenage years was called.
Restroom: Two of them!
Food and Drink: Organic teas, a seemingly large choice of coffees, baked goods, and sandwiches. I had the tea (per usual) and a steak and cheese sandwich, which was standard fare.
Crowdedness: Very steady. I worked here both on Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, and while there were different crowds in each (worker drones on Friday, relaxing patrons on Saturday) most seats were always full.
Comfort: Tables for two that are large enough for two laptops! Also individual arm chairs. Excellent.
Staff Amibility to Linger: No concerns whatsoever. I’ve been here for 4 hours now, and some people have been here even longer.
Plug Locations: Tons, all along the wall. It’s a rare treat honestly to have so many.
Workability: I had two meetings here while in DC, and they were both incredibly productive. I could easily work here all day!
The Little Extra: They apparently have concerts here on various evenings, featuring local musicians and acts. Also, there is amble outdoor seating.
Of Note: Ebenezer’s is actually owned by a church here in DC, though you will not be bombarded by pictures of Jesus or anything like that. The money is used to help fund their community outreach projects. You can read more on their website. It’s social justice at work!
Overall: This is seriously the best place to work in DC. It’s right beside Union Station, which makes getting to and from NYC very easy (not that you’d come all the way just solely to work here. That’s ridiculous). When I’m in DC, I’ll be here!