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: September 13, 2011
Location: 88 Orchard Street @ Broome (duh).
Weekday Hours: 730am-9pm
Rating: 9 out of 10
Wifi: Free and works very well.
Music: Great! They played a lot of Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, The Cure, and so much more!
Restroom: Yes, it’s downstairs. It took me about 2 hours to realize there is a downstairs, as it’s kind of hidden.
Food and Drink: My friend Chris and I are always searching for a delicious croissant. This place has one of the better ones I have tried. And whoever made my tea today (twice) did an amazing job. If I had lots of money, I would hire her to just make my tea. It would be wonderful.
Crowdedness: The place was steady all day, but there were always seats around.
Comfort: They only offer tables and chairs, but they are comfortable tables and chairs. The exposed brick wall does offer cushion for your back, which was nice. This is one of the rare places that also had outdoor seating, though given that I have a laptop I didn’t think that was too safe. Looked nice though.
Staff Amiability to Linger: They gave me no grief about it. I was there about 3 hours, and made sure to order frequently.
Plug Locations: Upstairs at least, I only saw one, near the high table. I heard rumors that there were more downstairs, but no natural light there. I chose to let my battery run down.
Workability: For phone calls it’s not the best. My boss called once and I was definitely discombobulated and not really able to talk. I did get a lot of computer work done, which was mainly what my job is, so it’s great for that.
Of Note: The upstairs space is really quite beautiful. Right on the corner, with large airy window, a beautiful ceiling. I found myself pausing quite often to look out the window and around the room. I was sitting in the corner where the window and the wall meet, which is the perfect sitting spot, IMO.
Overall: Pretty much everything one could want in a cafe for work. I’m not usually on the LES all that much, but for 88 Orchard, I will make an exception!
Date of Visit: August 17, 2011
Location: 212 Avenue B (@13th Street)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Wifi: Free, but with a random numerical password. They’ll give it to you when you order something. Make sure you keep it in your computer, as you’ll probably never remember it.
Music: Way too much Coldplay. Other than that, fine.
Food and Drink: Eh. Not really a good selection of tea unless you loooooooove organic green. If you don’t, you won’t have much from which to choose. The food was alright. Not great, just alright.
Crowdedness: It was pretty steady the entire time I was there. All of the tables you see above were full.
Comfort: Pretty good. Standard chairs, a couch and arm chairs around a coffee table, and a couple of stools at a counter along the window. Plenty for all.
Staff Amiability to Linger: Seemed very fine with it. No one approached me or gave me dirty looks or anything.
Plug Locations: I couldn’t find any near the main section of seating. But there were several near the counter and stools. There was also this cute little table facing the bulletin board with plugs, so I finished my time there. I also put one of my cards up there. So if you’re sitting in that same seat, reading this because of the card, hi!
Workability: Besides the incessant Coldplay, it was fine. Quiet, breezy, comfortable. I got more done here than I did all week!
The Little Extra: When I was ordering my tea and large oreo, the man at the counter asked me if I wanted to try some of this coffee based drink he had just made. I don’t like coffee, but figured it couldn’t hurt to try. It seemed delicious, but just confirmed I really do not like the taste of coffee.
Overall: The place was fine. A fairly standard cafe in New York City. Nothing about it really grabbed me, but it had all the essentials you need for working outside the home/office (which are: restroom, internet and plugs). So if you are in the area and need a place to work, this place will do just fine.
Cafe Talk is still in DC, though was back in New York between the previous post and this. But today I worked for a while in this place, and figured it was worth a review. I guess when you work from home in New York City, the entire WORLD is your office!
Date of Visit: July 7, 2011
Location: 1529 14th St NW (@ Q Street)
Weekday Hours: 10am-9/10pm (depends on the day)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Wifi: Free and clear. Use it on all your devices.
Music: Eclectic and awesome. I’ve heard ‘Til Tuesday, Bee-Gees, Coldplay (ugh), Stevie Wonder, Etta James, and many many more!
Restrooms: Yes! Clean, well stocked, and isolated (I strongly dislike when people can hear the bathroom).
Food and Drink: They have tons of stuff to eat and drink. Lots of pastries, delicious and amazing milkshakes. They also have half priced glasses of wine starting at 5pm. Perfect for a hot summer day.
Sprinkles on a coffee! Amazing!
Crowdedness: Not really. I guess it’s different in DC than NYC. If there’s a great cool cafe, everyone comes out. Not so much in DC. That’s a big loss for the DC folk.
Comfort: Lots and lots of standard tables and chairs. As I was sitting here working, they put together comfortable new couch-like chairs. I sat in those and they were quite nice.
Staff Amiability to Linger: They are very much okay with it. They chatted and joked around with me, allowed me to start a tab since I was here for a while and meeting people, and were totally cool and awesome. Go ACKC staff!
Plug Locations: Only one place, but it’s right beside a window, and has an extension cord with lots of plugs for sharing and whatnot.
Workability: I wrote reports, had meetings, sent emails, talked on the phone. I pretty much ran a regular office here!
The Little Extra: I really should stress how nice the staff was here. Allowing me to pay late, suggesting things, being all around pleasant. I have crushes on all of them.
Of Note: During the day they were showing Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? on the TV. It was on mute, but it’s an interesting movie even without sound. I’ve seen it before however.
Overall: Love this place. I hope to come back here every time I come to DC for work!
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!
Today we have a very special guest blogger, Crystal! Crystal has her own awesome tumblr about food, so it was only a matter of time before she made her way to cafe talk. Visit her blog, but be warned it will make you very hungry.
Date of Visit: May 24, 2011
Location: 968 3rd Ave. (between 57th and 58th St)
Weekday Hours: Unknown :-(
Rating: 7 out of 10. A good place to work, but not a hang out cafe.
Wifi: Yes, and it’s free, but it was not working that day. They had a technician trying to fix it while I was there. I mooched off the wifi signal coming from the McDonald’s next door.
Music: None. But they left the floor-to-ceiling windows on 58th Street wide open, so there’s a ton of car traffic and pedestrian noise. This can make it kind of difficult to do any work that requires concentration, but headphones solved this problem for me. Once it starts getting balls hot outside (ahem, like, today), maybe they’ll give in to the a/c?
Restrooms: Two, which were very clean and strangely had TV monitors in them. Exclusively for ads, though.
Food and Drink: I had a large iced coffee to start with (they serve Peet’s), which was meh. But super cheap. Not much to write about in terms of the pastries. These weren’t so appealing. [NOTE TO ING CAFE: Need a contract baker to re-vamp your baked goods? Eh? EH?] The salads looked ok, but they were definitely shipped in from somewhere. I ended up buying a greek yogurt and a kashi bar later that afternoon, and I think these were reasonably priced ($2-3 total-ish).
Crowdedness: Not very crowded at all. This being midtown, most of the suits came and got coffee and left.
Comfort: Let’s just say these ain’t no Herman Miller chairs. Hard, plastic, but whatever. You’re not supposed to sit too long hunched over a laptop anyway, right?
Staff Amiability to Linger: Completely fine w/ it. Staff were extremely courteous and friendly, especially apologetic when telling me the wifi was down. I stayed there for almost 4 hours doing work.
Plug Locations: Could have used a few more within visible sight. I did manage to find one behind a pole, which was behind one of the windows. Basically had to shimmy myself in there to plug my laptop in and to take it out later.
Workability: Extremely workable, and would be even more if the windows were kept closed.
The Little Extra: The cafe has an ATM with no fees, no matter what bank you use. I thought that was nifty.
Of Note: Is this the only merchant on yelp that falls under both the “Coffee & Tea” + “Investing” category? Fascinating!
Overall: A good place to do work. A friend came and met me for coffee during the day, which was nice. Not a good place to meet for a date-date though, I’d imagine. Orange makes my skin look funny, anyway.
Date of Visit: April 28th and May 17th, 2011
Location: 28 Jane Street (btw. W 4th St and Greenwich Ave)
Weekday Hours: 7am-8pm
Rating: 8 and a half out of 10.
Wifi: Yes. Just log into “Yourgrounded” and you’re set. However, towards the end, it started to crap out, but I’m not sure if that was because I had stayed past the limit. Update: Nope. I think it has issues every so often. Usually someone will restart it and everything is perfect from then on.
Music: Chiddy Bang, The Beatles, Florence and the Machine. It was like they were playing my library!
Restrooms: Yes! Hooray!
Food and Drink: I had a delicious, wonderful smoothie. And the tea. Oh my stars, the tea. I asked the woman at the counter what she recommended, and she suggested Yunnan Gold Tea. AND IT WAS SO DELICIOUS. I will pretty much drink this always from now on forever if I could. Adding honey just made it more amazing.
Crowdedness: Steady stream of people in and out, but there always seemed to be spots available.
Comfort: They have garden like chairs, benches, stools and couches. Pretty much everything you could ever ask for in a cafe.
Staff Amiability to Linger: There are signs saying that people should limit their time to 90 minutes. However, people stayed longer. I did as well, and after about an extra half an hour my internet started to mess up. Not saying it was on purpose, but it is the reason Grounded is not a perfect 10 (but very very close!)
Plug Locations: I didn’t look around all that much, because I found one immediately where I was sitting, which was towards the front of the cafe.
Workability: With free wifi, delicious tea, great music, a natural skylight (!), and tables large enough for my computer and the mouse and with plugs readily accessible, it is a perfect place to work.
Of Note: Soooooo, I’m a huge geek, and actually had cards printed up advertising my blog. I know! This was the first place I left one of them, saying I had visited and if they wanted to see what I said, to come to the blog. So if you’re reading this because you found my card, hi!
Overall: I absolutely loved this place. I’m typically in the West Village on Tuesday evenings on Jane Street as well, so I think I’ll be there quite often from now on, drinking great tea, listening to great music and working very well.
Date of Visit: April 28th, 2011
Location: 45 8th Ave (between 4th St and Jane St)
Weekday Hours: 8am-10pm
Rating: 4 out of 10.
Wifi: Free, but I was never able to get it to work. No idea why. My computer expertise is limited to restarting my machine, and since that didn’t work, I was all out of ideas. Seemed to work for everyone else adequately enough.
Music: As far as I can tell, it was generic alt rock. But it was pretty loud in there so I couldn’t hear the songs in detail.
Restrooms: There was one. And I know I said that any place that has a restroom gets an automatic 7.5, but this place really wasn’t that great for working. Keep reading…
Food and Drink: Soooooo, this place is a vegetarian sandwich place, which I didn’t know going in. I am pretty much the opposite of a vegetarian, so didn’t eat anything, but my friend who recommended the place is and he likes it. So there’s that recommendation for food. I also got a tea, per usual, and they oddly enough put it in a regular glass with a paper sleeve around it. It was weird.
Crowdedness: Very. Just because I’m not a vegetarian doesn’t mean a lot of other people aren’t. Most of the tables were full, and definitely all of the computer spots.
Comfort: Decent enough. They keep all of their middle tables “computer free,” which limits the places one can sit to work.
Staff Amiability to Linger: Hard to say. Because the internet wasn’t working, I don’t eat vegetarian sandwiches, and many other reasons, I was only there about 20 minutes.
Plug Locations: None that I could see.
Workability: I don’t think so. Sorry, ‘SNice.
The Little Extra: My friend Mike works around the corner, and stopped by to say hi, which is always a pleasure.
Overall: This place really just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t a fan of the food or drink, couldn’t get the internet to work, didn’t see a plug, and wasn’t very comfortable. But remember! This is a blog for working from cafes. I’m sure it’s a lovely place to go to eat and not work. But I seriously doubt I’ll go by again.