Indie Coffee Shops to Perch & Work
There’s something singularly compelling about a great coffee shop—particularly when you’re trying to pound out an overdue novel/screenplay/thesis/PowerPoint something. The presence of other procrastinators, the really good coffee, the ambient buzz of community are inherently appealing. It’s not all that surprising that the number of work-friendly cafés is constantly on the rise, so we’ve updated our guide to reflect the latest and greatest spots in ten major cities, whether you drop in for quick macchiato or set up shop for the afternoon. (We’ve noted when they don’t offer internet, a blessing for those who can’t get off email. You know who you are.)
Thinking Cup85 Newbury St., Back Bay | 617.247.3333
Thinking Cup's cozy interior is the ideal place to hide out during a freezing nor’easter. The exposed brick walls and low ceilings create an intimate vibe, and the Stumptown coffee is brewed to perfection. The menu is just the right length (a nice array of pastries and breakfast options, and four to five choices for a sandwich if you're around at lunch), but you really don't need much more than a coffee and a corner table to make yourself at home in here. In addition to the original location off Boston Commons, there's also an outpost in the North End.
Tatte Bakery & Café70 Charles St., Beacon Hill
All of the adorable locations in Brookline, Cambridge (Third Street, Broadway, Main Street), and Charles Street offer the same classic light aesthetic, brightened up by crisp subway tiles and a haphazard collection of Edison bulbs and other industrial light fixtures. Chef Tzurit Or was born in Israel, and regulars rave about her Mediterranean-style fare, like savory tarts and sweet baked goods. She's also incredibly thoughtful when it comes to her ingredients, which she sources locally and humanely.
Equal Exchange226 Causeway St., North End | 617.372.8777
This coffee shop is actually part of a larger co-op dedicated to selling fair-trade goods like coffee, chocolate, tea, and more—it even has a sister restaurant in Seattle and a full-fledged fair-trade business behind it. That humanitarian spirit is embedded in everything it does: It's completely worker-owned, and offers presentations from its farmers and baristas about the coffee. Niceties aside, the coffee is seriously good, and there are usually open tables—it’s an ideal space to cram in a few hours of work before a meeting downtown.
Boston Common Coffee Company97 Salem St., North End | 617.725.0040
As its name suggests, this place feels like classic Boston. You won't find any fancy décor, but the coffee is really solid and the baked goods are famous in the neighborhood. Stop by on Thursdays, when they introduce new doughnut flavors (although if Boston cream is an option, your decision's already made for you). It's really meant to be a place where people can meet and get work done, so you'll be grateful for the abundant seating options and reliable Wi-Fi. P.S. How could you not love the coffee shop that made cookies shaped like deflated footballs after deflate-gate in 2015? There are two locations downtown: Canal Street and Washington Street.
Render Coffee563 Columbus Ave., South End | 617.262.4142
Walk all the way through this relaxed downtown coffee shop and you'll find a tiny patio that's enclosed in glass, like a greenhouse, so you can study outside no matter the weather. Aesthetic experience aside, the coffee here is undeniably good—each cup is made to order as a pour over, so while it can take a while, it's worth it.
Ogawa10 Milk St., Downtown Crossing | 617.780.7139
Ogawa coffee is a big deal in Japan, and this outpost is the company's first stab at bringing its traditions to the United States. The shop has a distinctly Japanese feel—bright, minimalist décor that's really peaceful and dotted with sleek white benches and tables. Haruna Murayama, a legend from the World Latte Art Championships (who knew?) is in charge, and the latte art here is seriously next-level—ask for flowers or her awesome bears.