The 16 Best NYC Coffee Shops for Working Remotely
These work-friendly cafes are equipped with WiFi, and plenty of plugs to keep you productive.
The pandemic has changed how many New Yorkers work now and possibly forever. Prior to 2020 the freelance and remote workforce was already robust, and today, the numbers are greater than ever. Luckily there are myriad charming coffee shops around town that cater to remote workers with ample seating, working outlets, public printers, and reliable Wi-Fi.
While many beloved local coffee shops shuttered during the pandemic, a handful managed to survive. Some brave residents even opened coffeehouses amid the chaos in an effort to fulfill their neighborhood’s needs, ushering in a new era of freshman businesses ready to prove their worth. Next time you need to escape your apartment and get things done, look to these 16 work-friendly NYC coffee shops—Starbucks and Gregorys not included.
Black Cat Coffee
If you’re going to sit on your butt all day, at least leave your apartment first. Black Cat brings a cozy, cabin-like quality to Lower Manhattan’s coffee scene, where visitors can borrow board games, flip through a selection of books, print the latest version of their resumes, and—most importantly for freelancers, study groups, and anyone else needing a work-conducive hideaway—sink into comfortable sofas for as long as they need.
Opened mere months before the pandemic began, this independent bookstore doubles as a quiet coffee shop by day and cozy bar by night. Book Club is old-school—a reader’s paradise lit entirely by lamps—but not outdated. Beyond the barstools is a reading room furnished with armchairs and working tables, and beyond that is a patio for working en plein air. All day long, Book Club’s WiFi is accessible for guests without a password; just finish your work before 7 pm, when the shop begins prohibiting laptops and preparing for evening events.
Brooklyn Kolache Co.
You don’t have to know what a kolache is to know that ordering one of the filled pastries at this small-batch bakeshop is a good idea. Brooklyn Kolache Co. offers handmade, ethically sourced bites alongside Kitten Coffee espresso drinks. The flagship cafe recently underwent a remodel, and while the space shines brightest during warm months when the back garden is open, the beautiful new sunroom and soon-to-be-reopened indoor dining room create the perfect environment for students, freelancers, and bookworms alike.
The Chipped Cup
A few train stops north of the Columbia and City College buzz lives the community workspace that you’ve been wishing for. The Chipped Cup is a mystical space where “victuals” and “potions” fill the menus and creative energy fills the air. Leave the noises of Broadway behind and hunker down in this cozy, lower-level den. When you need to surface for fresh air, follow the twinkly lights to an adorable back garden that stays open year-round.
Dear Mama Coffee
Before Dear Mama opened a shop on West 129th Street, its sole East Harlem location was all the buzz, inspired by Harlem-born rapper 2Pac’s song of the same name. With its expansion, the local company now services both sides of the neighborhood—and the newer shop narrowly pulls ahead in terms of workability. The West Harlem coffeehouse is enormous and sunny, filled with splashes of color that add to the allure. Grab a seat, and when you’ve hit a milestone on the day’s project, reward yourself with a hip-hop-inspired dish like the Notorious BLT or the B-hive pizza.
Each of Devoción’s NYC locations know how to reel customers in, but it’s the Williamsburg shop that stands out as one of the most beautiful coffeehouses in… maybe the world? Devoción’s Colombian founder identified New Yorkers’ top kinks—exposed brick, live plants, massive skylights—and created a home away from home that you’ll never want to leave. It’s true that the Williamsburg location only offers Wi-Fi on weekdays, so save the laptop work for Monday through Friday, and on the weekends you can read, study, or write a chapter of that novel you started during the first COVID shutdown.
Businesses that manage to serve both coffee and liquor tend to go hard on the ambience, as evidenced by shops like Fiction that keep customers comfortable from dawn till dusk. The things that make Fiction a cozy place to camp out with a laptop—classy couches with leather and velvet upholstery, dark wood trim and patterned wallpaper, and a glass bead chandelier that pulls the personal library aesthetic together—are the same things that give the bar an edgy feel come evening. If your goal is productivity, you’ll have no issues before 4 p.m., when the space is rarely crowded.
Some tasks require deep focus and others, well, don’t. This lively coffee shop is perfect for the times when you don’t need library-like environs to knock some things off your to-do list. The energy at Gossip Coffee is contagious: Catch up on emails while you bop to the beat, or hash out a zine with your artsiest pal. Retreat to the spacious back patio—easily its best feature—when the weather’s nice for a reminder of why you steered clear of Manhattan.
In terms of pleasant weekday work spots, Grey Café in outer Queens sets the precedent, showing internet-free cafes in the neighborhood how they’d benefit from flipping their model and offering free internet instead. Grey’s dining room fills up on evenings and weekends, making it harder to nab a table, but during off-peak hours it offers an abundance of seats to choose from and even more drink and treat options—including several flavors of bingsoo, a Korean shaved ice dessert with copious colorful toppings.
Ground Central Coffee Company
The original Ground Central location, just a quick walk from apparent namesake Grand Central, looks like a New York-themed coffee shop you’d find in a lesser metropolis. The train station departure board–styled logo and throwback rock ‘n’ roll tunes seem to hark back to an idealized Gotham—one with friendly faces and affordable housing. Set up shop at a table in the front room or plop on a leather couch in the cozy back library. The subway rats can’t reach you here.
Kávé Espresso Bar
Kávé’s main entrance sits back on Knickerbocker, marked with a dim neon sign and a long, green hallway veiling the espresso bar. The Bushwick-adjacent space has sufficient seating, a quiet ambience, a public printer, and inventive pastries and quiches on offer—offices just don’t come this chic. Kávé also connects to a large outdoor courtyard and sits across the way from thrift store darlings L Train Vintage and Urban Jungle for when you’ve finished your work.
Nook’s grand opening got postponed for an entire year while COVID focused in on NYC, but when it finally made its public debut in April 2021, the plant-covered coffee shop and event space became a popular playground for work-from-homers. Furnished with every type of seating imaginable—including a shoes-free corner of carpet and pillows for those who enjoy working on the floor—Nook has something for everyone. Including quick access to the L train, in case you’re journeying from afar.
Prince Coffee House
The Bronx’s Little Italy is well worth a visit with or without a laptop, but if you’re in the area of Arthur Avenue and need to get some work done, Prince Coffee House is all the more reason to come through. The European coffee company originated in Kosovo and expanded to 12 stores over the past decade, one of which is in NYC. In addition to the Bronx shop’s beautiful main floor that’s satisfactory on its own, there’s a chic lower level den where guests are welcome to hunker down with computers for longer periods of time if they so please.
What’s the most “North Brooklyn” thing about Swallow Cafe? Perhaps the cash-only policy? Or the exposed Edison bulbs. Or the muraled exterior or the exposed brick or the wood furnishings or the old-fashioned chairs or the artsy customers with handlebar mustaches and charcoal sketch kits. It doesn’t really matter. The point is, Swallow Cafe fits right in off the Morgan L stop, and if you’re OK with handling paper money, it warrants a visit.
Tin Cup Café
In the overlap between South Slope and Greenwood Heights lives a convivial cafe that's celebrated by locals desperate for a Dunkin’ alternative. The redesigned Tin Cup Café absorbs an abundance of natural light that amplifies its fresh feel, and aside from one laptop-free table by the door, it’s wide open for anyone needing to crank out some work. Tin Cup’s reputation is one of friendliness and community, so whether or not you live in the neighborhood, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
When Vineapple closed down in 2019, Brooklyn Heights lost one of its most beloved assets. Fortunately, neighbors weren’t willing to let the business die, leading a couple down the street to buy the space and start planning its revival. Now, Pineapple Street has returned to its former glory, and the revamped Vineapple coffee shop manages to capture the cozy daytime charm of its predecessor with an added focus on dinner and cocktails in the evening. Spend your morning in the comfort of this community coffee house if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway from the stresses of the world.