THE BEST CAFÉS FOR FREELANCE CREATIVES TO WORK FROM IN LONDON

Do you struggle to motivate yourself when you work from home? Do you hate working long hours alone in your living room for days on end?

Though co-working spaces were designed as a solution to these very problems, they can often get very expensive to use on a regular basis. If you’re trying to save a few pennies and can’t take the isolation of remote working anymore, working from a coffee shop can provide you with a similar experience on a budget - along with the added benefits of endless coffee and comfier seating!

HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SPOT

London is a city full of cafés, so how do you know which ones will work for you? You need a place with a good wi-fi connection and an abundance of plug sockets that is quiet enough for you to hear your own thoughts.

Independent cafés are usually much better for this than the popular chains like Starbucks or Costa. They’re often tucked around a street corner in a quiet and peaceful location that will allow you to focus on your tasks much better than you could in a bustling high street environment. Plus, becoming a regular patron of your local businesses is one of the great joys of life.

Getting your timing right is a crucial factor for working in cafés. The early mornings are usually crowded with gym-goers, office commuters and parents on the school run so you’re much more likely to get a good spot near a plug socket after the rush at around 10am.

Since these venues are not designed with working in mind, you’ll be expected to order something whilst you’re there so try to avoid places with expensive menus. Thanks to the pandemic, a lot of cafés are starting to cater to remote workers by offering perks like day passes, exclusive menu prices and bottomless drinks.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, here are some of our picks:

Martello Hall (East London)

Though there are a lot of coffee shops in Hackney, Martello Hall on Mare Street comes pre-approved by the Freelancer Club as a personal favourite of our founder, Matt Dowling. 

It’s a cocktail bar by night but by day the pizzeria throws open its doors to the hot-deskers. They’ve been catering to remote workers since they opened, so the staff will already know exactly what you need and are great at leaving you undisturbed. 

There’s no need to book a spot in advance, just buy a drink and stay for the day - no questions asked. If you prefer, you can buy a daily, weekly or monthly Hotdesk Pass for bottomless hot drinks and fast wi-fi. Since this pass starts from a mere tenner and covers any type of hot drink, I’d say it’s pretty good value for money!

These membership passes cover both seated and to-go orders, every single day of the week and can also be used at their two sister bars: Serata Hall in Old Street and Conova Hall in Brixton - although the latter is much busier than the others so make sure to arrive early if you want a seat.

Though the remote working spaces are only available until 5pm, if the table you’re sitting at doesn’t have an evening reservation you’re free to stay as long as you like. The venue’s on-site gin distillery will be open by then, in case you need a different kind of stiff drink to finish off your to-do list.

The British Library (Central London)

 

If you work best without any background noise but still need to see other people, look no further than many cafés of The British Library, although the second-floor café does operate a laptop free zone during the middle of the day. The library is located on Euston Road, very close to the major transport hub Kings Cross St Pancras, making it an ideal location for most Londoners. 

There’s comfy seats and free wi-fi with plenty of desk spaces and plug sockets readily available, though you will need to sign-up for a free reader pass if you want to enter any of their reading rooms or access the enormous collection of works at their disposal. They even have a secure cloakroom and digital lockers for free use during your visit.

St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar, Kings Cross Station (Central London)

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a luxury champagne bar in the middle of a busy train station wouldn’t be a great environment to work in; but the Brasserie at Kings Cross St Pancras will prove you wrong. 

A third of their dining tables are reserved for remote workers during the day and each workspace table comes with sockets and complimentary wifi. Since it’s located within the train station itself, it’s ideal for commuters to stop here for a few hours of work before jumping on the train home, or even onto the Eurostar train to Paris or Amsterdam!

Rude Health Café (South London)

 

This café in Putney is well-known as a friendly place for remote workers. It has large communal benches and free wi-fi, making it an ideal place to collaborate while the healthy food and juices on offer will help your brain to stay focused all day.

W6 Garden Centre and Café (West London)

Tucked away in a corner of Ravenscourt Park in Hammersmith, lies the W6 Garden Centre and Café. There’s a strong wi-fi connection, good coffee and calming music to help keep you focused all day long while the warm wooden interior and seasonal plant cover make it a lovely natural place to spend your day. They even welcome pets!

Brewdog (Locations Across London)

Now they’ve cornered the craft beer market, Brewdog have started a new initiative for home workers called Desk Dog. For £7 a day, you get unlimited access to coffee or tea, printers, pens and paper - as well as a cold pint of Punk IPA to wind down with after you finish!

They also offer a Desk Dog Season Pass for £70 that’s valid for a whole month as long as you keep the receipt. Until 5pm, you can simply walk in and work from one of the free tables in any of Brewdog’s venues around London - Camden, Clerkenwell, Dalston, Paddington, Seven Dials, Shepherd’s Bush, Soho, Shoreditch and Canary Wharf. 

Non-Londoners can also share in the excitement as Desk Dog is available at any Brewdog location in the UK. I’ll be telling my local in Bristol to expect me very soon!

Recommendations From Our Members

David Kennedy, a commercial product photographer from Northamptom loves to visit The Goods Office in the heart of Stroud Green, North London:

“Superb little spot that’s open 7 days a week. You can work on your laptop/tablet etc. all day with a croissant and any unlimited coffee of your choice for £10. Lunch included for an extra ten. Great atmosphere and staff. Very cool. And plenty of choice of extras if you need to meet someone or fancy a bigger meal, dinner, or a few drinks after work. On the W6 bus route from Finsbury Park.”

Mila
, a fashion model based in the capital who previously represented the UK as a finalist on Top Model Europe loves specialist coffee shop, Catalyst in Camden, Central London:

“Catalyst is the name of the place. It is great inside and the coffee is one of the best in London too! Charming atmosphere and it is right in central London a few minutes walk from Holborn, more or less quiet Grays Inn road with the lovely view!”

Elon, a music and film writer from London couldn’t choose between his favourites in Central London:


“In London, the Lighterman in Granary Sq (Kings Cross). If you can get a seat upstairs, there is a great view of the canal. Also, the Wren near Mansion House - it's a church that sells tea, (good) coffee and cakes.”

TAKE CAUTION

Coffee shops can be a great alternative to co-working spaces as long as you remember that not every café is made equal when it comes to remote working. If you don’t see many people working in a particular spot, it’s probably for a reason!

By looking for the places that are popular with other creative professionals in your industry, you’ll find a great new source of collaboration and inspiration whilst you conquer the mountain that is your inbox.




Photographer Credits: 
Preview Photo: Rodnae Productions
Image 1:
Andrea Piacquadio
Image 2: Martello Hall
Image 3: The British Library
Image 4: Searcy’s St Pancras Brasserie & Champagne bar 
Image 5: Rude Health
Image 6: Brewdog
Image 7:
Andrew Neel

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