If you’re an independent contractor or freelancer, or just unemployed, figuring out where to be productive with your day can be a challenge. Not just any spot will do. In order to hunker down to work, it’s imperative you find the right combination of plentiful outlets, comfortable seating, aesthetically pleasing decor, decent food that’s not horribly overpriced (ha! good luck) and non-metered parking. Oh, and the coffee should be decent and the baristas shouldn’t make you feel weird for being there on your laptop for a reasonable amount of time. (We’ve totally nursed a single coffee for five hours just for the Wi-Fi, but that’s probably a jerk move.)
Until you spring for that co-working space or get that dedicated home office (a hilarious prospect when rents are so high), coffee shops are indeed a good place to work. Here are five great options from Lincoln Heights to Los Feliz.
B Twentyfour is a co-working bee’s dream. With high ceilings and lots of natural light, it lets you feel you’re out of the dungeon of your deadlines. There’s a whole row of tables against the wall with bench seating, and outlets are easily accessible. It’s not as study-centric as some of the other places on our list, perhaps, like Stories, where it seems everyone is on a laptop but it’s usually decently quiet. The food here is also great, better than it needs to be at a coffee shop. Get the esquite avocado toast punctuated with corn kernels and just the right amount of spice. Thank us later. Also, a shoutout for offering more than three tea options.
2223 N. Broadway, Lincoln Heights; (323) 352-8566, btwentyfourcafe.com.
Stories Books and Café
Oh, Stories. There’s something quirky and lovable about this neighborhood bookshop, and we hope it never leaves. Although it’s almost always crowded and hard to find a seat, if you hover uncomfortably above someone long enough, they’ll move. Outlets are easy to find, although sometimes it involves extension cords, tripping and and getting personal under the table to plug them in. The bar is a great place to work, if crowded: There’s not much elbow room between seats. Almost everyone here is on a laptop, so the “catching up” conversations you’re privy to are minimal. The music is hit or miss, sometimes loud, sometimes poppy, occasionally distracting; but that’s what headphones are for. The baristas are, for the most part, super nice and friendly. And the prices can’t be beat. A mere $2.50 for a black coffee with a free refill? What is this, Waffle House? No, it’s Stories. Even better. The food here is surprisingly delicious: There are bagels thick with cream cheese and salty lox, and the salads are almost worth the trip by themselves. There’s a pay lot in the back but frankly, it’s for amateurs. Circle around nearby Echo Park Lake a couple times, walk half a mile, and use the money you saved on parking to get almond milk in your latte. The best part, however, is that Stories is open until 11 p.m. most days, and midnight on the weekends. Because freelancing never sleeps.
1716 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; (213) 413-3733, storiesla.com.
A little more design-forward but also a little less personal, Bru is a wonderful light-filled space that’s great for working. The nook upstairs is where it’s at; there are outlets against the back wall, and while there aren’t enough for everyone, usually a kind soul will offer to let you string a cord by or just trade places. The noise level in here varies; it’s less study-centric than Stories, so sometimes families will let their young children play on the ol’ iPad with the volume on high while you’re trying to meet your deadline. Such is coffee shop life. The food here is decent, although pricey; $10 nori wraps and $7-ish chia bowls, that kind of thing. (We’re very grateful for the gluten-free and vegan options, however.) There’s free parking in the back, and you can almost always find street parking (that’s not limited to two hours) nearby.
1866 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 664-7500, brucoffeebar.com/.
Zweet Coffee is the coffee shop that every college needs. A lot of kids from Occidental College come here, so that can either make you feel youthful or old AF, depending on how you look at it. The coffee is robust and unabashedly a dark roast, and perfectly so; none of that sour espresso third wave stuff for us, thanks. There are wide benches with outlets underneath every single table, and cushions and pillows to help prop up your back. Most people are here studying, although on weekends there’s the occasional friend date. When we visited the music was amazing: ’90s hit after ’90s hit. One thing to note: Zweet has a $5 credit card minimum, so try to bring cash. There’s plenty of street parking nearby.
4682 Eagle Rock Blvd., Eagle Rock; (323) 305-4038, zweetcafe.com/.
We highly endorse Cafecito, with one caveat: Because there’s no interior seating area, it can get hot. Still, the astroturfed and sun umbrella dotted patio are utterly transportive, and make you feel like you’re living the dream even while you’re working. The iced coffee and lattes are pretty decent, and there are plentiful outlets to be had. Sometimes it’s kind of hard to do work on the couches-and-coffee-tables setup, but there’s also a shaded patio area with tables and chairs (they’re a bit tough to sit in for hours, as there are no cushions, but compromises must be made). The patio area is also a few degrees cooler usually, which we’re grateful for. The Wi-Fi is pretty reliable and staff are pretty good about checking on it when it craps out. There aren’t really lunch items here, but there are cookies and the odd savory muffin to tide you over. Street parking is plentiful.
534 N. Hoover St., Silver Lake; (213) 550-3738, cafecitoorganico.cratejoy.com/.
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