Table of contents
- Devocion (Downtown Brooklyn)
- Coffee Project NY (Fort Greene)
- Absolute Coffee (Atlantic Ave. / Boerum Hill)
- Vineapple (Brooklyn Heights)
- Hungry Ghost (Park Slope / Prospect Heights)
- The Center For Fiction Bookstore & Cafe (Fort Greene) [updated Feb. 2020]
- Green Grape Annex (Fort Greene)
- Freehold (Williamsburg)
- Brooklyn Roasting Company (DUMBO, and other locations)
- Sit & Wonder (Prospect Heights)
- Lincoln Station (Prospect Heights)
- Stonefruit Espresso + Kitchen (Bed Stuy)
- Relationships (Clinton Hill)
- Blue Bottle Coffee (Park Slope)
- Brooklyn Perk (Prospect Lefferts Gardens / PLG)
- BERG’N (Crown Heights)
- 61 Local (Boerum Hill)
- Swallow Cafe (Cobble Hill, also Williamsburg & Bushwick)
- SEY Coffee (East Williamsburg)
- AVA Brew (Downtown Brooklyn)
- Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea (Park Slope)
Calling all coffee & WiFi lovers of NYC: are you looking to try out a new spot for both of these lovable must-have cafe requirements, outside your current neighborhood?
I left my office in New York to pursue a remote work and travel lifestyle and traveled the world for nearly 10 months as a digital nomad. When I came back, what had changed about my lifestyle was that I still had work, but no physical office.
Around the world, I leaned into creating laptop-friendly cafe guides to cities like Mexico City, Taipei, Taiwan and Tallinn, Estonia. What was missing was this guide – the list of the best cafes for getting work done, in Brooklyn, NY.
Working from home is relaxing, but I like to be around people and coffee as much as possible.
When I started having my daylight hours free to work from cafes and find out my favorite places to work, I started exploring Brooklyn through a new lens.
Most of the cafes in Manhattan are wildly overcrowded, which is why the cafes of Brooklyn present so much of a better environment to get work done.
Cafes used to have a bad reputation of needing a VPN to keep your logins safe. This isn’t always the case as long as you are connecting to websites that have HTTPS in the address bar. If you wanted to block the ISP from viewing your domain or traffic, then a VPN is perfect for you.
Here’s where I’ve been hunkered down with my laptop and some strong caffeinated drinks. Please note that all opinions here are my own regarding coffee, working environment and more. Don’t forget to take a few photos of your coffee and laptop in these attractive spaces, and send me a message on Instagram to tell me how it went.
Devocion (Downtown Brooklyn)
Would you believe it - Devocion has locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan (new), and Bogota, Colombia. During my most recent visit, I mentioned to the barista that I had spent a month in Bogota during the last year and that what had excited me most was Devocion’s strong connection to Colombia itself.
She said Devocion is so serious about their Colombian beans that they overnight them by FedEx from Colombia to New York so that they’re as fresh as possible. Is that devotion… or is it ‘devoción?’
During the day on weekdays, Devocion is filled with 80-90% remote workers on laptops. On the Monday when I visited, there were still seats available and the place was surprisingly not entirely packed. There’s a cool soundtrack playing in the background, and due to the fact that most people here are working, no chatter and not too many loud conversations.
The WiFi is on a password-ed network and is free. Note, however, that they shut the WiFi on weekends (to keep the place laptop-free, I presume), so come here Monday through Friday with your laptop, and not on Saturday nor Sunday.
Decor is clean and new, with high industrial-style ceilings, walls reminiscent of cinder blocks, tiled floor, a cool cement central “patio” surrounded by real (!) jungle plant life. Working here is like working in a garden. The closest subway is Hoyt-Schermerhorn C/G.
To drink: the fresh Colombian coffee.
Coffee Project NY (Fort Greene)
Coffee Project NY came recommended by a friend, and despite being only 6 blocks from my current apartment, I didn’t go until January 2020.
This is a unique cafe with tall ceilings, exposed brick walls, earthy wooden tables and a modern white aesthetic. The look is complete with a neon light installation on the inner wall that reads, “COFFEE made me do it.” I can’t lie – it did.
So, for working: on a weekday morning and afternoon, I counted that 7 out of 9 customers were working on laptops (the last two were having a catch-up session with baked goods). It’s a very work-y environment if you have your laptop with you for the day and you’re looking for a spot to settle down.
How is the WiFi at Coffee Project NY?
It’s fast. My download speeds were about 140 Mbps.
How is the coffee and the food at Coffee Project NY?
The coffee: Excellent. I had the drip of the day and it was a delightful Nicaraguan blend. They also have coffee in bags for sale, ranging from a house blend drip to house blend espresso and single origin, priced at market price.
The food: There’s an assortment of croissants, jelly donuts and cake. Yum again.
We took a couples coffee class with Coffee Project in Long Island City. If you’re really into coffee, check it out and let them we said hi!
Absolute Coffee (Atlantic Ave. / Boerum Hill)
This is some good coffee, and they have a loyalty card! On a given weekday, Absolute Coffee turns into a laptop-friendly work-from-home hangout where three tables put together form a communal remote work desk and the tables that line the wall are occupied by peeps on laptops. WiFi is fast, and there’s hardly any distracting side conversation.
Why I like Absolute Coffee
Great music, friendly baristas and a wide array of teas. They also have some yogurt parfaits, croissants, gluten-free or vegan baked goods and donut holes. They sell their coffee for taking home in a bag.
Vibe: indie, few frills, simple deco like black & white photos framed on the walls and some hand-drawn doodles of cats.
Tip: get a hold of that loyalty card because you’ll be back!
Vineapple (Brooklyn Heights)
Vineapple is nearly hidden from the street and tucked behind a small door and small sign on Pineapple Street, Vineapple is super chill. As of December 2020, the cafe is under new ownership, which has brought its best features back to life.
There’s now a beautiful backyard garden where anyone can work with their laptop and some Devocion coffee, and a sidewalk cafe where you can meet with a friend and enjoy options from a significant food menu, craft cocktail selection and curated wine list from predominantly women-owned vineyards.
See more about the latest in this cafe’s renovation and rebranding at their website.
What can you drink at Vineapple?
They have a good selection of tea, coffee wine and cocktails.
Want to explore more of Brooklyn Heights? See our Brooklyn Heights Insider Guide.
Hungry Ghost (Park Slope / Prospect Heights)
Hungry Ghost. Memorable name, right?
My biggest discovery when visiting Hungry Ghost’s Prospect Heights Flatbush Ave. location recently to do work was also that the key to getting some space and a comfy seat was coming at 4 pm and staying til past 6. Due to this location’s optimal location between Park Slope, Fort Green and Prospect Heights, it’s always busy (with people on laptops on weekdays).
Decor at the location I go to is chic and has a touch of vintage. If you look up at at the ceiling, you’ll remember that most old buildings in Prospect Heights are turn-of-the-century and pre-war and have details in the ceilings. Big windows at the front of the store let in lots of beautiful light toward the end of the day, and you can get cozy in the window booth.
Hungry Ghost designates several tables as non-laptop tables, so look for the signs if you’re with your laptop and don’t want to be told to move.
Fun tip: They have seltzer on tap!
The Center For Fiction Bookstore & Cafe (Fort Greene) [updated Feb. 2020]
Newly opened and now known to the neighborhood as a good study, writing and working space, the Center for Fiction is located across from BAM and conveniently near Downtown Brooklyn. If the sale books on the carts outside on the street don’t draw you in first (like they did for me), maybe the cool interior with beautiful rows of books will.
Off to the left when you enter is the cafe, with tables and seating reaching far back. As you go even further, there’s a ‘quiet room’ with tables and nice natural light that seeps in from the street.
Hours are Monday 10:30AM - 6 pm, Tuesday - Saturday 10:30 am - 10 pm and Sunday 10:30AM - 9 pm. Yelp reviews report customers being asked to purchase an item in order to stay longer if they’ve been there for a bit of time, so keep that in mind. (Personally, I have yet to experience it.)
12/2019 update: WiFi is now limited to 90 minutes. Ask the barista for a voucher code on one of the little pieces of paper.
Green Grape Annex (Fort Greene)
You’ll hear lots of locals say that Green Grape Annex in Fort Greene is a great place to work. This is not untrue. Green Grape is a solid place to work, if you need a quick work stop between meetings or errands or if you’re okay with buying a product every 60 minutes.
Here’s the catch - while Green Grape presents a nice work environment and is laptop-friendly, their WiFi has a one-hour max. You’ll receive a slip with your individual code when you pay for your order, and it’s good for the next hour once you input it into your browser. If you want to stay connected past the hour limit, be prepared to buy another drink or food item before then.
For people stopping through or who have a quick work item to finish, this is not a problem. It’s important to know for anyone looking for a two-hour sit-down experience.
I had the coffee, buy I kept eyeing all the food plates (some smelled fantastic). The food menu is awesome and lunch-y.
Freehold is one heck of a name in the Williamsburg parts, where this locale is known for being a cafe, coworking environment, event space, brunch spot and bar. Freehold has a whole variety of personas.
What you can find here if you want to come and work is a great coffee menu and lots of places to sit, whether inside, outside, on a deck or at a booth.
If you stay into the night, you might find that your office environment has transformed into a hopping bar scene-slash-club.
Brooklyn Roasting Company (DUMBO, and other locations)
Secret’s out. Brooklyn Roasting Company has lots of locations and is practically a NYC household cafe name, but the DUMBO location is big, massive and feels a bit like a coworking space. You’ll see lots of people here with laptops, and there’s WiFi and a whole bit of couch space.
The cafe has good features like two restrooms, free WiFi (with password), no order minimum, no non-laptop-designated areas. Noise level is average to loud, as they play music and it reverberates off all the cement. It was hard to have a call there, so I likely won’t try again.
What you certainly can count on at BRC is a large variety of coffees from all over the world, an array of non-coffee drinks
They have oat milk. Coffee’s good. Ask for a “to-stay cup” to choose an envi-friendly method of consumption. Due to the large space and high turnover of customers, not every table is sparkling clean, so watch out for crumbs and spills if you’re cautious with your laptop and tech.
Sit & Wonder (Prospect Heights)
Aw, Sit & Wonder is so cute! I first came here with a friend while exploring her neighborhood two years ago and based our preference for cafe features on ‘outdoor seating’ and ‘backyard garden.’
Sit & Wonder is hip, neighborhood-y and cozy. On the menu is Stumptown coffee, sandwiches and pastries. There are specialty drinks like kombucha, cold brew, maple lattes and matcha.
Sit & Wonder was voted one of the best cafes for doing work outside by Brokelyn. Sounds exciting to me!
Lincoln Station (Prospect Heights)
Lincoln Station is a cool spot in Prospect Heights and not too far from Prospect Park. It doubles (triples?) as a coffee shop, brunch spot and place to have a beer. In spring and summer, their outdoor seating is super nice!
Inside, the environment can be described as ‘busy.’ Seating consists of tables around the perimeter and at the windows and a bigger communal table in the center. Most people using laptops sit in the big center table.
Lincoln Station is open til 9 pm. Rotisserie chicken is available after 4 pm, and this seems to be an important thing to mention, according to the online buzz about the place.
Stonefruit Espresso + Kitchen (Bed Stuy)
OMG, Stonefruit is SO, so cute. This sizable cafe, which has dual personalities as a coffeeshop and a plant store (!!) is located near the Bedford-Nostrand G train (one block away, actually), and I wish I had found it much sooner.
The crowd: Local coffee shop customers, lots of quiet people on laptops, and people who want to brunch.
The plants: They are delightful. The entire back room has a long family-style/cowork-style table with 14 chairs and a side table that has cool retro chairs and pillows. For sale, there are plants lining the walls, soil and potting mix on the floor (bagged), Instagram-friendly pots for sale in an array of pastel colors and dried flowers for your home.
There are also wreaths, baskets and macrame wall hangings. If you want to feel like you’re working for the day in a greenhouse, this is the place.
The WiFi: Fast. 170 Mbps for downloads (via fast.com), with upload speed of 60 Mbps.
The coffee: it’s delicious, and the small house drip is $2.50 with the first re-fill on the house!
Get the loyalty card, as your 11th drink will be free.
Relationships (Clinton Hill)
I spoke with the owners of Relationships and my heart was warmed when they said that the aim of Relationships, a space for “art, design & coffee,” is to meet people and form relationships. Can you think of any other place in New York that’s practically telling you to make a new friend and network as a remote worker?
They have a loyalty card, and your tenth coffee is free when the holes are punched - awesome! The interior is pastel-colored with several round or long communal tables, where most patrons are working on laptops, but others are working on their relationships. On the menu are “basic” drinks, “advanced” drinks (think cortados and macchiatos), teas (hot and iced) and “special” drinks like kombucha.
All I can say is I’ll definitely be back, to chill for a few hours with my work and to meet some new neighborhood buddies.
Update: coffee is awesome and the patio/backyard is perfect for working outside and getting some sun, even into fall. To note, though, is that none of their seats have backs.
Blue Bottle Coffee (Park Slope)
Blue Bottle Coffee is a gem in Park Slope, located at 203 7th Avenue, because the interior (in the Park Slope location) is like a minimalist light wood dream where you’re about to drink something awesome.
Blue Bottle is a pourover specialist, and if you order the drip coffee (we did), you get a custom pourover by a barista. There’s no regular drip coffee from a big vat or anything like that. Their menu is beautifully specialized, with espresso and various specialties like the “New Orleans” iced coffee, a coffee tonic, the “Cascara Fizz” and cold brew in a can for purchase (you can also buy it online here).
Come here any day and you’ll see locals taking up the tables against the back wall with laptops. On weekends, it’s full with passersby, including kids and dogs.
Bonus: the outdoor space! What a joy to sit in a sunlit patio facing 7th Avenue in Park Slope, where you can people watch, or stay connected to their fast and free WiFi.
Other bonus: They have “coffee toys” (the Blue Bottle Carafe, and the Blue Bottle Coffee Dripper) and swag for sale, and you can also buy Blue Bottle signature bagged coffee.
Brooklyn Perk (Prospect Lefferts Gardens / PLG)
Not huge, but quiet with remote workers on the average weekday, this cafe has a great set of drinks. WiFi is free, strong and fast for some laptop time.
They have some specialty drinks like a lavender latte, rose latte and a bunch of fancy tea like French lemon ginger and white coconut creme.
Order a drip coffee and receive an actual four choices of ‘which drip’ you want! Choose from Kenyan, Ethiopian or whichever are being brewed that day.
BERG’N (Crown Heights)
If you focus better in a food hall type of environment, try out BERG’N. Our friend Rebecca Fishbein introduced this neighborhood gem to us for coworking purposes, as we’d surely heard of and been here for happy hour birthday parties otherwise.
First, let me clarify what BERG’N “is.”
BERG’N is a food hall, beer hall, coffee shop and event space – yes, I think I got all of its clarifying adjectives. The main ‘hall’ has picnic-style tables, and lots of them. During the day, you can find nearly everyone working on laptops at these tables, but with ample space between each person. You might even get a table to yourself, or with your buddy.
The cafe is to your left when you walk in and head toward the back mirrored walls with lights and stools (again, no shortage of seats here). If you start a loyalty card (be sure to ask), you can either keep it in your wallet, or if you have wallet overflow like I do, they have a small filing cabinet in which you can file yours away alphabetically, for future use.
For eating, there’s four Smorgasburg-type of food vendors with permanent counters: Mighty Quinn’s BBQ, Land Haus burgers and sandwiches, Tripoli Pizza (they also have sandwiches and salads) and Jianbing, the Shanghai-inspired street food.
Are you working into happy hour? The bar’s right behind you. It’s also not atypical to see the remote work regular customers starting with a beer as early as 1 pm.
If it’s nice outside, ta-da! BERG’N has a small courtyard with tables, chairs and umbrellas, enclosed behind some lattice fence to shield from street noise.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a place to hold an event, you can recall that BERG’N also has an event space.
Back to the coffee and work, though, the WiFi download speed is fast, at 60 Mbps, with an upload speed of 130 Mbps.
61 Local (Boerum Hill)
61 Local is a bar and cafe that even brands itself for the coworking types of people. With communal tables and fast WiFi, it’s a hub for the neighborhood and a community type of scene.
You can treat yourself to specialty coffee, tea, breakfast items and pastries, and for when 5:00 strikes, they have 30 taps for beer and wine. If that was not enough, there’s also weekend brunch (although you could probably leave your laptop at home and enjoy your weekend).
On weekdays, people in the neighborhoods stop in with small kids, so if you need a silent or quieter environment, choose elsewhere.
Swallow Cafe (Cobble Hill, also Williamsburg & Bushwick)
Popular for people near Brooklyn Heights who want to get a little bit of work done with coffee, Swallow Cafe is the neighborhoody joint around here.
It’s smart to get to Swallow Cafe early, as tables fill up with laptop workers in the morning. According to our latest visit, they’re also pretty populated on a Monday at around 2:30 pm, so expect to share a table or sit on the stools at the window.
Ambiance: lots of natural light here, as, yes – you can sit facing the street and feel kind of like you’re in a TV sitcom set (in my opinion). The decor is woody and vintage, with big brass chandeliers, a handwritten chalkboard with all food and drink specials and wooden shelving full of coffee toys like V60 pour-overs and packaged beans for sale (by Counter Culture coffee).
WiFi: WiFi is fast, there are some power outlets and everyone’s happy with the quality of the coffee, which comes from Counter Culture. What’s unique about the place are the high ceilings, which are a welcomed feature in a city of tight spaces. Fast.com clocked in at 72 Mbps with an upload speed of 11 Mbps.
To drink and eat: we tried the drip coffee (as always, to keep things consistent), and it’s a bit burnt-tasting, but again, some people like that. Note that if you’d like a ‘for here’ cup, they charge you for a large.
For food, there’s lots on the menu, from sandwiches named after neighborhoods in Brooklyn (“The Fort Greene,” “The Cobble Hill”) to breakfast all day, salads and smoothies. As you order and pay, you’ll see a glass case of fun vegan and gluten-free baked goods, trendy wrapped chocolates and granola bars from local sellers. You won’t go hungry here!
Coffee offerings range from lattes and cappuccinos to mocha, chai latte, matcha latte, golden latte and teas. There’s oat and macadamia milk, along with a house vanilla syrup for adding. For those who want something sweet, they have lemonade and apple cider as well.
SEY Coffee (East Williamsburg)
Super-crazy Instagrammable and full of plants, Sey Coffee is a neighborhood hang in East Williamsburg off the L Train at Morgan Avenue. Here, you’ll find lots of hip peeps on laptops with the signature Sey Coffee brew served in a tall, slim vase of sorts (be careful, as you have to carry your coffee in this glass carafe from the counter to your seat and one knock will send it flying).
They really know their coffee here, with beans from around the world and specialty drinks. The natural light is motivating for working, as are all the people sucked into their laptops doing work.
Don’t forget to take a chlorophyll-filled photo and post it to your Insta. (Better yet, tag us as @halfhalftravel, for the reco!)
AVA Brew (Downtown Brooklyn)
Relatively new to the downtown BK hood, AVA Brew is a modern space with a clean and cool atmosphere, described best by its Foursquare rating. The noise level is not too high, and you can usually get some space for yourself.
There’s a high-top table with eight stools, and two tables each with two seats near the window. Aside from these, the seating is couches and big comfy chairs. If you’re someone who requires a surface at which to work, keep this in mind.
AVA serves Pushcart Coffee, a selection of teas and for eating, they have pastries. The cafe’s location is such that it’s right near the A/C/F/R at Jay St. MetroTech, City Point shopping center and Borough Hall.
Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea (Park Slope)
Finally, a cafe with ample space and tons of tables for sitting at with a laptop! Sweetwaters Park Slope is located conveniently on Fifth Ave. near St. Marks and is bright, with a low noise level on weekdays. When I went on a Thursday afternoon, only a third of the tables were occupied.
WiFi is free and fast and there are various outlets for you to plug in your charger. What’s more is the walls are decorated with painted scenes of Park Slope and other areas of Brooklyn from local artists.
The menu is pretty big, with choices of espresso, teas, coffees and creamy shakes. For food, there’s a selection of baked goods, cake, cupcakes, macarons and bagel sandwiches.
It kind of has more of a ‘cafe’ (think long counter for ordering food) than ‘coffeeshop’ vibe, but that’s an opinion.
Outpost (Clinton Hill) - CLOSED (November 2019 update)
Reports in November 2019 list that Outpost has closed. In case they reopen, our original description is still ‘living’ here, below, in case there are reports that it has re-opened for business.
Outpost is cool because it’s a cafe and a bar, meaning it’s open on the later end (til 9 pm) and also opens early (7:30 am during the week). There’s free WiFi, and it even reaches the… wait for it… backyard!
There’s breakfast all day, with fruits, pastries, bagels and yogurts, and light fare such as sandwiches, salads and soups. Oh, and in addition to coffee and tea, there’s fresh juice.
Bonus: FREE Coworking in Brooklyn (for Freelancers)
The best-kept secret I learned from someone in the Remote Year network was that the NY Media Center, located at 30 John St. in DUMBO, hosts a section of their space as a freelancer hot desk area. For what used to be four days per month and has now been increased to eight, you can get a free coworking seat by signing up as a member (for free) and choosing your free coworking days. The center is open from 9 to 5 on weekdays.
There are some cafes I haven't been to!
Here are the cafes in Brooklyn where I want to go:
- Devocion, Williamsburg
- Manhattanville Coffee, Crown Heights
- Breukelen Coffee House, Crown Heights
- Colina Cuervo, Crown Heights
- Daily Press Coffee, Bed Stuy & Ocean Hill/Brownsville
- Brooklyn Kolache Co., Bed Stuy
- El Beit Cafe & Espresso Bar, Williamsburg
- Variety Coffee Roasters, Greenpoint
- Little Skips East, Bushwick
- Little Skips, Prospect Lefferts Gardens (PLG)
- Baby Skips, Bushwick
- Dweebs, Bushwick
- Odd Fox Coffee, Greenpoint
- Always and Forever Cafe, Clinton Hill
- Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Cobble Hill (Pacific St.)
- Babydudes, Crown Heights
And the ones in Queens (love ya, Queens!)
- Kinship Coffee, Astoria
- Sweetleaf Coffee, Astoria
Last updated on December 28th, 2020