Working from home has so many bonuses, but living and working in the same four walls can become frustrating and claustrophobic. However when it comes to venturing out of the house in search of a new workspace, finding the right spot can be a delicate process. We’ve been on the hunt for the perfect cafés to work in around Shoreditch, and here are our top picks:
5. Barber and Parlour (Redchurch Street)
Not only does this beautiful old building function as a barber shop and cinema, but they have converted a whole spacious floor into a relaxed, open-plan café. The room bordered by six large windows, which provide a cathartic view onto surrounding rooftops and treetops, and which allow natural light to flood into the space. The wooden floorboards are suitably scuffed, and plants gently hang in their pots. It’s been filled with retro school chairs and sofas, and there’s plenty of tables both for one and for sharing. They offer a range of food, drinks, smoothies and alcoholic beverages, making it the perfect spot to settle in for the long haul. Keep your eye on this one – rumour has it it’s soon to be converted into a co-working space!
4. Ace Hotel (Shoreditch High St)
There is a certain excitement about entering this building, climbing the steps and being welcomed through the glass doors by a friendly doorman. I am told that the ground floor of every Ace Hotel is specifically designed for those who are working away from the office, and in the lobby here in Shoreditch stands a long sixteen-seat communal work table, where freelancers and business trippers sit side by side in peaceful focus. There are also couches, armchairs and coffee tables if you’re going for a more casual visit. The area has easy access to a well-stocked bar, as well as The Bulldog Café, which serves food, cakes and Square Mile coffee.
3. Close-Up Cinema (Sclater St)
The Close-Up Cinema tucked away on a little side road off Brick Lane, is perfect for those who like a cosy and artistic vibe. It’s a café come cinema come library, filled wall to wall with bookshelves containing all kinds of film and art related reading material, as well as stacks of DVDs. All of these are available to hire, and they also have an extensive digital library, perfect for freelancers who work in film, photography or any media-related field. It extends over two floors, with plenty of sofa space to recline and get into your work. For those who work in the visual arts, this place offers cinema hire for private screenings. The bar is stocked with craft beers and there is also an outdoor courtyard space – seeing as it’s open until 11 pm, it’s the perfect spot for long summer evenings of reading in a peaceful and creative environment.
2. Kahaila Café (Brick Lane)
This charity-run café reinvest all of their profits back into the community. So far they’ve worked to support female ex-prisoners to gain essential life skills, and have also provided barista training programmes for the homeless. They stock local, ethical produce, and their cakes are to die for. Considering that this café is located right in the heart of Brick Lane, from the outside it looks as though it may be another barely-enough-space-to-stand-let-alone-sit situation, however, beyond the counter the café extends into a surprisingly large and bright room. They’re going for a homely, rustic countryside aesthetic, with exposed brick walls and old wooden farmhouse kitchen tables furnishing the room. It’s lit by a large skylight which makes the space feel expansive and light. They’re open until 7pm each day, and are definitely worth supporting!
1. Ninety One Living Room (Brick Lane)
This place is the perfect hideaway from the hustle and bustle of Shoreditch. It feels like an undiscovered secret, perfect for solo freelancers and those looking to hold a casual meeting out of the office. The tastefully decorated interior provides a real range of seating, with sofas, armchairs, stools and tables for groups of 6+. It’s open-plan and surrounded by soft plants and bespoke artwork. There’s a large courtyard garden for warmer days, and the kitchen offers a sophisticated lunch menu as well as snacks and drinks. The owners, who describe it as a ‘freelancer café’, say that it’s a real favourite amongst local startups for hosting meetings and interviews. They have a small independent record store, and at weekends it opens up to musicians and DJs for live evening sets, so is also perfect for those freelancers looking to put on a party!