Space is a huge problem in Hong Kong. From real estate to finding a quiet spot to fit in some quality time to work, there never seems to be a good place to settle. Yes, there’s always Starbucks or Pacific Coffee Company, but there are actually plenty of other great cafés and venues that provide a haven for you and your trusty laptop, complete with free internet and excellent coffee brews. Whether you’re a freelancer, job hunter or a tech-head, these coffee shops are ideal to up your productivity game.
If you’re on the lookout to set up a more permanent workstation or a space to call your own, take a look at our recommendation on the best co-working spaces in Hong Kong.
The best Hong Kong cafés with free wifi
There’s no dearth of trendy artisanal coffee shops springing up these days, but when it comes to local brands, there's few that have found the same success as The Coffee Academics. Its flagship store is located on Yiu Wa Street – it’s a spacious venue with a slew of cold brews, handcrafted, espresso-based drinks, as well as teas, alcoholic drinks and food. There’s great wifi connection here and full-day access, so set up your laptop on one of their marble tables or the outdoor area to get some work done.
Classified is pretty much a Hong Kong institution. With a raft of branches across town, it’s famous for serving up European-style bites, baking homemade artisanal eats and offering a neighbourhood vibe at each of its eateries. At Sai Ying Pun's branch, there’s a semi-outdoor seating area where you can chill and work at your own pace while fitting in some people watching. But for some serious web surfing, the connection is probably best indoors.
As well as being a dining destination, Brunch Club is also known as a freelancing heaven. Every “fun-employed” writer, photographer, filmmaker, and day trader has paid their dues at this casual shabby-chic cafe. They’ve got an all-day breakfast menu, as well as a varied line-up that includes croque-monsieurs, salads and steaks. The wifi signal here is top-notch with a half a dozen of power plugs dotted around the joint – ideal for setting up your station.
Okay, it’s not exactly a coffee house but Desk One deserves a mention. Rolling a co-working space and a café into one, customers can enjoy a good cuppa without competing for space or suffering through the noise come lunch hours. There are three different, yet accessible venues to pick from – Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Tsuen Wan. Each location is furnished with comfy sofas, desks by floor-to-ceiling windows, reading nooks and individual cubicles. With high-speed internet and power sockets at every table, this is the place to be for a spot of quiet studying and working without the expensive price tags of co-working spaces.
The rustic, modern décor at Elephant Grounds is the epitome of hipster, making it a popular stomping ground for freelancers and people looking for a spot to study accompanied by some of the finest java in town. While there’s several branches that offer the same vibe, the Star Street branch is ideal for quiet time. Free wifi is a given here though plugs are not. Set up camp at one of the window-side tables and order up a specialty coffee to keep you alert.
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of Sai Ying Pun is a two-storey coffee house where you’ll find fantastic handcrafted coffee, homemade muffins and desserts including an espresso Baileys cheesecake. True to its name, the café’s attic makes for a great hideout to bring your laptop or enjoy a bit of breeze at the upstairs outdoor area. With great internet connection, The Hideout is the perfect getaway to hunker down and finish some work.
NOC, which stands for ‘not only coffee’, is successful in its own right based on its top-notch brews. But its large, airy space filled with natural light invites laptop loners to set up workstations on the pristine white surfaces. Like others in the list, NOC has various branches in Hong Kong but we suggest going for the Sai Ying Pun one, being the largest shop and all. The café boasts unlimited wifi and a solid menu featuring healthy salads, all-day breakfasts and fruit bowls. It would be remiss if you don’t order a coffee to keep your efficiency levels up.
Located on the unsuspecting street of Connaught Road West, Opendoor is a laid-back and modern cafe that quickly became a neighbourhood favourite among locals since opening its doors. Opendoor is ideal for laptop dwellers as there’s power plugs and USB outlets on every table plus strong internet connection throughout the coffee shop. Keep yourself refreshed with its fantastic selections of smoothies and coffee, and venture out to the hidden courtyard for some fresh air.
As the name suggests, Peace is a quiet, tranquil corner cafe situated in Tai Hang. Here, you’ll find comfortable white sofas surrouneded by pastel green walls to either lounge all day or work in a cosy nook complete with great wifi connection and several power sockets – just make sure to pick the right spot. Keep your brain and body going with sustenance such as its salads, pastas, burgers and fantastic range of sandwiches like black truffle on egg with portobello mushroom, as well as a variety of java including tiramisu coffee and Vienna-style coffee.
Tucked away in an upstairs location at the top of Lan Kwai Fong, this chic, modern cafe is designed to provide a quiet space for the busy bees of Central. To create the homey vibe, The Study asks all customers to leave their shoes at the door and to don a pair of comfy slippers, which are provided by the venue. Bring a laptop and work quietly next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, which offer great views and natural light. The Study is also a proudly eco-friendly space, you're welcome to bring your own food and beverages if you’re not wild about the menu of healthy bites and drinks.
This Instagram-favourite cafe has been winning loyal customers with its quality brews and photogenic retro cinema marquee signs. Winstons also welcomes customers to bring in their laptops and take up a spot on its bar tables. While free wifi is in abundance, there’s a shortage of tables. So if you’re planning a short one to two hour work session, or if you’ve got a strong back, Winstons’ high tables and stools are just for you. Grab an espresso martini for a pick-me-up after a gruelling day.
Just looking for a good cup of joe?
Quality brews are no longer exclusive to select enclaves like Sheung Wan anymore. Some of best brews in town can be found on the other side of the harbour, whether you want single origin beans and hand-drip coffee or quirky themed venues piled with ersatz antiques.