Cooping up in an office cubicle all day will drive even the calmest among us crazy. Settle down with free WiFi and a good cuppa to get your productivity game on at these 11 cafés.
Located on the ground floor of what used to be the Telok Ayer Chung Hwa Free Clinic, My Awesome Cafe takes the old-school aesthetic and knocks it out of the ballpark with equal parts knack for sourcing and creative ingenuity. You can’t help but be motivated in this space full of quirks and history that buzzes with energy.
Although the lunch crowd is a busy one, get there early to find yourself an upcycled vintage school desk to work on. Coffees range from $4 to $6, and you’ll be distracted from your work with the breadth of food and beverage choices on offer. Try the açai menu for some superfood brain power ($6.50-$18.50), or, for a more substantial dish, the protein-packed My Awesome Salad ($16).
The regular crowd Creatives and CBD types popping in for meetings.
Part-café, part-gallery space, Artistry with its white-washed walls and concrete floors makes for a soothing sight for square eyes. When you're in need of a pick-me-up, order a Liberty bean coffee ($3.50-$7), tuck into a chilli crab burger ($25) or, if you’re on a health streak, the yogurt ice cream with granola and fresh berries ($14). When you’re done with your work, you can stay on to catch one of the spoken word performances or band tribute sing-alongs that start around 8pm, hosted about twice a week at the venue.
The regular crowd Designers, musicians and art students.
This Duxton resident provides a space where diners can set up ‘therapy’ sessions, so grab your colleagues and keep your spirits high by jumping on the Earl Grey trend with tea-flavoured ice cream, a supplement to the waffles that come with maple syrup or salted caramel sauce ($13). The espresso bar uses Costa Rican beans and coffees range from $4 to $4.40, paninis $11 to $15 and all-day breakfast $3.50 to $11.
If you’re looking for something savoury, there’s a 'guilt-free' version of eggs Benedict, made with avocado, salmon on a tortilla, and yogurt saffron sauce. It's lighter in calories, so no excuses not to work because you’ve got a food coma.
The regular crowd Students, mostly.
Located on the busy pedestrian crossroad of Arab Street, Haji and Bali Lane, this hole-in-the-wall coffee joint is the perfect place to set up camp for a productive afternoon. You'll be inspired by the indoor display of street art and photography, which changes every two to three months.
Dripping from the coffee machine here is the Woolloomooloo blend of Guatemalan, Mexican and Brazilian beans from Toby’s Estate, which makes a good full-bodied mouthful in a milk-based latte ($5) or cappuccino ($5). Accompanying that is a small menu of comforting bites, like hearty soups made in-house and CAD's much-hyped sourdough toasties.
The regular crowd Media and design students.
Hidden away through the doors of Club Meatballs is Clubhouse, an airy, design-savvy workspace whose tables are large enough to sprawl your day's worth of work across.
For fuel, Sarnies supplies the coffee ($4.50-$6) and cold-pressed juices ($6.50), so whatever your preference for a boost, this hang-out spot's got you covered. Get there early and you can start your morning right with breakfast from Club Meatballs ($4-$10). And throughout the day, munch on snacks that include Jaffles, which are Australian toasties with fillings like bacon and egg or ham and mozzarella ($6.50).
Clubhouse's focus on good looks doesn't come as a surprise. The café also doubles up as a showroom for BW Furniture, with artfully mismatched furniture and an art installation of white chairs hanging from the ceiling. But for those who need the privacy, there's a small glass room in a nook at the back that can be booked.
The regular crowd CBD workers who need a break from glass surfaces.
Put together by The Lo and Behold Group and The Working Capitol, The Daily Roundup dishes out sweet crêpes and savoury galettes. The sweet French pancakes here are made with premium wheat flour and Bordier butter from Brittany, and topped with ingredients like a Tonka vanilla bean-flecked caramel sauce ($10), berries and Chantilly cream ($12), and poached Japanese peach slices ($12). The savoury buckwheat flour discs, on the other hand, feature moreish smoked salmon ($14), Fourme d’Ambert cheese ($16) and chorizo ($14).
Pours here include Papa Palheta coffee ($3.50-$5) to fuel casual meetings and hours of trawling through your inbox. After hours, kick back with a spritzer ($14-$15), wine ($9-$12) or cider ($9-$12).
The regular crowd Dressed-down start-up entrepreneurs.
It’s a bit of a trek to get here, but that could be a good thing if you need to avoid your usual distractions. With the office-like opening hours, you’ll be sure to get what you need to do done and dusted without suffering the dreaded overtime.
The Reservoir Road blend, by Sydney’s esteemed Single Origin Roasters, comes recommended and is served in a variety of pours, such as the café’s signature affogato ($6) – put together table-side, it includes a cookie crumble under a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Food-wise, there’s a café’s worth of standard salads ($10-$12), sandwiches ($10-$13), pasta dishes ($12-14) and brunches ($16.90).
The regular crowd Staff from the offices in the area, and students.
Snug like a living room, Book Cafe has long been the go-to for a quiet catch up with a book or a comfy spot to bang out a bit of work. There's also a printer that's free to use. For sustenance, look to its extensive menu, with all-day breakfast options like pancakes ($5.95-$9.95) and eggs Benedict ($15.95), as well as a slice of its signature apple pie ($5.95). Premium teas are from Tea Forte ($8/pot), which is worth swapping your usual coffee for ($4-$5.50).
The regular crowd Bookworms and the literati.
You know what to expect: high ceilings, exposed beams and bulbs, wood-topped tables, and an open coffee bar. Use this as quiet place to buckle down and get some work done – and pick from the impressive array of coffee choices while you're at it.
The Slayer Espresso that drips from beans roasted on-site will have caffeine-heads wired. Apart from single-origin espresso, pour-over, French press and siphon coffees, there's also a full menu of bread-heavy items and a more substantial night menu. The food ranges from $12 to $16; coffees from $4.30 to $5.70.
The regular crowd Scientists and techies.
Nothing like pizza to calm a growling stomach. One Man Coffee is a cosy nook that shares a shophouse space with gourmet pizza bar Crust. Which means that on weekdays, you'll have the option for a full pie paired with coffee ($3-$5.50) from famed Melbourne outfit Axil Coffee Roasters.
Artisanal bakery BAO ($3-$4.50) supplies the pastries and light brunch options are available ($7-$10), such as nutty brioche French toast served with homemade berry compote or caramelised banana (both $10).
The regular crowd Students and post-work types.
At this hotel café that never sleeps, the dilemma is in deciding which drinks to have. Do you go for a cup of coffee ($3.50-$7) brewed with beans roasted by local travelling baristas Nomad the Gallant, a Prana chai masala blend ($6) with spices from India, Sri Lanka or Guatemala, or max out your daily calorie count with a messy, dessert-topped milkshake ($11)?
Whatever you end up with, you’re in good company as you tick off that to-do list of yours. There's also a selection of sandwiches ($8) and salads ($8-$10) to power a quick bit of work.
The regular crowd Business trippers in Singapore.