Working from home occasionally makes you get a little stir crazy, so it’s good to get out every now and then to interact with the real world. Bouncing around the coffee shops of London’s east end serves this purpose well for me, and so I end up drinking many a flat white ’round these parts. Here’s a list of my favourites for working away from home, in no particular order:
- The Eatery – Perched right on Whitechapel Road at the bottom of Brick Lane, this place is quite unassuming and has some of the best croissants I’ve had in London. The prices are also cheap– my usual Americano and a croissant costs a mere £2.20. Independent readers take note: journalist Johann Hari can be spotted here thumbing through an enormous stack of newspapers on occassional weekday mornings.
- Cafe 1001 – The cheesecake here is excellent. The largest of this bunch, Cafe 1001 still manages to maintain a cosy atmosphere. As this venue is also used as a nightclub, the cleanliness leaves something to be desired but it’s a pretty fair trade for the great vibe. Comfortable sofas and dim lights define the atmosphere. This place is often packed with students and media folk tapping away at their MacBooks.
- Coffee @ – If drinking your coffee surrounded by fashion students with a backing soundtrack of electroclash is your thing, then Coffee @ is for you. I find it a little difficult to concentrate here with the high music and conversation volume levels, but it does have a certain charm. A wide range of coffees and fairly decent sandwiches keep you satiated. This place is small, but has enough seating to ensure there’s always a free spot.
- Nude Espresso – I end up at Nude more than any other place, though it can be a bit hit and miss. The serving sizes of coffees are very small, though of good quality. The real stand-out product for me are the sandwiches– truly scrumptious! Pastries and muffins are also toothsome, though it needs to be said that this is the most expensive place on this list. Don’t expect any change back from a fiver for a coffee and a pastry. Note that they turn off their wifi inbetween 12 and 2PM for the lunch rush.
- Albion – Also one of my favourite places for weekend brunch, Albion is great for coffee and a snack. Coffee is served in an attractive red metal pot and tea in a wool cosy. Breakfasts are very tasty and this place is popular during the week with the digital nomad crowd. You can spot groups from many of the nearby tech companies camping out for midweek meetings. There is usually a bit of a queue at weekends but if your group isn’t large then you’re usually seated within 15 minutes. Weekdays are considerably quieter and require no queueing. This place is more than just a coffee shop and serves a traditional British menu throughout the day. I love it!
- Honourable mention: Present – Present is a fairly new clothing store and coffee shop that’s recently popped up at the top of Shoreditch High Street. The coffee is fantastic and was just last week voted best coffee in London by TimeOut magazine. So why is it only getting an honourable mention here? Because there is no space to work or even have a seat. But if you want to have a fantastic flat white while browsing the latest menswear trends, you could do no better.
How well is each of these supplied with power outlets?
Which ones tolerate customers who buy little and stay long?
The Eatery and Cafe 1001 both definitely have power outlets available for use but I’m not sure about the others. I’ve clocked extended stays without hassle at all these places, though it should be mentioned that Nude Espresso no longer offers free wifi so it has dropped off my radar.