The couch gets too squishy after a while, the floor too hard, we don’t have a table, and the bed is taken up with both Rob and his work (he’s still a fan of paper, unfortunately). And because we won’t compromise when it comes to living by ourselves, with a kitchen, and wifi, and air conditioning, and a nice location, it means we have to compromise on apartment size instead.
And we’re happy with that. Really we are. It just means that occasionally we go a bit doolally with claustrophobia, and sometimes the sound of Rob’s eating/tapping/breathing leads me to tell him off for basically being a human (according to him, I have misophonia).
So we go out and find a cafe that has superb wifi and generous enough servers who let us hang out there for the afternoon. Oh and there’s one other stipulation: we’ve become coffee snobs, which means that Starbucks is out.
Here are our favourite wifi cafes in Manhattan; we love them dearly and it’s because of them that we’re still married (and sane).
5 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016
Open 7am-9pm Monday-Saturday (7am-8pm Sunday)
Our favourite among all favourites. The servers are amazingly lovely, and they really know their stuff about coffee. There are also heaps of healthy food options (or I assume they’re healthy, because they contains words like “avocado”, “arugula”, “smoked tofu”, “hummus” and “beet puree”).
The ground (main) floor gets pretty busy in the mornings, but the upstairs “library” area (where laptoppy people are encouraged to go) is calm, quiet and has plenty of chairs and tables for working.
The coffee. Oh my god the coffee. I tried my first ever cold brew here, and I still consider it to be the best, despite trying a lot of others.
Coffee: 5 stars
Wifi: 3 stars (you only get an hour’s wifi with each purchase, which is fair enough really, I guess…)
Happy-making vibes: 5 stars
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
18 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001
Open 6am-8pm Monday-Sunday
The great thing about this place is that the location makes you feel like a rock star who’s chilling out with a hangover, rather than a geek who’s sick of balancing a mug on her stomach and accidentally squishing a banana while she works in a tiny apartment.
The reason is because Stumptown Coffee is actually at the front of the Ace Hotel – the place where all the music people hang out and have their after-parties. So what you do is get your coffee from takeout-only Stumptown (be prepared to queue) and then walk through the doors to the lobby of the Ace Hotel, which has long wooden tables, extremely comfy chairs and great wifi access. The lobby is quite dark, but you’ll cope – and the great cappuccinos and feelings of coolness-by-proxy more than make up for it.
Coffee: 4 stars
Wifi: 4 stars
Happy-making vibes: 3 stars (it’s quite dark in there. And you might get a bit depressed by how uncool/unrich you are in comparison to everyone staying there)
Ninth Street Espresso
700 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009
Open 7am-8pm Monday-Sunday
Slightly confusing, this one, because there are three locations for the Ninth Street Espresso mini-chain, and only one of them is actually on 9th Street. The correctly named location also happens to be the best one: it’s on a quiet street in Alphabet City (between Avenues C and D), faces a very pretty community garden and rarely gets too busy.
The coffee is creamy, delicious and expensive. The cup sizes are also significantly smaller than in other coffee shops, but that’s no bad thing: the 20oz cappuccino is pretty much a contradiction in terms.
The clientele consists of super-cool young people with beards who spend a lot of time on design-y software, and the decor is all very clean and white. Together these facts mean that you need a Mac or an iPad if you don’t want to stand out a mile.
Coffee: 4 stars
Wifi: 5 stars
Happy-making vibes: 3 stars (nice and quiet, and opposite a community garden. But a bit too “cool”)
269 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10028
Open 7am-11pm Monday-Sunday
Be prepared to set some time aside for working out what you want to eat/drink – there’s a hell of a lot of choice at this cute cafe on the Upper East Side. And as good as the coffee is, there’s also stuff like this:
- Nutella cream hot chocolate
- Banana milk hot chocolate
- White chocolate apple cinnamon hot chocolate
- Strawberry white chocolate smoothie
- Cookies and cream white chocolate milkshake
As we like to like to say though (these days, since visiting Little, Brown), a well-rounded tummy means a well-rounded mind.
Additional plus points are the food (including “chocolate pillows”, “chocolate cream soft pretzels” and “comfort chocolate drizzle waffles”), the lovely staff, the big, sunny windows and the good supply of bench-style working space. Just don’t go at about 3pm – you can imagine what this place gets like when school’s out for the day.
Coffee: 3 stars – but who gives a flip about the coffee really?
Wifi: 3 stars (it sometimes throws a bit of a wobbly)
Happy-making vibes: 5 stars until 3pm; 2 stars between 3pm and 6pm (unless you really love Upper East Side kids)