Here’s how the coffices in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bushwick and other parts of North Brooklyn stack up. Check out South Brooklyn (everything below Atlantic Avenue) cafés here, and Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights coffices here.
Goodbye Blue Monday, 1087 Broadway
For my money, GBM is one of the coolest venues in the city period, but you wouldn’t assume it’s a coffice at first glance. Based pure on ambiance, it’s perfect. You pretty much have to see it to believe it. Gorillas, Virgin Marys, rocking horses and a big rainbow umbrella are just a sampling of the kooky decor. Ambiance-wise GBM is kind of like the Shopsin’s of coffices.
There’s two reasons why GBM didn’t get a perfect score in this category. The music is loud, yes, but when I walked in they were playing Old Oi! bands like The Oppressed, so I simply cannot dock them for that. The punk rock girl at the bar was genuinely friendly, and seemed to be happy to have me sitting there. So, there’s still the two issues: light and time. GBM is dark all the time, so unless you sit by the door, it’s a bit hard to read, and they don’t open till 11am.
There’s no espresso, but GBM brews Gilley’s in a no-nonsense straight-forward coffee machine. Since Gilley’s are some of the best beans, the result is great coffee.
The wifi hit 4mbps, which is about double what one should need.
There are three power strips, which is enough for most people to plug in and since it’s not very busy during the afternoon, there’s almost no reason why you shouldn’t be able to snag an outlet.
+1 for full menu including buffalo wings.
Goodbye Blue Monday is not what you’d expect from a coffice, but if the right tweaks were made, it could be one of the best in Brooklyn. As it is, it’s the best in the neighborhood.
The Blue Stove, 415 Graham Avenue
Blue Stove’s 50s, Americana feel is inviting and warm, and the setup works quite well. Everyone sits in harmony at the big communal table in the middle of the room.
The baristas have always been extremely nice and the place always smells like pie! Spending one’s days in coffices can lead to clothes and belongings redolent of ground coffee, but spend four hours in Blue Stove and the only thing you’ll smell like is sweet delicious pie crust. Also, the staff here seems to have no problem with this place functioning as a coffice.
Gilley’s are some of the best beans you’ll find in Brooklyn and Blue Stove brews them well. To-stay coffees also get free refills.
I’ve been here quite a bit and never seen the wifi down. On Speedtest, Blue Stove hit a 9.78 with a full house, which is incredibly impressive, especially for Williamsburg.
There are a few spots where an outlet is hard to reach. The table in the very back is definitely the king’s table, but most spots have access to power.
+1 For freaking pie!
Come to meet your deadline, stay to blow your diet.
House Of Small Wonder, 20 Skillman Street
HOSW manages to be spacious yet cozy. It makes use of its space and odd shape and there’s an amazing back room. This is absolutely a perfect place to spend creatively inspired winter evenings.
The baristas are nice and there’s a cozy fall vibe that’s likely to get your brain working after a long day.
The coffee here is pretty lightweight and straightforward, but with more flavor than most of the coffees that fall under that category. More flowery than earthy, but not sour.
This was a bit harder to determine. The wifi scored extremely low on Speedtest and yet, it’s been fast and dependable for navigating websites. Still, this isn’t a place where I’d do heavy-duty web work.
This was easy, there are 3 rooms and 2 of them are full of plugs.
+1 for top-notch looking sandwiches. Show me gruyere and you get a point.
This is a cozy and peaceful spot that’s up to par in almost every area. Among Williamsburg’s best.
Cafe Orwell, 247 Varet Street
This is a beautiful coffice. First, it’s representative of the neighborhood with its warehouse aesthetic. Orwell is big and wide open with plenty of seats and big windows in the front. There’s also a big comfortable couch in the front of the room. If you live in the godforsaken McKibbin Lofts, a nice stroll over to Orwell sounds like the perfect way to start your day.
It’s got an artsy, edgy feel that’s congruent with the neighborhood. The baristas didn’t kill me with kindness but otherwise it was a really nice place to sit.
9.6 on Speedtest–some of the fastest wifi in Bushwick.
I’m starting to think that Stumptown is simply disgusting. This was my first cup of the morning and took a few sips and threw it out. This means it was a truly bad cup of joe. I’m not sure what to say, Orwell has everything going for it, except for coffee.
Orwell is covered in plugs. This is the first “5” I’ve given in this category, and they totally deserve it.
+.5 for bagels and pastries.
Total: 19.5 Even with a low coffee score, Orwell stacks up among the best on this list. If you’re in the area it’s really worth checking out, just order tea instead of coffee.
Little Skips, 941 Willoughby Street
Little Skips has a unique look–there’s a wall of park bench-style seating, exposed brick, local art and weird wallpaper. It’s another coffice that really feels like reflection of the neighborhood. Definitely a great place to sit and get work done.
The staff is really warm, they’re cool as the coolest baristas, but not too cool for school.
Little Skips serves Counter Culture, which is an interesting animal. When you think about it, Stumtpown and Counter Culture came up at the same time as the most hyped new coffee brands in town, sort of like The Strokes and The White Stripes. In my experience, Counter Culture is less likely to be ruined than Stumptown, (Does that make them The Strokes or The White Stripes?) but the two taste similar when done badly. Unfortunately the Counter Culture at Little Skips, which is otherwise an amazing coffice, is nothing to write home about, although still better than bad Stumptown.
Skips could benefit from a few more outlets. A major chunk of the coffee shop has no access, but there’s till plenty of power to go around.
Most Williamsburg coffices have really slow wifi. Yet, every coffice I’ve been to in Bushwick has great wifi. Little Skips has all the speed you need.
+1 For hippie food galore Actually, and I’m breaking the rules here and giving this place another.5. Here’s why: they have a big, cold water dispenser with chopped cucumbers inside, which is the most refreshing liquid in the world. +1.5
Skips feels very bohemian. If you sit there and work, you can feel that way too. I’m not poking fun, it’s a good feeling.
Milk and Roses, 110 Manhattan Avenue
This place looks like a café that would exist in dollhouse land, where the people are small and everything is very breakable. There’s a black, pink and mauve color scheme that makes all patrons feel like they’ve come just in time for a fabulous tea party.
It’s a good place to work, don’t get me wrong, but it has an ultra breakable vibe.
Milk and Roses makes a good solid cup of joe, but it doesn’t compete with some of the titans on this list.
The wifi is dependable and fast enough to do most of the things you’d want to do at a coffee shop except for Skype-ing, but can we agree that it’s kind of annoying to have somebody Skype-ing right beside you while you’re working?
There are a couple outlets, but there are also a few spaces that even an extended cord would not reach.
+1 for fancy pastries.
It’s a good place to go for the ambiance.
Beaner Bar, 445 Graham Avenue
You gotta love the dia de los meurtos theme.
The vibe here is cool, the baristas laid back, and the outside seating absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, there’s almost no room here to work.
It was down the day I went and according to the barista it had been for awhile. It’s sad because this place is so cool looking.
I only saw one outlet, but considering how small this place is, that should afford them at least a 2.
They brew Counter Culture here and they do it well. They also make excellent Mexican mocha with spicy ground Mexican chocolate.
With wifi, Beaner Bar would be a contender. As is, it’s a great place to sit outside and try something different.