The perfect coffice is a fickle and tenuous beast. Having worked in nearly 50 Brooklyn coffices at this point, I’ve come to realize that none are flawless; each has a major, glaring weakness. Variety in Williamsburg has perhaps the fastest internet of any Brooklyn coffeeshop, yet they play that one George Harrison record so often and so loud that the likelihood of producing any kind of quality work is vastly diminished. Café Orwell is the perfect work spot save for their poor espresso drinks, and Second Stop seems like a great place to spend a couple hours except for the overall looming vibe of weirdness that that pervades every inch of its wide open space.
While each coffice has some kind of downfall, the most common weakness is inconvenient hours. Nothing is worse than spending the entire day working yourself into the zone and hammering out the world’s best paper/story/project only to have to pack up and leave, winding up at home with more to write and your big, soft bed and sexy DVR waiting for you.
Finding coffices open past 9pm proved a major challenge, one that required traveling outside the realm of the usual coffice confines, and expanding the category to include spots that aren’t exactly known for their latte art. Nonetheless, we managed to round up 14 spaces with all the necessary coffice criteria that are open until at least 10pm (including the Taj Mahal of coffices, Tea Lounge). And, yes, you can indeed get a cup of joe at each spot.
South 4th Café, Williamsburg, 90 S.4th Street between Berry and Wythe, 718-218-7478
Open until 2am each night, 4am on Saturdays
There seem to be two major, intersecting themes going at South 4th Café. It looks a bit like the kind of bar your dad might choose to go tie one on at, and a bit like one of those Italian social clubs where major mob hits always take place in movies. Although this is not what you’d expect from a coffeshop, it’s charming and not too complicated, perfect for late night projects.
It was clear walking in here that this bar functions as a Cheers-like go-to spot for a core group of patrons so it’s not unlikely that you might feel a bit out of the loop, but if you’re on deadline it doesn’t really matter. The bartender was extremely welcoming, and is totally cool with laptops. If you find yourself with glowing-screen-eye, South 4th has board games on hand that make for a great mental time-out when you’re running on empty.
The internet here is somewhat fast (1.6 mbps) and definitely reliable. As of now, not too many people seem to be privy to this place’s coffice potential, so it’s all yours.
Considering that South 4th is a bar and not an actual coffeeshop it’s impressive how many outlets they do have. Pretty much each wall has outlets on it; there are only a few spots in the front where they are hard to reach.
They brew Irving Farms, a local NYC coffee company that is rich, complex and not too acidic, among the best beans I’ve come across.
This place has as few weaknesses as any coffice we’ve come across thus far and considering how late they’re open, South 4th definitely qualifies as a gem in an area where such places are becoming more and more rare.
Manna, Williamsburg, 572 Grand Street at the corner of Lorimer, 718-384-2122
Open 24 hours
Layout Aesthetic: 2.5
Manna is very spacious, almost too much so, and it basically looks like your average falafel place.
This is a difficult call. They have the fact that they are open 24 hours going for them. On the other hand, it’s a shawarma joint and you could easily feel out of place pounding on your keyboard while people all around you are squirting tahini onto falafel. Another factor is the sign that claims a “one hour wifi policy.” However, according to the staff this policy only applies when the restaurant is completely full and it is rarely enforced.
There are two or three outlets here, enough for a few people to plug in, which is easy since so few people actually work here.
The wifi here works steadily and fast. At 2.8 on Speedtest, and sans restrictions, Manna is a sure bet for whatever you’ve got planned online.
Like Postmark in Park Slope, Manna brews Puerto Rico Importing Co. coffee, which is quite delicious, and a nice alternative to Gimme! if you’re looking for a simple but solid and substantial cup of coffee.
+.5 for top-notch falafel
This is the only coffice open 24 hours the weird combination of falafel and caffeine is easy to look past when it’s 3am and your job is on the line.
Milk and Roses, Greenpoint, 1110 Manhattan Avenue between Dupont and Clay, 718-389-0160
Mon-Fri until midnight, Sun until 11
A bookshelf full of old books, a vintage grand piano, soft antique style chairs and tables make this place perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing coffice in Brooklyn. The elegance of Milk and Roses is the kind that many others go for and wind up with something that feels too fragile to actually relax in.
It may be the neighborhood, but there’s a real sense of community at Milk and Roses. People are friendly and outgoing and just really seem to enjoy the space together.
On a web-based speedtest, Milk and Roses wifi clocked out at 3mbps, which is at least one more megabit than you could ever really need.
This café is simply too beautiful for extension cords but a few could help the outlet situation which isn’t dismal but isn’t perfect either.
Order a cappuccino at Milk and Roses and you’ll swear you’re in Venice. The espresso drinks here are so artfully made that they’re a must order.
+1 for pastries and snacks that reflect the overall class of this hangout.
There are many coffices in Brooklyn and a handful that stay open late but if you want a place to sit, and live out the fantasy of writing the great American novel, screenplay, article, or what have you, Milk and Roses is the place to do it in style.
Cocoa Bar, Park Slope, 228 7th Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets, 718-499-4080
Weekdays until 11pm, weekends 1am
The atmosphere at Cocoa Bar is overwhelmingly beige. However, if you’re looking to knock out a paper, beige can be just what the doctor ordered. Despite the bland looks, there’s plenty of room and comfortable seating for each patron.
It’s hard to tell what to attribute this to, perhaps the kind, laid back baristas or soft ambient music or maybe all the blissed out Park Slopers gorging on chocolate, but the vibe here is quite calming. According to the staff, “It’s a solid place to get work done. Except often on the weekend nights it can be a bit distracting when the romantic scene goes into effect.” If you aren’t imagining an early-thirties hipster with Elvis Costello glasses haphazardly shoving chocolate into his aloof date’s mouth, maybe you need to hear the way the barista said this.
With a full house of people using the wifi scored 2.9 mbps on Speedtest, enough to get your work done.
Like South 4th Café, Cocoa Bar brews Irving Farm Coffee beans. The house blend that I received tasted a tad burnt yet clean, much like South 4th’s blend. It also goes splendidly with their chocolate.
Coca is well equipped with outlets. One section in the middle of the establishment is lacking but otherwise the entire place is pretty well covered.
+1 for cakes and chocolate that give the best of Brooklyn’s chocolatiers a run for their money.
Like most places in the Park Slope, this place becomes inundated with strollers mid-day. Otherwise, it’s a solid coffice spot with sweets to reward yourself for a job well done.
Tea Lounge, Park Slope, 837 Union Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, 718-789-2762
Sun-Thurs until midnight, Fri and Sat 1am
Layout Aesthetic: 4.5
For a person journeying to find a flawless coffice in Brooklyn, Tea Lounge upon first sight looks like Oz. Tea Lounge is the very definition of a solid coffice: large and spacious with comfortable seating and desk space. Charming and unique décor, like a factory or warehouse meets your friendly neighborhood cafe with rotating, pod-like fans swaying along the back wall. The only downside at Tea Lounge is that it gets so packed that it can be a bit tough to find a spot, and there’s a definite stroller crowd here, too, as has been noted around the web. If you can find a spot and keep your focus (headphones help) it’s like the Taj Mahal of coffices.
This place is made for working. The seating and atmosphere are such that you’re encouraged to relax and focus, and the staff didn’t seem to be pressuring people to leave.
Oddly the Speedtest here read 3.8 mbps, which is very fast, but webpages seemed to be loading rather slowly. This may have been a fluke or a function of the crowding. Either way, the wifi here is steady.
There’s a fair amount of outlets here but not enough for the crowds that fill this place. On a Thursday at 4:15pm there were around 50 people at Tea Lounge. There was one extension cord, but a few more would improve the plug situation.
This is actually one of the best cups of coffee on the late-night coffice jaunt. Benbow’s is another local organic coffee company; it’s incredibly balanced and smooth yet complex and Tea Lounge offers variety of brews.
+1 for pies pastries bagels smoothies and salads
Tea Lounge has everything. It belongs in the coffice hall of fame along with Breukelen and Outpost.
El Pollito Mexicano, Park Slope, 119 5th Avenue between Sterling Place and Baltic Street, 718-636-5269
Mon-Thu, Sun 11 pm; Fri-Sat midnight
This is a secret coffice. Few people use it for this purpose so it’s nice and private. There’s plenty of room here to get work and done and the Mexicana aesthetic is actually quite calming. However, it being a restaurant, and not a café, there are some downsides, such as no couches or cushioned seating.
The people who own this place are very willing to accommodate cofficers; however, it can be daunting to get work done when people around you are slinging guac and trying to enjoy an authentic Mexican meal.
The wifi works surprisingly well and stays on steadily. Since so few use this place as a coffice the bandwidth is all yours
The outlets here are few and far between but the owners are more than willing to move a few things around in order to get you near an outlet.
Coffee is only available to stay because they brew it to order (people don’t usually order it) but it tastes fine, better than gas station coffee.
+1 for authentic-looking Mexican food and buffalo wings, perfect for late night, forlorn snacking.
As secret coffices go, this is one of the better ones. Restaurants can be tough to use but this, along with Building on Bond are among the better ones for working.
Starbucks, Park Slope, 164 7th Avenue between 2nd Street and Garfield Place, 718-369-1213
Open until 11, every night
I simply will not claim to rate Starbucks’ coffice-potential sans bias. In fact, I wouldn’t have considered it if not for a conversation with a woman in Cocoa Bar who assured me that it was a worthwhile spot. Still, the fast food vibe here extends into the aesthetics of the space and with that comes little room, people packed in, and some kind of corporate film that coats every inch of this, and pretty much every, Starbucks.
You really have to isolate and go to your happy place in order to feel at ease here. However, there’s no pressure to buy more in order to stay, so there’s that.
The free AT&T wifi at Starbucks is forever changing and never great. You may be able to do what you want on the internet, or you may not. If any downloading or uploading is crucial to your project, you’re better off going elsewhere.
This would be a fair amount of outlets for most coffices, but since so many people come here, it simply isn’t enough.
The brewed coffee is terrible, period. The lattes have an appeal akin to MacDonald’s French fries and the new Crème Brule late is quite tasty in a self-flagellating kind of way. (I have to admit to kind of loving the pumpkin spice latte and the peppermint mocha, too. In a stupid way. –-ed note.)
This is a last resort. Use only when your internet is inexplicably broken and you are on deadline, or if you poutily storm out of your apartment during a fight and would prefer not to go to a bar.
Le Petit Café, Carroll Gardens, 502 Court Street between 9th and Huntington Streets, 718-596-7060
Open until 10:30pm every night.
The interesting greenery ambiance they’ve achieved here makes Le Petite Café look like the ill-conceived fairy universe from True Blood. Unlike in True Blood, the forest-like ambiance here works.
You really need to order something in addition to a beverage to spend any kind of substantial time here, but otherwise the vibe is pleasant and the surroundings pleasing.
The wifi here is troublesome, cutting in and out and lackluster when it’s on. For instance, Gmail might load, but more than likely Gchat will not.
This is a restaurant first and foremost, so the outlets are few but available if you search.
It’s fine café coffee, nice to melt away a buttery croissant or soak up brunch.
This is more a restaurant than a coffice but, if you need it to be a coffice, then make it so.
Linger Café and Lounge, 533 Atlantic Avenue between 3rd and 4th Avenues, 347-689-4813
Thurs-Sat until 10pm, Mon-Wed until 8pm, Sun until 4pm
This being the third installment of coffices, it’s a major surprise to come across a place that’s aesthetically surprising, but such is the case at Linger where the plush couches, exposed brick and art deco look make it seem like there should be a gallery open taking place with belly dancing waitstaff.
While there are kids at Linger, they’re actually doing their homework! And though Linger serves real food they’re absolutely welcoming to cofficers. Overall, the vibe here is incredibly relaxed. There’s even a back area for smokers. A place that’s as welcoming to kids as it is smokers is a-okay.
3.6 mbps is quite fast–Linger is among the best late night spots for wifi.
This may be the highest score I’ve ever given a cup of Stumptown. Their coffee tends to be either cloying or sour, but this was a well brewed cup and Linger steams all their milk which is a nice bonus.
This is the only category where Linger suffers. There are a couple but not quite enough for a solid coffice.
+1 for tapas, sandwiches, salads that look interesting and food that smells delicious.
When it comes to charm, Linger is one of the best coffices is Brooklyn. With later hours and more outlets it would be one of the best without question.
Other late night coffices for you night owls out there:
Outpost (Clinton Hill)–midnight on weekdays, 11pm on weekends
Goodbye Blue Monday (Bushwick)–2am on weekdays, 3am on weekends
Smooch (Fort Greene)–9pm Sun-Wed; 11pm or midnight, Thurs-Sat
Flying Saucer (Boerum Hill)–10pm weekends, 9pm weekdays