The 4 best coffee shops to work from in Austin
We’ve got a slightly different type of travel guide today! I haven’t exactly been traveling that much since last March due to the pandemic (sob ?), so I figured I’d share a guide to all the places I HAVE been going to in the last year: all the coffee shops in Austin.
I’ve been working remotely since mid-March of 2020 (over a year at the time of writing this ?), and it took me only about two days of being alone in the house to start losing my mind. Luckily, there are lots of coffee shops around Austin with big outdoor spaces, and most of them have been open since last summer. But going to a new place to work can be anxiety-producing! What’s the wifi going to be like? Are there outlets? Will the people that work there judge me for getting one coffee but staying for hours? So I figured I’d answer all those questions and more in a handy post, so you will know exactly what to expect when you’re looking to get out of your house for a few hours.
With any of these places, please remember to follow the latest health and safety guidelines, stay at least 6 feet from anyone else, and wear your mask when not at your table. (I can’t wait to look back on this post a few years from now and laugh about that sentence)
The 4 best coffee shops to work from in Austin
If you’re up on your Austin geography you’ll notice a bias towards east Austin — that’s because that’s where I currently live, so these places are the easiest to get to. Plus, the east side has an abundance of large outdoor spaces (esp as compared to downtown)!
Also please note that these are specifically the best places to work from — not necessarily the best coffee. That’s for another post. ?
I’ve rated each place on a five star system, hopefully making it easier to scan. The number of stars is very non-scientific (do you even know me?), so don’t get too hung up on them — they’re just supposed to give you a general idea of how each feature ranks!
Seating: ★★★★★ Cherrywood actually has indoor seating, which is a rarity in pandemic times. I rarely have trouble finding a spot here, except during UT finals weeks (it’s super close to campus). Outdoor seating is plenty as well, and most tables have umbrellas.
Coffee & food: ★★★★★ This place is an actual cafe so they have lots of food options. Tacos and salads are good. I’m actually not sure I’ve ever gotten coffee here, but they have a mint hibiscus iced tea which is delicious. Free water filling area inside.
Wifi: ★★★★★ I think Cherrywood gets the award for best wifi I’ve found. I haven’t tested it thoroughly outside, but indoors it can handle video calls and multiple cloud based programs running.
Power: ★★★★★ There are lot of outlets inside so finding power here is not really ever an issue.
Seating: ★★★★★ Lots of outdoor seating (mostly shaded), and a decent amount of covered seating under a structure with no walls (so basically outside). In non pandemic times there is limited indoor seating.
Coffee & food: ★★★★★ The dark roast drip coffee here is killer (and I’m very picky about drip coffee). So are the tacos and bowls. And the beer. And the chips & guac. So… everything, yeah. Free water filling areas in a couple of spots outside.
Wifi: ★★★★★ Can usually handle video calls. Occasionally I’ll have to switch to my phone hotspot, but this is rare.
Power: ★★★★☆ There are limited outlets but I can usually grab a spot by one as long as I come before mid-afternoon (this is more of a happy hour and lunch spot so it’s less crowded in the morning!)
Seating: ★★★☆☆ Thunderbird is smaller in space than the rest on this list, but there’s a decent amount of outdoor seating. Most have umbrellas. A handful of times I’ve had to go elsewhere though. Morning is best. More indoor seating in non-pandemic times.
Coffee & food: ★★★★★ Great espresso drinks, delicious iced coffee. They serve breakfast tacos and sandwiches here and although I’ve never had them, word on the street is that they’re tasty. They also have a great berry hibiscus iced tea if you need a non-caffeinated option. Free water filling area inside.
Wifi: ★★★☆☆ It’s better (they definitely upgraded recently), but I still usually have to use my hotspot for video calls.
Power: ★★☆☆☆ Super limited — there’s only a couple of outlets and not a lot of tables close to them. If I come here I basically count on not having power.
Seating: ★★★★☆ TONS of outdoor seating on several levels of decks, most shaded but uncovered. Limited covered seating on a small patio if you turn right after ordering and walk through the shop area. Zero indoor seating. Oh, and beautiful views of the lake!
Coffee & food: ★★★★☆ Decent drip coffee and iced coffee. The rest of their coffee is meh (remember I’m a snob about this though). Tons of bakery items but not a lot that I can eat. Water for sale.
Wifi: ★★☆☆☆ Spotty. Sometimes it can handle basic browsing, but I usually end up using my phone hotspot here.
Power: ★★★☆☆ Also limited. There are some outlets on the covered area mentioned above but they are usually taken by mid-morning.
Bonus! Supplies for working remotely
In order to work successfully, you’ve got to have the right supplies. In addition to the basics — computer, charger (plus the extension cable to reach far-away outlets), notebook, pen, water bottle, and protein bars — I’ve also made some purchases in the past few months that have made remote work so much easier. The below gadgets aren’t cheap, but they’ve been worth my sanity!
Jabra Eilte Active 75t $179.99
These work great for everything from zoom calls to workouts to just talking on the phone. Their biggest selling point for me is how small they are — I’ve got super tiny ears and always struggle with earbuds hurting me (ok was also sold on the mint color). These can get a little uncomfortable after an hour or so, but they’re much better than others I’ve tried. They can let in some outside noise if you’re in a super noisy environment, but otherwise I’ve never gotten any complaints about the sound quality on calls.
Portable laptop charger
Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W $129.99
This is what I use for those times I can’t find an outlet and I plan on hanging out for a few hours. I’ll be real and admit that I don’t know the least bit about batteries — I bought this one because a) I know Anker is a reliable company, b) it said it worked for my computer (15-in macbook pro), and c) it was expensive but not the MOST expensive (so it probably had a good amount of power but wouldn’t be overkill). I’ve never drained it and my laptop completely but I can safely get through an entire morning or afternoon on this, even with a few video calls.
What do you think? Did I miss any of your favorites? ☕
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