The first thing a startup or a freelancer needs is a cheap or free working space where they can put their head down and get to work without worrying about being kicked out.
When we started working on Locappy, we did rounds around London to find the best space for us to work. We were a team of three so finding a desk/table was all the more a challenge.
Here we have summarised our thoughts below and what we consider are the best cafes to work from in London:
Best cafes to work from in East London
1- Google Campus
Google campus has a floor dedicated to free working space. The Central Working at Google Campus is open from 9am to 5:30pm (Mon-Fri) and is the perfect environment (sometimes too much buzzing) for entrepreneurs and freelancers to work and connect. It has free wifi and loads of charging spots all over.
This space not only brings networking opportunities, but The Campus also hosts a million events every week. Benefit from the energy and collaborative atmosphere of Google Campus in the heart of Tech City right next to Old Street Station. This is an inspirational hang out for your business with pool tables and a networking den with creatively shaped furniture.
You will have to sign up online and then pick up your card from the reception. Its nice to have that cardCheck out Google Campus
This new co-working style cafe is a great getaway from Google Campus if you don’t want the hustle and bustle of the tech environment. Located on Old Street near Barbican station, this cafe is very accessible and has 2 floors of co-working. The amazing food and quality of the wifi are just a couple of the many wow factors.
They even have a meeting room/separate space which could be booked for a nominal price or minimum spend (last time we asked it was only £50!)
We used to switch between Google Campus and Timberyard, depending on what kind of task we were onto. Our first lean canvas was made at Timberyard when we did our initial customer validation, so this cafe has a special place in our hearts <3Check out Timeberyard here
3- The Book Club
Not only a cafe, but an institute which helped shape the Shoreditch culture we see everywhere in London. It’s large, bright, airy and has a good wifi. The waiters are amazing and the food (the kitchen is run by some super cool chefs) is fairly priced and yummy. Note that they also serve alcohol (it turns into a bar and later a club) so towards the evening it could get busy. The have hosted the Wall Street Journal Tech Cafe so they are very friendly towards people who want to work.Check out The Book Club here
4- Look Mum No Hands
Just 2 doors down from Timber yard on Old street, this cafe/cycle shop is a cool place to work outdoors (and indoors in the winter). They have an amazing yard which opens up to the main street, however the wifi connection outside can be a bit patchy. Inside though, the quirkiness of the cycle shop brings a different aspect to working. The tables are large which is good for meetings or if you are more than one. Its very airy and bright which is also a plus point. Locappy has had a few meetings here with our lovely friends at Billetto and we still go there from time to time.Check out Look Mum No Hands here
5- Long White Cloud
This cute cafe on Hackney road has probably the best coffee in the world (well Locappy loves it). It has a very homely feeling with hearty food served all day (and evenings). The closest station is Hoxton or Shoreditch high street, hence it’s famous amongst the locals. The vibe is very chilled out and relaxed. In our early days, we used to drop by this joint constantly!Check out Long White Cloud here
6- Hoxton Hotel and Grill
This may look a bit upmarket for the “hipster” and tech community of the Silicon Roundabout, but for us it has always been a relaxing and productive place to work from. It has an amazing bar, a great restaurant and of course if you are over worked, you can stay at one of their rooms (which will set you back a few quid!)
The trick is to get one of the sofa/chairs next to the main window, looking over Great Eastern Street so you can easily access the power sockets. The wifi/internet is decent and the bathrooms are good too! (trust us, you need clean atmosphere when nature calls!)
Its open from 7am until 2 am (last time we checked) and has also has a cool concept of ordering the set menu: Bring me food. You can find more details on this here.
Without a doubt, Hoxton Grill is one of the best places to work from in East London.
Check out Hoxton Hotel & Grill here
7- Ace Hotel
This workspace is located in the lobby of the Ace Hotel, following a trend of London hotels setting up a communal workspace. The best thing about this space is that it’s open 24 hours, so you can get to work any time with free wifi. The way the space is designed is that it’s made into different zones with furniture, glass, or steel screens as partitions. Its great for meetings as there’s a long 16-seat table and if you feel like you’ve worked hard enough for the day then make your way over to the bar and enjoy a much deserved drink! There is also a room at the back where we at Locappy have enjoyed some World Cup matches. We definitely think this is one of the best places to work in Shoreditch as it has both a relaxed and chill feel.
Thank you to Alexander who recommended this place to us!Check out Ace Hotel here
8- Forge & Co
Another great spot in Shoreditch is the Canteen at Forge & Co. Not only is it a great social work environment but it also has a really good lunch menu, making it a good informal meeting place. If you wanted to, you can book in advance for tables and sofas to ensure you get a space as sometimes they can get quite busy. Also, it gets a little bit louder towards the night, so its best to get your work done earlier in the day. Wifi is available and at a good speed. They also have another section called Workspaces, which deals with members. They have different kinds of memberships, all for a price of course, so if your thinking of making this workspace permanent then you can! Overall a good spot to work in London.Check out Forge & Co here
9- The Laundry
This is another really cool workplace we came across. It’s mainly for creative businesses and they developed the space from an abandoned 1960s commercial Laundry business which is pretty cool, hence the name. We worked at the Canteen & Bar where you can also have lunch and drinks, and it was nice because it wasn’t too packed. The wifi wasn’t the fastest but the chairs were comfortable. It was a little too cold for us to sit outside, but the area is nice and we would go back to it in warmer weather. We have to admit, it wasn’t all work and no play for Locappy when we visited The Laundry. We tried the Mexican Old Fashioned cocktail, which was just the Tequila kick we needed at the end of our day. Delicious!
Order: Made-to-order stir-fries from the Wok Station; marmalade Chelsea buns, seasonal salad bowls
96 Euston Rd, London NW1 6DB; peytonandbyrne.co.uk
Barber and Parlour
A slice of Shoreditch house without the pricey membership, this fairly new addition to the East London scene is ideal for those in need of holing up with their laptop for a few hours. The open kitchen serves lots of delicious things on toast, and a particularly strong selection of healthy brain food – millet, avocado, spinach and soft boiled egg is a protein powerhouse of a breakfast. Need a break from the grindstone? Get a quick trim or manicure in the on-site grooming parlours.
Order: Bulgur wheat, orange, fennel, olive & halloumi salad; Squash, chickpea, hazelnut, green bean; hummus with raw veg crudites;
64-66 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7DP; barberandparlour.com
The granddaddy of co-working spaces, the Ace’s lobby has it down to a tee: a sixteen-seater table with power sockets for everyone, a great yet unobtrusive soundtrack, a choice of Square Mile coffees and quick eats from the Bulldog Edition café counter (salad boxes, toasted sandwiches, pastries) or table service for more substantial plates from the Hoi Polloi restaurant menu. Open 24-hours a day, with a full-service cocktail bar to power you through.