To say Seattle is known for its coffee is a bit of an understatement. I live in the city that invented Starbucks.
But that doesn’t mean every Seattle coffee shop is a great place for getting work done. I’ve been in 25 different Seattle coffee shops, and only a few can meet my high freelancing standards. My rankings are based on the following criteria:
—Fast, reliable WiFi
Seriously, there is nothing more frustrating than sitting down, opening your laptop, and finding out the sluggish WiFi could use some caffeine more than you.
I like a bit of room to spread out, and I don’t like wondering if the person sitting next to me is close enough to read my emails. More importantly, I like knowing no matter when I go, there will always be a seat open.
Some coffee shops are way overheated. If I can feel the warmth radiating up against my face, it’s too cozy.
Since it’s Seattle, I’m guaranteed to get a good cup of coffee nearly everywhere I go. But good cookies? That’s another issue entirely.
With that in mind, here are my top five freelancing spots in the city:
1. Roy Street Coffee and Tea, 700 Broadway East
Why do I return to Roy Street and pass by other nearby coffee shops?
Because Roy Street is enormous and provides a variety of comfortable seating options: overstuffed armchairs, single-person tables, small group tables, big community tables. Because the WiFi is fast and furious. Because the door code to the restroom is always the same, so I don’t have to bother a barista every time I need the facilities. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count.
Image via Grant P. / Yelp
2. Ballard Coffee Works, 2060 NW Market Street
Ballard Coffee Works is an incredible place for freelancers, and I’m not just saying that because they sell amazing baked goods. The entire place seems to be designed for people who want to get work done. It’s spacious, has super-fast WiFi, keeps tables reasonably spread out so you aren’t bumping into people, and the soundtrack plays all of my favorite “work it, make it, do it” music—I’m looking at you, Daft Punk.
Image via Dylan R. / Yelp
3. Stage Door Cafe, 208 N 85th Street
Stage Door Cafe is a hidden gem in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. It’s a bit of an introvert heaven because it is both spacious and rarely crowded. It’s also quiet, which is rare in the coffee shop world.
When I’m in Greenwood, I walk by the always-packed Neptune Coffee to settle down here. It’s the coffee shop for people who can’t work when they’re surrounded by a lot of ambient stimulation. For a nice bonus, try the tomato soup.
Image via Rick R. / Yelp
4. Wayward Coffeehouse, 6417 Roosevelt Way NE
If you go to Wayward Coffeehouse, you’ll see my face on the wall—I play geeky folk music there once or twice a year—but that’s not why I’m recommending this coffee shop. Wayward stands out for selling, hands down, the best specialty coffee drinks in the city that also satisfy sci-fi sensibilities.
I’ll take your Pumpkin Spice Latte and offer you Wayward’s Kobayashi Maru Latte, named after the famous Star Trek cadet test, which combines blackberry and orange into a perfect, creamy blend. Here are a few more of their geek-themed offerings:
-The Mudder’s Mocha, which adds a kick of wasabi to the classic mocha flavor in honor of the pungent Mudder’s Milk from Joss Whedon’s Firefly.
-The vanilla Iocane Latte, perfect for Princess Bride fans who have spent the past five years building up an immunity to iocane powder.
-The Devil’s Trap Latte, a Supernatural beverage that combines cinnamon and cherry.
Wayward Coffeehouse also has comfortable seating, great WiFi, and plenty of Firefly, Doctor Who, and Sherlock art to enjoy.
Image via Kristine H. / Yelp
5. Ada’s Technical Books, 425 15th Avenue East
Amidst all the competition, Ada’s Technical Books has some of the best coffee in Seattle. The combination bookstore/coffee shop has plenty to inspire, starting with the stacks of mathematics, engineering, and technology-themed books that line the walls. Sit down at one of the glass-topped tables to get your work done, and you might find yourself opening a laptop over a telescope or a slide rule. Each table has a built-in shadowbox filled with tools.
And if you like Ada’s enough to turn it into your permanent office, they also offer access to a coworking space on the second floor.
Image via Mooshie R. / Yelp