Fika (824 Tenth Avenue – Clinton)

I’ve been looking for a good alternative to the local Starbucks near Columbus Circle. While this outpost of Fika is a little further away than I’d hoped, it isn’t unreasonably so. I’ve been to this multi-level cafe several times and it always seems busy, whether on a weekday or weekend.

Fika serves coffee as well as a good selection of baked goods. The coffee is good but slightly on the pricey side. However, there is ample seating both downstairs and upstairs and the one bathroom is clean.. Good wi-fi and a decent number of outlets make Fika a good work location.

Ratings

  • Coffee/Food: 7/10
  • Service/Cleanliness: 8/10
  • Workspace: 8/10 (one bathroom)

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Louis in the Public Hotel (215 Chrystie Street, Lower East Side)

People usually don’t think about hotels as good workspaces but Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel is definitely a go to place if you’re on the lower east side. It’s one of those places that are great right now because no one goes but if it starts getting crowded, I’m not sure if the hotel will change their policies.

There is (currently) no problem with available seating. Four small tables on the side and for communal tables allow for sufficient seating and there is a power plug and two USB ports on each of the communal tables. Again, not a problem right now but it might be if it gets crowded.  Wifi is available and suits my needs.

While the coffee here is good, the food options are amazing. The counter at Louis has juices, pastries, yogurt, sandwiches (fried chicken sandwich!!), salads, desserts and more! Besides all the great food at the counter here, the Public Kitchen is also available right behind the seating if you want a full sit down lunch/dinner (reservations for dinner might be a bit more difficult).  If you do get a chance to eat at Public Kitchen, try the black truffle with farm egg pizza.  It’s pretty incredible.

As with many hotels, bathrooms are very clean. Here, communal sinks are outside of the men’s and women’s bathrooms. No need to touch the bathroom door after you wash your hands! Smart!

Right now, if I’m in the lower east side, this is absolutely the best place for me to work.  Between the food options, available power and clean bathrooms, I can hang out all day and, if I’m dressed properly, party into the night!

Ratings

  • Coffee/Food: 9/10
  • Service/Cleanliness: 10/10
  • Workspace: 10/10 (one bathroom)

Maman (22 W 25th St, NoMad)

This recently opened location of Maman sits between Broadway and Sixth Avenue and increases the availability of coffee shops in the neighborhood. Besides the standard coffee drinks, Maman also serves a full menu of breakfast, pastries, lunch, and brunch items. I didn’t sample any of the food but they all looked pretty good and my expectation is that this would be a good place to hunker down from morning on.

The shop is bright and welcoming with the coffee counter right by the door. They have all varieties of milk including oat milk. Soon you’ll need a menu just to decide what kind of milk to add. If you’ve never been, you might not realized that the various sugar and substitutes are located in drawers beneath the counter. Not intuitive but I suppose it saves space.

There is a decent amount of seating here and available outlets to charge your devices. Wifi is available although I didn’t test the speed. There is one unisex bathroom but it is clean sufficiently supplied. All in all, a good place to work for the day.

Ratings

  • Coffee: 7/10
  • Service/Cleanliness: 9/10
  • Workspace: 8/10 (one bathroom)

La Colombe (601 W. 27th, West Chelsea)

To say this La Colombe location is a bit out of the way is an understatement.  Located on 11th Avenue and 27th Street, it is far from any subway.  However, if you want to make sure you can get a seat somewhere with decent coffee, and you use Citibike (there’s a docking station across the street), this is the place to go.

I haven’t had the espresso at this La Colombe yet, only drip coffee, so I can’t speak to the skill of the baristas.  However, the coffee was good, if a tad expensive.  There are 3 sections of seating, a set of tables in front, stools by the window and a row of small tables in the back.  There are power outlets in the back area but only one outlet in the front.  Also, La Colombe itself does not provide any wi-fi.  There are 2 accessible access points fron the shop: “LinkNYC” and “Terminal Store Guest”.  I had a hard time connecting to LinkNYC but that may depend on where you’re sitting.  I was able to connect to Terminal Store Guest and the speed seemed to be ok.  It did disconnect a couple of times though.

The store is very clean and there was a girl going around picking up cups and plates, cleaning tables and sweeping the floor.  She looked like she was dressed for a very hip party so that was kind of odd.  There is just one restroom and it is reasonably clean as well.

Ratings

  • Coffee: 8/10
  • Service/Cleanliness: 9/10
  • Workspace: 4/10 (out of the way, limited wi-fi, limited outlets)


Public Restroom Rant

Toilet_seat_upThis argument has been around forever and, unless you live alone or in a fraternity house, you’ve had this discussion.  I never quite understood the argument about someone falling in if the toilet seat is up but that’s ok.  Happy wife, happy life…so whatever you do at home is up to you.  HOWEVER, public restrooms are where the “toilet seat down” decision no longer makes any sense to me.  I contend that public restrooms should ALWAYS be “toilet seat up”.

Assumption: People (of both sexes) feel that toilet seats are inherently dirty and don’t want to touch them.  Minimizing handling of the toilet seat is key.

I used to think that men were the problem, spraying all over the toilet seats.  However, in my discussions with some cafe owners, it seems the ladies room is just as bad.  Some women don’t want to sit down so they “squat and hover”.  If you think men have a difficult time not hitting the toilet seat, women don’t even have the benefit of being able to “point an appendage”

If we use the rule of toilet seat down:

  • Men who raise the toilet seat will not pee on the toilet seat
  • Men who don’t raise the toilet seat will most likely pee on the toilet seat
  • Men who sit will not pee on the toilet seat
  • Women who sit will not pee on the toilet seat
  • Women who hover will pee all over the toilet seat

If we use the rule of toilet seat up

  • Men won’t need to raise the seat so they will not pee on the toilet seat
  • Men who sit will lower the seat and will not pee on the toilet seat
  • Women who hover will not pee on the toilet seat
  • Women who sit will lower the seat and will not pee on the toilet seat

As you can see, with the toilet seat down option, we will most likely have a dirty seat, further causing people to not want to touch the seat to raise/lower and almost guaranteeing that the seat will be dirty.

With the toilet seat up option, we will most likely have a clean toilet seat since the only people that need to touch the seat are the ones who need/want to sit.  The only potential issue is if people lower the seat to use and then leave it down since WE ARE ALL CONDITIONED TO LEAVE THE TOILET SEAT DOWN!!!

I’m sure things most likely will never change but for those of us who like using public workspaces, it would be great if public restrooms are most likely clean rather than most likely disgusting.

Feel free to discuss in the comments.

 

Toby’s Estate Coffee (125 N 6th street, Williamsburg)

As a coffee shop,  Toby’s Estate Coffee in Williamsburg is the real deal.  They roast beans on-site,  do espresso, drip and pour over, have public cuppings every weekend and teach brewing classes. They also serve some breakfast and pastries as well. 

As a remote office, this is not for long stays.  There are no outlets as far as l can tell and there’s only one unisex bathroom, although it’s reasonably clean.  Service is also not particularly friendly.  

While it seems very popular, probably because of their fine coffee, I wouldn’t consider this a good option for workspace unless it’s brief or you have a long lasting battery. 

Ratings

  • Coffee: 9/10
  • Service/Cleanliness: 7/10
  • Workspace: 6/10 (no outlets)

Joe and The Juice (67 Spring Street, Soho)

Joe & the Juice is a Danish franchise that has just started to open stores in NYC.  They serve not only coffee but, as the name states, fruit juices and shakes.  If Starbucks made you change the way you order from a regular coffee to a grande skinny one pump no foam latte with an extra shot, it’s time to learn a new language.

The drinks are color coded to indicate size.  If it’s your first time, you’re going to want to study the menu so you know what you’re ordering.  The juices/shakes are pretty good as well and they keep it simple, up to around 3 ingredients, not 10 like some places.  Joe & the Juice sources its sustainable and organic coffee beans from a small cooperative in Honduras.  The espresso and drip coffee are both good and, while considered a dark roast, is not over roasted (ie. burnt) as “some places” can be.

The location is fairly large with ample seating.  It does tend to get crowded because you get not only the fringe of the NYU crowd but also a touristy Soho shopping crowd.  The music is loud and hopping so if working with loud music isn’t your thing, this isn’t the place to work.  There are some laptops out but it seems to be more about hanging out than working at this Joe & the Juice.  The wifi is good but there are limited power outlets so this isn’t a place you can stay all day unless you’re lucky enough to snag one of the premium seats.

There are 2 bathrooms and there doesn’t seem to be a line, although I’m not quite sure how that happens.  They are sufficiently clean but I can easily this cleanliness becoming a problem because of the crowds and turnover in this place.

Ratings

  • Coffee: 8/10
  • Service/Cleanliness: 8/10
  • Workspace: 7/10 (seats with power are hard to come by)