There is just something about a coffee shop that is so alluring and seducing when one's to-do list is at its highest. Whether it's studying for the GMAT or an upcoming exam, needing to go "head's down" on a PowerPoint deck for an upcoming presentation, or just cranking out emails on a Friday morning, why is flocking to a nearby coffee shop to grind so attractive?
Perhaps it's the vibey lighting or bountiful natural light, or the muted lo-fi music whispering around a quiet space, but shifting settings in effort to "get things done" seems to spark productivity. Kat Boogaard monikers this sensation as the "Coffee Shop Effect," where a busy task list is coupled with a comforting coffee shop to yield a hyper-focused, while motivated, boost in accomplishment. Caffeine suddenly acts an internal intern in charge of one project: getting sh** done.
Below are my top six coffee spots in town that elicit the best habitats for 'working from home,' studying, reading, and the like. These coffee shops have the best variables for "the coffee shop effect," and will undoubtedly contribute the needed kindle to spark your next productivity sesh'. Cheers!
6. Medici (Springdale)
Highlights: Busy-but-subtle energy perfect for wanting a setting conducive for work, while lively. Surrounded by other folks also working, reading, engaging with peers. Can be seen as "an office away from the office," as it contains food, some distractions, and multiple areas where one can reset and refresh from another spot. Medici's Springdale location is perfect when you want just a little bit of chatter and action around you, most suitable for a light WFH afternoon or laid-back Friday.
Area: East Side
Address: 1023 Springdale Rd Suite 1A, Austin, TX 78721
5. Trianon Coffee
Highlights: "Studious" atmosphere usually chock full of studying or newspaper-reading. The coffee shop will usually be occupied by students studying, making it a great place to grab the noise-canceling headphones and go "head's down" on schoolwork or work. Trianon also has a closed-off "board room" perfect for tutoring sessions, board meetings, and white-boarding, available by appointments.
Area: West Lake
Address: 3654 Bee Cave Rd Ste A, Austin, TX 78746
4. Epoch Coffee (North Loop)
Highlights: Epoch's North Loop location elicits that "neighborhood" coffee shop vibe, while providing a space for productivity. The lamps and lighting make it very cozy to either read or study, and the large crowds make the space feel comfortable and inviting. This location is also open late (midnight), making it a great place to "change offices" at night in order to get some work or last-minute studying in before daybreak.
Area: North Loop
Address: 221 W N Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
3. Bennu Coffee (Highland)
Highlights: Bennu is known for it's studious and open-24-hours qualities, but its new Highland location adds a serious dose of "vibes." Adjacent to an ACC campus, the Highland Bennu carries a classic "study" or "library" vibe, filled with leather sofas, desk lamps and wooden accents. It is very much reminiscent of a library, perfect for setting up shop at a single desk or group table to study or read. It rarely gets super crowded, so finding a comfy space with outlet access will be no issue.
Address: 109 Jacob Fontaine Ln suite 600, Austin, TX 78752
2. Bennu Coffee (East Side)
Highlights: Bennu's East Side shop is as 'prime for productivity' as they come. The simple interior design and mix-match furniture selections are clearly not priorities, as the focus is on productivity and accessibility. Like tentacles, long extension chords dangle from the ceiling to provide outlet access, and the minimal lighting is perfect for concentration and focus. Bennu's East Side location is always very quiet (like a library) and filled with folks studying or working, making it a great place to set up shop and grind.
Area: East Side
Address: 2001 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78702
1. Flightpath Coffeehouse
Highlights: Flightpath sits only blocks from Epoch Coffee in the North Loop area, but carries a distinctly different vibe. The shop has multiple rooms, inside and outside, that are conducive for going heads down to study, write, read, or work on "work" work. I often build up either productivity or focus just from the osmosis from the many hard-working people around me at Flightpath, and the vibe it gives off from the many graduate students and parked bikes makes it especially attractive. Locals and students alike have flocked to Flightpath since 1992, making it the best spot in town to focus and grind.
Area: North Loop
Address: 5011 Duval St, Austin, TX 78751
Honorable mentions: Monkey's Nest, both Sa-Tén locations, Houndstooth (East side), Mozart's, Cherrywood Coffeehouse, Starbucks (Mueller location)
For me, from a productivity perspective, a coffee shop is the office without the pressure. Whether it's the corporate pressure of dressing up and being in an unlikable office space, or, the social pressure of having to make small talk or be constantly surrounded by people (both peers and strangers), a vacation away from these notions is comforting and less stressful. A coffee shop elicits an environment of safety, novelty and casualness, prime for both getting work done or simply enjoying the space. Shifting settings is like a focus "refresh," where the physical environment steps in to provide a positive impact to productivity. When coupled with a crafted chai latte or mug of dependable drip coffee, in a cozy coffee shop, one's to-do list, tasks or book begins to fly by.