Whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit it: Starbucks did get something right. They really knew how to create a work-friendly space we’d end up loving more than the office.
As most of us continue to work from home while cafes slowly open up, it’s undeniable that the temptation to work-from-cafe is definitely there. Whether it’s because you crave being around other humans again, you don’t know how to actually make coffee, or you thrive in an outside environment, there are many reasons why many of us enjoy work-friendly cafes.
However, not every cafe is a work-friendly cafe.
For starters, if you work on a laptop, you’ll need WiFi and sockets for charging. You may need a quiet ambience. You need a clean bathroom and maybe some food options. And most importantly, you need to know you’re not pissing off the cafe owner by blocking a table for a few hours.
It’s a bit of a challenge, but after running some of our very own trials, we’ve composed a list of some of our favourite work-friendly cafes in Bangkok. We didn’t want to include the admittedly great-yet-far-too-mainstream Starbucks, Coffee Clubs, or D’Ark, and aimed for more standalone cafes instead. We hope you do them a favour and order more than just an Iced Americano when you visit, and we hope your productivity is through the roof when you do. Stay safe, and enjoy this time before work-from-office (we never thought this would be a term) is back again.
[Hero and Featured Image Credit: Baan Dusit Thani]
If you’re not going to go to an actual library to work, at least go to something that acts like it. There’s so much to love about the minimalist, soothing Li-Bra-Ry coffeeshops, and the one at Jam Factory is especially calming to work in. Take a stroll through the gallery when you’re stuck with writer’s block, or pick up a book to inspire you. Located across the river, it’s a great way to carve out a little inspirational nook for yourself.
Locations: Several, but we like the one at Jam Factory on Charoennakorn best
Best for: Working on your novel, drawing out that storyboard, or coming up with a new idea
As a Bangkok city dweller, of course you know Roots. The micro-roastery has long been known for showcasing specialty Thai coffee, and is a local favourite. With several branches around town, it’s easy to think of Roots as just a pick-up-coffee-and-go kind of place, but sitting at the bar counter here is actually great for working. Feel the energy from the coffee grinders and put it into your work or studies. Very urban.
Locations: Several, but we like Sathorn best
Best for: Morning work, emails, and getting admin stuff out of the way
There’s hardly ever been a time when we visited Luka and didn’t see someone furiously typing away on their laptop. Bringing together a fun working environment with a really nice food and drink menu, the extremely beloved neighbourhood cafe has everything an afternoon of work could ask for. Sit downstairs (or even outside) if you want to be around the buzz of trendy customers, or upstairs if you seek more privacy.
Best for: Finishing up an article, report, or doing some market research
Rocket Coffee Bar serves specialty coffee and light bites, and offers the ideal environment for those who have that one dreaded item on their to-do list. Whether you take a seat at the bar counter or outdoors overlooking Sathorn Soi 12, the ambience is peaceful yet productive. A place where procrastination easily goes to die (which is a good thing).
Best for: Putting your head down and putting an end to that one project you’ve been procrastinating
Many of us ordered coffee beans from Sarnies during the lockdown, but nothing quite beats going to the charming old house in Charoenkrung and enjoying a fresh brew. Now with newly-launched sourdough bagels on the menu, we love going up to the second floor and working away in the second room, seemingly tucked away from the world. There’s definitely a sense of story here, which can really be inspiring for the dreamy types.
Location: Charoenkrung (though they also recently unveiled a new branch in Phloenchit)
Best for: Writing the first chapter of your novel, drafting a letter to your crush, or working on a secret play
A Clay Cafe has a very sweet charm about it, between the ceramic workshop studio downstairs, and the art gallery upstairs. You could visit this coffeeshop for those two reasons alone, though we also really like it for its work-friendly ambience. They serve their coffees and light bites on ceramic plates and cups made in-house, so there’s always a charming mug to look at between emails. Very cute.
Best for: Heavy work, from which you want to take a breather once in a while
Whilst you may know CRAFT from the plethora of puppy ‘grams, the coffeeshop at the Kimpton Maa-Lai is actually also a great place to work. They serve single origin coffee and blends from around Thailand with a crowd-pleasing food menu to suit. We like the relaxed ambience which lowers our stress levels whenever we sink into the arm chairs, and the added bonus of pet-friendliness is always a plus.
Best for: Light work that you can do in relaxed seating, casual meetings, meetings with your dog
Whilst several of the work-friendly cafes on our list provide options for vegans, none of them can beat Plantiful in this arena. Serving 100% whole foods, the plant-based cafe provides plenty of options for vegans to nibble on between work and studies. We love the cosy cushions for a home-y feel, and the floor-to-ceiling windows that allow plenty of natural light to inspire you. Everything you need for a wholesome session.
Location: Sukhumvit 61
Best for: Heavy work, which is best accompanied with healthy foods that won’t make you lethargic
Sometimes you just need a croissant to get you going. Dusit Gourmet within Baan Dusit Thani totally gets this. The small and adorable coffeeshop is perfect for an afternoon of work, accompanied by a few pastries and light bites. Depending on where you sit, you could be surrounded by greenery in the greenhouse, or with bustling Silom views outside. If you need a breather or two, you could go walk around the gardens or sit by the pool, too.
Best for: Refining your presentation, editing your peer’s work, working on a graphic design
Kaizen Coffee became famous for its coffee and is very much loved for it, yet in recent weeks has also been unveiling a slew of super ‘grammable dishes. Often featuring their homemade Kaizen Quinoa Sourdough, the work-friendly cafe is now also a haven for sandwich lovers, with many innovative items on their menu. They also make their own pickles and kimchi, so there’s plenty of good stuff for your gut.
Locations: Several, but we like Ekkamai best
Best for: Those who can’t work on a hungry stomach, breakfast work sessions, brunch-and-study dates
Maybe all you seek is a sleek, no-fuss working environment. For this, Artis Coffee Bangkok is a gem. They fully welcome students and hard workers to sit in their cafe and get stuff done. Roasting their coffee in-house, you’ll have a great selection of drinks to choose from, as well as some quick and easy bites like croissants and wraps. No pressure, maximum productivity.
Location: Sukhumvit 18
Best for: Finishing your entire workload before 5pm like a pro
Some people need a little bit of noise and action around them to really get going. If you’re one of these people, try Open House at the top of Central Embassy. You could go into the actual co-working space, or if you’re like us, you could sit on one of the couches scattered around the perimeter of the floor and look out onto Phloenchit while typing away. There’s a big bookshop to check out for inspiration, and plenty of dining options, too. Pizza, pasta, pad krapao, or bubble tea: here’s where you can have your work and eat your cake, too.
Best for: Coming up with an innovative business plan, finishing your manuscript, looking into a creative new venture