Selected by the U.S. News & World Report as the #1 place to live in the U.S. in 2017, Austin is a freelancer-loving city. The fastest growing city in the U.S. houses a plethora of high-profile tech companies that fuel The City of the Velvet Crown’s gig economy. The birthplace of the Freelance Conference—that says something in itself—offers plenty of job opportunities for remote workers, who seem to thrive here.
Working from home is the handiest option, but where do you go if you want to spice up your workday? After we analyzed which were the best coffeehouses for San Franciscan freelancers, we turned our eyes to the Live Music Capital of the World. Read on to discover which are the best coffee spots in Austin where you can work in peace.
An Austin original, Houndstooth Coffee is a chain that operates six coffee bars in Texas: three in Austin and three in Dallas. All locations feature a modern and minimalistic design, with sleek, clean lines, and are freelancer-friendly. Pretty quiet, with an upbeat and calm vibe, they induce a productivity enhancing mood that might be appreciated by those of you who need to focus on pressing tasks. All of Austin’s Houndstooth Coffee shops provide different types of seating, from two-person tables to bar seats and communal tables. Two of the locations, at 4200 N. Lamar Blvd. and 401 Congress Ave., have plenty of outlets in plain sight. However, the most recently opened spot, located at 2823 E. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., doesn’t have any power outlets; instead, it has USB charging ports near the bar seats.
Downtown Austin’s oldest independent coffeehouse, Hideout Theatre is a modern café with a historic and artsy vibe. Located right next to an improvisational theatre, it is a place that fits freelancers working in creative industries like a glove. The Hideout Theatre is spacious and provides ample seating, with lots of tables and even some cozy armchairs by the window. It usually is a good place to do some work, but it might get a bit too noisy when there’s an event going on. The Wi-Fi signal can be spotty, but, depending on what you have to do, that might not be a problem.
One of Austin’s staple coffeehouses, Caffé Medici is an ideal spot for those who want to enjoy a highly productive workday. Constantly ranking among the best places to grab a cup of French press coffee, this chain has five locations in the city, four of which are perfectly equipped to accommodate digital nomads. Each location has its own aesthetic, but they all provide ample seating inside and have a little patio outside. Most of them also offer fast Wi-Fi and plenty of outlets, so you can do your work unperturbed. Although the coffeehouses are frequently occupied by laptop users, it’s relatively easy to find an empty seat. As a bonus, most Caffé Medici spots are suitable for group work sessions.
Located right on Lake Austin’s shore, Mozart’s Coffee Roasters greets its guests with a stunning lake view. Boasting a European-inspired vibe, it’s a serene and relaxing place where you can easily impress potential business partners and lose track of time—especially on sunny days. The coffee shop features a large deck with rows of rustic benches, as well as some indoor tables, so you can take your pick. However, the number of outlets is limited, so it’s a good idea to come with your laptop fully charged. The Wi-Fi connection is not great—at least that’s what Yelp reviewers are saying—but if you don’t mind that, it might be a good place to work undisturbed. To the night owls’ delight, the coffee shop is open until 12 AM.
Another popular coffee chain, Halcyon is a cross between a coffeehouse, a bar, and a lounge that operates two spots in Austin—one at 218 West 4th St. and one at 1905 Aldrich St. Both are suitable for digital nomads, especially those who don’t mind working in a noisy environment. They can also be a good option if you want to grab an after-work drink without changing locations. Halcyon provides its customers with quite an extensive array of seating options, ranging from cozy window seats with cushions and pillows and comfortable sofas to high-top tables, bar seats, communal tables or private tables. The number of outlets available is decent and so is the Wi-Fi. If you want to treat yourself, you can always order some of their renowned s’mores.
Priding itself on being the first coffeehouse in Austin, Quack’s 43rd St. Bakery is renowned for its espresso, drip-brew and French press coffee, and for its oversized, baked-from-scratch sweet treats. Busy during rush hour, it can be a chill and laid-back workplace if you want to focus on your tasks while enjoying some baked goods. The place is quite spacious and has a decent number of tables that you can choose from. The Wi-Fi signal is good, too, and there are plenty of parking spaces in the area—a strong plus for some customers. However, the number of outlets is limited, so it might be a good idea to check your laptop’s battery before heading out.
With six coffeehouses in Austin and two more in the pipeline, the Summermoon chain is immersed in an accelerated expansion spree. Although not all locations are suitable for freelance work—the trailer in South Austin surely isn’t—most of them are designed to accommodate laptop users. The coffee shops welcome you with a homey ambiance and plentiful seating options. Depending on the location, you might be able to sit at a regular table, at a window seat, at the center island, at a laptop station, or even on a comfy armchair. There are plenty of outlets everywhere, the Wi-Fi signal is great, reviewers say, and the music is just right—not too loud, not too soft.
Specialized in direct-trade coffee and craft beers, Thunderbird Coffee is the perfect place for remote workers who like to enjoy a coffee in the morning and a drink in the afternoon. There are two locations in the city, each of them attracting a slightly different audience; you should go to the Cherrywood spot if you want to spend all your day there, otherwise you can go to the one in Brentwood. Both coffee shops bask in natural light and boast a modern design. They have plenty of seating options, but they’re usually packed with customers, so finding an empty spot might prove difficult sometimes. What’s worth noting is that the Brentwood coffee shop doesn’t have any power outlets.
Located at 2159 South Lamar Blvd., Patika is a sleek and modern café with an upscale vibe that features unique artwork and enjoys loads of natural light. If you want to have a group work session, to enjoy a highly productive day or to impress a business partner, this coffee shop would be a good option. The place provides a copious amount of indoor seating, filled with wooden tables and metal chairs, complete with a cozy outdoor patio where you can bring your dog. There are plenty of outlets in plain sight, the Wi-Fi is fast, too, and the music is nice. As a bonus, it’s relatively easy to find a parking spot in the area.
Operating three Austin locations, Epoch Coffee seems to be a favorite among the locals; however, the main attraction for freelancers is the North Loop shop, open 24/7. Boasting a homey atmosphere, it features loads of massive tables and even a few couches where you can spread out your belongings. Besides the indoor area, it has two outdoor patios filled with tables, and, most importantly, plenty of power outlets. The Wi-Fi signal is good, according to the reviews, and if you want to take a break, you can always settle down to a game of chess. Another option for those who want to enjoy a productive workday is the coffee spot located inside The Village. Although it isn’t open 24/7, it resembles the North Loop spot to a certain degree. The place basks in natural light and has plenty of tables to sit at, as well as some comfortable sofas and armchairs. According to the regulars, the Wi-Fi signal is good and the place is a bit quieter than the North Loop location.
A house turned coffee shop, Seventh Flag Coffee is the ideal second office when you want to work while enjoying some fresh air in a relaxing and laid-back environment. With a clean, rustic-minimalistic aesthetic, the place has a chill, creativity inducing vibe. Inside, the coffee shop is full of laptop users who transform the large communal tables and the high-top tables into workstations, especially since there’s a decent number of outlets available. Outside, the huge dog-friendly yard is filled with picnic benches, porch spots, and chairs facing the sidewalk. As long as your laptop has enough battery and the weather is nice, you can complete your tasks stress-free.
A small place with a deeply hipsterish vibe, Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors is an eclectic café abounding in luscious green plants. Frequented by a few local artists, this place is a haven for Millennial digital nomads. On rainy days, those of you who want to camp out with your laptops here can take a seat at the bar, at one of the indoor tables or at the large communal table. On sunny days, you can choose to occupy a two-person table outside, or, if you’re having a brainstorming session, a picnic table. Either way, you have plenty of options.
Based in San Antonio, Merit/Local Coffee has recently entered the Austin market by opening a coffee shop at 222 West Ave. The place is small, but cozy, and features a minimalistic design that’s in tune with the general aesthetic in the area. It boasts a hip, productivity inducing atmosphere that might suit you if you must finish something quickly. The seating, however, is limited, so finding an empty seat might be a challenge. There’s a communal high-top table, some window seats, as well as a few regular tables inside, accompanied by some tables outside. Of course, there’s free Wi-Fi.
A small and charming South American Bakery, Café Nena’i is a warm and welcoming place located in East Austin, at 1700 Montopolis Drive. This coffee spot has a laid-back atmosphere, ideal for those who need some quiet. It’s mostly a stop-and-go place, but it does have a few indoor and outdoor seats. Laptop-bearing customers can make full use of the small four-person communal table or can sit at the high-top window table. There’s also a small two-person table inside, if you want to hold a business meeting. Considering the size of the place, the seat-to-outlet ratio is excellent. In addition, Yelp reviewers say the Wi-Fi is pretty good, too.
Warm and welcoming, Vintage Heart Café is a small, cozy place where you can easily lose track of time and spend all your day. Featuring a mixture of modern, industrial, and vintage aesthetics, it has a friendly vibe emphasized by the soft background music. The coffee shop has a decent number of two-person wooden tables, a few four-person tables, some velvet couches and a few barstools. There are quite a lot of outlets, free Wi-Fi, and even a small parking lot in the back. At the same time, the place also has a small outdoor patio where you can work with your dog resting next to you.