San Jose, the capital of Silicon Valley, is home to a large community of independent workers who benefit from an abundance of remote jobs available in the area. After all, the affluent tech companies headquartered in the city and its surroundings provide ample opportunities for whoever wishes to grab them. In addition, freelancing can be quite lucrative: according to Time magazine, the average hourly rate of a U.S. freelancer is $31, while 9-to-5 workers earn about $27 an hour. Although digital nomads don’t have to go to a traditional office every day, they do need a place to conduct their work. Some are fine working in the comfort of their own homes, but some might want to find a more unconventional workspace. Coworking hubs are one option; coffeehouses are another.
In our previous articles, we revealed which coffee shops are likely to be a good fit if you want to get work done in San Francisco, Austin, and Jacksonville. Today, we are going to explore the San Jose, Calif., coffeehouse scene and present a selection of freelancer-friendly places ideal for caffeine-rich work sessions. Read on to discover where you can camp out with your laptop.
Founded in 1966 by Alfred Peet, who was nicknamed “the godfather of gourmet coffee in the U.S.,” Peet’s Coffee is a staple on the Californian market. The specialty coffee roaster and retailer has a strong presence in San Jose, operating 10 coffee spots spread out all over the city. All of them have a similar, rustic-modern aesthetic, featuring a warm, welcoming ambiance, which is perfect for you to focus on your projects or to strategize with your partners. Most places have both indoor and outdoor seating, ranging from wall or window seats and two-person wooden tables to communal tables. However, it’s probably a good idea to bring your laptop fully charged—there’s a limited number of outlets available.
A San Francisco-based coffeehouse chain, Philz Coffee operates one location in San Jose, at 118 Paseo de San Antonio Walk. Renowned for its drip coffee and its cozy atmosphere, the coffee shop is ideal for days when you don’t need any stress in your life. Laptop-bearing customers are a daily sight, so you’ll feel right at home among other remote workers, provided you find a seat—the place is packed sometimes. This coffee spot has an unpretentious, laid-back look, with lots of natural light and a decent amount of seating for its size. Inside, you can claim for yourself a comfy couch, an armchair or a two-person table. There’s also an outside patio, in case you want to bask in the sunlight while you tackle your tasks.
A national franchise specialized in açaí bowls, Vitality Bowls operates 30 locations in California alone, three of which are in San Jose. Hungry digital nomads will be thrilled to find a cool, work-friendly environment where they can squeeze in some work and enjoy a colorful meal in the meantime. To your delight, all locations provide free WiFi and have plenty of outlets in plain sight, so you won’t risk running out of battery right when you need it most. Boasting a youthful, hipsterish vibe, Vitality Bowls shops provide both indoor and outdoor seating. You should keep in mind that the tables are close to each other, and so therefore there isn’t much privacy, but apart from that it can a good place for a remote office.
An Italian coffee house located right in the heart of downtown San Jose, Caffe Frascati is a spacious place with an intense retro vibe. A piano in the front, a photo gallery on the wall, a huge window that allows plenty of light to get inside, and a comfy seating area: all these will make you feel like you’ve traveled to Europe. Café Frascati is outfitted with plenty of tables lined up against the walls, but if you want more intimacy, you can grab a seat on the mezzanine level, designed to resemble a living room. The place has a decent amount of charging ports where you can plug in your laptop, and provides free WiFi to its customers. Boasting a chill ambiance, it’s a great spot for a productive work session.
If you don’t know where to meet up with your team and discuss your business endeavors, then you can head over to B2 Coffee. Part of the San Pedro Market, this warehouse-style coffee shop has an open space layout and a work-friendly ambiance, especially fit for group work. The place provides plenty of space for freelancers to sit, plug in, and conquer their tasks. There are large communal tables, semi-private booths, stools, high-tops, benches, and comfy chairs—all waiting to be claimed. On the downside, the number of outlets is limited, and it can get pretty loud, so it’s best to have a pair of headphones with you.
Located on the site of a former gas station, Roy’s Station Coffee & Teas is a small, but inviting coffee shop in the heart of San Jose’s Japantown. Featuring exposed brick walls, complete with metal tables and chairs, the place has an industrial-chic ambiance and a hipster vibe. Inside, there isn’t much space, only a few regular tables and a side table outfitted with outlets, but it can accommodate a few independent workers. Luckily, there’s a larger outdoor patio where you can squeeze in some work while sipping your coffee. A strong plus for some, the coffee shop is pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your beloved dog with you.
A coffee shop, a taproom, a workspace, a family-style eatery, and an event space: Forager can be whatever you want it to be. Located in the SoFA district, on the site of the former billiard hall at 420 South 1st St., it can be a veritable haven for digital nomads—especially for claustrophobic ones. A massive, barn-like place with an open-plan layout, it has a very breathable setup, with tables spread apart from each other. Featuring exposed brick walls, a high, unfinished ceiling, and hanging lights, Forager boasts a very relaxing, yet stimulating vibe. Once inside, you can easily lose track of time and spend hours on end immersed in your tasks. The coffee house is filled with huge communal tables, but there are also some bar seats and a lounge area outfitted with comfy couches. The background noise level is decent, the WiFi signal strong, and, if you’re lucky enough to grab a seat near a wall, you’ll be in reach of an outlet, Yelp reviewers say.
A quaint place located at 5325 Prospect Road, Dolce Bella Chocolates & Cafe prides itself on its homey, relaxing ambiance. Spacious and quiet, it can be a productivity inducing workspace for freelancers, if they don’t get distracted by all the sweets available! Filled with small dark-wooden tables with padded chairs, the coffee shop has plenty of space for you to get some work done or even host a business meeting. Furthermore, there’s a decent amount of power outlets spread throughout the café, in case your laptop’s battery is about to let you down.
Don’t be intimidated by its long name: Yeganeh Bakery & Kafe Unik, “the first and only all-natural whole wheat Sangak bakery” in the city—as stated on its website—is a perfect spot for remote working. A large place, it has two rooms: a lively one in the front, for when you don’t mind working in a noisier environment, and a quiet one in the back, ideal for the days when you really have to focus on what you’re doing. Located at 3275 Stevens Creek, within walking distance of Santana Row, it has a rustic-industrial look and a hipster, yet unpretentious ambiance. In terms of seating options, the place has plenty of large, dark-wooden communal tables, as well as smaller, more intimate, two- or four-person ones. There’s also a small outdoor terrace, in case you’d rather work outside. Last but not least, the WiFi signal is strong and the food is delicious, according to Yelp reviewers.
Located inside SoFA Market, Vero’s Coffee Bar is a family-owned coffee shop active on the San Jose market since 2014. Part of a larger food court, it might not be a good fit if you want to spend hours on end working without being disrupted by anything. It is, however, a good spot to grab a hot cup of coffee and use the free WiFi connection to send that dreaded email you keep postponing.Boasting a cool, modern-industrial aesthetic, the food court welcomes its guests with large wooden communal tables and three-person tables. There’s also an outdoor terrace outfitted with wooden benches and high-top tables, if you want to take in some fresh air and get some work done at the same time.
Chromatic Café is a cute, well-lit coffee shop located at 17 North 2nd St., within walking distance of St. James Park. Designed more as a drop-and-go place, it has limited seating: only four tables and some stools by the window. However, there are a few outlets available, so it can be a good remote office for freelancers who want to minimize distractions. The place has a warm, uplifting ambiance, enhanced by the airy layout and the luscious green plants on the shelves. It’s a pet-friendly place, so you’re welcome to bring your dog. On the downside, the café closes at 3 p.m., which might be inconvenient for some.
Hub’s Coffee is a family-owned coffee shop that aims to serve as a meeting point for the local community. Located at 630 Blossom Hill Road, the place has a rustic, homey feel, and a non-corporate vibe which will probably be appreciated by independent workers running away from the traditional 9-to-5 office setup. Inside, you’ll find plenty of small, dark-wooden, two-person tables, plus a couch at the back and some window seats. Outside, there’s a small patio where you can bring your dog. The ambiance is rather quiet, so you can focus on your tasks or brainstorm ideas without being easily distracted. If you need to take a break you can grab a board game from the bookcase or you can join the next open mic night.
Located at 950 The Alameda, Crema Coffee Roasting Co. seems to be a favorite among coffee-loving students and digital nomads—at least according to Yelp reviewers. A cute and quiet coffee shop, the place is filled with laptop-using customers, who turn the space into their personal, unconventional workspace. The spacious setting offers plenty of seating arrangements, varying from large group tables and couches to small, intimate round tables that can accommodate up to three people. There’s also a cute outdoor patio, filled with two-person tables, if you want to work outside. The WiFi, however, can be spotty at times, Yelpers say.