When I used to work (seems like a million years ago), all I ever wanted was to be able to work from home. Or in my case, a coffee shop. I love being out and about, and the idea of working around other people, in a nice environment was just a dream to me. One day, we were running a disaster recovery exercise, and I got to work from Tasha’s. I was SO happy.
I can’t remember who coined the word (Dion Chang, I think?), but the criteria for a coffice are 1) Wifi and 2) coffee. When I left work, I had 2 weeks to write about 6 weeks’ worth of Sunday Independent stories, ahead of my trips to the US and Europe. I spent every day in a new coffice, and I’ve narrowed down the best coffee shops to work at in Jozi for you. It’s funny how the vibe at these spots changes completely during the week vs. the weekend- there are more people out there than you think who are living the dream (working from home.)
1. Croft & Co for the best vibe
There’s something wonderfully warm about the wooden communal tables, dotted with Macbooks, with middle aged professionals rubbing shoulders (I spotted the editor of the Business Day there). The dark green walls and interesting lighting add to the vibe.
The menu is simple: for breakfast, your only option for eggs is scrambled. No, the kitchen won’t make you a fried egg or an omelette, no matter how nicely you ask. The take-it-or-leave-it approach adds to the appeal somehow, and the restaurant finds itself jampacked from 7am every day.
I opted for scrambled eggs with a side of wild mushrooms, which were done in a moreish creamy sauce with herbs. I needed to request a second slice of toast, but the sauce were delicious, and the eggs were as good as eggs can get. The Illy coffee was a little strong for me, but others may like it. The restaurant is a daytime only spot, except for Thursdays and Fridays, with Friday night being fillet Friday, where prego rolls(and nothing else) are served, while on Thursdays, a limited a la carte menu is available.
Address: 66 Tyrone Avenue, Parkview, Joburg. Call 011 646 3634. Website: https://www.facebook.com/CroftAndCo
2. Lacuna Bistro at the Maslow Hotel for the fastest wifi
Rishav sold his car about a month before we left, so for a time we were sharing a car. He works in Sandton, and often I’d have an hour or so to kill before fetching him. Lacuna Bistro, across from RMB in Sandton, was located perfectly for this. I often went to another coffee shop on this list in the morning, then I’d break up my day with an errand and finish off with a cocktail at Lacuna. See, the “coffice” word still works 🙂
Tables aren’t the most comfy for working (they’re quite low vs. the height of the couches), and the food isn’t great, but the cocktails are. Also, wifi is SUPER fast. The wifi at all the other places on this list is kind of choppy, but at Lacuna you can download files and browse at your leisure with no breaks in connection. There’s no password required for wifi, and you don’t feel pressure to order anything more than a drink. Another plus: fabulous bathrooms.
Address: Corner Rivonia Road and Grayston Drive, Sandton. Call 010 226 4600
3. Belle’s Patisserie for delicious treats
Belle’s has long been a favourite of mine for their amaze cupcakes and cakes, and more recently, the launch of “Belle’s Basics”, home style treats like cookies and the most delicious apple and cinnamon phyllo pastry treat. Again, the wifi connection isn’t great but it is a nice spot to people watch and they have blankies at every table. They’ve also launched a skinny menu with yummy salads on it and the coffee is good. I have such a sweet tooth and everything I’ve tried there has been excellent, so it’s a safe choice.
Address: Blubird Shopping Centre, Athol Oaklands Road, Birnam. Call 011 440 4474. Website: www.bellespatisserie.co.za
4. Warm & Glad for the best pancakes in the world
This is kind of a hipster spot, you’ll find lots of studenty-looking people working during the week, but it is a trendy vibe. I sat at the counter and ordered their AMAZING cinnamon and sugar pancakes which are quite simply the best pancakes I’ve ever had. Their cinnamon toast also gets rave reviews, but I haven’t tried this. The music is pumping and if you’re not working on anything too serious, this is a cool choice.
Address: 357 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall Park. Call 011 781 0455. Website: www.thebeachhead.co.za
5. Voodoo Lily Cafe for a quiet table by the window
If, however, you are working on something that requires concentration, I’d recommend Voodoo Lily. It doesn’t get too busy during weekday mornings, so you’ll be able to get a table in a corner and actually be productive. Food is regular coffee shop fare- on the better side of average. What’s cute is that they welcome pets- they even have a doggy menu!
Address: 64 St Andrew Street, Birdhaven. Call 011 442 6965. Website: www.voodoolilycafe.co.za
Other places I’ve been to to eat but not as a “coffice”, although they would fit the bill well: Park Cafe and Daleah’s. Do you have any gems I’ve missed out on?