In an effort to keep my business running as lean and mean as possible, I don’t pay for a dedicated office space. Having previously spent tens of thousands of dollars at WeWork in a business that I was formerly a partner of, I elected to have our team of three at Coastline Creatives work out of a series of coffee shops around the city, and other public spaces. Some of the factors that contributed to this decision were the large amount of remote work our team does thanks to our collective travel schedules, the fact that we usually buy a coffee/tea as a part of our daily routine anyway (this is usually the “cost of entry” for most local spots), we don’t need an office space to store materials like some other businesses might, and we like being able to mix up where we work every day.
For now, this is a good fit for our team, but as I anticipate my agency to grow through hiring in 2020, we may opt for a co-working space like Staples Connect (they’re launching in Massachusetts in February 2020), Industrious, or Oficio. Until then, you can usually find me at one of the below spots on any given week day in Boston.
I hesitate to share this little gem that you find in the basement of Suitsupply on Newbury Street because I want to keep it all to myself, but the team there is too friendly, the food it too good, and the decor is too cute not to share! Food and Beverage Director, Stacey Su, continues to knock my socks off with the perfect lunch options and one of the best matcha lattes in the city – always served with the tastiest little cookie on the side!
I’m not a coffee drinker (crazy, I know!), but if you are, know that this is a an espresso based bar, and you won’t find any drip coffee here. Want a spot that transitions seamlessly from a work zone to a place for after-work drinks? Stick around after 5PM and discover their well-curated beer and wine list, and well as sip on some tasty cocktails.
I can’t stress this enough: Their staff is the most hospitable in all of Boston!! Our team frequents here often, and they are always asking about our work, sharing their thoughts on our recent Instagram posts, and making sure we have everything we need. If you’re lucky enough to be on a first name basis with the Susu squad, you won’t want to work, or get your coffee, anywhere else.
Address: 240A Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116
Want to feel the hustle and bustle of a big office building without having to pay the rent check? Swing over to the lobby at 100 Federal Street and pull up a stool at one of the high-top desks, which conveniently have tons of outlets for your necessary electronics. One of the great things about this spot is that because the lobby is so spacious, there is no social requirement to purchase anything. Boom!
However, if you’re hungry there is a Blue Bottle in the heart of the space, and two other food vendors (one being Bailey & Sage, which has super tasty sandwiches!). If you’re balling on a budget and want to bring your lunch from home – no problem here. Tons of employees from the building routinely come down on their lunch break with a brown bag from home.
Address: 100 Federal Street, Boston, MA 02110
If you find yourself by the Prudential Center, stop by Jaho’s biggest location on Huntington Ave. A couple of reasons I like this spot: 1) It really is massive, and unlike other coffee shops, you aren’t hunting for a seat. 2) They have a pretty expansive menu, and have lots of alternatives to coffee, which is a bonus for me! 3) Lots of plugs are floating around, so you’re not usually worried about making sure your laptop has juice.
If you’re looking for a cute/photogenic coffee shop, this probably isn’t your bag. The decor is relatively corporate, and while that means it’s comfy, it’s not Instagram-worthy.
Address: 116 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116
You can’t visit Boston without making a trip to Tatte (pronounced like ‘latte’). With bunches of locations in both Boston and Cambridge, you’ll be hard pressed to find one that isn’t within walking distance of your apartment, meeting location, or hotel. Here’s the deal with Tatte… their food is amazing, the matcha lattes are one of my favorites in the city, and they are beyond photogenic, but they aren’t super duper work friendly.
Even so, once a week I manage to find myself working out of one of their locations for a full day. Some things to keep in mind, their tables aren’t super comfortable to work at, so you’re better off sitting along one of the counters, which is also where you can usually find one of the few outlets. Their staff is a little snobby when it comes to people working at their locations. I do my best to ignore it, but sometimes you feel like you’re being pushed out the door even if you spend $40 on food and drinks throughout the day.
Now onto the important stuff: the food! If you’re a first timer, you should definitely order the shakshuka. If you find yourself more regularly and are looking to mix it up, try the lamb plate! Low key it is the best dish on the menu.
Address: 125 Summer St, Boston, MA 02110 (pictured)
Other Recommended Locations: Back Bay – 399 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116, Seaport – 200 Pier Four Blvd, Boston, MA 02210, and Fenway – 1352 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215
At this point, you probably have concluded that I love a good matcha latte. And, if you’re looking for the most authentic one in the city, you have to go to Ogawa. Located in the heart of the financial district, this place gets busy during peak hours, but is generally pretty calm the rest of the day. The location is small, however, and you may find that the only three tables in the place are fully occupied. They do have traditional Japanese stadium seating, but I don’t find this comfortable for a full work day.
If you are lucky enough to snag a seat at one of their tables, there are a few outlets along the walls. Because the tables are close to the front of the restaurant, they do have a tendency to get a little cold in the wintertime during peak hours when the door is opening and closing consistently. All and all, this is a good spot if you need to do some photo editing, or have more monotonous work (expense reports anyone?!), but I wouldn’t recommend it for deep thinking, where you may need to have a bit more personal space and less distractions.
Address: 10 Milk St, Boston, MA 02108
Yes, I know this is a chain… but! on the weekends, it is usually one of my go-to’s to get work done. Their shops are usually cozier, featuring booths, fire places, and comfy decor. During the week, all of their locations get super busy, but if you scoop yourself a booth, you can post up there all day no problem. They typically have outlets in all of their booths, and even on the floors under the communal tables. The staff is super hands off (in a good way), meaning no one bugs you when you camp out for the whole day.
Even though they are a chain, they do some things well in the food and beverage realm. I’m a big fan of their chai lattes, and they also carry kouign amann pastries, which are my favorite! I will say, my coffee drinking counterparts don’t love the coffee that they pour here, so figured I would disclose that to you guys! My only other pet peeve, is the way they manage the line and steps of service. You end up standing in line way longer because the coffee bar is behind the food offerings and there is no dedicated team member checking you out. It can be a bit confusing for first-timers, and generally, I’d prefer to put my order in and wait to hear my name called instead of standing in line that whole time. In the grand scheme of things, though, not a huge deal.
Address: 375 Assembly Row, Somerville, MA 02145
Other Recommended Locations: Fort Point – 368 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210, Downtown Crossing – 10 Summer St, Boston, MA 02110
Another spot in the financial district is this little gem! I would say this spot isn’t really known for doing work, and is mostly frequented by folks in the building who are looking to bring a jolt back to their desk. What that means is that it isn’t super crowded and you don’t feel like you’re on top of one another. Winning! Their communal table is great if you’re working in a team, and you don’t ever feel like you’re being pushed out of place to make space for other customers.
This is probably one of my favorite spots to hunker down and get work done, however, they have limited options for us non-coffee drinkers, and the pastries leave something to be desired. They don’t have any other food options, so unless your on the intermittent fasting trend, you’ll likely have to step out for lunch. If you can get past that, this really is a great local spot to work.
Address: 121 Devonshire St, Boston, MA 02109
CAFE BY SALON (currently closed, may be relocating)
Honorable mention is this Beacon Hill interior design store that features a small coffee bar, with other offerings, like bubble tea – yum! Generally, I would say that Cafe by Salon is a better spot for in-person meetings rather than a full day of work because they don’t have standard tables or outlets that make working a breeze like the other locales I mentioned in this post. However, I couldn’t very well put a post together featuring coffee shops in Boston without mentioning this cute shop on Charles Street. And, if you need a spot that is more laptop friendly later in the day, there is a Tatte right down the street.
Address: 122 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114
Note: While I took all of these photos and have the rights to them, some were taken for Coastline Creatives’ client, No. 284 – a guest house in Back Bay. They share Boston go-to’s like the ones listed above and more. I highly recommend you give them a follow on Instagram at @no284boston. 🙂