As someone who works 99% of the time on her laptop, and can therefore work from anywhere with internet, it’s important to still get out of the house and interact with other humans. It sounds silly, but I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who work from home and feel the same way. Yes, maybe I get to stay in my pajamas all day, but there are also times that I don’t speak to another person until Jonah gets home at 5:15 p.m. Not great.
So I’ve always made a point of finding coffee shops in Portland that are good for working. The requirements are (fairly) simple: good internet connection, ample seating, plenty of outlets, preferably not too much noise, but also good taste in music (for those rare moments when my ears aren’t full of podcasts). There’s this handy website, Workfrom, that can help me find those spots. While good beverages are a plus, I also love places where I can grab a treat to snack on. Here are some of my favorites:
With this new location, Case Study finally came to my ‘hood. While I first fell in love with their fleur de sel caramel latte, they have lots of other tasty house made syrups and things for you to expand your coffee horizons. Past the beverages, they’ve got the fastest coffee shop internet I’ve experienced, not to mention incredibly nice staff and fantastic music choices (lots of Paul Simon, Elton John, and indie rock). In this new space, they’ve got a loft with plenty of seating, and I love the long communal table.
2) Tea Bar
This is quite possibly the most Kinfolk-esque establishment I have ever been to. A beautiful, open space on NE Killingsworth with a curated tea selection and blank white walls, big windows, and everything displayed just so. Tea Bar has some delicious tea lattes, like a Matcha Latte and a London Fog, as well as some other beautiful teas, which owner Erica Swanson is happy to tell you about. There are tables along the east wall, which also has a few outlets, but you’ve got to stake your claim. The communal table in the back is awfully appealing, but alas, there are no outlets there. It’s also important to note that between the blank walls and the concrete floor, it can get a little echoey and loud. You can read more about Tea Bar over on some friends’ blogs: Bakery Bingo and Martha Chartreuse.
I’ve written about The Sugar Cube before, but it bears repeating: this place is great. While there are only 4 tables plus some counter seating, and the outlets are few and sometimes require crawling on the floor to plug in, I come here All. The. Time. Why? It feels like you’re sitting in a friend’s kitchen while they make you cookies. Except that friend is super talented baker Kir Jensen. I love the music (you’ll often hear Sharon Jones or old Motown favorites), the big windows offer plenty of natural light, and for some reason, the sound of mixers and kitchen timers in the back is so comforting to me. Oh, and you can get some of the most delicious treats in town. My favorite is the toast plate with house made lemon curd (available only before 1pm).
This is my favorite neighborhood spot. The perfect distance for hopping on my bike, or taking a stroll if it’s sunny. There aren’t a ton of outlets (they’re all nestled in one corner near a two person table) or tables (3 plus a long communal table along the window) but gosh do I love it. The people working are always so kind and genuine, it has a nice little buzz, and there’s a nice energy in the air. The staff makes a delicious latte, and the internet works just fine. If you’re hungry, I highly recommend the biscuit (perfectly flaky and specked with black pepper) with whatever jam they’ve whipped up, or if you want something sweeter, the double chocolate orange cookie is chewy and perfect.
Runners up: Arbor Lodge, Coffee Division, Coava Coffee on Hawthorne, Tea Chai Te in Sellwood, Breken Café, Heart Coffee downtown, Townshend’s Tea on Alberta
I am always looking for new spots to try, so let me know in the comments if you have a favorite in town!