The Coffee Shop Matrix: Freelancers vs. Babies

The Coffee Shop Matrix: Freelancers vs. Babies

The X-axis: Good for Working vs. Good for Playing. The Y-axis: All of the Kids vs. None of the Kids.

(clockwise from left) Tea Lounge: Though the baby count is a Park Slope punchline, Tea Lounge is and remains one of the best places to get work done in the Slope. Yes, it’s noisy. Yes, sometimes there’s breastfeeding happening. Yes, there are an awful lot of toddlers, and yes, an awful lot of them seem to be crying it out. But unlike some of the other, quieter, less…youthful? (average age: 11 months) cafes around town, Tea Lounge is big enough that you can sit all day on a cup of coffee and a refill and feel only moderately guilty about it. Also! The WiFi works almost 100% of the time and there are enough outlets for all, with moderate jostling. Wednesday mornings are best avoided unless you’re in the market for a sing-along, in which case, come on down. (837 Union Street)

Postmark Cafe: Postmark is maybe less than the most comfortable cafe you’ll ever sit at, and maybe has a higher pre-teen population than one might consider ideal (what up, MS 10?), but — as one wise Yelp-er put it — they’ve got a “campus coffee shop feel,” which makes it ideal for work and/or procrastination. Their two-room setup means there’s space for designated (and well-used) child-friendly area. It feels a little bit too much like the set of an early ’90s sitcom for getting serious work done, but for low-key computing with a family-friendly vibe, Postmark is pretty ideal. (326 6th Street)

‘sNice: Baby central. Toddler central. During lunchtime, also middle school girl central. No laptops from noon to 3pm on weekdays (except at crowded-but-servicable communal tables); no laptops at all on weekends. In what seems to be a passive-aggressive attempt to alienate the freelance crowd, the WiFi works maybe 60% of the time. Maybe. (315 5th Avenue)

Du Jour Bakery: A newcomer on the Park Slope cafe scene, what happens with this place is TBD. So far, it’s studying students and nannying nannies. Mysteriously, the MS 10 crowd doesn’t seem to have discovered it yet (it’s only a matter of time), but toddlers and their guardians sure have. Still, the size of the place (large), the number of tables (many), and the WiFi (good) make Du Jour worth a try for some mid-morning work. By afternoon, it’s a lost cause. (365 5th Avenue)

Cafe Martin: Pretend you’re in Europe, where they are very civilized and don’t use the Internet because they are too busy philosophizing/reading Euro-Harpers/drinking buckets of red wine and espresso. No WiFi and no outlets, but also relatively few and generally well-behaved children. Extreme coziness makes it a great place to chat, but a bad place to tell secrets. If you bring a kid, have them speak French — it’ll be better that way. (355 5th Avenue)

Noella Brew Bar: Another neighborhood newcomer, Noella is seems to be positioning themselves as a coffee shop for grown-ups — their events calendar includes no sing alongs, no story times, and no Mommy and Mes. It may or may not be the most comfortable space in the area — I’m voting maybe not — but small, separate tables, general quiet, reliable WiFi, and tons of outlets mean it’s a nice place to work. Seating is limited to an hour at peak times, though, suggesting that you should probably write your dissertation elsewhere. (72 7th Avenue)

Kos Kaffe: Tied with Gorilla for most Macs in Park Slope (anyone want to do an official study?), this place is all laptops all the time. Plentiful outlets, reliable WiFi, great light. No A/C is a major drawback; now that it’s fall, who cares? There’s a more social section to the right of the counter, which is ideal for conversations/lunch dates/things not involving Apple products. (251 5th Avenue)

Forty Weight: Delicious! Ultra-civilized! WiFi! Quiet enough to work without headphones! On the possible minus side for the introverted and the claustrophobic, most of the (ample) workspace is around one enormous communal table, which means that it’s probably also a bad place to write erotica and/or classified documents. Otherwise, though, baby-free and law-library silent, at least before they start serving real food around lunchtime. (492 6th Avenue)

Gorilla Coffee: The icon of the Park Slope freelance scene, Gorilla has a devoted following of creative-types who weathered the cold-brew scandal of ’12 and came out on the other side. They’ve cracked down on the excessive lingerers by covering up the outlets, so laptoppers beware: you can only stay as long as you’ve got battery power. Dark, crowded, and aggressively hip, they’ve managed to stay stroller-free — of the Park Slope old guard, it’s the anti-Tea Lounge. (97 5th Avenue)

Two Moon Art House & Cafe: Because it’s on 4th Ave, and because it’s relatively new, and because (maybe?) they’ve been cultivating the evening crowd, Two Moon is still a relatively hidden gem. With extremely consistent WiFi, tons of outlets, and plenty of seating, it’s not necessarily the most atmospheric place in the Slope (depending, I suppose, on one’s definition of “atmosphere”), but it’s a fantastic place to camp out for hours: uncrowded but not so empty it’s awkward, outlets for everyone, etc. That said, be warned: they host some serious sing-alongs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, during which the entire toddler population of Park Slope descends to scream Old MacDonald in semi-unison — check the schedule to scream along, or to steer clear. (315 4th Avenue)

What did we miss? What are we wrong about? Anyone got supplementary intel?

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