London is home to hundreds of stylish cafes that serve brilliant coffee and delicious snacks. However, not all of these coffeeshops are appropriate for freelancers looking to complete some client work on a laptop. Some cafes are so busy, you’ll never find a table. Others instruct their staff to upsell more brews every ten minutes, which can make for an expensive sitting. The best spots for London hot desking are relaxed coffee shops, which welcome laptop warriors.
The establishments on this list are all happy to host a freelancer and their laptop for a morning/afternoon of work. They make great coffee, serve affordable snacks, offer fast broadband and have enough space to accommodate slow-sipping cafe-goers.
Mousetail Coffee – Borough
The branch of Mousetail Coffee Stories on Borough High Street is based in the John Harvard Library. It boasts an enviable blend of productivity vibes and great tasting coffee, which makes it perfect for freelancers. The internet connection is strong and there are lots of spacious wooden tables and raised benches to work at. Friendly staff who run the coffee bar are happy to share their great knowledge of coffee and recommend drinks based on the seasons. Think velvety flat whites in winter and sharp, iced espresso and tonics in the summertime. Coffee costs around £3.00 and there is a selection of paninis and salads from £4.50.
Mousetail Coffee, Borough
Doppio – Kentish Town
The espresso bar at the Kentish Town Doppio Coffee Warehouse is a great place to settle down with your laptop for a morning/afternoon of London hot desking. Set in an interesting Victorian studio, the cafe plays concentration-boosting modern jazz and has the aesthetic of a New York loft conversion, with its makeshift wooden storage and spotlighting. The nearside of each wooden bench lies within easy reach of a plug to keep your devices powered up. Coffee costs around £2.70.
Doppio, Kentish Town
Batch & Co Coffee – Streatham Hill
Batch & Co is a spacious coffee shop with a plethora of hip fittings. Filament bulbs hang from the wall, cutlery rests in stripped plum tomato tins, and reclaimed wood certainly makes an appearance. The coffee, cocktails and sourdough toasties are a delight, as are the chatty, unpretentious staff. It’s a light and airy venue with enough room to cater for both the profitable brunch crowd and the slow burning freelance community who love to frequent this friendly establishment. A portion of V60 pour over coffee, which provides two cups, costs £3.50.
Batch & Co Coffee
Cafe Van Gogh – Oval
Cafe Van Gogh is a calming oasis along the brash Brixton Road. Climb the spiral staircase to find a dreamy blue and yellow painted ceiling, inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, among other reproductions of the Dutch post-impressionist painter’s oeuvre. It’s a wonderful place to sit down and get stuck into an afternoon of work. The cafe is renowned for its delicious, seasonal, vegan cuisine. Stomach-filling portions of Bombay potato cakes and jerk jackfruit burgers will give you the energy to focus. Plus, the palpable passion of the welcoming staff will inspire you to go the extra mile. A side portion of “mac no cheese” costs £5.00, while a delicious iced turmeric latte is less than £3.00. It’s worth noting that the cafe is laptop free after 5 pm. After all, who wants to sit and eat dinner to the sound of tapping keys?
Café Van Gogh
Daisy Green – Portman Village
Nestled on a quiet street just behind the Hyde Park end of Oxford Street lies the charming Daisy Green cafe. Vibrant music, buzzing staff and long queues of punters lining up for a delicious cappuccino fill the ground floor. However, the quirky basement level is quieter, more spacious and much better for a London hot desking session. Completely re-imagined by UK street artist, Shuby, the downstairs area features an Alice in Wonderland inspired décor of banana deck chairs, saucy pop art, Astro Turf carpet and twinkling fairy lights. There’s even a huge grinning Cheshire cat hanging from the ceiling among various roses and pink flowers. The food comes in the form of Aussie-style brunches, such as rainbow salad and avocado and bacon wraps. Coffee costs around £3.00, while lunch is a little more expensive, starting at £5.70 for flatbread with house tzatziki.
Daisy Green, Portman Village
Netil 360 – Hackney
Netil 360 is an amazing cafe for freelancers… when it is open. It shuts for winter between January and March and remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the year. However, the rooftop cafe offers something a little different from the others on this list and still deserves a mention. Complete with fast broadband and individual charging points, Netil’s informal workstations make this trendy spot a godsend for freelancers in Hackney. Unsurprisingly, this East London rooftop venue attracts a creative crowd, offering great opportunities for networking. The panoramic views of the city add to the allure, as does the option for post-work craft beers and beats. Coffee costs around £3.00.
Cafe opening hours: Wed–Fri 12 pm–5 pm, April–December
Canova Hall – Brixton
If you’re looking for a London hot desking space to work from for marathon stretches without raised eyebrows, Brixton’s Canova Hall is well worth considering. For £10.00 a day, £25.00 a week or £50.00 a month you can pick up a hotdesking pass. That’ll get you unlimited coffee all day. The cavernous café is more utilitarian than cosy. Think wooden and marble furniture with a few industrial accents for that all-important millennial style. But with friendly staff, ample charging points, a great price and long opening hours, it’s a great spot to pitch up and get down to business. If you’re feeling peckish, the wood-fired pizzas aren’t half bad either—though at £13.00 they’re better off shared. If you’ve signed up for a month, don’t forget to ask for a keyring. That’ll net you (and your entire group) half price pizzas all day every Monday.