Aside from generally enjoying my job and what I do on a daily basis, I also have the added advantage of having flexible hours and being able to work wherever I want. What this translates into is that I end up working at various coffee shops around Cape Town – this is great, because it means that I get to decide on my working environment every day (and even move between different places on the same day), as well as have the opportunity to bump into a number of people that I know who I don’t usually get to see.
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I often have people asking me to recommend good places to work, so I thought I would share a few of my favourite spots here and give some quick opinions about them. All of these are in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, as that is far more local for me, and the only real requirement for them to be an option is for them to supply (usually free) wifi, so I have included some internet speed test results that are typical for an average day at each spot.
You may find it odd that I will occasionally work at places that are not as good as others in this list, but you should never underestimate the bonus of having a variety of working locations available – sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to help you focus on getting things done.
Seattle Coffee Company, Constantia
You’ll find me here on most days for at least a couple of hours. I like Seattle because it’s close to my home, serves great coffee and has that general coffee shop buzz without being distracting. The internet is really fast, but its provided by AlwaysOn which means it isn’t free past the first 30 minutes each day – the cost is pretty low though, so that’s not a huge concern, and the speed you get is worth it when compared to other options.
There are plug points all around the place and a choice of seating from armchairs, to individual tables, bar counters and a large shared table. There are also two small tables outside the shop itself where you can get away from the coffee making noises – these are great for taking calls and meetings.
One other handy thing about Seattle include the fact that it is in Constantia Village, which means you have quick access to other shops if you need that kind of thing.
Café D’Arts is a nice a homely type coffee shop that I go to fairly frequently and have been visiting on and off for years. It is quietly tucked away in Diep River and isn’t super busy, so it gives you a nice and calm working environment. The wifi is free and, although it is not super fast, it is workable and is usually fine for taking calls online.
There are only a couple of plug points around, but there are plenty of tables both inside and outside. With a great view of the mountain and some really nice food, this is a solid option for anyone looking for a coffee shop to work in. Plus, this happened there one day:
GREENS Restaurant, Constantia
GREENS is pretty standard in terms of the type of restaurant that it is – you’ll even find them scattered in various locations around Cape Town. The food is good and the coffee is decent, which is to be expected from a recognised franchise like this. The internet at GREENS in Constantia is decent, reliable and free – making it a good place for taking calls.
They have plenty of tables inside and outside, but only 2 plug points in the whole place. That means you would probably need to move tables at some point if one of the ones near a plug point is not available when you arrive. All-in-all a good place to work, if a little bland and uninspiring. It’s also worth noting that mobile reception is terrible in the restaurant, so you probably won’t be able to make regular calls while you’re there.
Bootlegger is relatively new to the scene (at least in my area), but they are definitely a local favourite a they have a nice atmosphere and really good coffee. The Tokai branch is easily accessible and is well worth a visit if you’re nearby. There are a selection of tables and bar counters inside, as well as a few tables outside along with quite a few plug points around the place. The internet is generally decent, but not as reliable as some other places (although it is free).
The staff are friendly and the food is really good. I often bump into people I know here as it is generally very busy, so if you like the background buzz of a coffee shop, then this is a great option.
It may be small, but The Pantry is a surprisingly nice spot for working, although I don’t think it’s the type of place I would spend an entire working day. It’s a good spot if you need to go somewhere quickly without wasting time finding parking or anything like that. There are only a few tables (as the place is very small) and only one plug point. The coffee is good and they have a selection of pastries, but no more substantial food than that. The internet is free and fast enough for general work, so it suits me just fine (usually).
I generally go to The Pantry when I only have a brief window for working before heading to another appointment (or home) as it is very useful for that kind of situation.
Woolworths Café, Constantia
Woolworths is all over the place and their cafés are pretty prevalent too, so I don’t really need to give much info here. It’s worth noting, however, that the branch in Constantia Village has 2 hours of free wifi per day and, after that, you can buy credit with AlwaysOn to continue using it. The internet speed is pretty impressive though.
The café has many tables, but only a couple of plug points and one thing that’s important to know when visiting this branch is that the mobile signal there is terrible, so if you need to use your phone for anything while you’re working, then this isn’t the best spot.
There are a couple of other places that I work at every now and again, but I generally don’t go to them very often – not for any reason other than I tend to prefer some form of familiarity with my working spaces. Here are a few of these other spots that I’ve used: