The 5 Best Coffices in Melbourne
— Melbourne, VIC
A list of the 5 best coffices in Melbourne, Australia. Cafes, bars, and places with free WiFi, power points, and space to work.
This isn’t based on anything I can substantiate, but I reckon Melbourne would have to be the freelance creative capital of Australia. Maybe it’s due to Melbourne's buoyant art scene that I say this. After all, it’s supposedly Australia’s culture capital. But none of this really matters. At the end of the day Melbourne is full of creative people, many who work for themselves and small businesses and spend time tapping away at their laptops in trendy cafes and bars.
Recently, the Worcere team headed on a ‘coffice crawl’ around Melbourne CBD and the inner north. I’m not sure if such a thing has ever been done, but it has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Coffice crawl…We hopped from cafe to cafe (with a few bars thrown in for good measure) to discover new places to list on the website and to get a feel for what it’s like to be a location - independent freelancer working around Melbourne.
Here are what I think are the 5 best coffices in Melbourne. Counting down to my favourite.
If you’re a Melbourne Mexican food fan, you’ve heard of Fonda. Period. I’m sure there is more authentic on offer, but there’s just something about what Fonda dishes up, in their playfully colourful dining rooms.
Yes, it’s a chain. But the Flinders Lane offering, at least, has a degree of independence about it, and offers a large enough space to get stuff done without feeling like you’re in the way. I’ve been here a number of times during the day, and it’s always lively but never too busy.
There’s free WiFi, that has always been reliable on my visits. There’s one power point that I could find, just behind the bench directly opposition the counter, to the right. It’s a fair way behind the bench, so doesn’t really suit plugging a phone charger in. But will suit your laptop charger.
The atmosphere is such that you wouldn’t be out of place meeting with a client or having a brainstorming session with the team. Importantly, this is the sort of place you’ll want to work over something to eat and an adult beverage - the cocktails are really good.
Nestled down Somerset Place, just off the Centre of The Outdoor & Camping Gear Universe, Little Bourke Street, you’ll find top breakfast ’n’ brunch joint, The Little Mule. It looks to live in an old garage - the front door is a functioning roller door - so it has plenty of that industrial charm.
Indeed, on our ‘coffice crawl’ we breakfasted here. All your usual eggy and avo-y treats, serves alongside good coffee.
For the electronics-totter, this place is your best friend. There are power points - lots of power points - and a bench full of chargers for a host of phones and devices. It seems the average Little Mule customer has a tendency to forget to charge their device before heading out.
It’s busy, so don’t hang here too long. As owner Justin Radford told me, “We also have no hesitation in moving a person that is sitting on a single coffee for 5 hours off a 4 seat table and onto the shared wall bench when it is busy”. Fair enough. Exercise your etiquette, guys.
There’s WiFi - the password is on the menu board - and, overall, it’s a fine place to sit over a bagel or toasted sandwich and coffee, and get some planning done.
If smoking were allowed indoors in Australia, this is surely the sort of place you’d find great writers leafing through their half-finished manuscripts, with a smoke or cigar in the other hand.
Located on Flinders Lane, next to the Melbourne City Library, Journal looks like something from a rich past. Dark timber, books, antique looking fittings. It’s a classy space that is sure to get the writers mind swimming.
WiFi can be pinched from the library next door, but why not just come armed with your Moleskine and favourite pen, and go low tech for a change? This is the sort of place I’d come to reflect on what I might want to achieve in the new year. Jotting down notes as I sip an espresso or red wine.
On our ‘coffice crawl’ I tweeted editor of Offscreen Magazine, Kai Brach, for his recommendation of places in the Fitzroy area. Brach has written before that he likes to spend time working out of cafes, so I knew he’d be good for it. He recommended we check out Industry Beans and Horse On Heels, both in the Rose Street area. We hopped on the tram from Green Park Diner and were there in a jiffy, just before closing.
Industrial, alright. Look down the long, minimalist dining space and you see pallet racks loaded with hessian sacks of coffee beans. This place, indeed, is a functioning roastery. Well, as well as being a super popular and pleasant place to grab a cup of brew.
A couple of long, communal tables run down the centre of the space with a vast servery to the lefthand side. On the right, half a dozen or so two-seaters with a power point under most. One of these tables is the perfect spot for the solo laptopper to park themselves for an hour or so.
On our visit, the WiFi was fast and reliable, and the atmosphere conducive to some business chatter.
So, why has A Minor Place been awarded #1 place? I don’t know. I just like really liked it. An old house-cum-cafe on Albion Street, Brunswick, the staff were really friendly and inviting. There were power sockets where we needed them. And the big booth and the end of the main cafe area accommodated us three comfortable, while we worked, talked, and sipped a bottle of white wine.
It’s the sort of place where everyone is catered for. Whether dietary requirements, or lifestyle. We saw young families, goths, business types, older folks. The whole gamut. Whether you love your bacon, or are a Level 5 Vegan, this place will probably look after you. And, for this Adelaidian, it was nice to see a quiet suburban cafe of its sort serve up some booze in the afternoon.
To me, it was the sort of cafe I’d love to have at the end of my street. Where I’d pop in for a coffee on my way to the tram into the city. Or spend an hour in the afternoon, avoiding the home office, and checking some emails with a chocolate brownie by my side.
As I mentioned, there are a number of power points in the main cafe area - not too sure about the other area - there’s quite a bit of outdoor seating too. There’s WiFi - just ask the friendly staff for the password. And it’s a fine place to meet and shoot the breeze.
What would your list of the top coffices and laptop-friendly cafes in Melbourne look like?