Best of Brooklyn

Laptop, coffee, suntan: Brooklyn’s best places to do work outside

The backyard at Sit & Wonder is an ideal spot to sit and … work.

The idea of working from home is every 9-5-ers dream. But after slaving away in my sweatpants and relegating my social circle to the corner deli guy, the coffee shops teaming with freelancers no longer surprised me. Trying to find a quiet spot that’s not crawling with high-speed freeloaders like myself can be a difficult task. And with this end of the world, freakishly warm weather as of late, the idea of spending my days hunched in a dark corner of a cafe is even less appealing.

So to my combat years of cubicle habitation or time spent in the “veal fattening pens,” I decided to stake out any neighborhood cafe with a high-speed set-up and an outdoor space, for those of us not blessed with a backyard. Besides the surprisingly large number of outdoor cafes, there are plenty of parks that are connected now as well. Now is the time to get off your couch, unplug your laptop and start working on your hand tan!

The West Café, 379 Union Avenue (at Hope St) Williamsburg

West Cafe. Photo by Timothy Krause.

This quiet café not only has a spacious (and usually empty) backyard with umbrellas, but also a full food menu with wine and beer, so you can “reward” yourself with all those flex hours you put in. It also has outlets inside so you can power up and relieve yourself of sunstroke at the same time.


El Beit, 158 Bedford Ave. (between 8th & 9th streets), Williamsburg

El Beit’s backyard

Due to its location on “the strip”, this café gets a little more foot traffic, so get there early to score a spot in the back and grab a cup of Counter Culture French press coffee. There are a limited amount of outlets but plenty of people watching.


Tuffet Bar, 286 Graham Ave (at Grand St) Williamsburg

While more of a bar than a café, this wine and cheese spot serves Gimme Coffee during the day and offers Wi0Fi and sandwiches for your enjoyment in their backyard aka the Study, starting at 2:00pm.


Outpost Café 1014 Fulton St (between Grand Ave & Downing St) Clinton Hill

The backyard looks like some kind of pixie garden with lots of greenery and seating. Their menu goes extends beyond your typical pastry fare, with a juice bar, salad and sandwiches as well as beer and wine. Since it’s a full-blown café, it’s easier to get a seat and plug-in on the weekdays. On weekends, Wi-Fi commuters are slightly discouraged to accommodate the brunch crowd.


Pillow Café, 505 Myrtle Ave (between Grand Ave & Ryerson St) Clinton Hill

This crunchy café lives up to its name, with plenty of cushiony support, which beats the Craigslist cast-off most of us call an office chair. They offer a full food and drink menu, so you could easily spend both your days and nights there. There’s a big backyard with plenty of tables, but no outlets throughout, so charge-up before you go.


KAVE 1087 Flushing Ave (between Knickerbocker Ave & Porter Ave) Bushwick

Tucked away in the “mini-mall” of The Looms in Bushwick, this café cum event space is certainly sleeker than your average cozy café. With a spacious, airy design and large backyard, it’s certainly a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The Wi-Fi is reliable, the outlets aplenty, the coffee is strong, and they won’t overwhelm you with blasting whatever’s hot on Pitchfork at the moment.


Central Cafe Brooklyn, 108 Central Ave (between Jefferson St & Troutman St) Bushwick

Photo by Timothy Krause.

This tiny café/wine bar often gets overlooked, but with the addition of an outdoor space and hot sandwiches, it’s sure to get busy this summer. Table space is limited, but they do have outlets and a strong Wi-Fi connection. Head in during the afternoon and skip the morning rush.


Sit & Wonder, 688 Washington Ave (between St Marks Ave & Prospect Pl) Prospect Heights

Sit & Wonder has a nice front space too.


With a name like Sit & Wonder, there’s a reason this café doesn’t have the reputation of rushing people. But with such an inviting atmosphere of fresh donuts, local baked goods, plenty of outlets and Stumptown coffee, the place can get crowded. So get there early. Also, the Wi-Fi worker bees are usually pretty quiet, so save the Skype meetings for home.


Brooklyn Parks

While McCarren Park was the first Brooklyn park to get wifi, there are a whole other slew of public spaces to get your work on. Who says picnic blankets aren’t directly correlated to productivity?

Pier 1, Pier 6, Empire Fulton Ferry and Main Street at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Picnic House at Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park, Herbert Von King Park in the amphitheater in Bed-Stuy. See complete list here.

Did we miss any spots? What’s your favorite place to work outdoors? Tell us in the comments!

Follow Laura: @LauradHaveMercy


    • Tim Donnelly

      It ain’t the prettiest yard, but I like to do work at High Dive sometimes, which has wifi and a small patio. I would have also said S’nice but they’ve corralled all the laptop users into a small ghetto. And our dear Flying Saucer had a lovely back yard, but is sadly no longer with us.

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