Loitering has been a problem for coffee shop owners for so long that we’ve gone through several cycles of addressing it in New York City. First came limiting laptop hours and eliminating outlets, then things like timed wifi. Britcom hit Fleabag skewered the annoying laptop camper in its inaugural season this summer, which means it’s far from just an American thing. It’s a tough balance for businesses to strike between enabling the long, languorous cafe afternoons that can be good for productivity and community while also limiting the freeloaders who just want your wifi and free coffee refills while they turn a table into their personal office space.
But what if a cafe embraced lingerers instead of chasing them out? That’s the premise of Glass Hour, a new “anti-cafe” and “new-age working space” that opened in Williamsburg on Aug. 26, where customers can eat, drink and play their games as much as they want; they pay by the hour they spend there, not by what they consume. It’s a hybrid of a coworking space and a coffee shop. But will it work?
The cafe, which opened in late August, starts at $6 for the first hour, or portion of an hour, then goes to 10 cents a minute up to four hours. Anything after four hours is free.
Glass hour offers wifi, board games, PS4 video games, foosball, granola bars and other snacks, plus regular game nights throughout the week.
“Have you ever wanted to find a cafe where you can sit all day long without feeling guilty and having to buy an extra coffee so no one judges you?” the website akss. “Look no further — we will definitely change the way you imagine such a space. We have everything you need to be productive, have fun, spend time with friends and family, hold meetings, come up with new exciting ideas or simply hide from the rest of the world.”
It’s an interesting idea and I’ll be curious to see if it strikes the right balance of basic coffee shop needs (a quick to-go cold brew) with the desires of the itinerant freelancer (buckets of coffee and strong wifi). I’m a frequent coffee shop camper myself, and I try to keep up the standard of ordering at least one thing an hour, and at least one big thing (a sandwich or whatnot) if I’m going to be there all day. I’d gladly pay some sort of subscription fee for my time there, because I don’t want to take advantage of the business, and because I don’t want it to go out of business, giving me nowhere to go at all.
So maybe Glass Hour is the bridge between free coffee shop space and an actual office. Of course, there are plenty of coworking spaces around the city and hey look we put them all in a guide for you.
(h/t Business Insider)
Glass Hour is located at 63 Skillman Ave.