Whether you’re a freelancer or just sending a few emails on a remote-work day, there’s nothing like a change of scenery to get your productivity going – or, at the very least, to get you putting pants on in order to leave the house.
Also read: 12 free things to do in Cape Town
In Cape Town, we’re quite spoilt for choice of coffee shops in this regard. You can quite happily work with a sea breeze one day, and in an urban warehouse-style cafe the next. Given that there are so many options, I’ve narrowed the choices down to the simplest elements: good coffee, fast WiFi, and accessible parking.
In addition to ‘you will circle the block sixteen times looking for parking’, places have also been eliminated from this list for reasons as petty as ‘tables are too high to comfortably type at’ and ‘waiters may roll their eyes aggressively as you get out your laptop’.
Nobody has time for that.
I’ve attempted to cover a wide spread of the city too, so that you can find a place with acceptable parking, good coffee, and a sturdy WiFi connection anywhere in Cape Town.
1. Origin Coffee, de Waterkant
This place is overrun with working types, which is great if you don’t want to feel like the rogue sponge wasting a table that could be filled by a Proper Customer. There are also big square tables to use as shared working space. The air of industriousness helps to simulate an office experience without the awkward water cooler conversations. The coffee is delicious, there are plenty of great breakfasts, and the WiFi is unlimited.
2. Bootlegger, Sea Point
Bootlegger Coffee Company is a proper chain now, with 11 branches spread all over the Cape Peninsula, and they all share excellent qualities such as being open from 06:30, tasty coffee, and free WiFi. The Sea Point one is one of the best. Get there early enough and you can swipe a R14 coffee and ample parking (although be warned, there is metered parking which can add up fairly rapidly). The best place to work is in one of the window-seats, where there’s great people-watching potential if you’re procrastinating or researching human behaviour.
3. A Touch of Madness, Observatory
This choice comes somewhat out of left field, seeing as this establishment is mostly known for its vinyl market days and live music events. However, visit in the middle of the day and you’ll find a delightfully quiet old Victorian house, with lots of seating options from a Scandi-style breakfast room to a leafy courtyard. It’s affordable, and you may be lucky enough to have the old-school jazz playlist that I enjoyed.
4. Copper Club, Newlands
What a gem! Fast WiFi, plush couches, and awesome lunch specials every day of the week. As you might expect from an establishment with the word ‘copper’ literally in its name, there are a lot of copper finishes, and a selection of craft beers should you decide to switch from coffee after lunch.
5. Seattle, Constantia Village
This isn’t a very pretty spot, but it’s a great place to just sit down and work solidly for an hour or two. Firstly, they don’t serve breakfast (unless you count bran muffins, which I don’t) so you don’t need to pony up R80 for the joy of sitting at a table. There is a Melissa’s across the way if you would actually like to eat though. The WiFi is relatively fast and free, and there’s plentiful free parking.
6. Twigs with Beans, Harfield
This is a cute little spot in the suburban village of Harfield. They serve Tribe coffee, which is better than most cafes in the area, and there are a few outside tables if you’d like some dappled sunshine. It is quite small, so you may struggle to find a table on Friday mornings when most of the freelancers in the Southern Suburbs descend. Having said that, it’s worth a bit of a fight to get a toasted cheese sandwich for R30!
7. Four and Twenty, Wynberg
This is an adorable cafe, with a lovely high bar at the windows perfect for working. It’s a bit pricier than the other options on this list, but the food really is worth it – their truffled aubergine and mushroom rosti is an absolute treat, and they do a blindingly good hollandaise sauce. It can also get quite full, and they don’t take bookings for tables of two. This is better as a weekday spot, as they tend to be packed to the gills on weekends.
8. Empire Cafe, Muizenberg
Up the rickety spiral staircase you’ll find a lovely view of Muizenberg beach. There are always delicious croissants here, and the menu changes fairly often to keep you on your toes.
Also read: Southern charm, a guide to Muizenberg