Come for Work, Stay for Dinner

Come for Work, Stay for Dinner

We’ve heard about the trend of coworking where you work out, but what about coworking where you eat out? Since so many freelancers and remote workers operate out of coffee shops anyway, perhaps it was only a matter of time before those establishments began innovating to capitalize on that crowd. Fast Company’s Susan Johnston Taylor explores several new projects in different cities that are turning upscale eateries into coworking spaces during their off hours:

CoworkCafe opened last year inside of Arlington, Virginia, coffee shop Boccato. After 6 p.m., the area of the shop reserved for coworking opens up to the general public. For $150/month, CoworkCafe members get a $50 food credit, access to reserved space and high-speed Wi-Fi ($20 day passes are also available but don’t include any food credit). LinkLocale, more traditional coworking space in the area charges $30 per day, $175/month for flex space or $475/month for reserved space.

Aside from being cheaper than alternatives, cofounder David James says CoworkCafe offers a more relaxed vibe that many members (who include a novelist, software developers, marketing consultants, and nonprofit professionals) like. “Having a place that’s relaxed and comfortable is very good for creative type work,” he says. “There’s a certain feeling that you get in a place like this you can’t get in an office-type building. They really love the feeling of the space; they don’t want to be in a traditional office setting.”

New York-based content strategist Angela Pham echoes those sentiments about Spacious, a startup that turns high-end restaurants into coworking spaces during the day. “There’s a mental and psychological perk [to the setup],” she says. “There’s a different mood when you leave your home office versus a restaurant. I can either leave when I’m done with my work or I have a choice of staying for happy hour. It doesn’t feel like I’ve left a long workday.” She’s tried working from home or from Starbucks and found neither environment conducive to her work.

Spacious started operating in December and has expanded to several New York City restaurants, with plans to create new partnerships in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London in the future, according to cofounder and CEO Preston Pesek. Spacious’ ideal restaurant partners are those who’ve “spent a lot of time thinking about the ambiance; we look for really good interior design,” he says. Proximity to public transportation is another key consideration. Spacious’ current restaurant partners include DBGB Kitchen & Bar and L’Apicio.