There’s a lot of factors that play into why a person enjoys a space. For instance, when a person eats at a restaurant, they will value different aspects of their experience. The most common reasons tend to be food quality, price, and ambience that determine if a person enjoys the restaurant. I believe the same can be said for work spaces. This is a list of my top 10 spcaes in Austin that are my go to when it comes to comfort. This means there’s comfortable seating, access to food/drinks and/or it’s an aesthetically inspiring space.
I remember walking through the public library in NYC and wondered, “when is Austin going to get a library like this?” Then a couple of years later, the largest public library in Austin is built right in the middle of downtown. The library has dedicated floors for different ages for kids and adults to wander about. Throughout each floor you’ll find different styles of seating set up for you to browse through a book or get some serious work in. They have everything from massive tables with booth styled seating to large lounge style armchairs. If you get too cold or need fresh air, you can pop out onto their rooftop garden and balcony that looks down on Town Lake.
There is a large parking garage at the library but you’re still paying hourly like most downtown spots. The building is pretty all inclusive in a comfortable place to work and also a restaurant, Cookbar & Cafe downstairs. You can get everything from breakfast to craft beers, wine and literary-themed cocktails.
Students and entrepreneurs alike are found late night, huddled together in lounge and computer chairs at Bennu. It’s my go to spot when I know I have a late night and need to get several hours knocked out. There isn’t a single day I’ve gone there that it isn’t jam pack with people studying the night away. The the comfortable ambiance, tons of seating, truly affordable pricing (why do you think lots of students and entrepreneurs can be found here?) and late night foods makes it a no brainer as one of Austin’s top comfortable work spaces!
Another great spot right by campus is Cherrywood Coffeehouse. I’m a true lover of ambient lighting with slight orange glows of tungsten lamps. You can choose to sit in the long rows of tables or a more private table off to the corner. Both provide large areas for you to sprawl out if you need to brainstorm or map out things over a large surface. Like most loved places in Austin, it’s hard to find a spot during the busy hours. If you try heading in mid morning you’ll likely be able to grab a parking spot and table for yourself. You’ll rarely find me at a spot that doesn’t offer food so you can expect that Cherrywood has an extensive menu you can choose from. Again, I love the affordable pricing that comes with a heaping amount of food.
If you’re looking for inspiration, this is the spot! The coffee shop has a large outdoor garden with a gorgeous pond, hanging lights and chickens out back. You can choose from a variety of food trucks, grab some coffee or their cocktail flights inside for added inspiration. There’s plenty seating with a variety of table set ups to choose from. My favorite spot is inside in the back with the lounge chairs and lamp. Cosmic is hidden on a side street off South Congress and right next to Crux Climbing Center. Unless you know the area, it’s easy to drive by and completely miss this spot!
An oldie but a goodie. Halcyon has stood the test of time as a long standing coffee house by day and lounge by night in Downtown Austin. There’s worn in couches on one side and tables throughout the rest of the place, lending to a cozy feel. The term Halcyon means “Peaceful, Carefree, Untroubled, Prosperous.” They consider themselves a place “where you can always relax and find your own personal ‘halcyon’.” This is one of my favorite places to visit during the colder months as they’re well known for their table top s’more roasting set. Easy place to hole up on a rainy or cold day (or any other day for that matter)!
If you’re itching for a true coworking space but don’t care for the cubicle like feel, search no more. Impact Hub in South Austin provides a venue that sparks your imagination. With nature themed inspiration, the open work space welcomes all kinds of entrepreneurs and artists. There’s private offices on the sides and upstairs and the main area is broken into large tables and intimate work nooks for whatever mood you’re in. It’s also known as a great venue for events since it’s such a large area. There are several around town but this was my first visit to Impact Hub and it’s left an impression!
7. Thai Fresh
What started out as a small Thai to-go food shop, transformed into a comfortable cafe and restaurant. Fitting to the health conscious neighborhood off Mary Street, Thai Fresh focuses on local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients. My favorite area is in the cafe area where there is a large communal table. You have access to outlets and can camp out as you chug down on their coconut milk Thai tea or munch on gluten-free baked goods. Although their menu may be a sticker shock, take note that they are a no tipping establishment. I love this concept as I always feel guilty for staking out a spot for hours at a cafe when there is a wait staff.
WeWork off Congress in Downtown Austin gets my vote when it comes to coworking spaces with comfortable seating and environment. It is a national chain so you can expect most places to look the same but what distinguishes WeWork is that they go to great measures to capture the community feel at each location. Each time, I’m able to walk in with ease and set up in a corner by the window. There’s something wonderful about being able to gaze outside while working indoors. All the locations I’ve been to have had quite impressive views.
The East Austin location of Work Well Coworking definitely brings in a feel of luxury with their beautiful decor, great glass walls and stained concrete countertops. A lot of thought was put into each detail of this coworking space. Each working space is strategically placed to where teams can work with ease. They have a massive outdoor area and container buildings for private offices and a podcast studio. When it comes to wanting a beautiful spaces, you have to check out Work Well!
You’ll find many other entrepreneurs, artists and remote workers taking meetings and cranking away at their work here. It’s where I camped out when I first started my company and it’s where you’ll still find me. The cafe by day and bar by night is almost always jammed pack during the day. I love having large working spaces so you’ll often find me at their bar counter. Service is super easy and chill and when the weather is nice, they’ll roll up their garage door entrance. There’s something about the natural light, easy working space and access to lots of caffeine (or beer if it’s later in the day or just that kind of day) that is conducive to longer deep work sessions.