Today’s Blog Sponsored by Kickass Boots & the Letter “Coffee”

the coffice - denver coffee shops for workingIt’s officially fall here in Denver, Colorado. For all that’s holy, I mean FINALLY! I’ve never been a flirty summer dress and flip-flops gal. Nosireebob. I’m a bundle-up like its the second coming of the Ice Age and put on some damn BOOTS girl. Quirky, vintage wool hats, tights, dresses and boots – that’s how The Redhead prefers to roll. On a semi-related note, I really enjoyed the Ice Age movies. The squirrel chasing the nut had me in stitches. But I digress. Today’s blog is partially sponsored by kickass boots. I own several pairs and Anthropologie, Smart Bargains, DSW Shoe Warehouse, Charles David and Steve Madden should all be thankful I’m a boot whore with disposable income. I could be spending this shit on hookers and blow, but I chose boots. I should go on a speaking circuit at local high schools.

Now, to go along with the cusp of winter approaching (and for some of you, it might already have arrived), some of my best work days are spent at local coffee shops. You know it, I know it: Starbucks single-handedly redefined the business meeting when they moved in comfy chairs, modern jazz and WiFi close to a coffee-dispensing machine. They call ’em Barristas, I say “machines.” But who am I to judge? They all have better health care benefits than I do. I’m digressing again.

When you work from home and your sofa/bed/backyard are your office on any given day, it can be a real treat to take yourself out for a work date. Y’know – shower, put on a little lip gloss, the requisite pair of kickass boots and get thine ass straight to a very non-Starbucks location to Get. Shit. Done.

There’s lots that goes into making a coffee shop a go-to destination for me and the boots, however:

  • Reliable WiFi – don’t fence me in, don’t kick me off very fifteen minutes.
  • Music – reasonable levels, please. I can’t think or take calls if you crank it like it’s a Guns-N-Roses concert back in 1992.
  • Outlets – laptop batteries are for shit and I need to plug in. Please don’t make it hard on me.
  • Selection – I avoid dairy at most costs and don’t eat soy, so I’m looking for destinations with rice milk, almond milk or (gasp) coconut milk so I can sip, rock and roll.
  • Attitude – get shitty with me and I’ll never return. I tip well, and even more so if I’m camping out all day.
  • Snaaaaaacks – if I’m there all day, I don’t want to leave for lunch and come back. You’ve got nummies, I’ve got monies. And I hope you can heat it up, because I like warm food.

So, if you’re in Denver or ever out Denver/Boulder way, here’s my list of preferred coffices <<< term for coffee-fueled offices. Denver coffee shops for working (and a gem from Boulder thrown in to boot…heh, I said “boot”).

St. Mark’s (17th & Vine) – The first-ever coffee shop I stopped into when I moved to Denver, they make a mean dirty chai an have extensive seating and even more electrical outlets. You won’t tip the tables over because they’re heavy-like-Betty granite. The folks behind the counter are super-duper friendly and if I need to go face-first into a gluten coma, they have the best scones in the city (Denver and Boulder combined) and they’re baked fresh daily. Hint: the line goes TOWARDS the front door and if you prefer Stevia to pink & blue packets, bring your own. They give a discount if you bring your own cup/mug, too.

Michelangelo’s (Broadway & Ellsworth) – Adorable. I found this place on a first Match.com date back in the winter of 2008 (it was Rich – great dude, incredible friend). Not only do they have fabulous breakfast and lunch selections (the salads are divine), they have a killer hot tea spread, too. This is what I usually order here, as they don’t have alternative milks. The staff is always friendly and the WiFi is free. Water is complimentary and seating is plush. If you want to swing by later in the afternoon/early evening, it turns into a wine bar and has live music a few times per week. A best-kept secret here in D-town.

Cafe Europa (Pennsylvania & Bayaud) – Food? Awesome, everything from traditional breakfast to hot sandwiches and soup at lunch. Hot tea? Shut the door. HUGE selection. Chai? Da bomb. Alternative milks? Rice AND Almond, thankyouverymuch. Seating and outlets? Plentiful. WiFi? It will not fuck you. Downside? They often play music at mosh pit/rave volume, making it incompatible with my preferred working style some days. I go here when I can hunker down and know I don’t need to take calls. The staff is incredible and I truly enjoy the atmosphere.

Hooked on Colfax (Colfax & Steele) – Food? Not so much, but they do have gluten-free snackies. Alternative milks? Almond and rice, which is a huge plus. I adore the art for sale from local artists on the walls but seating is scarce and the employees always seem to come smoke on the back patio where I’m sitting (which I find tasteless). This is a fly-by for coffee-to-go, and a local business I’m happy to support when grab-and-go is my M.O.

The Laughing Goat – Boulder (Pearl & 17th) – Friendly staff and a great work environment make this a must for my work days up in Boulder. There is also a Denver location as well, but I haven’t yet gone. they have loads of gluten-free snackies as well as alternative milks and the staff is patient and accurate, even when they’re slammed. While the WiFi has sometimes been spotty, it’s a peaceful environment where I can work and take meetings, keeping it on my list. Oh – and don’t miss the foam art in your latte! (BUNNIES!!!)

So now, back to YOU. What makes your coffice a keeper on your list? Share your favorites and give them a linkback in the comments (note: links will usually cause comments to be held for moderation, but I’ll get them approved as soon as possible). I’m traveling all the time and would love some must-visit local coffee shops to add to my list. After all, they’re business owners – just like us.

73 comments
The Redhead
The Redhead

Hilarious...and I'm working on the final 3 pages of your copy in another window :) Thanks for stopping by! GO CLOUD COMPUTING!

Daron Pratt
Daron Pratt

OK... so I just received a few pages of web content to review for my new company (zzzzzzzzzz), needing a MUCH deserved break, I grabbed a Starbucks, and decided to check out the creator's website. Well, gosh-b'golly -- it's you and here I am. This is far more enjoyable reading that "Cloud Computing" (not that it's not important, mind you -- it pays for the SBUX -- it's just not a real attention grabber). Mad props!!!! Daron

Leyla Arsan
Leyla Arsan

Is your favicon giving me "the finger" - we must meet in person!

The Redhead
The Redhead

THIS is super-sweet! Thanks for the kickass list!

Joyce
Joyce

Erika, I know you have been to Fort Collins (I missed your Ignite Fort Collins engagement!) but I am not sure if you have ever worked in any of the coffices here. So in the spirit of civic exploration and boosterism I took it upon myself to review the three top coffee shops I know about and provide you with reviews. I also work in the basement of my house. Really. And never really tried the whole "coffice" thing. So thank you for getting me out of my girl cave. Reviews: Starry Night (Old Town): I started here as they have really good desserts. However, it wasn't the best environment for either working or people watching. Way Way too many babies and strollers and diaper bags for me today. Don't get me wrong, I like other peoples babies but I did start to feel a bit like a fish out of water. Starry Night is a small space, yes they had outlets, a decent selection of snacks and of course cake. Music is subtle and in the background. Muggs (Old Town): Great vibe, lots of space, nice juice bar and always busy. That's the problem, always busy. It was packed the afternoon I tried to show up to work. Not any room except in the basement (yes let us note the irony). A bit loud but outlets abound and snacks are "healthier" with lots of non dairy choices. The big problem with these two coffice options is they are both in Old Town which is a bonus in that other activities are right outside the door - more food, a bit of shopping, hell you can even just walk around a bit and stretch your legs in the sunshine (yes I did all of these things which meant not much work got done). That's the upside - the downside is all parking is two hour only. So bring your bike, ride into Old Town, stay as long as you like and hope the weather holds. Not really an option for you coming from Denver. (Perhaps not; I can only assume :-) Wild Boar is our last stop: near CSU south of Old Town and in my opinion the best of the lot. Big, roomy, lots of outlets and almost everyone is working/studying/reading, etc. If I do start this whole coffice thing it would be at Wild Boar. Parking is again an issue (I really wish I had ridden my bike today.) as the proximity to CSU means daytime spots are not easy to find. However, luck was with me and I scored a limit free spot on the street across from the old Fort Collins High School (now one of the CSU arts buildings). Most (okay pretty much all) the patrons are CSU students or related to the school somehow but that was okay. It made for an accepting, "we all have our laptops and hangups" kind of atomsphere. So there you have it - I still haven't checked out the Chocolate Cafe which rumor has it has expanded to include wifi and lunch items (oh yeah baby!) or Cafe Vino which does serve coffee and food but I am not sure I could resist the wine selection. But it may be worth the sacrifice in the name of coffice science. Hope this helps. Oh yeah, and I did wear boots.

Lanham True
Lanham True

Thanks so much for this list -- I'm brand new to Denver & your blog. Enjoying both!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Added to the list! And I LOVE the post office twist :) Especially as someone who still sends mail!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Aaaaand...it's on the list! Thanks, Brenda! (and secretly, I do have my go-to weekend bloody mary destinations as well)

InfoJunkiesAnon
InfoJunkiesAnon

I am so jealous; I'd love to take out my new, pink netbook and look sophisticated but none of the places in town have wif-fi. Wonder if it will ever catch on here in the UK so we get the opportunity?

Shelly
Shelly

I live in Florida - have for 2 years - so I haven't really gotten to wear my boots. Damn it. I used to live in CO - {I'm crying here} because I LOVE CO!! However, I happen to be married to a wimpy ass-can't stand the cold-only likes the beach man.... {SIGH} I want to come visit your coffices... in CO... on my way to the slopes... and I want to wear my boots... I have um... a LOT... so I may need to stay a while :)

The Redhead
The Redhead

That is kickass. Coffee AND puppies. A total win!

Angel Kwiatkowski
Angel Kwiatkowski

Jess-that is so awesome! I wish you the most success in starting up a coworking space! Tweet me if you want to chat @CohereLLC.

MegCarpen
MegCarpen

If you're ever up here near Buena Vista, we have Bongo Billies, which has some great coffee and awesome munchies for breakfast and lunch. http://www.bongobillys.com/ We also have the BV Roastery downtown, http://www.bvroasteryblog.com/. which is small but has an awesome atmosphere! They don't have a lot foodwise at the moment, but have been expanding with some great homemade baked goods. The coffee for both places comes from the BV Roastery, the wifi at each is decent, unless it's a really busy day.

BSStoltz
BSStoltz

Hands down fav is the Shoes, Cup and Cork club in Leesburg, VA. http://www.shoescupandcorkclub.com/ Walking distance from home, in a beautiful downtown area, outside cafe, alcohol for the roughest days, and for all others, killer chia. Second favorite is a local bar. Yes, a bar. It's just a great place to hang and have a tea and lunch while getting some work done. And, since it's not busy they could care less how long I sit there. And, every so often I'll throw in Panera Bread just to get wild and crazy. Greek salad and french onion soup are doable there.

Sarah J. Storer
Sarah J. Storer

To all those things, a resounding yes. Also, I would like to smell like a full-on bag of beans when I leave, because then I know that they are roasting the coffee in house, and Mama likes that (let's mark this as the first occasion I've ever called myself "Mama.") My favorite coffee shop in the great city of Columbus, OH (and seriously, it's a sleeper of a great city. We recently beat out LA as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the US, so we're also FFAAABBBUULOOUUSSSS!) is called Luck Bros (http://www.luckbroscoffeehouse.com/). They not only do just about everything you listed above, they also have outlets at every. single. table. and booth. Gotta love that. Um, and dude also remembered my name and order when I used to go in (I now live on the other side of town) AND let me bring my pup in if I was in for a long stay. Good friggin' deal, I say!

Andrew J. Gay
Andrew J. Gay

Oh yeah baby, now you're talkin' my language. I love love love the cold weather, and especially the colors of fall, the crackling of the fire and of course all of the super comfy bundle wear (though I still can be seen sporting shorts, tee and flip flops in the snow). I am super stoked about the coming of fall, inevitably followed by winter. :-) Now into the coffice, or I guess it's out to... I’m going to be heading there now, I don't do it often enough. I unfortunately live 20 miles from the hustle and bustle of a cool city life (oh I miss it so...) so my choices are quite limited. I get to choose pretty much Starbucks, or Starbucks. I can’t begin to tell you how many ways that bites ass! For one, most of the drink choices would kill a diabetic or at least put one in a coma. Second, I only know one person that can live on scones and pastry, I would die of a sugar overdose, especially after the doughnut in a cup. The only thing good I have to say about them is that they know me, I can wind a clock down as long as I need to and on beautiful days like today I have a fantastic view of Mt. Hood (I'll shoot a pic and post to twitter for ya later). I dream of a day where again I can breathe in the fumes of smog from overcrowded streets, the buzz of activity, sampling of culture and flat out constant noise from a really cool inner city coffice. Single living in suburbia... WTF was I thinking! lol Anyway, cool post, got me thinkin’ I need to ditch the office for a bit and enjoy one of the sure to be last clear days I will see for several months. I tried to look up some cool coffices in Portland for the readers but it looks like most of the cool looking ones have closed down.

Andrew J. Gay
Andrew J. Gay

Damn E.... you're lookin pretty good for a gazillion year old! lol

Angel Kwiatkowski
Angel Kwiatkowski

Okay, I have to speak up. 30 of us have left the coffice for coworking. Once you try coworking in a space that's built for small biz owners with screaming fast wifi, coffee on demand and none of the shouting, grinding and steaming that accompanies a coffee shop, you'll be hard (French)pressed to work from a coffice again!

Marian Schembari
Marian Schembari

I should be better about getting myself to a coffee shop, but I live in the outskirts of London and the nearest cafe is a Starbucks rip-off called Roastars in Ganster Central. I do, however, like Foyles. It's a bookstore with a jazz cafe that has wifi and YUMMY coffee and food. Problem is, the wifi is like a scatterbrained grandma and always forgets what it was doing. I was kicked off twice the last time I was there. After the third time with no reconnection I left. Such a shame because it's only 30 minutes away and really chill :(

Angel Kwiatkowski
Angel Kwiatkowski

Hi Brian! What city do you live in? Check out coworking.com, it might be the secret solution to your lack of coffee shops.

dbltall
dbltall

In Seattle, Mosaic Coffeehouse in Wallingford is huge, has free wifi, tons of convenient outlets, and they cheerfully welcome you to stay all day. They also have a meeting room you can reserve. Other favorite hangouts are Ballard Sip & Ship which also has a post office (how convenient can you get?), The Wayward and The Green Bean, both in Greenwood. The only boots I have are my ancient Docs, but you'll have pry them out of my cold, dead hands ;)

brianhoney
brianhoney

All you metropolitan folks, consider yourselves lucky if you have a choice of coffices to frequent... Although I recently started working in a real "office" I remember fondly trying to find decent places to work, meet and have decent wi-fi outside my house/office, and my incessantly barking annoying dachshund. Even though I live in a "city" by any definition, it's one of the larger "cities" in West Virginia. Using the Starbucks Per Block standard, my city ranks a big fat ZERO. Not just 2 Starbucks per any block, not just 1... NONE. So my choices for a "coffice" were: Panera Bread - Nice atmosphere, decent wifi, and an outside patio area when the weather's nice. Buffalo Wild Wings - Sad, but true. So-so wifi, and relatively quiet if you can find a corner booth, but service that is amazingly slow, considering there are only 2 tables as of 11:30am. The Galley - Casual bistro type place, good wifi, but food so good it distracts from the meeting or work at hand. The places you describe sound pretty cool, makes me wish there was more variety around here.... if not for me, but my still "cofficing" friends.

D.T. Pennington
D.T. Pennington

I dig The Bardo Coffee House, just north of Alameda on Broadway. They've got several good work spaces, halfway decent joe, and Ice Cream! It's a pretty new spot, I think they just got going last May. However, since then, a lot of other people have decided they like Bardo's as well, so it can get a little crowded.

jim
jim

I'm sorry, what was this blog about? I got lost in the imagery of a flirty, summer-dress-and-flp-flops gal. Mmmmmmm.

mindlobster
mindlobster

This all good stuff. I've been a dedicated coffice user since 2003-ish, when the squalid place I was staying developed a cockroach 'problem', and working out of home was the only option. The power thing, though: I don't bring a power supply because the 3+ hours I get forces me to take a natural break. I walk home, recharge the MBP while I eat lunch, then off we go again!

Sam Title
Sam Title

You're not alone in the wonderful world of the Coffice, dear Erika. But we Cofficers thank you for putting it out there in that special redheaded way thatcha do. Srsly. Great criteria for a functional Coffice and great tips on Denver's bestest of the bestest. In addition to wifi, power and friendly baristas (a.k.a., coffee machines with health benefits), I prefer one that's close to home, yet within walking distance of at least a good pizza or sub joint (lunch!). My Coffice also must be large enough so that I can switch seats in an instant to avoid the riffraff. Hey…the riffraff are allowed their lattes too…just not within 5 feet of me! Finally, I truly appreciate a Coffice with a great group of regular Cofficers. The friendly ones. Not the ones who look at you sideways if your lappy is anything less than the newest $8,000 Mac. The guy who had "The Coffice" logo done for me works in the same Coffice…at the cubicle…er…I mean table beside mine. Good co-Cofficers make for good networking opportunities! So whether you're wearing the latest in fall fashion like Erika, or you've just thrown on a pair of sweats and Addidas, if you work at a Coffice, you are part of an elite club or professionals who get it. If you don't…what're you waiting for? Get off your asses and get to a Coffice! Sam Title Chief Executive Cofficer twitter.com/thecoffice facebook.com/thecoffice

Scott Noir
Scott Noir

Ohhh Erika!! You had me at Boots. Oh yeah and "the *letter* Coffee" too LMAO Your posts are so much fun. And doing work in a coffee shop is hotness. I don't do it much anymore (read: dayjob takes up too much damn time) But before I became a car sales whore, I did frequent coffee shops in Charlottesville, VA. (You'd love that area btw.) Interestingly enough there was a Cafe Europa there but it was Greek food not coffee. But yes, the *new* work and socialize friendly coffee shops are wonderful.

P.S. Jones
P.S. Jones

I know it's a chain but I love Panera Bread. They don't care if you stay from open to close (ask me how I know that). The coffee/hot tea/soda is refillable all day if you like. Sometimes it says that you can only be online for 30 minutes during 11-2, but that's a lie. I often work straight through that without any timer telling me to get off. It's got ton of comfy places to sit and outlets. And finally, there's the real reason I go there: Broccoli and Cheddar soup in a bread bowl. (You can't see this but I'm drooling.) Oh, and I'm sure that there are some things for non dairy, non soy eating people like you Erika. The menu is friggin HUGE.

Tim Biden
Tim Biden

Coffices!!! Thanks for the new word. I'm going to see how many times I can use it today! Gotta have a good chai. I HATE coffee so anything that even hints of those horrid beans is thrown out the window but a good chai, that makes life worth living. Too bad I'm not in Denver, I'd love to check these places out. I hope they get some good business out of the post.

Kris M O'Connor
Kris M O'Connor

Hookers and blow? LMAO - way over rated - boots kick ass!

Mike Masin
Mike Masin

I'm a coder, not a writer, so I prefer to work in my cave. Industrial strength connectivity, two monster screens, and music to match my mood. Coffee is on-demand from my Keurig brewer and it brews all day long. (I drink it black so the dairy/non-dairy selection is limited.) C'mon by if you're ever in Lexington. I'll put out the good china and you can connect to my network, take your pick of comfy seating (all with outlets) and select the tunes. There's a choice of different K-Cups (always fresh) and if you let me know in advance I'll bake some goodies for the nummies and pickup almond and coconut milk.

Bradley
Bradley

Coffee to a Tea http://coffeetoatea.com/ in Greenville, SC. It is in the art district, locally owned, and they make a kick-ass sandwich! Never tried the coffee, can't stand the stuff.

Corey Nagle
Corey Nagle

I love putting on a little lip gloss and my kick-ass boots.

Jonathan
Jonathan

Fluid Coffee Bar in Uptown also rocks!

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