Working in a South Lake Union office can be great. There’s an unlimited supply of corporate-looking backdrops for your new LinkedIn headshot and you never have to worry about where your next banana is going to come from.
But sometimes, you just want to be somewhere else for a bit. Maybe the air conditioning is so cold that you have to wear a parka and run your fingers under hot water just to type an email. Maybe you’ve had enough of your coworker who talks about what brand of non-gmo kibble he feeds his puggle. Maybe you just need a change of scenery because your giant window faces construction scaffolding. Just remember that you’re not trapped - there are a bunch of great South Lake Union coffee shops. These spots have solid wifi situations, espresso selections, and places you can sit and work remotely (but not that remotely) for a few hours.
If your office is one of the few that has a “no pets” policy since your CEO has an intolerance to dander, just head to Evoke. It’s our favorite coffee shop in SLU, not just because it’s dog-friendly, but also because they have a big communal table, a row of bench seating, and a sofa that’s actually near an outlet. Grab a latte made with one of their housemade syrups (chocolate hazelnut’s pretty great), find a spot next to a cute Australian Shepherd, and get to work.
Fulcrum Cafe is a relaxing place to drink coffee and work - the tables are made of marble and there’s a lot of expensive-looking wood everywhere. Their lattes are made with flavorings like black sesame and brown sugar or goat milk and elderflower as well as a granola bar cookie and you’re set for a productive morning.
Cherry Street is bright inside, there’s always a constant but not outrageous flow of people, and the seats are extremely comfortable. Every seat is near some kind of power source, so there’s no need to give someone at another table the evil eye once your computer battery hits 12%. This place is also great for a ton of different situations - you could do some morning work alone, have a lowkey lunch meeting (complete with tasty Persian stews like gheymeh with saffron and split peas), or sit down at 3pm to do one last push before going home for the night.
Kakao specializes in melting chocolate into 15 different possible drinks that range from a dark mocha to sipping chocolate made with 63% cacao. But if you’re not in the mood to drink something sweet at 8am, they have a menu of classic espresso drinks. The most comfortable seats in the house are the sofa and chairs in the middle of the space, which end up being even more cozy with a mug full of liquid chocolate. You can also reserve a private working area for free, just in case 16 of your coworkers also want to get out of the office for that quarterly meeting.
Cascade Coffee Works is a little more crowded than other coffee shops in the neighborhood, but there’s a good mix of tables and sofas, and it isn’t too difficult to find an outlet. Cascade also carries Califia Farms Barista Blend almond milk, which is like the Ferrari of nut milk.
Vivace has the best coffee in SLU. Plus, they have a bar that faces the window, so instead of grabbing some fruit from the free banana stand to procrastinate, you can look up and do some people watching instead. Even though the Capitol Hill location is more vibrant, this one works well to meet up for an hour with out-of-town friends that you didn’t take PTO to hang out with.
Whenever you leave your office to get some work done, you always run into someone from your team who ends up talking to you for 10 minutes. If this gives you anxiety, go get a latte at Cafe Torino. This tiny cafe serves Italian espresso, has great wifi, and is pretty quiet all day - except for espresso machine noises.
Fresh Flours is pretty calm compared to the coffee shops on Westlake. The coffee here is pretty great by itself or alongside one of their tasty Japanese pastries, like green tea macarons or red bean bars. And if the thermostat in your office is so cold that you’ve started pressing your face on newly-printed computer paper to warm up, the cozy sofas and tables in here get plenty of sun pouring in from the windows.
Sometimes, the thought of being interrupted during a busy day makes you want to dropkick the xerox machine. Don’t do that - instead, set your status to WFH and head to Assembly Hall. It’s in the Denny Triangle, so you hopefully shouldn’t run into any of your South Lake Union coworkers. Plus, they serve breakfast, lunch, coffee, juice, and soft serve, so you can stay all day even for meals or snacks. Sit by the fireplace and enjoy some Dole Whip and alone time.
Mr. West is perfect for an off-site meeting in a pinch. It’s technically Downtown, but it’s not a far walk from SLU. There have little nooks if you need some privacy, and a communal space as well if you need to spread out a little more. They serve delicious food, from curried avocado toast to croissant breakfast sandwiches, and the coffee’s great. It also doubles as an all-day wine bar where you can drink frozen rose cocktails and local wines made from grapes grown in the Pacific Northwest.
There’s something peaceful about sipping a latte on the second floor of a QFC in Queen Anne where nobody can find you. Konvene is one of our favorite coffee shops for their excellent milk steaming and their baristas’ friendly attitudes. And even though their seating arrangement is one little counter and a couple of tables (none of which have any power outlets), it works for a short-term work session until your laptop battery dies. And if you’re hungry, they serve an amazing bacon, egg, and Beecher’s sandwich with aioli on a big brioche bun.
QED is a few blocks from the general South Lake Union area, but it’s worth the walk for their great lattes and bright, colorful tables that make rainy days suck a little less than usual. They also serve food in the mornings like breakfast tacos and biscuits and sausage gravy.
If your idea of drinking a cup of energy means liquified kale instead of caffeine, you should visit Joe & The Juice - a coffee shop that doubles as a smoothie bar. It’s located at the bottom of a giant office building, so if you work upstairs and just need a break, it’s a great place to go if you can’t stray far from your desk.