When starting a business, becoming a freelancer or just about trying to do anything else productive online, you’re likely going to run into a problem. That problem is of course; lack of productivity with where you are working.
This is especially true for newer freelancers or business owners who aren’t sure about their direction yet. Although mindset & motivation are a topic of conversation for another day, I’d recommend reading up on these before even thinking about starting a business/becoming a freelancer, but again, that’s a conversation for another day (or Twitter).
Today I wanted to do a quick post about the top coffee shops in Cardiff.
Just to be clear – this isn’t really about where you can get the best coffee in Cardiff (or finding the best cafes in Cardiff either, for that matter) – it’s more about the best Cardiff coffee shops for someone looking to be extremely productive and essentially grow a business. This is something that helped me a lot personally before moving into an office and something I believe helped fast track the business to where it is today. That is of course working outside of your home.
A lot of people struggle with the distractions and procrastination when working from home. Even with a home office, to this day, I still find it more difficult to work from home than a coffee shop or an office.
There’s a whole bunch of psychological reasons why that is the case, but that’s a bit off topic. So, let’s crack on with the list.
Table of Contents
The Cardiff coffee shops discussed below are going to be ranked based on 4 criteria; WiFi quality, seating/comfort, general atmosphere (for working) & coffee quality. I left some elements such as; food, price, location, opening hours etc off of the list for a couple of reasons. One just to make the process a lot simpler and secondly because these are usually very similar for coffee shops generally speaking.
The perfect work environment is worth an extra 30p on your coffee. It takes only a couple of productive minutes to compensate the price difference – an important factor in this discussion about Cardiff coffee shops that go best with the freelancer workstyle.
There’s also a couple of elements that are extremely important, but may go overlooked if you have never officially tried to find a coffee hideout to work from for days and weeks on end.
Here’s my litmus test for the best cafes in Cardiff (city centre, and around):
1) They are friendly – but not distracting.
2) They make you feel welcome, so that you actually look forward to getting some work done.
3) If you are on a budget, they don’t mind you being “that guy that stays in here for 8 hours and only buys 2 coffees (you know exactly what I mean).
A well known coffee shop situated in the Royal Arcade.
Uncommon Ground has some of the best interior design of all Cardiff coffee shops on the list today, and is generally a good working spot for shorter sessions or nice for catching up on reading. Could definitely do with a new website though.
Couple of major positives:
The location is incredible, 2 minutes walk from central for anyone that gets the train and in between St Mary’s & St David’s.
Simple food and pricing has never surprised me. They also have a very nice upstairs. Couple of negatives; largest one is the wifi reliability, it’s just sh*t (for the want of a better word). For longer work sessions the darkness & seating become a bit of an issue. Generally speaking Uncommon Ground, Cardiff is a great place for a coffee (duh!), but bring a book instead of a laptop.
A favourite amongst freelancers and especially creatives by the look of the audience here. Situated on Bridge Street opposite the Admiral building and what appears to be Cardiff’s attempt at the Shard, Little Man is a friendly, relaxed coffee house with some cool vibes. Again, their website sucks.
Couple of major positives for Little Man – The vibes, place is very relaxed and a work environment is generally there (it’s rarely filled with screaming kids which is always nice.) Couple of negatives; didn’t really like the coffee or the WiFi.
There’s an easy way to see within 7 seconds whether a coffee shop is a good fit for working in. If the number of laptops outnumbers the number of kids, that’s probably a good place to hustle from. Finding the best coffee in Cardiff isn’t a tough task as long as you’re willing to try!
Strangely an absolute gem I’ve only recently come across from a working point of view.
Park House is a fine dining restaurant and wine bar. Doesn’t exactly sound like the coffee shop working vibes that we’re after. But stick with me.
Park House offers a comfy, quiet place for you to smash out a work session, it’s also one of the top locations for client meetings in Cardiff too. The Coffee is also good and reasonably priced (most Cardiff coffee shops lack this balance of prices and quality).
Situated on Queen Street, 200 Degrees was where I went to work everyday (no joke) for close to 6 months. So essentially it was “my selection” when I was looking for a place to work day in and day out. There are a few reasons why: great coffee, very friendly staff, decent wifi (although seems to have gotten worse recently) and comfortable seating for working.
That last point is something I think the majority of Cardiff cafes and coffee shops looking to attract the work-from-a-coffee-shop type person forget. Comfy seats for working, very different to comfy seats for chilling (Image Source).
On the corner of High Street Arcade and High Street (Bottom part of St Mary’s). Corner Coffee is a specialist, quintessential Cardiff coffee shop with some banging coffee, but no website, tut tut.
Pros of Corner Coffee: The coffee. Easily the best coffee in Cardiff . Very chilled vibes.
Cons: As the name suggests it is a corner, meaning it’s pretty small. Annoyingly this does make it more difficult to work here as there’s realistically only 3/4 areas to crack open a laptop as a result the overall score is lower. Comfort isn’t as high as others on the list either.
A growing chain of coffee shops (owned by Brains I believe). Coffee #1 (aka Coffee One Cardiff) have a bunch of locations, even a few in Cardiff but the one in question is; Unit 1 The Aspect, 140 Queen Street. Situated right at the end of Queen Street right next to our office.
I’m writing this paragraph from Coffee #1, the vibe is really good, not too busy/quiet and very chill.
The seating is OK but again probably going to suck after a solid 5 hour work session. Coffee was surprisingly nice as well. Some cons: The wifi didn’t even connect at first and wasn’t great there after.
Probably the largest coffee shop on the list (and apparently one of the best cafes in Cardiff, according to other reviewers).
Situated opposite Corner Coffee, Coffee Barker offers a range of drinks and some great outdoor seating too. Being so large there’s always multiple places to crack open a laptop and get going, although Barker does fill up very fast. The Wifi is good until numbers start increasing (similar to most places on the list.)
Coffee – not so sure about. The staff seem very rushed in this place so the end result is usually slightly lower. Hustling vibes are good though, music is always very chilled but not too loud.
Working from a coffee shop can be eventually make you feel lonely – so it’s nice to have other hustlers around you.
If you think I’ve missed any obvious choices or you are thinking about developing a coffee shop for entrepreneurs in Cardiff – Then let me know would love to test it out!
Also, it’s not as hard as you think it is to start a coffee shop either nowadays. A quick lease, some believe, pick up a coffee machine (or just rent it) and then get going!
Also can’t believe I wrote 1,500 words about coffee shops in Cardiff, but I guess we’re a content marketing agency for a reason, and if you made it this far and you own a business, get in touch to ask us what how we can help your content schedule fly!