I’m halfway through a three-month tour of midtown-downtown coffee shops in Oklahoma City, sizing up each for its suitability as a mobile workspace. We allowed our old office lease to expire while our new space in Automobile Alley gets renovated. Meanwhile, we’re working from coffee shops, home, hotel lobbies, client conference rooms, or wherever we can pop up a laptop.
The coffee-shop criteria: reliable wifi and electrical outlets, parking availability, attitude, quiet enough to make a phone call, able to camp out without getting dirty looks, and overall atmosphere. Oh, and good coffee.
Kamp’s on 10th Street is an old standby, a favorite of the Capitol crowd. It’s so big, they hardly notice you. But the coffee and the atmosphere both are blasé. Vintage Coffee, in an old church at 49th and Western, is a good choice.
Hank’s in midtown has a nice atmosphere, but it’s so small, you feel like you’re in the way. You can’t really hide. Same with Will’s on North Western, and Leaf and Bean in Deep Deuce.
The Red Cup off Classen is cool. The people watching is fun, and there’s good eavesdropping on metaphysics, astrology and poetry.
Coffee Slingers on Automobile Alley is too loud. At Elemental Coffee at Hudson and Eighth, the chairs are uncomfortable and the windows make the sun too hot. The District House in the Plaza District plays good jazz, and the diverse “welcome all” neighborhood makes the vibe great.
And then there’s About Cha in Bricktown. Occupied mostly by college students and bearded hipsters, it’s got just the right amount of buzz and personality. It doesn’t try too hard. It’s big, so you can park yourself there for half a day. The staff notices, but you feel welcome. Heck, they even slid me a couple of free cookies the other day. And the music is a good mix, mainly 21st century independent music. M.I.A. is a mainstay, and Beck, and MGMT. Today I heard the Strokes.
They’re the clear winner, so far. But we’ve got another six weeks.