Favorite coffee shops for working?


G emails:

I've got my favorites, but I'm wondering if you could poll the readers as to where is their favorite spot for coffee and reading, drawing, daydreaming and/or relaxing. Always nice to find new spots to sip and sketch. It's even nicer when the spots are locally owned, although I do find myself at various Starbucks quite a bit (they're consistent, lots of big tables for workspace and I have a ton of gift cards after the holidays.)

As you've probably seen us mention before, we don't have an office for AOA, so we end up working in these sorts of places a lot. And it's kind of funny how particular you can become about what's the "good" place -- is it quiet, are the tables big enough, how's the music, are the drinks and food any good.

So, got a favorite spot to suggest to G? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're recommending that place is always appreciated.


Uncommon Grounds on Western Ave. in Albany - not a place to sink into a big dirty comfy chair, but it has great coffee, food and free wifi and a constant buzz to draw from.

* Stacks Espresso, 260 Lark St, Albany, NY (many tables, great coffee, can be a bit packed on the weekend)
* The Brakes Coffeehouse & Provisions, 227 Lark St, Albany, NY (has good couch, a few tables, and good organic food too; gets warm in summer)
* The Daily Grind, 204 Lark St #1, Albany, NY (check *the second floor*, a lot spacious and quieter)
* Delaware Trolley House and Cafe, 292 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY (next to Spectrum8 where Tierra used to be, relatively new; a little light on electrical outlets if you need a laptop)
* Professor Java's, 217 Wolf Rd, Albany, NY (a classic, lots of tables, good coffee, can be a bit loud when packed or hosting groups)
* Cider Belly, 25 N Pearl St, Albany, NY (they have big wood tables in the back, city wifi, *and donuts*, need I say more?)
* Tierra Coffee Roasters, 1038 Madison Ave, Albany, NY (not my jam, gets too loud, especially when bands are playing, and drafty in winter)
* Uncommon Grounds, 1235 Western Ave, Albany, NY (not my jam either, gets too loud when packed, am I an old man?)

* The Daily Grind, 46 3rd St, Troy, NY 12180 (has couch, tables, good pecan pie and coffee)
* Superior Merchandise Co, 147 4th St, Troy, NY (great coffee, decor, but no wifi and poor cell reception can be an issue if you need your laptop)
* Lucas Confectionery, 12 2nd St, Troy, NY (not quite a coffee place per se, but they do have coffee, and I'm partial to working there by the window on quiet days)
* Spill’n the Beans Coffeehouse & Bistro, 13 3rd St, Troy, NY 12180 (has comfy chairs by the window, but can get packed/loud)

You certainly won't find big tables here, but Stacks Espresso Bar has long been my favorite spot, back to its Caffe Vero days. It's comfortable, has decent wifi, the best coffee in the city and is in the perfect spot for people-watching, with big windows opening onto Lark.

Emack & Bolio's serves espresso, ice cream, pastries & smoothies.
Cafe Mochas & Hot Chocolate are made with Our Homemade Hot Fudge. Often quiet space to study or work weekdays. Open 11am-10pm/11pm Fri/Sat & all summer. Free wifi inside and in our outdoor garden. Live Music Fri/Sat 7-10pm, Sunday's in the Summer & Open Mic Tues.

Hudson River Coffee House on Quail.

Big tables. Lots of room. Big enough space so it never gets too loud. Darn good coffee, too!

the Happy Cappuccino on Jay St. in Schenectady

Hudson River Coffee House in Albany and Professor's Java are two of my favorites!

Perfect Blend in Delmar is locally owned, has great coffee, and is very quiet in the back. People are always studying there and the quesadillas are great.

Stacks Espresso. Great lattes and lovely staff. I always feel like I'm part of the neighborhood when I go in there.

Our Daily Bread in Chatham. It's a hike but for me it's worth it to get away and clear my head to get some real writing done. I sit in the front window of the counter service area and while there's a welcome distraction of customers going in and out there aren't many tables for it to be bustling like a more traditional jam packed coffee shop.

I can get there in the AM, grab some of the best hash and eggs in the region and a decent cup of joe. If I'm still around in the afternoon, their house cured and smoked meats and bread make some pretty tasty sandwiches that go along well with their sides, baked treats and a small selection of saison and IPAs.


I wish I could take the owners of the Capital region's coffee shops on a national tour of coffee shops I've known and loved. A coffee shop that's good for working needs three things: good drinks, good food, and comfortable seating. Drinks need to include coffee, espresso-based drinks, black tea, and caffeine-free options. Food should include sandwiches as well as sweets. Comfortable seating requires many factors: there should be enough seating that you can find a table and not feel bad sitting for several hours. Tables should be large enough for your plate, your drink, your note pad, and your laptop. If there are couches or armchairs, they need side tables to put your mug on. Ample outlets are desirable. The place should not become uncomfortably cold every time someone goes through the door in winter (hear that, Uncommon Grounds?). And there is no need for table service, especially when the table service is poorly executed (I'm looking at you, Professor Java's). Many of the Capital region's coffee shops achieve one or even two of these elements. But none of them achieve all three. Which mystifies me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the coffee shop fake office has been over ever since Portlandia put it in their sites. And this - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-peak/the-end-of-the-coffee-sho_b_6067710.html

I don't think a coffee shop needs to have sandwiches. Pastries, sweets, bagels, biscotti, yes. Sandwiches? Go to a deli.

@S said it best. No local coffee shop around here gets it all right. I love professor javas but the service just kills me every single time, and I've given them a ton of tries.

Semi-unrelated, I would be elated if a local coffee shop opened on the New Scotland strip (by the fountain, beer belly, etc.)

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Nutella bacon bagel at Wired Coffee

There are certain foodstuffs that really only exist for those moments when you just don't care about life anymore. Those items that make it hard... (more)

That's a 5-point shot, right?

Ahmad doing Ahmad things. pic.twitter.com/p7FJ22NsbS— UAlbany Basketball (@UAlbanyMBB) December 12, 2017 UAlbany's Ahmad Clark was working on extending his range ahead of Tuesday night's... (more)

Scanning the 2018 Tanglewood season lineup

It's cold and snowy, but summer will return. Eventually. With that in mind, we were looking over the schedule for the next season at Tanglewood.... (more)

Holiday gifts: Alexandra Stafford

Gifts and giving are on most everyone's mind this month. So we're again asking people to share some thoughts on presents, past and present, charities... (more)

What's up with the Albany Skyway, and a few bits about plans to makeover a key piece of downtown

The Albany Skyway project -- which aims to turn a lightly-used off-ramp into a linear park connecting downtown Albany with the riverfront -- is set... (more)

Recent Comments

My husband and I took a couples massage class a few years ago around Valentines Day at Om Shanti Healing Arts. Not sure if it's offered year round but worth an ask.

What's up with the Albany Skyway, and a few bits about plans to makeover a key piece of downtown

...has 4 comments, most recently from Ian Benjamin

Where to take a couples massage class?

...has 3 comments, most recently from Heather

Holiday gifts: Jammella Anderson

...has 1 comment, most recently from BS

Where to cut your own Christmas tree 2012

...has 9 comments, most recently from MB

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

...has 2 comments, most recently from Daleyplanit