May 14, 2018 by Ellis Dixon
Eight Cafes for You and Your Laptop Around Lisbon
Whether it’s an overly-talkative co-worker, the construction noise next door, or that unpleasant aroma of someone’s re-heated fish from the company kitchen, sometimes escaping the office, the house, or the co-working space is a must if you need to get some work done.
We’ve all been there, but have you been here? These spots, unlike some of the more traditional cafés around the city, don’t mind at all if your lunch date is your laptop. Just be sure to order something and you’ll be left alone. If you need a reminder on the various coffees you can order in Portugal, scroll down or click here.
Bela-Sombre | Estrela | Open daily starting at 9h
Start your day off with some pretty expensive, but good coffee as you watch the ducks and geese play in the lake. If you’re peckish, go for the quiche or something sweet like one of their fresh pastries. On a nice day, it’s perhaps the most relaxing spot to get a little work done, especially if there aren’t many people around. If it starts filling up, their wi-fi signal might suffer but there’s always the NOS Wifi Fon signal you can use as a backup for a couple of bucks. Head here for inspiration when it’s lacking. You’ll likely find some here beside the lake.
La Boulangerie | Santos-o-Velho | Open daily starting at 8h
Have some ovos mexidos (scrambled eggs), a buttery croissant, and a cup of coffee at one of the indoor or outdoor tables and start striking items off your to-do list. There’s free wi-fi, the friendly staff will lay off, and no one ever seems to be in a hurry to kick you out. Not into working? These guys subscribe to the Financial Times, Le Monde (natch!), and Observador, among other publications, so you can save your battery and read the news on paper when you want to give your eyes a break from the screen.
Heim Cafe | Santos | Open Mon and Wed – Sun starting at 9h. Closed Tuesdays
The very welcoming owners Hanna and Misha run this modern cafe that serves light and delicious food and dependable wi-fi. Now that they have outdoor seating, more and more of the neighborhood’s freelancer crowd is clamoring for a spot to sip their coffee, munch on a snack, and get some work done. The secret is out on this place, and for good reason. The avocado toast (yes…it’s like THAT) with a fried egg is particularly yummy, as is the smoked salmon salad, but the real draw is the Sunday brunch, with various combination options and, reportedly, good cocktails, though bloody Marys are not on the menu…yet. No room? Check out Mercaria Mila just down the hill a bit toward Santos on the same street. They have hours where you’re not allowed to use your laptop, but in the early mornings and the late afternoons, you’re safe.
COA | Cais do Sodré | Open Mon, 9h – 18h; Tue – Fri 9h – 2h; Sat, 18h – 2h
Large tables that don’t wobble, sturdy chairs, a quiet ambiance, stellar soups, outdoor and indoor seating, and beer on tap make this spot a go-to for freelancers on deadline or looking for inspiration (it is the Café Ordem dos Arquitectos after all). Often, more traditional cafés will give you the stink eye if you pull out your laptop, but not here. Stay for a sandwich or just munch on snacks. The hours are few but any time spent here is well worth the trip.
Crafty Corner | Cais do Sodré | Open Mon – Fri starting at 16h, Sat-Sun starting at 14h
Mix things up a little and go finish off your workday at this new local craft beer bar. It’s generally quiet, plays excellent music, and serves Lisbon’s best beers in pints and half pints. You could also opt for a Coca Cola or just a water with lemon if you like while you work and save your reward for the moment you shut things down. If you aren’t sure which brew to buy, ask the bartender and get a sample before you commit.
Banana Cafe |Baixa and Avenida | Open Mon – Fri starting at 9h30, Sat – Sun starting at 10h
If the weather is conducive to working outside, this kiosk in Praça Município is a good bet to bang out a project or two. The internet is dependable and there are MEO and NOS Wi-fi backups for worst case scenarios. Out of the Banana Cafe kiosks, this is one of the best as the service is good and you’re offset from pedestrians enough that you’re more or less left alone by panhandlers and people looking to bum cigarettes. If you’re closer to Chido, I also recommend the Banana Cafe kiosk on Avenida Liberdade if you prefer fountains and trees alongside the boulevard.
Trobadores | Baixa | Open Mon – Fri starting at 12h and Sat – Sun starting at 17h
It may be crowded with ale-drinking locals at night expertly poking flaming sausages, but during the daytime, it’s the perfect place to get stuff done in peace. The peasant-shirt wearing wenches at this medieval tavern will gladly bring you an oversized tosta mista and an Oitava Colina IPA (or a coffee if that’s your thing) with as little interruption as possible. Heavy wooden tables and matching chairs give you enough space to spread out. The bonus is that it’s not completely medieval, as they have taken the best from more recent centuries and supplied their guests with bathrooms and wi-fi you can count on.
Centro Vasco da Gama Food Court | Expo | Open Daily, 9h – 24h
With a free wifi signal and a food court with everything from burgers to falafel to fresh salads, everyone’s happy. Post up at an indoor table if it’s drizzling, or opt for some comfy seating outdoors on the patio deck with just as strong a signal and a killer view. Regardless of whether you’ve come to dine, to drink, or just to mooch internet, you’ll find just what you’re looking for without any questions. It IS a mall, after all.