I was talking about this with Laura the other day, and we reckon there’s a graph or Venn diagram to be produced with our requirements, which are: plenty of plug sockets; comfortable and utilitarian seating; decent food at a decent price (Laura) / skimmed milk (me); decent, non-flaky wifi. Not a huge list – but we haven’t found anything with all that yet (apart from My House, which doesn’t seem right). Anyway:
I’ve spoken to someone who lives in Kings Heath and claimed he worked in the new Costa and it was nice and comfy and a good place to work. So, even though we’re more Independent Café type people, we thought we’d do an extra trip and take up a table at a corporate.
So, Laura and I arrived at the same time – all well and good. A comfy sofa came free and I popped to get the tea. Immediate brownie points – they have skimmed milk. There’s a range of food and biscuits but nothing I can have (so I’d still choose Starbucks if I wanted a chain and a bun) and all seemed good. Then I asked for information on the wireless.
There isn’t any.
So, we’re in a big new shiny café in the heart of Kings Heath, which surely must have a high proportion of freelancers and home-workers. There are power points all over the place – by far the most we’ve found. And there’s no wireless network.
So while we came in here not exactly wanting to promote this café above the fantastic independent cafes and quirky chains but open to seeing what it was like and having another option when the lack of plug sockets and noisy stuff in other cafes got too much … but we can’t really recommend somewhere where we can only work offline, or with one of those fancy little boxes that, you know, cost money to run.
Other minuses – the seating arrangements were a little odd. You could sit on a squashy sofa, but then you had to rest your laptop on your knee, as the tables are very high. If you try to put the laptop on the table, well, organgrinders and monkeys come to mind …
“What if I found a rat in my tea?” shouted Laura suddenly. She was doing her PR thing and trying to get hold of Costa’s PR office to try and find out what their policy was on wifi in the cafes (it seems is is available in some). And she ran into all sorts of obstacles – which I’ll leave her to describe in her post …
My verdict: Skimmed milk does not a co-working space make!
Read Laura’s post here and see what she thought of our co-working experience!
For all our cafe reviews so far, click here.