Some people work better listening to classical music. Others need to go for a jog first, perhaps stand on their head to get the blood flowing, or clean the kitchen (also called procrastination). Others do best with a good coffee and the background buzz of a cafe in action.
With SWOTVAC looming for students, we've curated a list of favourite cafes in which to take care of business. Whether you're frantically hitting the books or a freelancer in need of laptop-time out of the house, here's a starting point for getting things done within earshot of a coffee grinder.
Everyday is not a large cafe, but as most customers swing by for takeaways, there are often plenty of seats on weekdays. The filter coffee arrives in a big mug, soda water arrives courtesy of friendly, knowledgeable staff, and there's usually hip-hop on the speakers. If you work well to chilled beats, Everyday will serve you well.
33 Johnston Street, Collingwood
A classic for students, particularly those at RMIT, a block up the hill. The big warehouse space generally means it’s easy enough to get a seat and you won’t feel rushed or like you have to move along. Bagels and nachos make for affordable snacks throughout the day, although there are heartier meals, too. There are also plenty of comfy couches if you’re in for the long haul, and good happy-hour specials (for when it’s time to reward your hard work) and student discounts.
361 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Positioned on Flinders Lane next to City Library, this cafe can get busy, but the shelves lined with books will get you in the right frame of mind. It also does an excellent chai, if you don’t want to overstimulate yourself.
253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
The family who run this low-key Windsor cafe love playing jazz, so it’s a soothing place to settle in to. There are lots of seats (and a few power points scattered about, if you ask nicely). It also does great, homey dishes for winter, such as big Italian soups.
132 Chapel Street, Windsor
The wi-fi can be a little slow when it’s packed, but the coffee is reliably great. With its lived-in Brunswick Street vibe, black-and-white checkered floors, counter display filled with paninis, it’s a nice kickback to old Fitzroy. Same with Black Cat just down the street on the corner (also with free wi-fi).
268 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Another great cafe next to a library (every Melbourne library should catch onto this), if you've had enough of the silence in the domed reading room, the big communal table is a good place to spread out your notes and really get stuck in.
State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Although a very popular cafe, this Richmond spot is much more mellow on weekdays, especially in the morning. If you happen to get a sunny day, the courtyard is pretty splendid.
480 Bridge Road, Richmond
With its proximity to Melbourne Uni this cafe was always bound to be asked, day in, day out: “Can I use your wi-fi?” As well as providing internet, Stovetop does some good one-hander food (Reubens, po’ boys, burgers), so you don’t have to break your typing mid-stride.
100 Leicester Street, Carlton
With one long communal table stretching down the middle of the room, you’ll be less likely to check Facebook if you know you’re being judged by the person next to you. This warm CBD spot is good for more than one reason – it sells a range of ethical food products and homewares promoting fairtrade and sustainability.
277 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Three words: bottomless coffee refills.
Really, that’s it. That’s all you need to know.
210 Queensberry Street, Carlton
If you prefer to work from cafes without wi-fi, here are a couple more that will keep you off the WWW.
Down a side street, this weekends-only doughnut shop is spacious and doesn’t get too hectic. Find a seat next to the window: the afternoon light spills in beautifully and is a real mood-lifter. Warning: your filter coffee comes in a paper cup. Carry it back to your table – slowly – with both hands. Hot-coffee burns don’t help you get work done.
12 Edward Street, Brunswick
A bit of a curveball, but a good one for exercise junkies. If you need to get the endorphins flowing before you can get to work, jump into a cycling class before taking a seat at the adjoining cafe with a cold juice.
177 Stephen Street, Yarraville
The home of Padre coffee has expanded in to a large clean space with lots of natural light, a good selection of pastries and a short menu of well-priced lunch options. The soda water is on tap, there’s a large shared table in the centre of the room and the coffee, needless to say, is spot on.
436 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
It may be on a main road, but inside the St Kilda Dispensary, all is calm and there are nooks to settle into. A good place to have a meeting or work with others if you get a spot at the communal table. Fuel your productivity with pastries and bigger breakfasts, all under $15.
13 Brighton Road, St Kilda