5 coffee shops to work from in the Syracuse area

Over at Outspoken the other day, Lisa Barone wrote about some etiquette for working at coffee shops. Basically, it's how to grab some focus while not being a jackass to other customers, and, more importantly, to the business you're patronizing.

You should read that post, then come back; I'll tell you my favorite coffee shops to work from in the Syracuse area.

1. Recess Coffee. Recess is tucked in the Westcott neighborhood and is open late. There's free on-street parking within a block, although during the school year it can get tough to find parking since the students who rent in the area are stuck parking on the street. They roast their own coffee, and it's clear they're coffee drinkers, because the coffee's really good. They also have creative hot chocolates that bring a lot of people back. They don't have a ton of electricity, so bring a fully charged laptop. And bring headphones; the music can sometimes get a little loud.

2. Freedom of Espresso, Franklin Square. For me, this is the most comfortable of the Freedom stores to work from (and one of two to make my top five spots in town). It's comfortable, has electricity all the way along one wall, and, with the exception of the fact that without fail someone will make or take a really loud phone call during the day, it's the quietest cafe in town. The wifi is stable, parking is plentiful, and if you need a little inspiration, there's a statue of Benjamin Franklin across the street and the CreekWalk about 50 steps in the other direction. There's also a hot dog cart at lunchtime. Word.

3. Funk 'n' Waffles. Funk has the strongest coffee in town, and really good food. Seriously, where else in town can you get fried chicken & waffles? They have overstuffed chairs, plenty of electricity, very stable wifi...the only thing that makes me shy away from going there is the parking. It's on the SU hill, so you're either going to pay a fortune for parking or walk a mile. It's great for consolidating trips up there, though.

4. Cafe Kubal. Kubal is another place that roasts its own coffee and clearly is run by coffee lovers. They also make brilliant sandwiches. It's open before 8 a.m., which makes it a winner for me, since I like to get going early. There's plenty of free parking, too. Unfortunately, it's tiny, the machines can get loud, and it can get crowded. The electricity per capita is really good, if you can get a seat.

5. Freedom of Espresso, Fayetteville. The only real problem with this Freedom store is the wifi is iffy. They have plenty of large leather chairs, and a long counter space in front of the window that is meant to be workspace – it has electricity for every seat, and a space between the counter and the wall for cables. Plenty of free parking next to the store and in the back.

Tomorrow, it being Friday, we'll get your happy hour on with my favorite bars to work from.

photo credit: Ballistik Coffee Boy



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  • I’ve only been to one place (Freedom Franklin) on your list, looks like I need to visit some coffee shops.

  • Great article- Freedom Franklin is one of my favorites. Close by and as you say, the parking is better.

  • Good choices. One thing about Funk and Waffles though is that if you are night owl (who likes to work after 8 or so), I wouldn’t go there to work since they have shows, bands, loud music etc.

  • Love that you wrote this article. I’ll have to check out Recess.

    You are spot on about the loud phone call at Freedom, hahaha.

  • Good point about Funk, Susan. I tend to start working early (before most people are awake), so evening at these places isn’t taken into consideration at all.

  • And they’re all locally owned–patronize the stores, improve our city!

  • Josh
    I would agree with you on all and add a couple. SugarPearl Cafe on Burnet Ave – gimmie coffee – good coffee, pastries and a nice place to stop in and sit a bit. I’m also a Panera Bread fan.

    Sandy Jurkiewicz

  • Sandy,

    Thanks for the comment. If I’d extended the post to more shops, Sugar Pearl definitely would have made it, and so would Strong Hearts. I’ve had consistently bad luck with the wireless at Panera; plus, as you can probably tell from the stores I picked, I’m rather partial to locally owned.

  • Second Story has pretty speedy wireless. Opens a bit late, but comfy along with good coffee and food.

    Also love all the other spots mentioned. Great list. The Franklin Freedom is awesome. I really like working at the Pearl Street location too. Lots of interesting regulars there. And Freedom’s Armory locale, although dripping with unrealized potential, still makes for a good spot to plop down with the laptop to check email.

    Another good spot worth mention is the cafe at the SU library. They serve Freedom coffee, have some comfy booths and somehow I seem to get more done there than most places. Still, when up on the Hill, I try to hit Funk. I just love those guys.

  • […] living local, and the Red Sox.” Josh hits almost all these topics in a couple of posts on local coffee shops and local bars where you can live, work and socialize–while promoting the local economy (and […]

  • I’m a Recess caffeinator first, but if it’s Monday or before 10am, I go to Kubal. Then again if I’m hungry, I end up at the Funk.

  • Check out Cafe at 407. http://www.opheliasplace.org/cafe.html
    Great atmosphere and a non profit to boot! I think it will become one of your favorites.

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