Restaurants

Coffice Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a Wi-Fi.
Image: matthew dekneef

Coffice Space

A mini-manual to coffee (with a free shot of Internet) in Honolulu

Next time you’re waiting for a cappuccino, consider where you really are. Right, the lengthy line of your local coffee shop, but where else? Glance around. You may see a graphic designer drafting a company logo. A realtor looking over blueprints via iPad. Law students cramming over PowerPoints on a shared laptop. You might even see me somewhere typing up these little words. That’s right. You’re looking at me, sitting in “it” as I write this very article: I’m in my “coffice.”

A growing trend among the working set, these dubbed coffices (where “coffee” spills into “office”) have become staples to many modern coffee shops. Free Internet and courtesy power outlets are the new cream and sugar 2.0.

Fueled by this addiction to coffee and the net, let’s just say I’ve had my fair share of Adventures in Coffice-sitting. I’ve had to flip a coin with someone over the one open outlet (and lost). I’ve had a dude accidentally spill coffee on my laptop…and then run away. I once “trusted” my stuff in its workspot while I used the restroom, only to end up chasing the guy who stole my soul! MacBook through a nearby parking lot. Not all days are like this, but I’ve been through some e-Pocalypse now shit. The horror…the horror…

There are many Wi-Fi coffee shops in Honolulu, but not all are wired equal. What does/doesn’t work is learned through trial-and-error. For instance, I use my coffice for everything–from downloading the new Drake to looking at my bank account while fighting back to tears–and I’ve found different cafes fill different needs.

Most valuable is knowing what hours a potential coffice haute can put you in a total Zen Zone: that prime window when the cafe is at 0.04–50% capacity, offers minimal distractions and just nurtures efficiency. Every coffee shop has one. Thing is you can’t Google when they are.

Here are a few hot hotspots with coffice-worthy setups. Places that charge and/or set a time limit for Internet or have no place to plug in were not considered. No hard(ware) feelings, Kissaten, Morning Brew, Coffee Talk and Barnes & Noble Cafe. You’re still on my AirPort.

STARBUCKS–MANOA & KAPAHULU

Most days, convenience trumps coffee. I’ve found these two Starbucks to be the most opportune for securing a station. Biggest obstacle, naturally, is the overcrowding. Luckily I find the high-traffic to be an advantage and get a fair amount of work done because of it. It’s like the longer I’m around strangers, the quicker I just want to get out of there. Um, hi, welcome to my brain. I’ll take an add shot of xenophobia with my macchiato, thanks?

For both Manoa and Kapahulu locations, I love how the immediate area feeds into their vibes. Count on university students to be going HAM on their laptops–either crunching hard, hunched over textbook PDFs or just aimlessly opening new tabs and refreshing their Twitter streams in digistressed procrastination. During a certain hour of the post-college day, the Manoa’s 10-person community table overflows with so many Macs, I expect to sit down next to Justin Long shooting a commercial there half the time.

Coffee: Starbucks / Outlet count (Manoa & Kapahulu): 30 & 18 / Zen Zone: 8am–12pm & 5-8pm
2902 E. Manoa Rd. & 625 Kapahulu St.

TOWN

Best-kept coffice secret in town is…Town. Like any good TMZ-esque tip, it’s such a juicy one I can’t believe I’m sharing it with you right now! In the early hours, anyone is hardly ever there, there’s never a problem with parking, the Wi-Fi is rarely (if ever) spotty and the simple minimalist layout is the visually structured yin to my annoying Virgo yang. Get into Town, and you’ve found your own little personal Silicon Valley. You can thank me when you invent the next Facebook later.

Coffee: illy / Outlet count: 4 / Zen Zone: 7–11am
3435 Waialae Ave.

FRESH CAFÉ

This open and airy locale has plenty seating options with more than enough elbow room to e-mail: six large wooden picnic tables and five personal tables-for-two. The Loft in Space gallery helps attracting a street-to-fine arts crowd, an energy conducive to creativity. Note: Every time I’ve been here the chateau cranks the morning radio which spells squawky DJs and ads for car dealerships all up in your QWERTY grill. Bring earphones. Problem solved.

Coffee: SunBean Kona Estate / Outlet count: 30 / Zen Zone: 8–11am, 2–5pm
831 Queen St.

GLAZER’S

Remember the scene where Cameron Frye is having a deep moment with a Georges Seurat in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? That’s the mood I imagine everyone’s in at Glazer’s: PROFOUND! I swear people learn sign language just to communicate in here it’s so quiet. It’s like no one wants to break the coffice rules or something, and I smell a cult. (A foamy quality espresso cult.) This place fills up fast, so put on your Member’s Only jacket, and hope you’re accepted…

Coffee: Locally-sourced blends / Outlet count: 10 / Zen Zone: 6pm–closing
2700 S. King St.

R&D

Every cofficer feels the guilt of monopolizing a seat hours at a time for the price of a $5 drink. Studio/office/bookstore/workspace R&D in Kakaako is another story–here it feels encouraged, creativity central to its culture and completely on trend. With music from jazz to Joy Division and stocked with indie darlings courtesy of Phaidon and Stumptown, it’s got the best books and beats, beans and baristas on the island. All it needs is your brains and brilliance.

Coffee: Stumptown / Outlet count: 12 / Zen Zone: 7am–7pm (anytime it’s open, basically)
691 Auahi St.
Twitter: @RnDHI