Locations to work from in Watford and London
I work in a variety of places including cafés, bars, pubs and public spaces. I get asked from time to time as to which are my regular hangouts, so here is my top 6 (fairly) regular hangouts over the last year or so.
The Volunteer Bar

Location: Baker Street, London, NW1 6XE
Wi-Fi: Yes. Good.
Atmosphere: Good. Quiet in day. Livelier in the evening
Power: Yes

This pub -a very short walk from Baker Street tube station, and just past the Sherlock Holmes museum, is quickly becoming a favourite spot to work from. I go to Artisan, a monthly gathering of Christians working in the creative arts industries. It meets in the evening not far from Baker Street so to make the most of the cost of coming into London (-I live in Watford) I usually plan an afternoons work and Volunteer Bar is perfectly located to work, grab a bite to eat before heading off to Artisan.

The staff are friendly and open to a good chat. The Wi-Fi was a bit sketchy the first time I went but has been fine since. Its free but you need to register.

I love the big, low level table as soon as you enter the bar and have made that ‘my place’ to work from. Its great if there are a group of you as the table would fairly comfortable seat eight people though possibly more.

Presence Coffee House

Location: High Street, Watford, WD17 1LQ
Wi-Fi: Yes. Free. Not the quickest. Password: cheesecake carrotcake
Atmosphere: Good atmosphere, family friendly.
Power: Yes.

I have had quite a few meetings at Presence Coffee House. Its in a great location for any Watford based meetings I have as its in central Watford on the main High Street.

The atmosphere is always pleasant and the staff are a pleasure to deal with. It can be lively with some kids and screaming babies at certain points. For me that’s not an issue and I quite like the buzz of different people. Some may not like that though.

My main criticism is that the seats are not ideal for using laptops. They are very comfortable but you don’t have enough space to move your arms as you need to when typing. There are tall seats by a bar area and some sofas with tables which would be better, but they’ve often been occupied the times I’ve been.

Wi-Fi is not always consistent. I’ve found it difficult to connect with my iPad on occasions and it can be slow but when I’ve been there to get some writing done -without the distraction of the Internet, its been great.

Royal Festival Hall

Location: South Bank, London, SE1 8XX
Wi-Fi: Yes. Free. Very good.
Atmosphere: Good. Quiet or lively depending on where you sit.
Power: Yes. Lots.

What a creative venue! I love the buzz of being in and around the South Bank so working from the Royal Festival Hall works for me on many levels.

Its spacious. During the day you should have no trouble getting a seat with plenty of table space. There are lots of power sockets for charging my multiplicity of devices and its great for meetings. I have held our Creatives Hub meetings there though it was a bit noisy in the evening with several announcements over the tannoy of shows starting and ending.

The Wi-Fi here is some if the best in a public space I’ve used. very fast and consistent.

The Bear

Location: Farringdon, EC1M 4DE
Wi-Fi: Yes.
Atmosphere: Quite in the day. Very lively in the evening
Power: Yes.

I was quite proud of this find. I was meeting someone in Ember in Farringdon and also had a meeting later in the evening at Ember so wanted to have a break and work for a couple hours from somewhere else. I wandered the streets of Clerkenwell, just past the Museum of the Order of St John till I came across The Bear in St Johns Square. Its set out of the main areas so you do have to look for it, but its worth it.

Great staff, very friendly and helpful. When I went (I’ve only been once thus far), it was very quiet during the afternoon. I was the only one in at some points -which was good as I had loads to focus on and get done. In the evening from about 5.30pm it started getting busier as people came out for their after-work drinks. I felt a bit stuck out working away with my laptop whilst the much livelier crowds were just in for a drink. I guess its a good excuse to stop work early too!

Ember Bar

Location: Farringdon, EC1M 5QP
Wi-Fi: Yes. Free registration required.

Atmosphere: Quite in the day. Very lively in the evening
Power: ?

A friend introduced me to this bar set over the road from Farringdon tube (and mainline) stations. Its another good place to hold meetings during the day. I feel like i’m repeating myself in all the review as ‘the staff are very friendly’, though once when it was just two of us in the bar it took a while to find a staff member to order more drinks. That was just once and i’ve been here several times and had no problems.

They have recently moved things around so the sofas are at the back. I preferred them at the front as this was a good place to work from whilst gazing out the windows -especially if meeting people there. There are more restaurant style seats in the front now which is not as conducive to work in my opinion. You can always head to sofas at the back if so inclined, though its quite dark with the low-lights and being that much farther from the windows.

Wi-Fi was good. You’ll need to register the first time but its pretty painless.

Rhubarb Cafe

Location: Cassiobury Drive, Watford, WD17 3AJ
Wi-Fi: Yes. Free. Password: TheRhubardCafe68
Atmosphere: Good. Family friendly
Power: Yes.

Rhubarb is right around the corner from me so its quite amazing I haven’t been there more often (probably four or five times). Again, friendly staff. It has a very ‘local café’ feel to it set in a parade of convenience stores in Cassioubury Estate.

Its quite conducive to writing. I have written several blog posts there and the tables are good for working with your laptop. It is in close proximity to a school, so come 3pm you may want to find somewhere quieter.

Over to you

What are your favourite hangouts and why?

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Richard Lalchan

Richard Lalchan is founder of Creatives Hub whose mission is to help as many creatives as possible get rid of the shackles of procrastination, break out of fear, grow in confidence and get stuff done. He also works with individuals and businesses to build their web presence, runs a podcast network and is currently writing his first sci-fi novella.

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