As much as we cling to tradition, our “new normal” is rapidly evolving. Everything from the ways through which we consume media to the industries in which we work have changed drastically in the past 10 years. Thanks to a world that’s become dominated by digital, we’re able to catch up on world news with the finger swipe across our screen, and can use technology to accomplish a day’s work without ever stepping foot in an office. What was once an obligation to in-person meetings have turned into conference calls via webcam, and the dreadful communal coffee pot has been replaced by apps that allow for made-to-order lattes at the nearest coffee shop. Yes, our way of work is changing at a rapid pace, and Richmond is ahead of the curve when it comes to accommodating this new shift.
For Richmond residents who are trading in cubicles for their own individual workspace, there’s no shortage of co-working offices and coffee shops that foster an environment of productivity. Local co-working spaces like Gather RVA and Regus offer conference rooms, video conferencing equipment, private offices, and a break room—just like those of traditional offices. Their members, who typically pay a monthly fee to use the space, are entrepreneurs, start-ups, or work-from-home professionals who need the functionalities of an office without the costly overhead. Co-working spaces have revolutionized the way a business may operate, and allows professionals to create their own work experience, regardless of field.
Professionals who prefer a more casual, bustling workspace flock towards coffee shops. The constant foot-traffic, aroma of freshly brewed coffee, hum of espresso machines, and the faint sound of music creating a soundtrack to the day’s work creates an atmosphere fit for both productivity and networking. And seeing as though nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults drink at least one cup of coffee a day, it’s no surprise that Richmond’s cafes are experiencing an uptick in patrons who make their coffee shop the #OfficeoftheDay.
Last month, the Urban Views Weekly team began a quest to find the five best coffee shops for productivity. Whether for group meetings or a quick solo work session, we were committed to building a list of go-to spots that had the space, energy, and coffee that would make any professional eager to trade in their traditional workspaces. Out of our quest, our social media series #PerkoftheWeek was born, and we built our list of go-to coffee shops for a hard day’s work.
1.Brewer’s Cafe. Our team chose Brewer’s Cafe as our first #PerkoftheWeek in an effort to support this Black-owned coffee shop while strategizing how we can better support the Black community in future issues of Urban Views Weekly.
Brewer’s Cafe became an instant favorite for our team. Founded in 2015 in Richmond’s Manchester neighborhood by A.J. Brewer (no pun intended), Brewer’s Cafe is the only storefront of its kind in an otherwise undeveloped neighborhood. It’s a clear sign of what’s to come for the neighborhood, thanks to the regular events the cafe hosts to gather a community of coffee and culture-lovers in celebration of Black excellence. Its founder and his son remain familiar faces, building relationships with its patrons as they stop in to restock, redecorate, or even brew a few cups themselves. On any given day, you can find entrepreneurs, networkers, and students occupying the seats with laptops in tow, sipping on signatures like the Brewer’s latte and enjoying breakfast, lunch, or even bourbon as they type away.
Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream. We made Crossroads RVA our #PerkoftheWeek just in time to celebrate their 15th anniversary. For the past 15 years, Crossroads has brought delicious coffee, made to order breakfast and lunch options, locally baked desserts, ice cream (hence the name), and beer and wine to the Richmond community seven days a week. By day, it’s the ideal meeting spot for the UVW team. With ample spacious indoor and outdoor seating, we were able to plug in, order specialty lattes, and spend the next three hours hard at work without usual distractions that come from continual foot traffic. Their vibrant decor included flyers from local artists and musicians, and a large chalkboard boasts a lineup of events happening by night. All in all, Crossroads’ atmosphere fosters great creativity and collaboration, something rather unexpected from the Forest Hill neighborhood in which it resides.
- Stir Crazy Cafe. What sets this North Side cafe apart from the others on our Top 5 list is the private meeting room
it offers. While people who opt for coffee shops generally don’t mind music, chatter, and the sounds of orders being shouted out to customers, it’s nice to escape the noise even for a second for a private phone or video conference call. Thankfully, Stir Crazy provides a first come, first serve meeting room that drowns out the outside noise. Even better, the staff delivers coffee and food orders to the room to prevent disruptions in the flow of work. Outside the room is a spacious common area, equipped with couches, large tables and individual seating for collaboration, solo work, and general dining; even still, it’s the private meeting room that shows patrons its commitment to fostering a true #OutOfOffice work experience.
- Urban Farmhouse. It’s not too often that our UVW team has to wander over to Scott’s Addition, but when we do, it’s to camp out at Urban Farmhouse. As if it’s not enough that their seasonal menu offers locally sourced
ingredients, their coffee and latte selection will have you willing to risk the caffeine rush in order to try it all. Of all the coffee shops we visit for our #PerkoftheWeek team meetings, Urban Farmhouse is by far the most spacious with no shortage of outlets that encourage students and professionals alike to stay a while.
- Sugar & Twine. We recently stumbled upon Sugar & Twine after errands brought us to the Carytown neighborhood, and we immediately stopped in and set up shop in the window seats. Their delicious array of fresh baked goods pair perfectly with their local coffee selection that boasts a little something for everyone. Perhaps it’s the coziness of Sugar & Twine that makes it an ideal meeting place; whether you’re catching up with an old friend or collaborating on a work project, everything about this artesian cafe fosters conversation.
Richmond’s coffee culture continues to develop at a pace on par with its evolving professional scene. As we continue to allow technology to pull us away from traditional models of communication and work, we’re provided more spaces in which we may thrive professionally. Thanks to the bustling coffee scene, we’re rapidly redefining the term “Out of Office.”