Picture this: it’s Thursday afternoon, and thanks to the newfound flexibility of your work-from-home life, you decide to finish off your working day at a neighbourhood bar, where you can enjoy a glass of prosecco and unlimited Wi-Fi, served right to your table.
This situation has become reality for many, with 43 of the UK’s biggest employers allowing their staff to enjoy a mix of hybrid working. And with studies suggesting that the ‘coffee shop effect’ can actually benefit our senses and productivity, our latest study discovers some of the best cafes, bars and restaurants to work from in 12 major UK cities.
The beauty of remote working means you can now take your laptop and work productively just about anywhere in the world. The big problem, however, is knowing where to go to suit your needs.
To find out which cities have the highest-rated co-working boozy bars, we gathered up a list of 10 variables that are important to consider when finding that perfect working spot, before revealing the best laptop-friendly venues in 12 different cities.
Starting in Belfast, it was revealed that Ryan’s Bar was the best destination for a boozy beverage while you work. The venue, which scores 90/100 on the index, offers hearty dishes. It’s the perfect place to finish your working day, with a quiz night every Wednesday.
Over in Edinburgh, The Black Cat was revealed as the best boozy destination in Scotland to work remotely from, scoring 93/100 on the index. The whisky bar has plenty of space for you to set up your laptop comfortably and welcomes pets indoors, too.
Finally, taking a look at the capital, it was revealed that London’s best destination bar for remote working was Look mum no hands!
Scoring 92/100 on the index, Look mum no hands! is a cycle cafe bar that also serves beers and has plenty of bench space fitted with plug sockets, making it a perfect destination for remote working.
UK culture can vary from city to city, so it’s understandable that some cities are more equipped to have remote workers in their bars and cafes than others.
Looking at 12 of the UK’s most populous cities, we scored each of the 240 venues out of 100, taking into account the atmosphere, how late they’re open and if they serve food and hot drinks.
Looking at the top 25, it was revealed that Liverpool bars featured most frequently in the top 25 co-working bars, with five work-friendly venues.
Bean Coffee & Cocktails in Liverpool came joint top alongside Metchy’s Cafe & Bar in Cardiff, scoring 96/100 on the index respectively thanks to their low-priced food and drinks, and relaxing cafe atmosphere.
Both also have covered outdoor areas, perfect for your pooch and anybody worried about their laptop overheating in the sun.
Bristol came in second place, with four venues ranking in the top 25 including Arnolfini Harbourside Reading Room, scoring 94/100 on the index and placing sixth.
Bristol has often been seen as a cultural hub of the South of England, with a 2019 European Commission Report ranking it as one of Europe’s most creative cities.
While Newcastle and Brighton bars and venues were analysed, neither city had a venue ranked in the top 25 co-working bars.
For some people, the most important thing to get them through their working day is easy access to bottomless cups of coffee. For other people, having a quiet atmosphere to get your head down is key. But thanks to city life culture, having a tipple or two while you work can also rank high on people’s priority lists.
But to make sure no one ended up in a nightclub with their laptop, however, we wanted to find the bars that could be perfect to work from, day and night. So, we took a look at 25 boozy venues across the UK that also scored highest for their Google customer review ratings.
Topping the list as the highest-rated co-working bar on Google, Destination 1850 in Newcastle scored 5 stars out of 5. The contemporary bar, situated within the Grade 1 listed train station, serves an array of brunch dishes, coffees, and cocktails. It’s also no stranger to seeing customers with a laptop in tow.
In second place was Haunt in Manchester, a speciality coffee shop and wine bar which scored a respectable 4.9 stars out of 5 in Google customer reviews. Located on Peter Street, the venue prides itself on its dawn-to-dusk offerings that makes it the perfect place to while away the working day with your laptop.
Towards the bottom of the list were two venues in Brighton; Cafe Rust and Village, both scoring 4.7 out of 5 in Google reviews. These venues have a relaxed atmosphere with a rustic look, serving up hearty breakfasts to enjoy while you work.
If you’re nervous about working in a public space or you’re unsure of some of the ways to stay safe when working outdoors, we’ve revealed some tips to ensure a smooth transition from office block to the coffee shop.
Use a VPN when connecting to the internet - A VPN, or virtual private network, allows you to access your information privately by encrypting your data, unlike a public Wi-Fi spot.
While using public Wi-Fi can be perfectly safe, if you have any important work information you wouldn’t want getting leaked, you should consider purchasing a VPN. Read our guide on VPNs for more information to help you decide whether or not you need one.
If you can’t find a plug point, pack a portable charger - If you’re worried about turning up to your chosen work spot and there isn’t a spare plug point, portable chargers for your laptop or tablet are an easy way to rectify this issue.
Similarly, if you don’t have a portable charger handy, turning your turn brightness down, switching on power save mode and closing all unused applications will help sustain your battery life for longer.
Try to keep your gadgets out of the sun - An overheated gadget is the fastest way to end your working day when it’ll no longer switch on. So make sure you give your laptop or tablet space with plenty of airflow and try to keep it out of the sun.
If your gadget still seems to be heating up, turn it off for a little while to allow it to cool down.
Don’t forget the importance of a comfortable set-up - A comfortable work set-up is not only good for your productivity, but it can also save you from repetitive strain injury or an achy back.
If you’re planning on staying for a few hours or more, make sure you’re sitting in a comfortable, supportive chair, with your eyes ideally level to your screen. It’s also important to take periodic breaks from your laptop with a quick walk around, away from your screen.
And for when you aren't out and about, make sure you have a broadband deal that suits your needs.
For this campaign, we chose 12 of the UK’s most populous cities to find some of the UK’s best bars to work remotely from.
Each city has 20 bars, cafes and restaurants which have either actively promoted remote working on their social media channels or featured on workfrombars, laptopfriendly.co or in a listicle of laptop-friendly places in that city.
Each venue was then scored on a range of amenities, services and ratings, with the breakdown for each as follows:
Wi-Fi - Score /10 as it’s essential for working
Hot drinks - Score /10 as it’s essential for working
Food - Score /10 as it’s a major benefit for working long hours
Alcohol - Score /5 as while it’s not essential, it’s a focus of the campaign and it demonstrates that the venue makes greater options available to customers
Pet-friendly - Score /10 thanks to all the new lockdown pets
Vegan - Score /10 as most venues will have vegan options
Late night opening - Score /5 for the late-night workers who want the option to stay into the eve
Atmosphere - ranked differently according to what type of venue will be best for a working space
Price - ranked via TripAdvisor, with cheap venues scoring /10 and expensive venues scoring /1
Google review rating - ranked per location between 1-20 to help the score of venues differently to one another
With the total scoring adding to 100 points, this was then able to reveal each city’s 10 best work-friendly venues.