Nine Great Bars to Code at in Brooklyn

bars to code at

Why bars are a better place to code than coffee shops.

First, bars are essentially hardwood standing desks. The surfaces at bars tend to be more flat and steady. I hate the feeling of trying to code at a wobbly little cafe table.

Bars tend to have more power outlets. Many recently-opened bars have power strips running under the bar or along seating areas. I think this is because bars want people to linger, and coffee shops don’t. Someone staying at a bar for a few hours will likely order a number of expensive drinks, where someone staying at a cafe will only order a coffee and maybe a snack.

Bars tend to be darker and cooler, relative to cafes, which are often stuffy and sunny.

Finally, after a good coding session, I often find myself in a sort of distant, aphasic state. Everything seems flat and it’s hard to think of anything to say. Being at a bar gives me a chance to turn off my computer, find someone to talk with, and reintegrate.

Of course, not all bars are good places to code. Some bars are problematic for social reasons, and others are problematic for practical reasons. Here’s a list of bars that Computer Lab members have found suitable for computer use.

Skytown

Bushwick

Skytown is my personal favorite on this list, probably for nostalgic reasons. It was the first bar that I coded at. In my time there, I’ve never found the place unpleasantly loud or crowded, and the music is usually good enough that I’m able to forego use of my Bose QuietComfort 35 Noise Cancelling Headphones.

Skytown serves cheap and excellent bean tacos until 2:00AM, which is great for people who like to start coding at 11PM. There’s power outlets under the bar (sometimes you have to ask the bartenders to plug in the strip), and stable wifi. Finally, I’ve met a wide range of interesting people there, including a recruiter from the Fed who attempted to whiteboard me on the spot.

61 Local

Cobble Hill

Each month, a room upstairs at 61 Local hosts the exclusive BrooklynJS meetup. If you can’t get a ticket to the event, the bar is still a good place to catch a glimpse of a local JavaScript celebrity like Jenn Schiffer or Steve Klabnik. The place has an airy atmosphere with good lighting and acoustics, and the food menu is extensive. But 61 Local opens early, so outlets can be hard to find, and closes around midnight (relatively early).

Sugarburg

Williamsburg

Sugarburg features great natural light, unconventional seating, above-par bar food, and good service. The vertically slatted windows allow you to enjoy the weather outside without suffering from it.

The bartenders encourage people to use the bar as a workspace during the day, making Sugarburg a good place to work or meet regularly. The bar is large and Bourbon-oriented, so Sugarburg is also a great place to hang out late into the night.

Boobie Trap

Bushwick

r1b says that Boobie Trap is actually a pretty horrible place to code (it’s very loud and the tables are sticky), but it’s one of the few places along the L in Bushwick with good internet. There’s also a dedicated charging station for phones and a power strip. Rob goes to Boobie Trap to push docker containers and backups.

Mother’s

Williamsburg

According to Kelsey Hunter, the ideal Mother’s coding session starts with a burger and fries, is broken up with a lemonade, and ends with a draft beer. Mother’s also has a lot of outlets, ok wifi, and a backyard for phone calls. The $12 lunch special lasts until 5PM. They have TVs with movies so you have something to look at while absorbing the sound of social interactions.

The Roof

Gowanus

The Roof is the bar on the roof of the Gowanus Whole Foods, a favorite coding spot of influential Twitter user Sbarro Chica. In the summer, the breezy outdoor seating area is a great place to work while enjoying a flight of craft beer and a view of Manhattan.

If the bar food isn’t to your liking, you can go downstairs and select from the many juices, meats, and breads of the Whole Foods Market. The only real downside of the location is that Whole Foods wifi periodically kicks users off the network, but the good news is that you can quickly sign on again by simply clicking a button.

Flowers For All Occasions

Bedford-Stuyvesant

Flowers For All Occasions doesn’t serve liquor, which can be a feature if you’re looking for a place without a lot of very drunk people. The vibe tends to reflect the place’s name: it’s a pleasant place for conversation, quiet group activities, or thoughtful work. I was introduced to Flowers For All Occasions by former Computer Lab Writer in Residence Theo Thimo, who often uses it as a place to read and write. I enjoyed the simple veggie burger and wine selection.

Rebecca’s

Bushwick

Rebecca’s is r1b’s favorite bar in Bushwick. During the day it is a chill place to sit on the couch and get lost in your computer. At night it comes alive with DJ / VJ sets and a unique lighting system. r1b can often be found here staring at his phone and imbibing $5 beer / shot combos at the end of a long day. Wifi is available and there is plenty of seating at the bar, tables and couches.

Brooklyn Kava

Bushwick

Brooklyn Kava is not your typical bar - they serve psychoactive root beverages in lieu of booze. If you haven’t had the chance to try kava or kratom I highly recommend Brooklyn Kava for your first experience. Regardless, the space is an excellent place to get work done. It is typically quiet and calm with lots of seating at the sturdy bar. The wifi is excellent and the staff are friendly.


Do you have a favorite bar to code at? DM me on Twitter and I’ll add it to the list.

Patrick Steadman
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