Reviewing Austin cafes for the working writer, Part II

In July, we presented you with a list of coffee shops around Austin that writers can frequent to get some work done. We also presented a few that aren’t so great for making those deadlines. Since Austin is a hotbed of brew houses, we wanted to cover as many possible locations in every corner of the city.

Here is part II of Reviewing Austin Cafes for the Austin Writer:

Strange Brew

“You can see ACC’s campus if you’re standing on the street,” says regular, Montrez Fields. “I love this place because I can come here and cram in a quick study session right before taking a test,” he added.

Located in south Austin, Strange Brew is a primary working environment for both students and professionals. Open 24 hours, this coffee shop has all the essentials for an ideal study spot.

Strange Brew is large. It has three rooms and a large patio. The front is mainly for ordering your drinks and food. The second room is reminiscent of a university study hall with long tables and ample outlets. From what I can tell, most folks are there for the sole purpose of getting work done.

The third space has is separated by a door with a sign warning customers that talking and socializing are welcome — making this cafe a one-stop-shop for work, solitude and catching up with friends.

Strange Brew also hosts events from time to time. As long as you’re aware of the times and dates, it shouldn’t be too much of a bother.

5326 Manchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78745, (512) 828-7636


Thunderbird Coffee

Although I have been to this café a few times, I thought I’d check out Yelp to familiarize myself with what others had to say.

I found roughly 90 percent of the reviews mentioned the awesomely cheap beer, which is great if you are going there to drink, but if you’re trying to hit a deadline or work on a serious project, the beer and wine list may not be appealing to you. For me, I’d be too tempted to drink, which is why I’m ruling out Thunderbird.

That said, this coffee shop/bar has really good food and tasty non-alcoholic drinks. The patio is cute with ceiling fans and the inside has generous seating and outlets. If you live in the area you may want to ride your bike because the Koenig location has a parking lot suitable for fewer than a dozen vehicles.

1401 W Koenig Ln., Austin, TX 78756, (512) 420-8660


Jo’s downtown location has great food, fast WiFi, and an awesome atmosphere. Is it a great spot for working? No. But if you are looking to finish something quick and you’re in the area, go to Jo’s, but make sure your computer is fully charged because finding an outlet is challenging.

I come here often on my break to get my daily iced turbo and relax on the front patio. Whipping out my laptop has never crossed my mind simply because the place does not cater to such a thing. Jo’s is geared more toward a fast-paced crowd looking to grab a bite to eat or a coffee on the run.

1300 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, (512) 444-3800

Spider House

I was told this is the place all the UT kids go to study so I thought it would be an awesome location to battle my procrastination syndrome and actually write — this was not the case at all. In fact I got absolutely no work done at Spider House; I didn’t even manage to take out my computer.

Instead of ordering coffee or tea like I should have, I ordered a beer in which my time then was spent wandering around with a friend chatting with strangers.

My first impression was that Spider House is a bar. The inside is very dark and the staff was not all that friendly. However, it is a very cool and trendy place to hang out.

The outdoor area amazed me. It’s very colorful with lots of character and more than enough seating. There were a few individuals deeply engaged in their work; my hat goes off to them and their ability to avoid  the temptation of the cool atmosphere. But Spider House simply is not the place for me if I wish to actually work.

Oh and don’t order the salsa, it is absolutely rancid.

2908 Fruth St., Austin, TX 78705, (512) 480-9562
After two posts reviewing coffee shops in Austin, from Ben White to Koenig Lane and MoPac to east of I-35, we’re pretty certain we left out one or two amazing Austin java stops. Where do you go to hit your writing deadlines while getting a caffeine fix? Do you like working in cafes that serve alcohol or is it just a deterrent? Tell us below!

Alisha Thomas graduated from Cal State Monterey Bay University in 2010 year with a BA in human communications. While studying for her postgraduate degree in London, Thomas interned at Runner’s World UK and Gaz7ette magazine. In 2010 to 2011, Thomas served as art director of Kingston University magazine, which was shortlisted by the BBC for Best University Magazine in 2011. Thomas came to Austin in 2012. Her goal is to work in publishing, marketing or communications.

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