Several weeks ago, I copied my friend R’s facebook status to ask where a person could find good coffee and a good ambiance for work in Mexico City. So far, I have been to eight coffee shops (whose names I remember) – Café Gran Premio, Starbucks, Café Late Nae, Café Bizarro, Café Vincent, el Péndulo (Polanco y Roma) and el Fondo de Cultura Económica (Rosario Castellanos). There is one more I would like to try, called Efecto Cafeína en todos los sentidos, but I doubt that it’s bright pink walls will be conducive to studying. I also went to a place that only sold churros and chocolate. Not conducive to study either, but definitely delicious!
There is no clear winner in this experience. I should mention that all of them are close-ish to my house – because I refuse to traverse the city for a good place to work. The criteria for me are clean bathrooms, good coffee, wifi, hours, other snacks or food available, service and proximity to comida corrida (Mexican lunch that comes with soup, salad, rice or noodles, a main dish, juice and sometimes dessert and one of my favourite things about Mexico).
Café Gran Premio is near the Casa de los Amigos and good comida corrida for lunch. It has wifi, comfortable chairs, pan dulce (I think), good coffee, and surly service. Starbucks is Starbucks. They accept my Starbucks card, even thought the bookstore and my gym reject my credit card. It is a bit noisy, the snacks are a bit too pricey, and are different from the ones at home. The coffee is dependable but you have to line up to get your coffee. Café Late Nae in La Condesa came on the recommendation of a friend – who just mentioned an intersection, so, it might not even be this one! The coffee was good, there was wifi, but it was tiny, and a bit too open to the elements. It was also far away from restaurants with good comida corrida. Café Bizarro was not open when I went there yesterday a bit before 10, so that was annoying. The coffee was not the best, but it had good cookies, decent seating, a reliable wifi. It was also close to many restaurants, including some good comida corrida. Café Vicent is very nice. It is the quintessential intellectual place, I think. Good food, coffee and beer (I was there in the evening). It did look a bit too dark to study in, though. I’m not sure it has wifi – this is a plus/minus. El Péndulo is a bookstore and café, the coffee is decent but the ambiance is only ok. I have never tried the wifi there. The librería del fondo is also a peaceful place to hang out. I have never had there coffee, only snacks, but the tables are not so big that I would want to spend all day working there.