I’ve been compiling a mental list lately of the most important traits I look for in a cafe, and here’s what I’ve come up with (roughly in order):
Lots of natural light
Simple enough. I don’t want to be in a dungeon if I’m going to be hanging out there for a couple of hours.
Friendly and easy-going staff
I am, not by any means, the ideal customer. I don’t order $6 bowls of soup every time I’m at a cafe, and most of the time I don’t order a $3-4 mocha or cappuccino. The staff at the ideal cafe will not discriminate against me because of this. No one blatantly discriminates, but I mean subtle discrimination, like being short or making me feel like I shouldn’t stick around too long because I didn’t spend enough. If they were smart they would realize that they’ll make money from me through repeat business.
Free Wi-fi without time limitations
This is an obvious one. It’s all the better if there isn’t a screen where you have to accept Terms and Conditions. Not that I mind, it’s just a minor nuisance.
Plenty of AC outlets
Power outlets are hot commodity in cafes. People take the first table available where their laptop’s AC adapter will reach the wall; others walk around and survey the place after coming in and before settling down, hoping to find a spot where they can plug in. The ideal cafe will have plenty of access to electric juice, even if it is through unsightly extension cords.
Spacious with comfortable seating
A good amount of tables with a corner of two with couches and coffee tables seems ideal. Space is limited, after all.
Accepts credit cards
I don’t always have cash on me, plus I like to charge whenever I can so I don’t have to carry change and also for the miniscule amount of cash back I get. However, I fully sympathize with small cafe owners who don’t want to pay the exorbitant credit card processing fees, especially for small transactions.
Plenty of parking
Another obvious one.
Pleasant music that’s not too loud
A lot of places play popular hits, which get really annoying after hearing over and over again. Something else would be nice for a change.
Nice paintings or photographs on the walls, a fireplace perhaps. I’m picky about my cafes but mostly about the lighting, sound level, and staff, so this is something I can personally overlook as long as it’s not hideous.