Laptops & lattes: the best coffee shops to work from in E2

Earlier this year, I bit the bullet and set myself up as a freelance book editor. After working out how to register as self-employed, and securing my first contract, I congratulated myself by realising my dream of sitting in a nice little coffee shop with my laptop, looking like I was doing really creative and important work. Actually, what I have mostly ended up doing in coffee shops is people-watching and making notes for this post… So, here it is: these are some of my favourite coffee shops with free WiFi in E2, and nearby.
sara_300x218 Sara Café Deli
A hidden gem, this café is just underneath the railway arches near Bethnal Green overground. It is in an otherwise uninspiring residential area but, once inside, the décor is cosy, there are shelves of continental produce for sale and, if you are looking for food, the sandwiches- made from freshly sliced cheeses and deli meats- are the highlight. It is usually not a problem to find a seat during the week, though it does get busier at the weekends, especially during Brick Lane Market on Sundays. Save room for a cannoli or two!
20 Dunbridge St, London E2 6HR
morty_and_bobs_300x218 Morty and Bob’s
Located on the second floor of a co-working space for the creative industry, this café is popular with the design crowd. It looks a bit pretentious from the outside- you have to buzz to be let in- but it has lots of tables, leafy décor and a laid-back vibe. There is a nice terrace overlooking the trains below, giving the place a futuristic feel. The menu includes ‘comfort food’, notably the house speciality: grilled cheese sandwiches, though everything looks delicious!
Second Floor, Netil House, 1 Westgate Street, Hackney,
London E8 3RL
common_e2_300x218 The Common E2
Tucked away behind the busy Bethnal Green Road, this place is part of an architectural studio and so is popular with creative types. The décor consists of working models, drawings and photographs. The laid-back atmosphere and good natural lighting make it a great place to get some work done. The coffee and food- particularly the fresh breads- are also excellent. It is usually easy to get a table or a seat at the communal table during the week, though it does get busy for brunch at the weekends.
53 Old Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 6QA
hackney_coffee_company300x218 Hackney Coffee Company 
A great find, just a couple of minutes from Cambridge Heath station. Great coffee and, though the upstairs seating area is fairly small, it’s usually possible to find a seat during the week, in amongst the shelves full of books. The cakes are delicious too; I tried a yummy chocolate and berry brownie (in the name of research, of course!)
499 Hackney Rd, London E2 9ED
gallery_cafe_300x218 The Gallery Café 
The warm lighting and pretty garden at the back of this vegan café make it as inviting on a chilly autumn day as it is during the summer months. It has a rough-around-the-edges kind of appeal, and is usually quite busy. Serving a range of hot drinks, juices, sandwiches and freshly-made pizzas, the prices are decent. The café is part of community charity, St. Margaret’s House, so be sure to check out what events are on, including music, film screenings, poetry readings, and workshops.
St. Margaret’s House Settlement, 21 Old Ford Rd, London E2 9PL
I’d love to discover new places to go so please let me know your suggestions!

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