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Cleveland Coffee Shops: A Guide for Freelancers —

At a certain point in one’s freelance career, somewhere between “sweet, I can work from home in my pajamas!” and renting, like, Real Office Space, there’s the coffee shop.

Coffee shops provide many of the benefits of an office without the risks. You get to leave your house, drawing a distinct line between work and personal life. You get to bump into others in the same casual way you do in an office. (This part’s even better than in an office because the people you see constantly rotate. No more glare-offs with Lily from Accounting.)

And while you pay for the space in the form of coffee and scones and generous tips so the baristas don’t hate you, you forego the ongoing burden of rent and utilities and maintenance.

After two and a half years as a freelancer in Cleveland, I’ve noticed certain shops work best for certain types of tasks. Some are good for indulging my unshaven, jeans-and-T-shirt creative side. Others are better for approximating Clark Kent-style corporate realness.

The new Phoenix Coffee in Ohio City -- for now, great for taking refuge

The new Phoenix Coffee in Ohio City — for now, great for taking refuge

Some provide just the right ratio of bustle to peacefulness to facilitate work. Others are hectic enough to make me just give up and talk to people — an important part of accidental marketing.

Here, then, are my observations to date. I share them in the hope that they’ll help other freelancers navigate the city’s large and growing-larger collection of caffeine purveyors!

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