Tokyo is known for its kawaii animal, maid, robot and other wacky themed cafes—and sure, we love it. But sometimes you need a quiet, cozy cafe where you can get stuck with a book or a laptop to work to get away from the busy and the crazy. Here are our choices for cafes which could be a home (or office) away from home.
RBL Cafe: Their motto is clear: “The shop for people who can’t live without books and coffee.” And this joint does what is says on the tin. It’s colorful, charming and cozy to say the least. A bookworm’s playground, here you’ll find the walls are adorned with an abundance of books which aren’t just there for aesthetic purposes, but are also for sale.
The comfortable blue cotton armchairs are lined up in rows, each with their own table and facing the wall—great for concentration (especially if working on a deadline), personal space, and relaxing “me time.”
The cafe has a plethora of different coffees from South America and a great selection of black teas, iced teas and Royal Milk Teas.
Kazuzawa 5-32-12, Setagaya-ku. Nearest station: Shimokitazawa. Tel: 03-6805-2046. Fri, Sat, Sun and hols 1pm–10pm. rblcafe.jp
Lattest: This cafe’s location in the quieter streets of Omotesando guarantees that you are almost always certain to find a seat. Although it’s quite hipster in terms of decor (think along the lines of an industrial warehouse), the crowd here is mixed so no one will feel out of place.
The all-female baristas really know their stuff and will point even the most novice coffee drinker in the right direction. They do some eye-pleasing free-pour latte art and serve decadent cups of coffee with banter and smiles. Don’t leave without trying their special beverage called “Lattest,” which comes in the form of a shot glass filled with cold milk topped with an espresso shot. You can choose from three flavours including Baileys.
Free wifi, a welcoming industrial warehouse atmosphere, the empowerment of female baristas, comfortable chairs and a big selection of top quality perfectly-roasted beans? What’s not to love? It’s the overachiever of cafes.
3-5-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. Nearest station: Omotesando. Tel: 03-3478-6276. Monday-Sunday 10am–7pm. www.lattest.jp
FabCafe: A ton of multiple power outlets, a menu of teas and coffees as long as the Bible, and a hearty food selection are just some of the reasons why FabCafe is simply FAB-ulous for working, drinking and lounging in.
The coffee menu here was created by an expert. On top of your usual coffee menu items, they raised the bar by adding marshmallow lattes and honey lattes. They have exquisite single origins from Kenya, Ethiopia and Honduras, just to name a few. What makes this cafe different from the rest is their equally dedicated focus on teas. You can choose to sip on blacks such as Earl Grey and Darjeeling and herbals such as chamomile citrus and wild berry hibiscus. The green tea selection is vast and includes organic spring jasmine, white orchard, cherry lemon green tea and honey.
The hot open sandwiches, a plethora of gourmet hot dogs and hearty stews making up the menu are so hearty you’ll incur a food coma—but that’s OK, that’s just another excuse to laze around for a few more hours.
1-22-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku. Nearest station: Shinsen. Tel: 03-6416-9190. Mon—Sat 10am–10pm; Sun & hol 10am–8pm. www.fabcafe.com/tokyo/fab