Working from home might sound ideal on paper but unless you live alone, family, friends and television are all obstacles when it comes to getting things done. If you find yourself rereading the same byline, or labouring to meet deadlines in the face of distraction, chances are you need a home away from home. Displacing yourself from the comforts of your own couch needn’t be so crude; below are our picks for Montreal spots in which you can’t help but be productive.
Taking the place of a 24-hour dive diner, Café Ellefsen is the newest, hippest and most curious addition to La Petite-Patrie. The small eatery has carved itself a beautifully minimalist niche that, unlike many of Montreal’s other modish cafes, has a history to it. Owner François Thibeault chose to open this dreamlike haunt to pay tribute to his Scandinavian roots, synthesizing design, menu and ambiance to lead patrons toward a unique serendipity. Ellefsen balances the needs of the nine-to-fiver with the delights of freelancing abroad — namely, chowing down on some serious eats. We suggest the Norwegian poutine. 414 St-Zotique St. East.
Part café, part restaurant, part bar, Voro is a perfect destination for those setting up shop for the long haul. Choose between the large communal table or one of the many well-spaced two-seaters. (This small layout decision makes all the difference, as there’s nothing worse than banging elbows with other workaholics.) A detail that cannot go overlooked: Voro doesn’t operate under Île Sans Fil, meaning, instead of struggling with second-rate Wi-Fi, you’re surfing with ease. After your long and successful day, treat yourself with a pint of Creemore — an Ontario lager that’s hard to come by in Montreal. 275 Fairmount St. West, 514-509-1341.
If you hail from the west end of the island and are looking for a workspace closer to home, search no further: Shaika, a Cuban-inspired coffee shop is sure to make you feel both relaxed and productive at once. Ease into your workday with a fair trade cup of joe, munch on goodies such as cheesecake brownie squares, and breeze through your task list with a smile on your face. At Shaika, the happy-go-lucky atmosphere is not only contagious, but also motivating, making it a hotspot for dreary Mondays when it seems better to simply stay at home. 5526 Sherbrooke St. West, 514-482-3898.
Café Névé (pictured)
Even a working man is defined by the company he keeps. If you think of yourself as attractive, youthful and well-to-do, you’ll find yourself amongst friends at trendy Café Névé — a plateau mainstay frequented by students and local celebrities alike. The noise level here is a bit on the loud side, but if you’re encouraged by an immersive environment both busy and casual, you’ll feel more than welcome at this coffeehouse. 151 Rachel St. East, 514-903-9294.
Image courtesy of Café Névé.