The best coffee shops to work from in Des Moines


All summer long, Megan Bannister has been touring cafes and coffee shops around the Des Moines-area seeking the best places for for entrepreneurs, freelancers, creatives, and remote workers to get things done. We call it: Coffee Shop Coworking

The Best Place to Work All Day: Mars Cafe

If you’re looking for someplace you can hunker down for a while without being disrupted, Mars Cafe is the best spot in Des Moines. The staff is incredibly friendly and used to students camping out all day so provided you’re patronizing the cafe, consider this your office away from the office for the day.

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The Best Ambiance: Scenic Route Bakery

If you’re looking for a light, airy environment to work in for a few hours, Scenic Route Bakery is the perfect place for you. With floor-to-ceiling windows, this East Village coffee shop feels warm and inviting, even in the dead of winter. Choose from firm but comfortable wooden chairs or opt for a spot on one of the coffee shop’s overstuffed couches to catch up on a few emails. On a sunny day you can even move outside to get things done on the coffee shop’s covered patio.

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The Best Place to Unplug: Zanzibar's Coffee Adventure

Depending on what type of work you do, the best (or worst) part about Zanzibar’s is that there’s no wifi. For me, that means it’s a great place to get writing, editing, or reading done when I find myself getting distracted or aimlessly browsing the Internet. It also means it’s a wonderful place to host a brainstorming meeting or catch up with an old friend.

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The Best Place for Early Morning or Lunchtime Working: Ritual Cafe

While Ritual Cafe has some great drinks and a relaxed atmosphere, its hours are fairly limited (usually around 7 am until 5 pm) and its seating doesn’t offer quite enough space and comfort to spend all day. However, its central location makes the coffee shop a great place to pop in, grab a coffee, and knock out those emails you’ve been putting off. 

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The Best Place for Meetings and Brainstorming Sessions: Smokey Row

When it comes to working at Smokey Row, the popular coffee shop is perfect for those with giant headphones or with less focused work to complete. Regardless of what time of day you stop in, there always seems to be a lot going on. The coffee shop is typically noisy and bustling with people, which means it might not be the ideal place to work for long stretches of time if you’re someone who is easily distracted. On the other hand, the constant stream of customers and low hum of Smokey Row make it a perfect place to get together for collaborative projects.

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The Best Place for Workers Who Enjoy Quiet: Cafe Diem

When it comes to working remotely, quiet is something that you can’t always guarantee, especially when it comes to coffee shops. But if you’re looking for a tranquil table or silent study carrel to get some work done, Cafe Diem is the place for you. That’s not to say that the coffee shop isn’t routinely busy—there’s typically a steady stream of people coming through the cafe’s doors—or without ambient noise, but overall, Cafe Diem is a welcome respite to some of its more boisterous local counterparts.

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The Best Place to Feel Like You’re Part of the Neighborhood: Grounds for Celebration

With three locations around the Des Moines metro—Windsor Heights, Beaverdale, and West Des Moines—Grounds for Celebration provides the perfect backdrop for productivity no matter where you’re headed. But above all else, the local chain makes its visitors feel instantly at home. Especially for someone working remotely and looking for a little more connection to their city, this intimate environment can be a welcome change to some of the area’s bigger, busier options.

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The Best Place for a Unique Change of Scenery: Mahalo's Coffee & Mini Donuts

Are you feeling stuck? Need a quick burst of inspiration? Mahalo’s Coffee & Mini Donuts is the perfect jolt to your senses. Grab a caffeine boost (and let’s be honest, a half-dozen mini donuts, too) and be reinvigorated by this hidden West Des Moines workplace. With bright decor, the sweet smell of baking mini donuts, and a steady stream of customers to watch if you need to do a quick distraction, you’re sure to find a flash of inspiration over your latte. While the coffee shop’s limited hours mean it won’t be your reliable home base, this unique location will serve as a great place to put some big ideas to paper or send the emails you’ve been avoiding.

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The Best Chain Coffee Shops in the Metro: Caribou, Panera, Scooter's and Starbucks

When it comes to coffee shop coworking, we also recognize that your local favorite isn’t always an option. Sometimes you’re across town and in need of some free wifi, or you’re working during the late hours or weekend days your go-to joint is always closed. When that happens we fully understand that you need to take all of the caffeine and free wifi you can get, and head to a coffee shop chain.

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