Philly has always had a large population of students, and now, a growing population of young professionals. The nature of work is changing: there is an increasing amount of freelancers and people who work in tech-related fields. Consequently, the nature of the workplace is also changing: open floor offices and co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular.
Starbucks coined the term “the third space” when they set out to create a place that was somewhere between home and work. This concept has stuck, with a lot of young people choosing to study or do work at a cafe rather than a traditional library or office space.
Whether you’re a student looking to take a break from the library or a freelancer in search of a good latte as you work, hopefully, this list is helpful to you. Rather than being a definitive list of the ‘top X cafes’ in Philly, this guide is designed to be an interactive tool to help you explore options that may best fit your needs.
The ingredients for a good grind session:
Decent coffee and food are a given, but the cafes most conducive to getting work done should also have a fast wifi connection, outlets for recharging as well as an environment that promotes productivity.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to find comprehensive data on the latter two elements so we will just be focusing on cafes with wifi. Furthermore, large cafe franchises such as Starbucks have been excluded, as the purpose of this guide is to help people discover new cafes around Philly.
Where’s the best place in town to grab a table?
Cafes can get really crowded, especially during noon and weekends. This means that sometimes you have to scope out a couple in order to find a table. Therefore, it is helpful to know where there are clusters of cafes nearby to each other.
How do the different parts of Philly compare?
What makes a ‘good’ cafe?
You can gauge the quality of a cafe through Yelp’s reviews as well as star ratings. Although reviews provide a more holistic overview of the customer’s experience, star ratings are definitely a quick measure of quality. Interestingly enough, most users tend to rate cafes either 4.0 or 4.5 stars out of 5.0, with the median rating being 4.0. This shows that although these ratings can be helpful, they are slightly right-skewed and perhaps not always the best indicator of quality.
Plenty! Below, we have compiled a map of the cafes with wifi in Philly, as well as some quick facts about their price range, ratings, popularity and contact information. You can use the filters on the right to customize your search.
As alluded to in the previous section, the helpfulness of Yelp is contested: ratings may be arbitrary and popular businesses may thrive at the expense of other businesses. Additionally, we lose some of the magic of serendipitously coming across a wonderful business. To mitigate for some of these drawbacks, we have collated recommendations (starred marks) from Penn students, who are undeniably somewhat experts on this matter.
But what if I have a budget?
Cafe bills can rack up over time! Sometimes you may be looking to ‘treat yourself’ and other times, you just want an affordable cup of coffee. Fortunately, every district has cafes at diverse price points. Use the filter on right to find cafes that are: $ = <$10 | $ = $11-$30 | $ = $31-$60
Are pricier cafes better?
Not necessarily — in fact, our data seems to suggest the opposite. Although the priciest cafes score the lowest number of Yelp stars in this case, we need to keep in mind that we only had a sample size of 2 $ cafes.
I found a cafe I like! How do I get there?
Car ownership amongst young people in urban areas is on the decline, so we’ve provided some public transportation options for you to explore cafes in an affordable and eco-friendly manner if biking and walking aren’t an option. The good news is public transportation coverage for cafes is relatively high!
Perhaps the most challenging part of the data product to create the ‘Recommendations’ visualization, which is the most comprehensive in terms of information. The tricky part here was creating a new parameter to show two different mark styles for the Penn student recommended cafes (stars) and regular cafes (circles).
Moving forward, I would have liked to gather more data on peak patronage times and other relevant factors such as space, noise level and availability of water.
This project was made for Professor Prasanna Tambe’s OIDD245 class at the University of Pennsylvania by Danielle Goh, a Junior concentrating in Business Analytics and Marketing.