Where to Work: Top 5 Dallas Coffee Shops

As many of you may know, I work full-time as an IT developer. What? You didn't know I'm not a full-time Instagrammer? 

My work schedule allows me to work from home twice a week, so it's easy to get cabin fever. A lot of my mornings are spent working from coffee shops, and then I go home for the other half of the day (or vice versa). After a few months, I've realized some spots are definitely better than others, especially for long-term working instead of just popping in for a conversation. I've compiled a list for those who are interested!

Note: These are just my opinions, and my experiences have heavily influenced why these specific coffee shops are on the list.

#1 - Oak Lawn Coffee

Address: 2720 Oak Lawn Ave A, Dallas, TX 75219
Pros: Variety of drinks, plenty of outlets, comfortable seats/sofas, large window view
Cons: Can get crowded, loud music (if you have phone calls to take)
Comfort level: 4/5

You might think I'm biased because I live so close to Oak Lawn Coffee, but I actually prefer to drive to this coffee shop than to walk the few 100 yards to Ascension Coffee. It's my most frequented spot for working remotely!

Oak Lawn Coffee can get crowded by mid-morning, but if you come early enough, you'll get a spot. Outlets are aplenty here, so no worries about where to sit. The employees are some of the nicest I've ever come across too! I also love the large windows in the front because it gives me something to look at when I need a break from the screen.

I love their standard espresso drinks, but if I feel like treating myself, I get the frozen latte (it's like a frappuccino) or the shaken espresso (lots of half-and-half so it's pretty sweet)! They also serve Tacodeli in the mornings. YUM. 

#2 - Houndstooth (Henderson Ave)

Address: 1900 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206
Pros: Ambiance, music
Cons: No AC outlets except corner of shop
Comfort level: 3/5

This is the first Houndstooth in Dallas and a gorgeous space, but the only outlets are in a corner. When I'm here, I like to sit at the raised seating area (great for people watching haha). On nice days, the back patio is great too! The front patio is more for conversation since it's right by the street. However, the seating can get uncomfortable at the stools & tables.

Ooh, they also serve Tacodeli here.

#3 - Houndstooth (Sylvan | Thirty)

Address: 1878 Sylvan Ave e150, Dallas, TX 75208
Pros: Aesthetic, music, variety of seating (tables, benches, countertop)
Cons: No AC outlets inside
Comfort level: 3/5

This is Houndstooth's second Dallas location and another gorgeous space. The only negative is that it doesn't have any traditional AC outlets inside the shop. They only have USB outlets, so come with your laptops fully powered! I normally work here in the mornings and then leave by lunch. Tacodeli is also next door... wow, I'm starting to see a pattern here. Is this turning into a Tacodeli list?

Like the other Houndstooth, the tabletop seating can get uncomfortable after awhile since you're on a stool for hours, but you can always move to the bench area or the 2-person tables with regular chairs. The patios on either side of the shop are also comfortable.

PS - I've put this coffee shop above some others even though it doesn't have OUTLETS... so that's saying something.

#4 - Magnolias Sous Le Pont

Address: 2727 N Harwood St, P2, Dallas, TX 75201
Pros: Matcha lattes, plenty of tables, comfortable seating
Cons: Dark inside, limited street parking (but read more for where to park!)
Comfort level: 5/5

I've only recently started working here, but I've realized it's a great place to get work done! It's a bit dark inside, but it's beautiful when they open the patio doors. I didn't have any issues finding an outlet, and the chairs and tables are the most comfortable I've found at a coffee shop. It's also the only place out of this list that serves matcha lattes! I'll be coming back here more when I want to mix up my spots. It's just a bit hard to find parking on the street.

UPDATE: Magnolias was kind enough to let me know that there is additional parking if you cannot find street parking! "Hectic street parking is a common misconception due to lack of signage. If street parking is full, you can go to the entrance to the parking garage located next to the loading bay to the left of the front street entrance, you can be buzzed in and park anywhere besides reserved parking. Since we are tenants of the building, our customers are tenants too!"

#5 - Mudsmith

Address: 2114 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206
Pros: Plenty of table space and outlets
Cons: Can get crowded, chairs make the most hair-raising screech against the floor
Comfort level: 3/5

Mudsmith is another great place to get work done because of all the outlets at the communal tables. It gets crowded, but once you set up camp, you can really work away for however long you need. I only mention this because other coffeeshops make you aware of how long you've been hanging around, but it just seems expected here.

One huge con: just thinking about the way their chairs screech on the floor is giving me goosebumps as I type this. It's my last resort for a spot to get things done, but it's up there.

Going through this list, I realized that the most photogenic coffee shops are actually NOT the ones where I prefer to get work done! I've probably taken the most photos at Local Press + Brew and Davis Street Espresso, but they're definitely more for a casual hangouts and conversation (especially since Davis Street Espresso doesn't have internet).

I hope this list helps you the next time you look for somewhere to work! Let me know your thoughts! 

Experiencing & Learning

I usually don't write about stuff until after factual, tangible positive things have happened because I'm... superstitious? I want to keep a good image? Whatever you want to call it. But I thought I'd share some of my most recent experiences and some thoughts on the future as an exercise.

I was invited by The Asian Magazine to be their photographer again. This time, it was for coffee shops that they're interviewing around Dallas. That was a challenging experience, as I felt confined about what I could/could not do. I've also never drunk that much coffee before. It felt like the world was coming to an end.

I think I need to loosen up and shoot as if I'm shooting for myself. I wasn't happy with a lot of photos that I took that day; only a few stood out to me. I was mostly trying to shoot with a mindset of "what shots would a magazine use?" rather than "what's aesthetically pleasing to me?" -- which is both good and bad. I got noticed by the magazine for my style, so why try to switch it up? Well, because I also want to be able to shoot for others when asked. I can see both sides, but I don't really have a mentor to turn to. So, after plowing through post-processing with a caffeine hangover, I felt a bit disappointed in myself.

An image I took as we left the coffee shop. It was a relief to not think about coffee anymore and just press the shutter button.

Speaking of getting noticed, I got picked as one of the Dallas Instagrammers in InstaDFW's first monthly series: #6ToWatch ("highlighting six local accounts that are unique, interesting, and excel in their specific style"). It's very refreshing to hear what people like about my shots instead of just seeing a "like." They're a pretty big photography community in Dallas, and they've been constantly upping my visibility. So grateful!

I also got some photos chosen for the VSCO Grid for the first time. FINALLY! I've been using VSCO for awhile, but I didn't realize that I should actually upload to my VSCO grid (click through if you want to see my pre-IG images haha)... So inspiring to see my photos among all the talent out there.

The next 4 weekends, I'll be in Austin, Houston, NYC, and Seattle. I'm hoping to hone my skills with the E-M1 in these cities. My biggest challenge will be Seattle. I plan on hiking, and I've rarely done landscape shots. I've been reading up a lot on landscape and nature photography as well as reading more about my camera in general. I just learned about focus peaking and how to turn off noise reduction on my camera (thanks, Patrick!). Isn't that embarrassing? I want to learn to shoot purposefully.

Thank You! + Instagram Thoughts

First of all, I'm thankful for all the support from my friends! Photography has been a fairly recent interest for me. I love learning new methods & tricks and seeing things with a new perspective. It's taken some time, but I feel that I'm slowly improving.

At Method: Caffeination & Fare

So today, I tested my camera at Method: Caffeination & Fare, a super cool and fairly new coffee shop in Dallas (try the peanut butter toast). I also tried the camera + phone wifi connection for the first time, and I love it. SO quick and easy. I experimented with iPhone vs E-M1 shots. This was mainly for Instagram purposes because that's where I post all the time.

As some people may know, I LOVE VSCO Cam. I even got the VSCO Film for Adobe Lightroom! So after editing with both, here are the results:

Taken with E-M1, uploaded to computer, and edited with Adobe Lightroom.

Taken with E-M1, uploaded to computer, and edited with Adobe Lightroom.

Taken with iPhone 5S and edited with VSCO Cam.

Taken with iPhone 5S and edited with VSCO Cam.

Ignore the fact that I didn't up the saturation in the second photo. But obviously, details are sharper with the E-M1, and I get more in the image with my wide angle lens. Other than that, they are practically the same if posted to Instagram. In conclusion: who gives!

The phone definitely feels more like snapping on the go whereas the E-M1 is like, "Um, excuse me stranger, I promise I'm not a creeper, I just want to take a photo of you and upload it for the world to see."

Anyway, I will not turn the E-M1 into an expensive Instagramming machine. I'm still waiting for opportunities to take some bokeh-licious photos.

And here is the newest meant-for-web photo.

And here is the newest meant-for-web photo.