Is It Okay To Take A Meeting In A Coffee Shop?

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In the modern work landscape, where remote work and flexible schedules have become increasingly common, the traditional office meeting has transformed. Among the various settings that have emerged as popular venues for professional discussions, coffee shops stand out. These ubiquitous urban havens offer a blend of comfort, informality, and accessibility that makes them attractive for both planned meetings and impromptu catch-ups.

However, the question arises: Is it really okay to have a meeting in a coffee shop? To answer this, we need to explore several factors, including the nature of the meeting, the participants involved, the ambience of the coffee shop, and the practical considerations that come with such a setting.

The Appeal of Coffee Shop Meetings

Ambience and Environment

Coffee shops often have a relaxed and inviting atmosphere that can foster creativity and open dialogue. The casual setting can help break down hierarchical barriers, making it easier for participants to share ideas freely. The ambient noise in a coffee shop, typically a mix of conversations and the sound of coffee machines, can also provide a degree of privacy by masking discussions from others around you.

Accessibility and Convenience

Coffee shops are usually conveniently located and easily accessible, making them an ideal meeting spot for people coming from different parts of the city. They offer a neutral ground, especially useful when meeting with clients or partners from other companies. Unlike office spaces, which might be intimidating or difficult to navigate, coffee shops are welcoming and straightforward.

Amenities and Comfort

With free Wi-Fi, ample seating options, and the availability of refreshments, coffee shops provide most of the amenities one might need for a productive meeting. The informal setting allows for a more relaxed dress code and attitude, contributing to a more comfortable and less stressful meeting experience.


Coffee shops are versatile meeting spots that can accommodate a wide range of meeting types, from one-on-one discussions to small group meetings. They also offer flexibility in terms of timing, often opening early in the morning and closing late at night, which can be a boon for people with irregular schedules.

The Potential Drawbacks

While the advantages of coffee shop meetings are clear, several potential drawbacks need to be considered:

Noise and Distractions

Despite the pleasant background hum, coffee shops can sometimes be too noisy or crowded, making it difficult to concentrate or hear each other. Unpredictable noise levels, such as loud conversations, blaring music, or the sound of espresso machines, can disrupt the flow of the meeting.

Privacy Concerns

Sensitive information should not be discussed in a public setting where others can overhear. For confidential or sensitive topics, a coffee shop might not provide the necessary level of privacy. Additionally, the casual environment might lead to unintended eavesdropping.

Limited Space and Resources

Not all coffee shops are designed to accommodate meetings. Limited table space, lack of power outlets, and uncomfortable seating can pose significant challenges. It’s important to choose a coffee shop that offers a conducive environment for the type of meeting you’re planning.


Depending on the nature of your work and the expectations of the participants, a coffee shop might come across as too informal. This is particularly relevant for first-time meetings with clients or formal business discussions where a more structured and professional environment might be expected.

Balancing the Pros and Cons

The decision to hold a meeting in a coffee shop should be based on a careful consideration of the specific circumstances and needs of the meeting. Here are some guidelines to help you decide:

Type of Meeting

Casual meetings, brainstorming sessions, and informal catch-ups are well-suited to the coffee shop setting. For these types of meetings, the relaxed ambience can enhance creativity and communication. However, for formal presentations, discussions involving confidential information, or meetings that require extensive note-taking and the use of multiple devices, a more controlled environment like a conference room might be preferable.


Consider the preferences and expectations of the people you’re meeting with. If you know that your client or colleague enjoys a casual setting and good coffee, a coffee shop might be perfect. On the other hand, if you’re meeting with someone who values formality and professionalism, it might be better to opt for a more traditional meeting space.


Clarify the purpose of the meeting. If the goal is to build rapport, discuss ideas informally, or have a relaxed conversation, a coffee shop can be an excellent choice. However, if the meeting is crucial for making important decisions, reviewing detailed documents, or conducting a formal interview, a quieter and more private location might be necessary.

Location and Timing

Choose a coffee shop that is conveniently located for all participants and visit it beforehand to assess the noise levels and seating arrangements. Consider the time of day as well; mid-morning and mid-afternoon are typically less crowded times, while early mornings and lunch hours can be very busy.

Best Practices for Coffee Shop Meetings

If you decide that a coffee shop is the right venue for your meeting, here are some best practices to ensure it goes smoothly:

Arrive Early

Arrive a bit early to secure a good spot, preferably one that is away from the main traffic areas and not too close to noisy equipment. This will also give you time to settle in and prepare before your meeting begins.

Prepare Your Order

Ordering your drink and any food items before your meeting starts can help minimize interruptions. Encourage your meeting participants to do the same.

Bring Necessary Tools

Make sure you have everything you need, such as a fully charged laptop, notepad, pens, and any necessary documents. If the meeting will require power for laptops or other devices, choose a coffee shop that has easily accessible power outlets.

Mind Your Volume

Be mindful of your volume and the volume of your participants. While you don’t need to whisper, try to keep your voice at a level that doesn’t disturb others and that maintains some degree of privacy.

Manage Time Wisely

Coffee shops can be a comfortable place to linger, but it’s important to respect the time of your participants. Keep an eye on the clock and ensure the meeting stays on track. If the conversation extends beyond the allotted time, consider moving to another location.

Follow Up

After the meeting, follow up with an email summarizing the key points discussed and any action items. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and that important details are not lost in the informal setting.


The question of whether it is okay to have a meeting in a coffee shop does not have a one-size-fits-all answer. The appropriateness of this venue depends on multiple factors including the nature of the meeting, the participants, and the specific needs of the discussion.

Coffee shops can offer a unique and appealing alternative to traditional meeting spaces, fostering a relaxed and creative atmosphere that can enhance communication and collaboration. However, it is crucial to balance the benefits with the potential drawbacks, ensuring that the setting supports the goals of the meeting.

By carefully considering the context and adhering to best practices, professionals can effectively utilize coffee shops as viable meeting venues. Whether for a casual brainstorming session or a more structured discussion, the key is to align the meeting environment with the meeting’s objectives, thereby creating a productive and enjoyable experience for all participants.

Check out some of it here at cafes with meeting rooms.

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