A blank white page is daunting, so full-time workers and students all over the world have started to ditch their office cubicles and strict library settings for cafés. Work doesn’t feel as tedious when you’re sipping a café au lait and people watching, right? 

Here are five cafés writers have been inspired by from past to present, and hopefully they will get your fingers twitching with inspiration. 

The Elephant House

J.K. Rowling conceived Harry Potter in the back room of The Elephant House while looking out at The Edinburgh Castle. The café boasts worn-in leather armchairs to sit by the fireplace, and an atmosphere that can spark an idea in even the most uninspired writer.

Since the Elephant House is a Wi-Fi-free haven, a chalkboard at the front encourages customers to “talk to each other like it's 1995.” A Wi-Fi-less environment is exactly what the uninspired writer needs. Without Internet, what else is there to do but write the next sensational novel?

El Ateneo Grand Splendi

It’s a fact: the best writers are bookworms, too. Original frescoed ceilings, 1920’s theatre boxes, heavy red velvet curtains, and lots of bookshelves – that’s the El Ateneo Grand Splendid. This Buenos Aires bookstore was named the second best in the world by The Guardian (after Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen).

Have you ever dreamed of going on stage? There's a café tucked behind original red theatre curtains on the performing arts stage. There isn’t a great selection of English novels, so bring your own book, learn Spanish, or indulge in the bookworm atmosphere.

Les Deux Magot

“The souls of poets hover” over Les Deux Magots café in Paris (according to their website)—particularly Hemingway’s soul and the literature he nurtured in this café. In 1933, the Prix des Deux Magots award was created at Les Deux Magots and given to diverse and unconventional writers. Since then, the café has been an epicenter of literary tradition. 


Writing in a Bali bamboo structure amongst rice fields already sounds dreamy enough, but it gets better. This Hub-In-Ubud, or Hubud, is a destination workspace created for digital nomads all over the world to work under the same roof. What’s a digital nomad? A person that makes a living through telecommunication technology while travelling.

Founders Steve Munroe, Peter Wall, and John Alderson saw the way people work changing dramatically, realizing that self-employed travellers can feel lonely and isolated. “We were tired of working alone,” Munroe explains. Hubud was their solution to freelance solitude.


A speakeasy thrives at KGB Bar in the East Village of New York. It’s an outstanding place to trade in your cup of coffee for a drink and some fresh inspiration. The bar recreates the prohibition era in a dark room cloaked by red velvet curtains.

Graphic novelists, poets, authors, journalists, flash fiction, and fiction writers present their work to the bar audience. You can listen to New York writers, socialize with literary people, or get on stage. The open stage is a workshop for writers that need an audience's reaction and fresh perspective.

These havens are guaranteed to motivate the uninspired writer. So pack your notebook and some change for a coffee, and you're ready to go.