Second Workshop Café in San Francisco Strives to Serve Mobile Freelancers

San Francisco Bay Area, Workshop Café, South of Mission (SoMa) district, BART Embarcadero station, University of California Berkeley Art and Design, Skydeck, RocketSpace, Martinkovic Milford Architects
Copyright 2018 Dean J. Birinyi

By Meghan Hall

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for being on the cutting edge of all things science and tech, but what about office space? With rental rates for Class A corporate office space at a premium, more entrepreneurs and freelancers are frequently turning to coworking spaces as an alternative to traditional workplace environments.

Workshop Café, which opened its second location at 25 Spear Street in San Francisco’s popular South of Mission (SoMa) district in October 2017, is similar to the many coworking spaces popping up across the San Francisco Bay Area. Located within walking distance to San Francisco’s financial district, Workshop Café is just a block from the BART Embarcadero station and the University of California Berkeley Art and Design extension, making it ideal for busy students and business professionals.

The spaces often provide an environment that is somewhere between the more formal aspects of an office setting and the casual comforts of home. Couches and kitchens are just as common to coworking spaces as private offices and desks. With large shared tables and wide-open rooms, coworking spaces have become hubs of innovation; young professionals have the opportunity to network and collaborate with like-minded individuals from different industries and companies. Many coworking spaces such as Berkeley-based Skydeck or San Francisco-based RocketSpace offer career development workshops and access to corporate partner programs for their members.

Most coworking spaces in San Francisco offer monthly memberships with a dedicated desk in the main work area for a few hundred dollars per month, while reserving private offices often costs between $1,200 to $1,400 per month. Many coworking spaces also have daily rates or hourly rates for individuals who do not need to consistently use the space.

Workshop Café, however, is looking to fill the niche in between traditional workplace environments and coworking spaces by offering an on-demand, casual alternative for more mobile professionals, with all the amenities offered by coworking spaces at an affordable price.

“For some startup businesses, traditional coworking is great,” said Justin Martinkovic, the lead architect from

Martinkovic Milford Architects who worked on the Workshop Café project. “For on-the-go-creatives and tech professionals who want to escape the cubicle, Workshop Café uniquely fills their need: a highly productive place to work with no commitment and a ridiculously low fee.”

Unlike coworking spaces, Workshop Café does not charge membership fees; rather, workers pay only for the time they actually utilize the space. Workshop Café charges $2 per hour for regular seating, while private offices and larger conference rooms can range anywhere from $7 per hour to $75 per hour.

The 6,000 square-foot space boats a variety of modernly-designed meeting rooms, open tables, a variety of seating types and even private meeting rooms and offices.

Workshop Café’s design features corrugated metal, woods and vibrant graphic art to create an inviting and effective workspace. The café serves breakfast all day but also has a lunch menu and coffee bar. High-speed Wi-Fi, monitors, printing services and Apple TV are just some of the many amenities Workshop Café offers to its users.

“Tech offices and coworking spaces have established an eclectic architectural language that breaks the norms of traditional, stiff and dreary corporate spaces,” explained Martinkovic. “Where Workshop Café goes further, is in the very intentional harnessing of the coffee shop vibe.”

Martinkovic says Workshop Café’s unique vibe and full kitchen attract not just freelancers, but workers from the surrounding corporate offices, as well. The café serves Stumptown coffee and pastries, sandwiches, wraps and grain bowls.

“What was surprising to us after the first space opened was the number of corporate office workers in the immediate vicinity who use Workshop,” said Martinkovic. “They have an office, yet they chose to come to Workshop.”

Since its opening, Workshop Café has been met with continued enthusiasm, and Martinkovic hopes it will continue to serve both freelancers and corporate office workers alike.

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