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The writing process is delicate, imperfect and profoundly impacted by your environment. For some writers, where you write is just as important as how you write.
Perhaps you need the quiet solitude of an office to best plumb those creative depths. Or the relaxing vibes of a vacation to inspire you to start tapping away. Or — my personal favourite — the low buzz of a city cafe.
Coffee shops and cafes have long been the location of choice for writers wanting to get outside of themselves, take in the world around them, while still being keyed in enough to make good art.
Malcolm Gladwell has said that he writes in cafes for a living (“That jerk at the cafe? C’est moi”), Hemingway was a legendary cafe frequenter, while some cafes themselves are internationally famous thanks to their lofty literary history.
New York, Paris, London — all of the world’s major cities are hubs for cafe writing.
But what about Bangkok?
God knows that this city has enough creative expats to start a cafe writing movement. But there’s not yet that literary pedigree here to immortalise any of the coffee shops around town.
There are, however, some cracking coffee shops; perfect for sipping and supping while observing and writing. Here are some of my favourites.
sukhumvit soi 26
Around halfway down Soi 26 is the quirky Casa Lapin — a coffee shop cum cafe cum co-working space cum hostel cum… flower shop? Who knows. There’s a lot of stuff going on here.
The best thing about Casa Lapin is the homely interior decoration – low chairs, plenty of wood and plants, a feel of creative community and a cracking selection of drinks on offer. The perfect spot to while away a couple of hours on Scrivener.
I did once pay 180 baht ($5) for a pot of tea here though so remember to gather your satang.
BACC, Rama I
Whereas Casa Lapin is all about the cosy atmosphere, Gallery is all about the coffee. Drip coffee, to be exact. With single origin beans and excellent cold brews, this is the writing spot for the coffee purist.
But it’s a great space to hang out, people watch and imbibe in the vibe as well. Located in the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre, it’s a hub for the city’s creative and artistic elite. Plus some students.
Sukhumvit soi 31/33
This is my local coffee shop and it’s fabulous — if a little on the small side. The coffee is creamy and delicate, with lots of options to try new batches from international and local artisan roasters.
There’s usually some acoustic covers on the stereo and a choice of tasty sweet treats too. An outdoor terrace with fan and rain shield means you can take in the sights (and traffic) of the road below too.
Great spot for dog watching too.
sukhumvit soi 38
A photo posted by Hands and Heart Coffee (@handsandheartcoffee) on
Located halfway down the former street food Mecca of Soi 38, Hands & Heart is a serene coffee shop perfect for scribbling. It’s decked out in all black and white decor, and is quiet enough to allow for contemplation.
The coffee’s amazing too: hand brewed and selected from seasonal, AA grade, single origin beans. You can catch them baking cakes and daily and take away some of their cold brew products for any morning-after-the-night-before sessions.
sathorn soi 12, sukhumvit soi 49, central embassy and 72 courtyard (soi thonglor)
Rocket is probably one of the fastest growing coffee/cafe chains in Bangkok right now, with branches popping up all over the city. Their Nordic-inspired design is calming and tranquil; their food delicious; their coffee creamy; and their clientele full of characters.
Sounds like the perfect recipe for an opening scene.