5 Cafes in One Utama where you can prop your laptop and work remotely

Whether you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur or an employee who has the flexibility to work from anywhere, looking for a place to pull out your laptop and get some work done has never been more essential. In this case, as an experienced mobile worker myself, I recommend going to a shopping mall to work on that report, presentation, article, video editing, or whatever it is that you do that puts cash in your pocket at the end of the month. 

 Get out of your house, go to a shopping mall.

Why a shopping mall you may ask? First of all, we’re all spoilt and need the comfort of air-conditioning to work (even though as a kid growing up in the 90s or 2000s it wasn’t a luxury that was ever present). Instead of turning on the AC at home and raking up your electricity bills, shopping malls is a great alternative for free AC. Secondly, don’t worry about where to have your next meal. Choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner is available just a few steps away. You can have a different meal every time and satisfy your cravings whatever it may be as the choices of restaurants in a mall are abundant. Thirdly, the quiet cafes serve as a good meeting spot to have discussions over a cup of Joe and the person you’re meeting would be happy to have a reason to be out of his/her office and have a drink on you. Last of all, you’ll be in a situation that you will never ever need to come back from work only to go out again and get diapers, milk, groceries or a birthday card perhaps. Being in a mall gives you access to all these things before you head back home.

Where In One Utama should I go?

Now that we’ve established why it is best to remote work in a shopping mall, next question in mind is where in a shopping mall can I get my work done. Thus the reason you clicked on the article and have read on until now. This article will be the first in a series that covers major shopping malls in the Klang Valley that lists down top picks of cafes where you can get some work done. Today we will be running through a list that I have put up for One Utama in Bandar Utama. 

In order to come up with my Top 5, I have reasoned the top picks based on the following criteria:

  1. Is the cafe purposefully set up to have people work leisurely
  2. Does it have comfortable seats
  3. Privacy and noise levels
  4. Access to plug points 
  5. Least amount I have to spend on food or drinks to make me feel less guilty taking up space and time in the cafe
  6.  WiFi availability

As you would have noticed, I have taken WiFi out of the equation in my assessment mainly due to the fact that dependency on a cafe’s WiFi is no longer necessary. 4G and the latest phones have made tethering your mobile with your laptop/ tablet a whole lot more convenient, reliable, and secure with regards to accessing the internet. Asking for WiFi passwords is slightly outdated and best be used by a parent skimping on data  for his/her child to be entertained on youtube kids.

Now that we have that established, let’s get on with the list.

The Usual Suspects

1. STARBUCKS COFFEE

Image: Jui Hong Teoh (Google Maps)

As expected, Starbucks is a favourite of many when it comes to lounging for long hours and plugging in that laptop to get  some serious work done. Starbucks in One Utama makes a great choice for digital nomads with it’s choices of comfortable seats, work desks, oops… I mean coffee table and occasionally nice choices of ambient music. As we all know, Starbucks allows and encourages it’s patrons to work there for as long as they want. The set up in One Utama is not that big though as compared to other Starbucks, so be sure to get there early if you want to get that comfortable seat.  Seating capacity, they seat around 40 people indoors and another 30 outdoors. There are limited plug points distributed throughout the cafe, accessible to seats nearer to the walls (indoor), large columns (outdoor). A plus point for this particular Starbucks is that it is facing the “rainforest” set up in One Utama and thus you get some green retrieve for your eyes when they are tired staring at the laptop.

Duration you can work : > 2hours

Comfortable seats :  3/5 – cushioned seats are limited

Privacy : 3/5 – cramped and layout not spacious

Noise level : 3/5 quieter indoors than outdoors

Plug points : 3/5 not enough to go around when there’s a crowd

Guilt money : RM 7.40 for an Americano that you can sip slowly 

Starbucks is located in the New Wing on the First floor opposite Nando’s, Lot F352.

2. STARBUCKS COFFEE SIGNATURE

Image: @zashnain zainal (Google Maps)

To those who frequent One Utama, you would have realised that there are TWO Starbucks in One Utama. Not just any other Starbucks, but a Starbucks Coffee Signature. What is a Starbucks Coffee Signature, you might ask? Aside from the more polished signage everything else seems the same. There are more 1-seater sofas here than the other Starbuck in One Utama,

Duration you can work : > 2hours

Comfortable seats :  3/5 – cushioned seats are limited

Privacy : 3/5 – cramped and layout not spacious

Noise level : 3/5 quieter indoors than outdoors

Plug points : 3/5 not enough to go around when there’s a crowd

Guilt money : RM 7.00 for a Tall Americano 

Starbucks Coffee signature is located on the Ground floor within the Old Wing in One Utama near one of the entrances from the open space car park.

3. THE COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAVES

Image:@Mohammad Saad (Google Maps)

Located on the Ground floor of the New Wing where the luxury retailers are, Coffee Bean in OU offers a more secluded area within the mall, away from the bustling foot traffic in other sections.

Duration you can work : > 2hours

Comfortable seats :  3/5 – cushioned seats are limited

Privacy : 3/5 – cramped and layout not spacious

Noise level : 4/5 decently quiet especially in the inside section

Plug points : 3/5 

Guilt money : RM 7.00 for a small Espresso Macchiato

The Others

3. WHISK OUTPOST

Image:@Ahmed Ben Taher (Google Maps)

A cute (cute as in small not kawai) cafe located at the ground floor entrance of the old wing. Whisk Outpost has it’s coffee fans, delicious cakes and friendly baristas. A bit cramped, making it quite cosy and good for a nice catch up with friends. When it’s not too crowded, it serves as a good place to get some emails sent out while enjoying a piece of cake.

Duration you can work : around an hour max

Comfortable seats :  2/5   

Privacy : 2/5 – cramped and layout not spacious

Noise level : 2/5, close enough to hear the next table’s conversation

Plug points : 2/5 

Guilt money : RM 6.00 for a Croissant with butter & jam

4. CHIZU HONZU

A unique setup of two stores, Chizu that serves coffee and tea beverages on one side, Honzu that is a bakery on the other and a shared seating place in the middle. There are plenty of seats and the arrangements of the seats makes it very conducive for people to enjoy their food and work at the same time. If you’re into cheese, then be sure to check their cheese beverages concoctions. Yes, they put cheese in drinks and are quite known for their coffee cheese.

Duration you can work : > 2 hours

Comfortable seats :  4/5   

Privacy : 4/5 – they have single tables 

Noise level : 2/5, can be quite noisy as it is like a stall in the open

Plug points : 4/5 plenty of plug points everywhere

Guilt money : RM 8.00 for any choice of Fruit Tea

Chizu Honzu is located on the 2nd Floor on the connecting bridge between the old wing and the new, near to Isetan.

5. Caffe Bene

Image:@Nancy Law (Google Maps)

Last on our list is Caffe Bene. This cafe has the biggest floor space when compared to the rest in this list. Taking up 2 floors, you make your order at the counter and then have a choice of being seated downstairs or up. The upstairs can be quieter and gives you some privacy. It has floor to ceiling windows along the 2 storey outlet and thus makes it feel very open and spacious. 

Duration you can work : > 2 hours

Comfortable seats :  3/5   

Privacy : 4/5 – upstairs can be quiet private at times

Noise level : 4/5, crowds tend not to be rowdy

Plug points : 3/5 available plug points

Guilt money : RM 6.00 for a regular size espresso

Cafe Bene is located on the Ground Floor of the old wing right by one of the entrances from the outdoor car park area.

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