As recruiters, we aren’t just experts on career advice and our relevant industries. Day-in day-out we meet professionals in various locations, and so we have a particular interest in mapping out the best coffee shops in town.
And by that I don’t necessarily mean the best coffee, although that is a plus. My personal criteria is:
- Privacy - we could be discussing very sensitive issues, including salary, and so good spacing between tables is essential
- Availability - queuing 15 minutes for a table, or walking around the block to find another coffee shop is not a great way to start a meeting...
- Accessibility - may sacrifice this for privacy, but a convenient location makes it easier for both parties involved
Some spots I want to keep to myself, but in the spirit of sharing, here they are!
East Exit Lumine 1, 4F
All the Starbucks’ in Shinjuku are forever crowded, but this cafe offers peace and a good selection of teas. The clientele is mostly female, but don't be shy, there are very few business meetings going on which can be a plus for privacy and a more relaxed atmosphere. Opens at 11am, so avoid for early morning meetings.
South Exit, Southern Terrace
Not the best in terms of seating, but good access from Shinjuku station and they serve excellent pastries - always a good ice breaker.
4F of Hikarie Building, direct access from Shibuya station.
To get to this cafe you trek through the entire length of the 4th floor (great if you need a last minute present for someone). When you arrive at the back of the complex, the tables are roomy, atmosphere amicable and always available places to sit.
About 5 minutes’ walk from Shibuya station East exit.
Tucked away in a small Shibuya street, this is one of those old fashioned coffee shops with a wooden counter, dim lights, and different coffee cups and saucers displayed on the shelves. I would never have found it unless a candidate who worked in Shibuya told me about it as her “hideaway spot when she wants to have lunch alone”. Very good coffee, and offers an escape from the general mayhem of Shibuya.
Just outside of Roppongi Hills
A staple Starbucks-like chain, nothing fancy but three stars for the location. Although it is only a stone’s throw from Roppongi Hills, given there are three Starbucks in the Hills, tourists and busy traders don’t need to stretch their legs this far (that is, 1 minute). This ensures great access plus more privacy and usually a space available.
Idee Cafe Parc
4F Roppongi Midtown
Central location, yet private with a fashionable atmosphere (Idee is an imported furniture shop). Their coffee is also affordable (you can’t say that about many things in Midtown), and always a table open. Extra points for a terrace, which allows for some blue-sky thinking!
Roppongi Hills Mori Tower B1
Good old reliable Starbucks. But of the three in Roppongi Hills, this one probaby has the most space and usually offers a free table. Because it is on the B1 floor, no one really “passes by” on their way to the station. Beware though, it can be cold in winter.
French Kitchen, Grand Hyatt
If you need more of a luxury setting, this is the one for you. Some of the tables are arranged in small alcoves giving you extra privacy. And you can count on receiving hotel-style good service as well as quality coffee.