They are often the place of Russian language and culture events, which is how I heard of them.
I love the concept, but personally having to sign in to track time seems less "streamlined" to me than just buying a drink, so I didn't have a reason to go back, but maybe if the first hour was free in exchange for installing an app, it would be worth it. (I also don't hang out in cafes or coworking spaces much these days).
Of course in real life you'd have to install an app, make an account, and get spammed with requests to fill in surveys because we've completely lost track of what good user experience looks like.
I really loved it because there was always someone around, no need to arrange meetings with different people (which gets complicated proportional to age).
Though these half café, half co-working places might be more comfortable if they cater specifically to the laptop crowd.
I’m not the only one that has this opinion because the number of Anticafes in Paris was very quickly growing and they were normally full at peak times.
I'm struggling to see the benefit of paying for time and having sustenance (e.g. coffee) be free, instead of paying for sustenance and having the time be free.
I've never once been asked to leave a cafe after I've paid for __, and subsequently spent a few hours there.
I guarantee the proprietor will be complaining as soon as you have left.
Once you find a place you like, it's not like most people are just anonymous singletons coming in and ordering a coffee and taking up a table for a whole day. You keep the place busy during slow periods, other people see the place has custom, and depending on what's there you'll invite friends or other people over or drop by at other times for meals.
On the weekends or during particular busy times, sure. But usually you need lunch or dinner during those times as well, or you'll invite people for those times.
The successful cafes around here got quite skilled at appealing to the different groups and swinging demands throughout the day. The after-work crowd is different from the workday crowd is different from the tourists and the weekenders is different from the locals, and you need to keep all of them happy to keep the place ticking over and remain profitable. It's not just a substitution between all types of customers...
If the place was busy and you were occupying a table without ordering anything, maybe. But if the place was otherwise fairly empty, they probably don't mind very much. It can even be a benefit to have a few tables occupied so that the place doesn't look completely dead.
This is a very nice system that I'm sure they do to attract laptop people during the day (it's otherwise always at least half empty during that time).
There is a sign on the wall that kindly tells people to put away the laptop after 21:00 which is when they get busy. I think it's a fair deal. You get office space for the price of a coffee and they get someone in an otherwise empty café during the day. (Who often order a bit more than just a coffee anyway).
> Do young people in big European cities have no problems with finding a place to meet friends?
It's a mystery to me too how people do this. From what I understand it's mostly through studies and/or work.
Well, increasingly, they just don't – physically.
More people are living alone(1) – which I interpret as a decent indicator for decline of physical connections overall – but since the feeling of being alone is not increasing(2), internet/social media seem to make up for the difference(3, 4).
For university, yes you can get the actual education for free, but a diploma is a very good safety net, at least in France, and usually a requirement for people to consider your application. I also liked the freedom it gave me, I had a few years to "breathe" between high-school and working. University is also very cheap in France, I paid less than 1000€ for a master's degree in computer science/software engineering.
Neither do I, but exactly the second part. Those are people you would probably feel sympathetic to, care about and enjoy a drink with occasionally but not have sex with (this can ruin everything), invite to your wedding or actually want to visit your home any often. But an Anti-Café is a totally different story: you meet relaxed, intentionally open complete strangers there, having no interest in you other than your actual person and having good time with you, and the magic happens. There I had some happiest moments in my life (without alcohol - almost unimaginable when colleagues meet outside the office) and met the only people who I consider my "soulmates". Needless to say we never mentioned our jobs until years passed and a genuine reason to discuss something job-related emerged.
> but a diploma is a very good safety net, at least in France, and usually a requirement for people to consider your application
Outside IT, right? According to my experience a diploma (unless it's a PhD in machine learning) means little in the IT sector. They mostly want experience, knowledge and some also intelligence of some sort (you know, the Interview puzzles), also some basic EQ perhaps.
If you remove the semi-american notion of being 'stink-eyed' or hurried out of the cafe, then I become more confused about how such a space has sufficient demand to keep surviving.
I admit the thought of being charged by the minute irks me in a particular way...
Otherwise, some places have public "ludothèques" for playing board games, like public libraries; but these are non-profit associations, and they usually don't sell anything.
Here in Europe there are places like cafes, restaurants, bars, parks, libraries, museums, galleries, shopping centres, town squares, gyms, clubs or just plain outdoor areas that people use to hang out with one another.
In commercial areas there are a large number of people who want a casual space with a nice ambience to have a meeting. They don’t care how much it costs because either their employer is covering it or a positive outcome of the meeting will make the expense of the table insignificant in the broader picture.
I suppose I will at least drink something during those five hours anyway, so then the question is what is more expensive: three/four drinks at the coffee shop or 300 minutes at the anti?
That would be a BIG, BIG, and i mean BIIIIIG downside for me.
> A moderate level of noise enhances creativity compared to both low and high levels of noise. Moderate background noise induces distraction which encourages individuals to think at a higher, abstract level, and consequently exhibit higher creativity.
(Quote via https://rainycafe.com )
His current project is a village in Georgia where you can buy a share in a house, so you can visit it for some amount of days per year, proportional to share size.
I used to go there with a friend of mine to work on various things we could do with a computer and a cup of coffee
Sometimes, it's very quiet and you can work there with no problem at all, others time, it's very crowded and you lack the quiet comfort of an actual office. In the most extreme setup, all seats are taken and you can't really find a place.
The price was pretty cheap (3-4€/hour) which made it both cheap if you were drinking one hot beverage and a cookie every hour, but definitely expensive if you were just planning on staying for an hour and get an espresso. Cheaper and less crowded than a Starbucks still. The fact that the snacks were unlimited was also pretty cool.
Over time, I've slowly switched to regular cafés which are sometimes not really busy outside lunch and dinner time and where you can have ample place to sit, work, while enjoying your hot beverages.
I'm sure it's popular amongst student as the overall scenery is slightly more concentration focused than a Starbucks. Also, cheap food.
IMO anti cafés seem to be the worst of both worlds, not necessarily dependable enough to work in while also seeming to be more expensive to work in compared to a regular café where you'd just get a drink or two for several hours.
I can't speak for other countries but you definitely can't dip into most (any?) WeWorks or the typical coworking space for a few bucks per hour on the fly.
It looks like the cheapest WeWork on Demand is $29/day, and I have no idea what city that's in. I don't doubt the rate in major US cities is $75-100+/day.
I haven't been to a WeWork in a few years, but I don't ever recall being able to just walk in and get a day pass that cheap in a big city. What I saw was much more expensive, that is when day passes were even offered.
This exact concept: pay-per-minute space, like a shared space living room (though also with included tea, biscuits, and popcorn).
 "The Clockwork Door" in Temple Bar, Dublin. Hasn't been open since Covid. https://www.clockworkdoor.ie/
Are there any websites that lists good anti-cafes by city?
But seems like I answered my own question above - here's a pretty cool site to find desks/coworking spaces https://drop-desk.com/near-me with even some location specific writeups (i.e. Sydney Australia https://drop-desk.com/best-coworking-spaces/sydney )
Also the way it mixes fun and work ain't consistent imo.
Also after a while, I don't want another coffee, just want to sit in peace in the environment - but that's not an option really. I could just buy a coffee and sit next to it, but that seems wasteful and bizarre.