Living somewhere as tech-centric as the Bay Area can feel like we're all a lot more connected to our devices than to each other. Luckily, coworking spaces in the East Bay are fighting that notion by creating settings where nine-to-fivers can connect and collaborate across industries and, yes, in person.
If you're looking for workday inspiration beyond the home office or the corner cafe, head to one of these multifunctional spots where both the coffee and the creative juices flow freely.
Phoenix Alameda. (Doug Despres)
The Port Workspaces
Since opening its first location in 2010, the Port has established itself as Oakland's coworking juggernaut with four increasingly inventive spaces. Founders Michael Carilli and Joel Poole started with a standard office environment at 317 Washington Street before choosing Jack London Square as the home of their second coworking project, one with more startup-friendly details: ping-pong, a pool table, and a 30-foot tube slide for when the stairs just aren't cutting it. The Port Campus, opened in 2016 at the Kaiser Center Mall, is the most imposing of the Port spaces, with a game-changing 47,000 square feet of shared and private workspaces outfitted with midcentury furnishings and geometric design. In addition to an array of daily events, Port dwellers have access to a sleek lounge and bar space, as well as the sunny roof garden overlooking Lake Merritt. The Port has also expanded to City Center, offering another open floor plan on the fifth floor of the Ask.com building. Members gain access to all locations. // 317 Washington St.; 101 Broadway; 344 20th St.; 555 12th St. (Oakland), portworkspaces.com
Impact Hub Oakland
Opened as the backbone of Uptown's Hive complex in 2014, Impact Hub Oakland has developed a working community rooted in social change. Members have access to two floors of open space—from the quiet Jingletown Lounge to the central desk area. The 16,000-square-foot former car showroom houses companies such as Black Girls Code and the Sustainable Economies Law Center, while also hosting career workshops and free legal office hours for innovators in business. When you need a break, stop into the community kitchen for Equator coffee or Numi tea, check out the latest exhibit at Omi Gallery, or head next door to Drake's Dealership for a Denogginizer double IPA. Additional Impact Hub locations are in San Francisco and Berkeley; beyond the bay, members have access to over 80 Impact Hubs worldwide. // 2323 Broadway (Oakland), oakland.impacthub.net/.
Startup Admin Co-Munity
A short walk from Lake Merritt, the Startup Admin Co-Munity presents visitors with a central location, social and private areas, and the option to utilize administrative support by the hour. Whether you opt for a small office or a shared workstation overlooking Lake Merritt and busy Lakeshore Avenue, you'll have access to the stocked kitchen and add-on service such as mailing and bike rentals. // 3207 Lakeshore Ave. (Oakland), thestartupadminco-munity.com
Nomadic Press, a nonprofit literary publisher and influencer in the Oakland arts scene, has branched out to offer coworking stations in addition to its regular performances, classes, and workshops. Each of its two volunteer-run locations (Station: Fruitvale and Station: Uptown) provide a cozy gathering space, a small group of artsy workstations, and a bookable 27-inch iMac. The Uptown site hosts frequent evening events, while the Fruitvale space simultaneously serves as a public salon and gallery. // 2926 Foothill Blvd. and 2301 Telegraph Ave. (Oakland), nomadicpress.org
Oakstop, located across the street from the 19th Street BART Station in Uptown, embraces the intersection of art and tech by pairing shared office spaces with a dedicated art gallery. Whether using a day pass, renting a conference room, or regularly utilizing a customizable membership, visitors are encouraged to share their work, as the Oakstop community is often featured in gallery exhibits and performances. // 1721 Broadway (Oakland), oakstop.com
Phoenix Alameda. (Doug Despres)
NextSpace maintains an environment that is both professional and casual, modern and historical. The 9,000-square-foot former bank building was transformed into a workspace with cafe-style seating and orange accent walls, but the office still showcases traditional architecture in the arched windows and original bank vault door that now leads to a small conference room. Beneath a giant skylight, bean bags and a hammock coexist with structured workstations and quiet hallways lined with desks. Member perks include 24-hour access, unlimited printing, and weekly happy hours. San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz also host NextSpace locations. // 2081 Center St. (Berkeley), nextspace.us/berkeley
WeWork is an increasingly popular coworking space with a massive seven-story Berkeley office that draws students, solo entrepreneurs, and small startup teams. Share desk space and ideas in the dog-friendly communal areas, artsy lounges, and kitchens (you'll find coffee, fruit water, and a beer keg on every floor), or opt for a private conference room. The flexible We membership includes credits that can be used to reserve workstations and conference rooms at any WeWork location (there are eight in San Francisco, and one in San Jose), while other benefits include weekly workshops and discounts on HR and accounting services. // 2120 University Ave. (Berkeley), wework.com/buildings/berkeley--san-francisco--CA
Set on a quiet block downtown, Sandbox Studios launched in 2010 to provide professionals with an open workspace that goes beyond coffee shop sessions. Entrepreneurs can rent open desks, private offices, and meeting rooms (for up to 12 people) by the hour, and receive 24-hour building access, printing capabilities, and assistance with U.S. business visa applications. The second-floor space features a homey common area and kitchen, where regular happy hours and networking lunches take place. Sandbox also has locations in Palo Alto, South Park, and SoMa, with a Union Square space coming soon. // 1900 Addison St. 2nd Floor (Berkeley), sandboxsuites.com/berkeley
The Studio on 7th
While downtown Berkeley is dotted with coworking spaces, the Studio on 7th stands alone on the west side of town. Basic yet practical, this small, ivy-covered Gilman District spot offers unlimited drop-in memberships, dedicated workstations, bookable conference rooms, and private offices for artists and entrepreneurs. The Studio sits on a quiet industrial block around the corner from Whole Foods and Philz Coffee. // 1336 7th St. (Berkeley), thestudioon7th.com
When Alameda residents Saskia and Benjamin Winter learned that an island art studio and gallery was closing in late 2016, they saw an opportunity. The couple took months to reimagine and reboot the 6,000-square-foot space, not only so they could save the 16 rentable artist workspaces, but also so Alameda could finally have its own coworking space. Phoenix opened in March with a hip design and fresh offerings: an open floor plan with couches and desks, a sunny conference room, a compact outdoor patio, and the maker's studio, equipped with crafting tools. // 2315 Lincoln Ave. (Alameda), phoenixalameda.com
This Emeryville warehouse is just as likely to welcome a sole freelancer on a Monday morning as it is to host a 200-guest launch party on a Friday night. You can rent the 3,600-square-foot Workshop, located down the street from Emeryville's Public Market, for networking events, workshops, and parties, while also offering part-time and full-time coworking memberships that include access to a number of wooden desk stations, a plant-filled lounge and a well-equipped conference room. // 1414 62nd St. (Emeryville), theworkshop-emeryville.com