In this month's Lang4life teacher blog, we're honing in on some of the best cafes in Wroclaw for preparing classes or teaching private lessons.
Nowadays many IT professionals refer to themselves as so called 'digital nomads', whose offices are literally anywhere with an wi-fi connection. They aren't alone by any means though, as the same is also true of many Wroclaw based language teachers, who regularly have to shift around town teaching lessons in various schools, companies, homes and cafes.
Given the amount of commuting involved in a typical working week, teachers often need to prepare lessons or source materials on the go at different spots throughout the city. Mutually convenient venues also need to be found for private lessons, and cafes do tend to be the best place to do both of those things.
In the last few years cafe culture has boomed in Wroclaw, with an abundance of new wi-fi equipped venues bursting onto the scene. The addition of these modern cafes, on top of the city's classic haunts, means there is a broad selection of places to consider when looking for the ideal spot to prepare classes or teach private lessons.
So without delay, in today's Lang4life blog we are going to shed some light on the ins and outs of eight cafes suited to this purpose, as well as suggest a handful of other options worth considering.
photo © facebook.com/KinoNoweHoryzonty
In the foyer of art-house cinema Kino Nowe Horyzonty you'll find a cafe and a large waiting area ideal for meetings, co-working or even a private lesson if you can find a table for two. Cheap snacks such as sandwiches, quesadillas and toasted panini's are also available if you need to grab something to eat between classes.
One bonus of the place is that it is basically a public open space that you can use without actually paying for anything (although it might be prudent to at least buy a bottle of water). That said, the wi-fi isn't the most reliable and it is a bit of a trek up the stairs to the bathroom if you have a call of nature to answer. The cinema is prone to some distractions too, as there are occasionally school excursions with loud children that break the silence.
All in all though, Kino Nowe Horyzonty is a useful free open space that can be utilised in many ways regardless of whether you are alone or in a group.
photo © facebook.com/BemaCafe
Cafe Bema has a practical location for the many people who work in the nearby office building, and is also ideal for those seeking a comfy spot after a stroll around Ostrow Tumski or Wyspa Słodowa. The atmosphere is welcoming, the vibe relaxing, and the produce tasty.
The large windows that adorn the entrance help soak in the sun, allowing you to sit in and enjoy the warmth while taking in the view from outside. On sunny days natural light shines through the glass beautifully, illuminating the whole cafe and bringing a comforting aurora to the surroundings. The style is clearly modern, with the industrial concrete ceiling contrasting the elegant cream furniture.
Bema cafe's wi-fi is easily up to the task, while it's pleasant surroundings make it a relaxing place to get some work done or do a 1-1 lesson.
photo © facebook.com/panatocafe
Nadodrze's Panato Cafe offers a truly unique experience in Wroclaw – a place where you pay for the time you spend rather than the quantity you consume.
The atmosphere is partly generated by a novel pricing concept and self service culture unlike any other cafe. When you walk in the staff hand you a card with the time and date, from which the bill will be calculated before you go. From the moment you arrive until you leave, you are pretty much left to your own desires and can take as little or as much as you wish from the shelves.
This system certainly relies on the majority of customers showing a little self restraint. In theory you could make yourself an espresso, scoff a nice cake and grab yourself a soft drink in a mere ten minutes, paying a rather embarrassingly low 3.75zl. Of course, most of us would be too embarrassed to do such a thing, meaning the system benefits those who wish to use the place as a workstation for a few hours. The longer you stay in Panato, the cheaper it gets. Indeed, if you can somehow spend 5 hours in the place, Panato will stop charging you above the original bill. Even if you are only popping in for a quick drink, you'll only be charged 7.50zl for 30 minutes. So if you snare yourself a tea and a croissant, you can hardly complain about value for money.
Admittedly the system doesn't prove good value for private students who aren't that bothered for any refreshments, but it does lend itself to teachers who want to find an alternative office for the day.
photo © facebook.com/teatrcapitol
Just like the Kino Nowe Horyzonty, Capitol Theatre has an attractive open space for visitors to get some work done.
One of Capitol's main facets is its glass roof, which soaks sunlight into the building to create a bright and airy space.
Unfortunately the seating arrangements at Capitol's cafe aren't really that handy for a private lesson, while the ambient music and lack of activity can leave the place slightly devoid of atmosphere.
Even so, there is a useful round table in the middle of the cafe that's ideal for group meetings. On top of that, the free wi-fi and colourful surroundings make Capitol a nice spot to get some prep done between lessons.
Located splat bang in the middle of the Rynek, Tajne Komplety is a cafe and book shop that's a near perfect place in which to have a bit of downtime or get some revision done.
Admittedly there are many chilled out cafes in Wrocław in which to do a bit of work via your laptop, casually read a book or do a bit of studying. That said, few can boast the same relaxed aura as Tajne Komplety, which looks like a cross between an alternative cafe and a University library. Indeed, it comes as no surprise that the place is run in partnership with Dolnośląska Szkoła Wyższa.
Crammed full of books and cds, the shop offers a plethora of fiction and non fiction titles in different genres and languages. In between the stacks of books you'll find a plenty of tables to get stuck into some reading over a coffee, one of which even incorporates a chess set.
The result of all this is a great venue in which to pass the time alone and get your head stuck into some lesson prep.
Kalaczakra has a relaxed, positive and hippy vibe that makes an ideal backdrop for anyone looking to do private lessons.
The best thing about the place in this regard are the old-school booths, which give you a little bit of your own free space to teach and learn in without feeling all out in the open. This is particularly handy for beginners or shy students who don't like the idea of their mistakes being so easily overheard by passers-by.
The cafe's next-door neighbour, Kalambur, is also one of the city's iconic bars – an ideal spot for post lesson beer if you are in need some liquid refreshment (and can tolerate the smoke).
Mleczarnia is one of the city's best cafes full-stop, so considering it has free wi-fi it's no surprise it makes the list.
The cafe's old, wooden tables and chairs ooze charm and romanticism but admittedly aren't always the most practical for working with a laptop. That said, there are many good spots throughout the cafe with power sockets to keep your laptop working for hours on end.
Mleczarnia is open as early as 8am, does good breakfast and also has an attractive outdoor seating area should you fancy teaching open-air in the summer. On the other hand, it is rather dark inside, which can be a little bit of a hindrance during one-on-one lessons. All in all though, there can be no doubt Mleczarnia is a place worth considering.
photo © facebook.com/centralcafepolska
Central Cafe is bustling venue that has earned a host of plaudits since it opened four years ago. The cafe's owner has taken her knowledge of the New York cafe scene and created a vibrant cafe that specialises in bagels and cakes.
Central Cafe has a few electrical sockets to charge devices, plus some desks and tables ideal for using your laptop, however the seating arrangements are arguably not the best in town for conducting lessons.
Even so, this is a solid, reliable cafe with a handy central location that is a perfectly viable venue for getting some work done.
Other places worth considering
For those who happen to be in Gaj area, Gigi Cafe is worth a shot, while Di Cafe is handy for anyone working in Sky Tower or the surrounding area. Nalanda is another very pleasant spot that merges some of the charms of Kalaczakra and Tajne Komplety. Wroclaw Uncut are certainly not big Starbucks fans, however it's difficult to ignore the fact that the branch in Centrum Grundwaldzki is very practical for many teachers and students. Figa Bistro is also nicely located, as it just a short walk away from Wroclaw Business Park. Last but not least, Bar Barbara, the home of Wroclaw 2016, is a great place for working or having a coffee – there is plenty going on if you like to be surrounded by activity, while the large windows draw in a lot of natural light.
To find a cafe near you, don't forget you can use the Wroclaw Uncut business directory and map.
Stay tuned next month for another edition of our Lang4life teacher blog!