Feel guilty every time you turn a coffee shop into your personal workspace? No need to at this new Williamsburg spot — the owners of Sweatshop use the place as their office, too.
Luke Woodard and Ryan De Remer studied design together in Melbourne, Australia and now live in the East Village and Williamsburg, respectively. After stinting with places like MTV and GM, they formed The Sweatshop Collective. But rather than holing themselves up in one of those trendy coworking spaces, the graphic designers did something even hipper: they gut renovated a former bodega on Metropolitan Avenue and turned it into a hybrid work studio and Melbourne-style coffee shop.
When you walk into Sweatshop, you might see Woodard in the office area behind the espresso counter, tweaking some designs for Standard, his line of skiing and snowboarding socks. Or you might see De Remer working on his line of five-panel hats, Bustin. Don’t hesitate to interrupt them – Woodard is a capable barista (he recently worked for Stumptown) and he’ll happily serve you a “short” or “long” black (espresso or Americano), a short or long mac (a cortado or macciato), or a “cap” (cappuccino) made “Aussie style,” with a dusting of cocoa powder. For that matter, if you dig the hats or socks that are on display, you can snag some of those, too.
The food menu also nods to the homeland via jaffles, Aussie-style grilled cheeses that, naturally, can be ordered with vegemite. Otherwise, the coffee comes from Counter Culture, the muffins and cookies are from Ovenly, and the doughnuts are from Greenpoint’s
Woodard and De Remer decided to open their shop-studio-café in Williamsburg because they found, when they were itinerate freelancers bouncing from coffee shop to coffee shop, that the neighborhood had the sort of creative types that they’d enjoy mingling – and potentially working – with. And they’re so intent on fostering a collaborative spirit that they’ve been hosting free Tuesday-night classes on tools like Photoshop and Illustrator.
But just because they wanted to tap into Williamsburg’s creative spirit doesn’t mean they were going to abide by its prevailing aesthetic. “We wanted to steer away from the kind of reclaimed, vintage, lumbersexual vibe that a lot of the cafes in this neighborhood are known for,” Woodard said. “All the upcoming, new, cool cafes in Melbourne are very natural-light filled, open, inviting, upmarket in terms of the design and aesthetic.”
The Sweatshop boys kept that in mind as they designed the space and furniture, including a communal table intended to make 12 to 14 people feel comfortable about working in close proximity (no need to feel awkward about hogging a two-top). In the warmer months, more seats will open up in the sunken front patio, and you’ll be able to order an Australian-style iced coffee consisting of espresso, cold milk, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
That should get the creative juices flowing.
Sweatshop, 232 Metropolitan Ave., bet. Bedford and Driggs Aves., (646) 388-2483; open weekdays from 7am-7pm, weekends 8am-7pm