Coffee Shop Coworking is a series that highlights cafes and coffee shops in and around the Des Moines metro perfect for entrepreneurs, freelancers, creatives, and remote workers to get things done. Each installment will highlight what a particular location is best for, what you can expect from its work environment, and what sets it apart from other local alternatives.
When it comes to finding a good place to work remotely, quiet public environments can be few and far between. Despite it’s “punny” name, Cafe Diem is a coffee shop sure to make you seize the day and get things done.
If you’re working from home, around your kids’ schedules or just want to get outside of downtown a bit, Cafe Diem brings a bit of suburban love to our coffee shop coworking series. Located in an Ankeny strip mall alongside a pet store and the deep dish pizza fan favorite Wig and Pen, Cafe Diem is an unassuming locale that dares to surprise you with its plentiful work stations and relaxed environment.
Stepping into Cafe Diem doesn’t just feel like a breath of fresh air because of its plentiful air conditioning on a hot summer day. The cafe is also refreshingly original and welcoming given its possibly overlooked location. With deep red walls and twinkling lights hanging from the curtains, the interior of Cafe Diem is warm and welcoming. Coffee-themed prints of cafes around the world and works for sale by local artists hang from the wall and a large painted mural greets visitors from behind the bar. Globe lights and paper lanterns glow softly overhead and while individuals or small groups clack away on their laptops.
The staff at Cafe Diem is friendly and helpful, and the coffee shop’s proximity to Des Moines Area Community College means that there’s typically a handful of students camped out at its tables for a quiet study break. But don’t fret about it getting too crowded. The cafe’s plentiful seating meaning you won’t be vying for a spot or feel like you’ve overstayed your welcome after a few hours. When it comes to staying caffeinated, the cafe offers a variety of coffee drinks as well as smoothies to sip on while you work. And if you’re starting to get hungry, simply choose from an array of pastries, sandwiches, and other breakfast items that the coffee shop offers.
The Work Environment
While it may be slightly out of your way if you’re typically a downtown worker, there are some definite pros to working from Cafe Diem. With a variety of seating options and a number of different areas within the cafe, there’s a setup that’s sure to work for any coworker. From wooden two-tops to overstuffed leather couches, working as a pair or breaking for a brainstorming meeting is easy here. If you’re looking to hunker down for a longer stay, Cafe Diem has a few coveted booths and individual study carrels—for a throw-back to your college library days—with prime access to the cafe’s slightly limited power outlets. Just need to answer a few emails? Pull up a stool at the bar and watch the baristas at work.
The coffee shop has free, fairly fast WiFi; however, if you’re working on something that needs to pull some major bandwidth you might need to wait until you’re hooked into a more reliable connection. Aside for free Internet access, the cafe has other perks as well, including it’s location. Cafe Diem’s suburban locale means that there’s not only ample free parking but there are also other restaurants nearby in case you need a mid-day break for lunch.
Best Place For: Workers Who Enjoy Quiet
When it comes to working remotely, quiet is something that you can’t always guarantee, especially when it comes to coffee shops. But if you’re looking for a tranquil table or silent study carrel to get some work done, Cafe Diem is the place for you. That’s not to say that the coffee shop isn’t routinely busy—there’s typically a steady stream of people coming through the cafe’s doors—or without ambient noise, but overall, Cafe Diem is a welcome respite to some of its more boisterous local counterparts.
Music plays softly over the cafe’s stereo system, but won’t serve as a disruption to your productivity. With jazz, indie rock, and acoustic pop covers filling the cafe, there’s enough background noise to stave off the feeling of a library without it being distracting. Still a little too quiet for your taste? Head to Gravitate in the morning to get some work done around other before buckling down after lunch at Cafe Diem.
A lengthy drive-thru also means there isn’t too much hustle and bustle from customers hoping to grab their java to go. Instead, most of the patrons stay a bit longer and enjoy their coffee in the cafe. Overall, Cafe Diem provides a tranquil environment to get your work done in peace, sans-headphones.
- Latte: $3.15 (12 oz)
- Black Coffee: $1.75 (12 oz)
- Coffee Quality: 2.5 / 5
- Work atmosphere: 3.5 / 5
- Meeting: 3 / 5
Get to Work
2005 S. Ankeny Boulevard
Ankeny, IA 50023
Monday – Friday: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
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PHOTO CREDIT: Cafe Diem on Facebook