Pourt is a foodie WeWork with a cafe up front and work space in the back
It’s work, with wine.
When you rent a desk at Pourt, a shared workspace with a cafe up front in the East Village neighborhood of New York City (35 Cooper Square), food and drink is included.
Workspace rates go for $10 an hour, or a day pass for $48, and the biggest work perk is every dollar you spend can go towards food. Walk-ins are also welcome to buy refreshments separately in the cafe area, but if they want to use the wi-fi longer than 30 minutes, they’ll have to pay the hourly rate.
“Like everybody else we’ve tried to do work outside of our home or office. There are obvious downsides — crappy wifi, uncomfortable seating and having employees glare at you if you don’t buy anything,” says 29-year-old Matt Tervooren who founded the business with his partner and college buddy Mike Kruszewski. “We wanted to still provide the alone together vibe that’s the reason most people do work in coffee shops with all the amenities,” he says.
Think of it as a foodie WeWork with a menu that includes smoked nova salmon toast with trout roe ($11.50); matcha chia pudding ($7.50); detox smoothies like the Pourt with espresso, peanut butter, cocoa, banana and oat milk ($8.24) and a kale, mango and blueberry combo that will make your corporate cafe salad look even more sad. And there’s beer and wine. For $48 a day you could get breakfast, three coffees (by Intelligentsia), lunch, a snack and a glass of wine (no outside food is allowed).
The name Pourt is a play on pouring yourself a drink, and an actual port as in something you plug in. The co-working space is an open floor plan with 18 desks plus a seven-seat conference room with a whiteboard and screensharing. The space is fully equipped with fiber optic internet, personal outlets, colored printing and comfy chairs. The space is also a makeshift gallery filled with art from local artists — like Paul Gerben. There’s a collage of Han Solo juxtaposed with a purple painted retro portrait of Marilyn Monroe.
For Pourt’s founders, it’s a play into the growing co-working market: From 2014 – 2016, the number of co-working spaces worldwide nearly doubled, according to data from Statista — and is expected to jump again this year. And for consumers, it can be a deal: A seat at popular coworking space WeWork can cost $45 for a monthly membership in addition to $50 a day at select locations, or $220 – $350 a month for your own desk. (At Pourt, there is no option to get a dedicated desk.) And the sophisticated members-only NeueHouse — which boasts a private library, screening room — has and some of the highest co-working space fees in the city at up to $1,250 a month.
“We’re focused on being commitment free, whereas other coworking spaces require monthly commitments if not longer. We’re catering to folks who need to do a few hours of work and don’t need dedicated office space. Just all the benefits of a WeWork in a much more casual pay per use space,” says Tervooren.
Of course, Pourt also has to contend with the many coffeeshops and cafes where workers can pop in and get work done without having to pay an hourly rate. And it isn’t the only affordable working lunch out there. The startup Kettle Space converts underutilized restaurants like Atwood in Midtown and Distilled in Tribeca into coworking spaces and gives customers access for only $49 per month, or a day pass for $19 per day along with wifi and snacks.
But it can work to your advantage to be in a place where others are working, rather than socializing.
And even if you have an office, it may pay to get out of it for a while. FlexJobs, an online service for professionals, surveyed 2,600 employees and found that only 24% reported getting their best work done at the office during normal business hours. The rest revealed they were most productive somewhere else. Half said they worked best at home, 12% preferred a coffee shop, library or other public space over the office and 14% said they could do work at the office only when everyone else was gone.
Pourt has gotten a mix of millennials, NYU students and out-of-towners meeting with clients. The hours are currently 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. but Tervooren hours will expand to 10 p.m.
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