Penang is quickly growing as one of the most sought after hotspots for digital nomads in Southeast Asia. One of the major reasons for this is the vibrant Penang cafe culture.
Though there are hundreds of great cafes in Georgetown, many of them are not suitable for working due to slow internet speeds and spotty connectivity. This list of digital nomad cafes in Penang should help you find a good place to work from.
Over the four months that we’ve lived here in Penang, we’ve had so many frustrating mornings and afternoons trying to get work done on shitty connections. Nevertheless, we’ve made it our mission to hunt down as many working cafes as possible for the greater benefit of the digital nomad community. This list includes our favorite cafes for working, as well as a few that are less workable, but still nice to visit.
Mugshot Cafe/ Rainforest Bakery
Address: 302, Chulia St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang
Mugshot is our favorite cafe in downtown Georgetown. There’s just something about the vibe of this place. The low tables in the front aren’t amazing for working, but there are some better tables in the back, and a new seating section in the back of Rainforest bakery as well. The real selling point for Mugshot/Rainforest is their unbelievable wifi speeds. Nearly 100mbps! This is by far the fastest wifi we’ve seen anywhere in Georgetown. The friendly staff always make us feel super welcome here.
Address: 105, Beach St, Georgetown, 10300 George Town, Penang
Black Kettle is an excellent choice for a long work sesh. If you’re lucky, you can grab one of their coveted cushioned booth seats to keep your bum happy while you’re crushing it. Their wifi speeds are nothing to turn your nose up at, 30+ download, and 25+ upload, and there are plugs all over the place. Located at the bottom of Chulia street close to the tourist district, this place can get a little packed, so you may get stuck with a less than prime seating location, but if you’re patient something will likely open up. An added bonus is that they actually play some decent music in here. The weak point here is their food. Everything looks delicious, but for me the taste just isn’t there.
Address: 310, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Le Petit Four is a great cafe for working though it can get a bit loud, and busy, sometimes. There is limited seating, only room for about 30 people, so have a back up option in case the place is packed. The best area for working is directly in front of the window. They have high bar stools and plugs as well. They don’t have a food menu, but if you get hungry they do have some baked goods like cakes, cookies, and scones. Tip, pack a sweatshirt if you’re going to stay a while, they keep it SUPER cold in there.
Address: 252A, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Narrow Marrow is a rare kind of cafe. Somehow they’ve managed to install great wifi in this heritage building. I was instantly in love when I walked through the door and heard Radiohead playing through the speakers. Even more so when I tasted their coffee.
There isn’t a ton of seating, room for about 30 people or so. The two top tables along the right side as you enter all have their own plugs, the long tables on the left do not. We really love the atmosphere in here, the design is super artsy with exposed brick walls, and somewhat avant garde decor making this one of the coolest cafes in Penang. Finish off your work sesh with one of their signature Toddy (fermented coconut juice) Cocktails. Can you find Sasquatch? Let us know in the comments.
Address: 164A-B, Lebuh Victoria, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Awesome Canteen is exactly as the name suggests….awesome. We love the big open space with trees growing inside. The exposed brick and somewhat rustic design adds to the urban charm of this place. There are lots of seats, but not too many plugs, so keep your eye out for those. Wifi speeds here are not reliable, so if you’re doing a lot of online work, you may want to choose another cafe. The coffee here is great, and the food is straight up amazing. All of the servers are very knowledgeable and friendly.
Address: Plaza Gurney 170-06, 01, Persiaran Gurney, George Town, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Dome is somewhat of a dark horse. I wasn’t really expecting much of this place, however, we were surprised to find fast internet speeds here, 23mbps download and 22mbps upload. Not too shabby! All of the booths around the outside have plugs, and cushioned seats for your bum. They have tasty espresso drinks, and delicious cakes too. The “burnt cheesecake” is the closest to NY style we’ve had in Southeast Asia. Dome has two locations, one at Gurney Plaza and another at Straits Quay.
Address: Gurney Paragon L- 10250, 6-11, Jalan Kelawai, Georgetown, 10250 George Town, Penang
Brown Pocket Cafe is located on level 6 of Gurney Paragon. I was skeptical as to whether the wifi would cut it, but was pleasantly surprised to find download/upload around 10mbps, more than enough to get work done. The seats here are quite comfortable and there are a decent number of plugs tucked away under the comfy bench chairs. We love the design of this cafe, with the large tree in the center, and the view is great. We found it to be a convenient place to get some work done before picking up groceries from the Jaya Grocer supermarket downstairs.
Address: 230, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
For a quieter alternative to Wheelers for brunch/work spot, we recommend Juice Cafe. They serve breakfast all day long and have delicious juices (try “the doctor”). The wifi speeds weren’t life changing, 3down/.5up. Not bad if you don’t need to do heavy uploading. When we were there the air con was SUPER cold. Pack a long sleeve if you’re prone to shivers! They also have the sweetest cats ever in the back patio.
Address: 1, Gat Lebuh Macallum, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Macallum has the look of a Brooklyn warehouse from the outside, and inside you’ll find tons of seating, great coffee, and a nice open space and minimalist design to let your brain spread out. Not all of the tables have plug in outlets available, but the bar style seats all have their own. The coffee here is probably the best in Georgetown. Unfortunately their internet speeds are pretty terrible…1.5 download 0.5 upload. Save Macallum for a day when you don’t have any heavy uploading or downloading to do. Good for writers who need to focus.
Address: 170G-2 Livingston Tower Argyll Road, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
We stopped into More Cafe for lunch while working at the Settlements Coworking Space in Livingston Tower. More Cafe really impressed us with their food and coffee, we tried the fish and chips, it was HUGE and delicious! More is spacious, with lots of seating, they even have some comfortable leather chairs for laptop working. There are some plugs to be found around the outside walls, but bring a full battery just to be safe. The wifi here was workable, but not amazing, You’ll find much faster speeds upstairs at Settlements.
Address: 67, Lorong Love, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
I don’t know about you, but I can only deal with Love Lane for a very short amount of time. If you hate to be surrounded by chatty tourists while you work, then this isn’t the place for you. Wheelers is basic, and busy. They definitely have more of a brunchy vibe than a work vibe, but if you’re looking to polish off a benny while you plug away at your computer then Wheeler’s is an OK choice. Both the food and coffee were good, and most tables have a plug within range.
31a, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
We had high hopes for Bricklin as a working spot, but we were sorely disappointed by their abysmal wifi speeds. Bricklin is located just outside of Penang’s coolest outdoor art space, Hin Bus Depot. This is a great place to look super cool while you’re sipping on an espresso, but don’t expect to get a ton of work done. At first we thought there were no plugs, but upon further inspection we discovered them underneath the seats around the outside. They have decent coffee and a nice working atmosphere with lots of windows and tons of natural light. They also have super soft cushioned benches. Dear Bricklin, we love your cafe, please fix your shitty wifi situation!
Address: Ground Floor, Chinese Chamber Of Commerce Building, 9, Lebuh Light, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
I had high hopes when I stepped into Constant Gardener. The space is beautiful. They have comfortable seats, specialty coffees and teas, a few plugs here and there…unfortunately when it came time to log into the wifi my hopes ran out. Download speeds under 2mbps, upload speed under 1mbps, and they require you to log into facebook before connecting…sketchy! Constant Gardener is a beautiful, instagrammable Georgetown Cafe, but don’t expect to get much work done here.
69, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang
I have to mention this spot because it’s probably one of the coolest Starbucks’ in the entire world. It also happens to be the only workable cafe in Batu Ferringhi. Hopefully someone will read this post and build a few more. From the outside, this Starbucks looks more or less the same as any other, but once you get inside you’ll notice that it’s actually built right on the beach. Order your coffee and head out the backdoor to find beach chairs, and even rooftop access for a nice view. BTW, we hate the coffee here…they also use UHT milk which gives everything a slightly “off” flavor. Stick to the teas. We warned you.
Address: 153, Beach St, Georgetown, 10300 George Town, Penang
China house is far from work friendly, but no assessment of Penang’s cafe scene would be complete without at least a mention of this beauty. China house is magnificent in its design. The cafe literally extends across an entire city block. You’ll feel like you’ve gone through the looking glass as you move from room to room. Step inside and you’ll be immediately assaulted with the smells of fresh cake, keep moving and you’ll pass through their wine bar, next you’ll step into the enclosed courtyard, pass the most delicious smelling kitchen, then you’ll finally find yourself in the canteen, where they have live music and great cocktails. China house is a must visit in Penang, but don’t expect to get any work done while you’re there. Just don’t.