Every few months, it seems like another coworking space is opening in Moscow’s latest cultural/cinema/(fill in the blank) center/cafe. Here’s a good recent article that gives an overview of the city’s sociological context for this development. The Moscow News also did a feature on the new spaces.
For a thorough list of good places for sitting down and doing some work, I recommend saving this Foursquare list: Третьи места (“Third Places,” between work and play).
So let’s get acquainted with the city’s new work-life landscape:
1. Cowork Station (Рабочая Станция), Leninsky Prospekt 30, in Neskuchny Sad at the southern end of Gorky Park, metro Leninsky Prospekt (coworkstation.ru)
Perhaps the grand-daddy of Moscow coworking, Cowork Station offers three membership plans, from Hipster and Freelancer to Start-Up. Hipster and Freelancer start at 13,000 and 15,000 RUB/month and they even have daily or weekly rates of 650 and 4000 RUB, respectively. However, if you go on a Friday, then you can use the facilities for free (!) Also the first time you check-in on Foursquare, you unlock the special for a free day of wi-fi there.
The members regularly hold workshops and upon booking a monthly subscription, you get a page on their website about you. The receptionist was really nice. What I really liked about this place was all the cool people I saw there — you can tell it really has a community vibe.
Pros: in the forest, away from Moscow’s loud and busy streets. Hammocks outside and a children’s playground 100m away make for relaxing pauses. Great for networking due to the large clientele.
Cons: in a forested park, about 10 minutes’ walk from metro Leninsky Prospekt (also served by trolleybuses). No cafe, just a kitchen to store your food and vending machines with snacks and coffee.
Space available for 30 people to work spread over two rooms, one bigger and one smaller. 400 RUB/day for the upstairs coworking space (it was being redone at the time that I visited), or you can sit in the cafe on the ground floor when you order something.
Pros: Fully serviced cafe.
Cons: Space for few coworkers, although we’ll see how it looks after the upstairs is renovated.
Part of the first generation of coworking spaces, open since 2011. Has raised its prices since then, 3500 RUB/week or 11,000/month per individual.
24-hour access, even on weekends, when you buy an access card for 500 RUB. Features a conference room and even an area to play beach volleyball, or ice-skate during the winter. With coworking you also get access to all of Flacon’s infrastructure, including a swimming pool, beauty salon and yoga center.
While I’ve attended special events and subbotniks at Flacon a few times, it has come to my attention that I have not personally seen most of the coworking area.
Pros: Part of the greater Flacon compound so you’ll be surrounded by other creative entrepreneurs, makers of clothes, toys, and more, as well as have access to recreational facilities. Cafe on the ground floor.
Cons: The only one I can think of is that there’s no one-day pass.
Technically an anticafe, but functionally serves well as a coworking space… when there aren’t hipsters in the next room loudly singing along to a guitar. Really cool, apartment-like atmosphere, like you dropped in on a friend for a visit. (Actually reminds me of Apartament in Sofia, Bulgaria, in this regard — perhaps a cafe trend to watch.) They also have many workshops going on.
At anticafes you pay by time spent there, not for food — biscuits and sweets are laid out throughout the space and you can ask for a kettle of tea at reception. Every minute costs 2 rubles, so 120 RUB/hr. (It used to be 1 RUB/min, then 1.5, and well, you know.) But if you spend any time over 4 hours there in one session, you only pay for the first 4 hours (480 RUB) — even if you were there the whole day.
Pros: Homey atmosphere and vibe, great place to be creative and socialize.
Cons: Can get loud there, like any cafe.
5. Documentary Film Center, Zubovksy Bulvar, 2, metro Park Kultury (cdkino.ru)
I’ve included this space on this list mostly as a cautionary example of what can get slapped with the label “coworking” in Moscow now that the trend is going full force… The coworking space here is nothing more than some well-partitioned spots at a long table, without even power outlets nearby. See for yourself in the pictures.
The Documentary Film Center still deserves a visit from any coworking patron for its spacious and calm cafe and the wealth of cinematic and cultural exhibits it offers. I just wouldn’t go there to cowork.