Unlimited coffees, snacks, wifi and access to a unique group of creative folk who could just be the contact you need to reach success?
This might sound like some sort of naive millennial cafe dream, but that's actually exactly what you'll find at the very slick Anticafé.
What started off as one cafe in 2013 has grown to a total of 12 spaces across France, with one in Rome. This innovative cafe isn't messing around either - there's plans to open an Anticafé in every single capital, all across the world.
Dublin is just one of the places where Anticafé are hoping to open, so I went to Paris to understand why this trend has become so popular
What is it? Well, basically Anticafé is the concept of the future: Anticafé are innovative spaces dedicated for people to meet, create, work, share or dream where one only pays for time while everything inside the space is included- snacks and drinks, food and coffee corner, library and a game area.
Anticafé founder Leonid Goncharov spotted a gap in the market that came with the ever-changing face of 21st century work. While before, workers would be based 9am-5pm in one office base, the rise of freelancing and digital nomads means that now more people are looking for flexible working spaces.
It's a lot more than just a place to work - Anticafé prides itself on being a warm place (a "home away from home"), where those working alone can connect with others
While pay-per-time cafes have been popping up across Europe in recent years (Dublin's The Clockwork Door is one example), Anticafé is different. Simply put, it's effortlessly stylish.
Armchairs and comfy sofas are aplenty, sure, but it's the sleek design aesthetic that makes these cafes so pleasant. While all of the different spaces are unique (one Paris location has an underground cavern area, another will have two escape rooms), there's a similar welcoming feel in each.
Live foliage walls and Polaroid photos taken by Republique manager Sarah add a Parisian edge. I've been trying to think of anywhere that's on the same level as this in Dublin, and nothing springs to mind.
Where is there to go in town after 8pm? One or two coffees shops at the most, or a more than likely crowded bar. Anticafé provides a chill hang out for students, workers and locals who just want to catch up in a community setting. And it opens until 10pm.
Forget impersonal coffee chains, this cafe is like being part of a little family
From manager Sarah to barista Khayam, each and every single member of staff I saw at the Anticafés were mega sound, chatting to regulars and making an effort to get to know any newbies.
They try to connect people within the cafe, with Leonid saying that as more and more people begin careers working by themselves, we're "still human", and interacting with other people is a huge part of that.
Local artists are encourage to host exhibitions, there's regular community events, developers are casually put in touch with designers, and one regular customer is a playwright who excitedly tells me she gets a lot of character inspiration from customers in the cafe. Plus, the softly vibrant background noise helps her focus more than any sterile office environment.
Unlimited coffees, teas, biscuits, and snacks works so well - purely because of the trust factor in the idea
I was curious about whether people abused the unlimited food and beverage part of the cafe, but Business Developer Yann told me that in four years, it's only happened twice. Each time, it was other customers of the cafe that made it clear to the person in question that taking advantage of such a lovely thing was far from okay.
When you put trust in people, they'll do the right thing, and Anticafé encourages that in the loveliest way.
While Dublin's bar culture is booming, we need a place to actually relax in, and a trendy spot like Anticafé is exactly what's missing
I for one don't want to spend an afternoon on a lumpy sofa in what looks like someone's old sitting room. Call me a typical Gen Z gal, whatevs, but I'd much prefer to settle in somewhere bright and fresh and a touch more chic.
Anticafé has all of that. And it's excellent value. The Paris branches are about €5 per hour, €24 a day, and €240 a month. Way cheaper (and better craic) than renting a hotdesk in a co-working office, or studying in a grim library.
All of the cafes I popped into in Paris this week were absolutely buzzing, with some people focusing intently on their laptops and others simply having a catch up with mates over a cup of coffee (which by the way, comes from Anticafé's own roaster and is très bien.)
Anticafè are currently in talks to open in Dublin - while six of their cafes are owned by the company, they franchise the rest - and they're keen to find the perfect person to bring their concept to our fair city.
A beautiful space that brings people together? Yes, please. Dublin would be all the better for it.