Pay for time, not coffee
EC: The First Pay-Per-Minute Cafe in the US Opens in Brooklyn
Credit: All Photos Courtesy of Glasshour

Following the lead of coffee shops in European cities, the first pay-per-minute cafe in the US recently opened in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Glasshour is positioned as a coworking space, marketing itself as an “anti-cafe.” Instead of purchasing coffee and food, customers pay a fixed rate of $6 for the first hour, and 10 cents per minute after that. Stay for four hours (for $24) and you’ll get the real bargain: Time becomes free. The cafe boasts a number of board games and daily events including game nights and talks with designers, architects, and tech entrepreneurs. Most importantly, the Wi-Fi is free.

“This concept is extremely popular in Europe, so that’s why we decided to open the first one in the United States,” says Max Grigoryev, one of the founders of Glasshour. “We like the concept because you can do whatever you want in the cafe. You can work here or spend time with friends.”

The cozy and comfortable spot prides itself on convenience: Pay for just a couple of hours, get your work done, and receive unlimited drinks and snacks. Although Glasshour certainly isn’t the first of its kind, this anti-cafe focuses on millennials and creative people, unlike its European predecessors. And the two-floor space feels fit for that demographic: Communal tables line the space as well as comfortable couches. The gameroom downstairs houses a foosball table and a PlayStation4, and books and magazines are available to borrow.

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“Everyone in Europe comes to these kind of cafes,” Mr. Grigoryev says. “Here we see that our target audience is people in school or college who need a place where they can study, as well as young creative people who lack a traditional space to work.”

While it always feels like classic coffee shops push you to purchase a coffee or snack the longer you’re there, Glasshour doesn’t push you to do anything.

“We have to change the whole mindset that you can pay for your time instead of paying for coffee,” Mr. Grigoryev says. “I don’t like the word disrupt, but we’re disrupting the whole industry.”