Field Notes: Brass Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Field Notes: Brass Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

When it comes to finding that home away from home— or rather that work space away from your kitchen table— we know there’s a little risk involved. While we pack our laptops and chargers, we go through a mental checklist: Where will I find WiFi? What if I need to take a phone call? What does my coffee situation look like? Would I be comfortable there for five hours? What about noise level? No, but, really, coffee?

Once you find that gem that ticks off all the boxes, there’s really no turning back, but sometimes it takes a little Goldilocks searching. To get some of that guesswork out of the way, we bring you our Field Notes series, aka our guide to helping you find your spot that’s not too hot, not too cold, but feels just right. Check our last one here.

I stopped by the bright and cheery space The Brass Factory in Williamsburg— a space that’s full of clean lines, friendly members, and open seating.  Also did I mention that it's near a Joe's Pizza? And right across the street from Van Leeuwen ice cream? It's okay though. The Brass Factory has a workout-bike-desk. That is, indeed, a thing.

Point of Entry

Fig1A: Front door with the  gold finish and the letterboard pointing towards it.

Fig1A: Front door with the  gold finish and the letterboard pointing towards it.

You’ll find the entrance to Brass Factory on Wythe Ave between N 4th Street and N 5th Street. It's a big brick building, and you’ll spot it by their cheeky letter board outside— the times I went, the board always says something really encouraging or funny— and it will point to a set of glass doors with large gold bands. Right now, there’s a small note near the handle that identifies itself as The Brass Factory.

Walk right in and head to the second floor. You’ll know from their welcoming welcome mat.

The front desk will be right there. Alice and Louis are super nice. Stop by and say “hi” and head to the right for the hot desks. They can direct you too!

Amenities

  • Coffee & Tea
  • Printing Access
  • Standing desk
  • Snacks— candy and mini snacks like chips or crackers
  • Conference Rooms
Fig2A (left): Pillar with the Keurig and the water filter in the back. Fig2B (top right): Tea choices on the pillar. Fig 2C  (bottom right): adjustable standing desk for standing and stretching needs.

Fig2A (left): Pillar with the Keurig and the water filter in the back. Fig2B (top right): Tea choices on the pillar. Fig 2C  (bottom right): adjustable standing desk for standing and stretching needs.

There’s a Keurig (but they also make coffee in a carafe), plenty of tea choices, and glass jars of snacks and a fruit bowl. You’ll find everything near the pillars of the room near the conference rooms and kitchen in the back. The water filter is right behind the pillar with the Keurig. Cups are in the cute, little cards nearby.

There’s even oatmeal, corn cereal, and raisins in the kitchen if you need breakfast! You can store your lunch in the fridge and there are forks, spoons, and plates and bowls in the cabinets. There’s also a microwave.

There aren’t phone booths, but the area is large and spacious so I actually took phone calls in the lounge area and didn’t feel like I was intruding on someone’s work or as if someone could hear me. When people had calls they did the same and I really didn’t hear them since the lounge section is a little away from the desks. There are these cozy-sphere chairs which are super Austin Powers-esque. They're insulated too so they're perfect for calls or, you know, stylish sitting. But seriously, if you really need, I’d talk to the front desk if you’d like to use a conference room.

Restrooms

There are two. Remember when you first came in and you can go right or left? Each side has a set of restrooms. On the right side where the hot desks and kitchen are, you can find the restroom at the back, right by the conference rooms. They’re not separated by gender since all the stalls are tiny individual rooms.

On the left side, you can find those by heading to the far corner of the room, a little set off by the pillars. You’ll see a wall with a white shelf built in. Behind that is the other restroom. While you’re on this side, take note of the foosball table! Also this is where most of the private offices are.

Decor

Fig 3: Conference rooms Hillary and Beyonce.

Fig 3: Conference rooms Hillary and Beyonce.

Minimal, crisp, airy. This space is so sunny and has effortless pieces like the artichoke-shaped light fixtures and live greenery everywhere. As someone who is struggling to keep her apartment plants alive, I was impressed and also inspired to be a better plant parent.

It's all clean lines, white and blonde wood, and no frills. The space has definite personality that shines through in the details— from the small lamps with brass wiring to the conference room names (Biggie, Smalls, Hillary, Beyoncé, and Elsa). I suggested they put lemons in Bey's room, so we'll see.

Noise-Level: Comfortable, quiet but okay for chatting to your neighbor. 

Fig 4: Austin Power seats,  artichoke lamps, real plants! 

Fig 4: Austin Power seats,  artichoke lamps, real plants! 

They do lightly play music in the space. It’s really not distracting and is more background noise for all that work you're doing.

Also, as I’ve said before, I think the space doesn’t really carry too much noise, so you can have a conversation at a pretty subdued-to-normal volume.

Quiet spaces sometimes makes me feel like I can’t chat, but I went to a meet up here and it was great. We got to chat or ignore the others and put our heads down to work.

Ambience: Chill. Great for coworking!

Fig 5: Very friendly coworking bunch— they didn't mind that I wanted to take a photo either!

Fig 5: Very friendly coworking bunch— they didn't mind that I wanted to take a photo either!

The space has a variety of seating so if you want to cowork with a friend, I think it’s a great place to collaborate. 

Everyone I’ve met in the space is really nice too. I struck up conversations with members and they’re really friendly and helpful!

Space: Sunny, expansive.

Fig 6: Brass Factory members are situated around the room and also have private offices.

Fig 6: Brass Factory members are situated around the room and also have private offices.

The space itself is open, perfect for when they host events, like yoga and Sofar Sounds, throughout the month.

The coworking tables are spread around the room (there are extra long power strips too) and a variety of seating, including the picnic tables near the kitchen, stools in the middle of the room, a lounge area, standing desks, and bike desks. Yes, there are workout bikes meet desks if you need to make your steps that day.

Fig 7: This is me when I attempt to have fitbit goals.

Fig 7: This is me when I attempt to have fitbit goals.

Lighting: Natural light

Uncovered windows around the room keeps everything open and airy— plus it’s great for the plants.

Vibe: Friendly.

Always feel open to ask if you can’t find something, but once you get the lay of the land, the space feels easy. You can chat, sit on the couches to work, or eat lunch with your friend in the kitchen.

Workday: Quick stop and work all day.

I stayed all day but it’s also a great stop if you need to meet someone in Williamsburg. It's such an easy space.

Bonus

Fig 7A (top left): Van Leeuwen ice cream flavors include Earl Grey and Honeycomb; Fig 7B (bottom) Sweetgreen nearby; Fig 7C (right): me reading for bookclub at Blue Bottle a block over.

Fig 7A (top left): Van Leeuwen ice cream flavors include Earl Grey and Honeycomb; Fig 7B (bottom) Sweetgreen nearby; Fig 7C (right): me reading for bookclub at Blue Bottle a block over.

It's a great area, so you can grab lunch from Whole Foods, Sweetgreen, Joe's Pizza, and tons of others nearby. Blue Bottle’s a block away if you want fancy coffee and Van Leeuwen’s across the street because you haven't lived if you haven't had their Honeycom ice cream. Maybe mark that on your to-do list and stop by The Brass Factory while you're at it?

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