In addition to all my other requirements (music, baristas who don’t have time to chat, slow enough I can sit for a while), I also have preferences about the kind of chairs and tables in the cafes where I write.
My absolute preference is a banquette, the bench along the wall. I really like to have my back against the wall. I don’t like to have people moving around behind me. I find it distracting. Neurotic, I know. Admitting you have an issue is the beginning of solving it, right?
I like wood chairs, too, if they’re heavy enough they don’t crash over when you get up.
I’m less picky about the tabletop. All I care is that it’s relatively level and doesn’t rock. Nothing worse than having your beverage spill across your notebook.
One thing I absolutely don’t like are marble-topped tables. Especially in the mornings, those stone surfaces can be icy cold. I tend to rest my left elbow on the tabletop — and the chill from the marble makes me uncomfortable enough that I can’t write as long as I would like. This may not be a problem anywhere but San Francisco…
Have you given any thought to what makes you comfortable when you write? Sometimes discomfort — even if it’s minimal — can be enough of a distraction to keep you from getting the work done.