Review: Hot-desking at Martello Hall, Hackney

If you’re a freelancer, and you live in South London, you may be interested to know there’s a new hot-desking venue coming to Brixton. At the end of September 2017, Canova Hall will open up on Ferndale Road.

It’s going to fill three floors of ‘The Department Store’ – an upmarket retail and office space being developed in the former annex of the historical Bon Marché shop. And with both daily and monthly ‘hot-desking’ memberships for freelancers, this is music to my ears.

HEADER image: Hot-desking at Martello Hall

I hadn’t hear about its sister venue, Martello Hall in Hackney, until I heard about this latest development of Canova Hall. It’s been around since 2016 and is popular among nomadic workers in East London. So ahead of the opening of Canova Hall in Brixton, I went along to check out the facilities and to get an idea of what’s in store for we South Londoners. Here’s the lowdown.

Review: Hot-desking at Martello Hall

Plant decoration at Martello Hall, Hackney

Martello Hall hot-desking – what’s it all about?

Martello Hall is first and foremost a restaurant serving up wood oven-fired pizzas and cocktails. However, they’ve got savvy to the freelancer revolution and during the day, they turn their restaurant space into an all-day hot-desking facility.

How does the hot-desking work?

From 8am until 5pm, you can grab a table and enjoy fast wifi and unlimited tea and coffee for either £10 a day, £6 for half a day (If you arrive after 12 o’clock) or £25 per month.

Before I got there, I expected a help-yourself set up for drinks, but it is all waiter service which is nice. You may have to head up to the counter to place your order, but they will bring your drinks to your table. And I can vouch for the coffee. It’s very good. They also serve a range of teas, snacks (such as pastries and toast). For lunch, you can order from their afternoon menu which focuses on wood oven pizzas, New Orleans-style Po’Boys, a few house dishes (such as salads, buttermilk chicken and meatballs) and (super naughty) jam and Nutella doughnuts. Because which freelancer doesn’t need doughnuts?

Flat lay of laptop, coffee and mobile phone on marble table

What are the pros?

It’s a very stylish space – all faded walls, industrial fittings and antique touches. There’s also a room that you can hire upstairs should you want to put on a larger event, meeting or freelancer’s meet-up. The staff are super friendly, it’s excellent value for money and as I say, the coffee is spot on.

Any cons?

I found the seats quite uncomfortable – they were those super-trendy-but-break-your-back type chairs. I think there were some armchairs and sofas in the room upstairs but this was hired out during my visit so I couldn’t really explore.

If you don’t want to spend money on food, you’ll have to leave Martello Hall to eat. I was allowed back in once I’d left for lunch but I don’t know what the official rules are on this and how they keep tabs on who’s who?! There also weren’t many people in the downstairs area so it did lack the buzz I was hoping for, which helps me work sometimes.

Lastly, where is it?

You’ll find Martello Hall on Mare Street in Hackney, around a 5-mimnute walk from London Fields overground and a 6-minute walk from Broadway Market.

And what do we know about Canova Hall when it opens?

At the moment, I think we can look forward to a similar format to Martello Hall. Good coffee, good value membership and hopefully, lots of freelancers.

In the evenings, Canova Hall will also transform into a lively night spot, with pizza, cocktails, music and its own tap room and in-house gin distillery.

Ready to work: coffee and laptop on marble table at Martello Hall

Canova Hall officially opens on Saturday 23rd September and you can check them out on twitter and Facebook. For hot-desking membership options, email them on

Martello Hall is now open and you can check them out here on twitter and Facebook. for hot-desking membership options, email them on

Canova Hall, 250 Ferndale Road, Brixton, London SW9 8BQ, 020 7733 8356
Martello Hall, 137 Mare Street, London E8 3RH, 020 3889 6173

Will you be checking it out and where do you do your freelance work? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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My visit to Martello Hall was complimentary