Hex & Co owners at their conceptual cafe
Stories

Meet the Host: Work meets play at Hex & Co.

By
Yair Lehrer
July 2022
We love board games, craft beer, cappuccino, great food, and we knew that there were other people who did too. New York needed more of that!

The big picture

With two charming locations in Manhattan, Hex & Company’s owners Greg May and John Freeman are avid board-game players who know a thing or two about the power of play for remote work.

Greg May and John Freeman are serious about having fun. The owners of Hex East were originally competitors–Greg owned The Uncommons, a board game cafe in Manhattan, and John Freeman owned the Brooklyn Strategist, a cafe with a similar theme in Brooklyn. Looking to expand, they decided it would be better to partner than to compete. “We love board games, craft beer, cappuccino, great food, and we knew that there were other people who did too. New York needed more of that!” says Greg. The pair joined forces to open two locations in Manhattan, first Hex West on the West 76th and 1st Avenue, and then Hex East on the Upper East Side. 

John and Greg aim to create a safe space for all members of the community. They have 1,000+ games at each location that guests can use, as well as games for sale. They offer a variety of activities for kids including birthday parties, after-school programs, and enrichment programs. In the evening they have social clubs and events, mainly for adults, and offer liquor and cocktails. “We see it as a space for the community to work and play in an affordable, community-friendly way–it’s our MO,” says John. “We’ve set up our facilities so that anyone can come, alone or as a group, to relax and enjoy themselves.”

Hex East had the infrastructure for co-working, things like big tables, comfy chairs, and great coffee, and they had space available in the mornings. Yet before joining anywell, they hadn’t focused on adding workspaces as an amenity, and joining anywell was a great opportunity to do exactly that. Both Greg and John work from their businesses and were excited to partner with an organization that specializes in co-working spaces and could help them set it up in an optimal way. “It’s a way to utilize mornings better. The environment is conducive to work–our spaces are well lit and have casual decor. I think that creates a comfortable working environment,” says Greg.  “It’s not corporate–it’s for people like us. During the pandemic, people got sick of sitting at home, and we’re a nice alternative, it’s not as sterile as a typical coworking space.” 

They did have to make a few adjustments to accommodate working guests. For example, anywell members need power, so they’re working on adding outlets at Hex East. anywell also provided power banks, which are a good interim solution. “We created plans based on what they recommended, what they said would work. For example, we never offered free coffee or tea before, but it’s a great way to handle the economics. We can comfortably set aside a table and not have to worry about the costs,” John concludes. 

Hex East: The Essentials 

Focus factor

Hex East is a cross between an avid board gamer’s dream and a coffee lover's go-to spot. The phenomenal, additive-free coffee beans are roasted in Brooklyn, and if brilliant coffee isn’t enough to win you over, the location is filled with more board games than you can count. The vibe is playful, light, and conducive to getting work done. 

Featured snack

Hex East’s menu was designed for gamers, to be eaten in one hand, and it’s perfect for people who are trying to work too. anywell members will love East Hex’s for its: 

  • Artisanal, bohemian sandwiches with smoked meats
  • Empanadas in all flavors, but especially the spinach and cheese empanada with sauces 
  • Fresh pretzels for a quick pick-me-up 

Tips for setting up a workspace

Greg and John are new to the co-working game. They’re interested in getting feedback from members and are willing to try new things and even new menu items. 

Meeting spaces

They offer a corner space for meetings that can accommodate 6 people. They also have a heated outdoor space, and lots of open space. 

Sum it up in a sentence

At Hex East you get a productive work environment plus 1000+ games to choose from whenever you need a break. 

Soul and spice

John is actually a psychotherapist by training. Before opening the Brooklyn Strategist 11 years ago, he directed a neuroscience research project and ran a psychotherapy private practice. He used his professional training to build a neurodevelopment program for kids that runs at all locations. 

Why we love anywell

“We’re excited to expand our co-working options and to partner with someone who specializes in that area and can help us set it up in the right way.”

Interested in becoming an anywell host? Learn more and sign up at https://www.anywell.com/hosts

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