EDIT: In new versions of Nautilus, just press "Shift-Ctrl-N"
In Nautilus (tried with version 3.22), for folder creation, you can press
F10 and the
space, or click in the new folder button (see screenshot).
The other workaround is to press
Ctrl+2 to switch quickly between List and Grid view.
I agree this is a very annoying problem.
UPDATE: In Gnome 3.30.5, this solution doesn't work anymore because no window-menu has the "New Folder" action.
However there are now better options.
1) Deselect any file (with Ctrl-Space) if necessary.
2) Press Shift-F10, and the contextual menu will appear
3) Select "New Folder"
Another, yet simpler option is to
1) Just press "Shift-Ctrl-N" to create a new folder