Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Have Laptop, Will Travel: Round-up of Free Wi-Fi Coffee Shops

As a freelance writer, working from home has its benefits (working in PJ's, 3pm work breaks for a yoga class) but I've noticed on more than one occasion, I've answered my phone late in the afternoon still with my sleepy morning voice.

Only then do I realize I haven't spoken to anyone that day, let alone left my apt.

Luckily, in this portable laptop/wi-fi world, I can drop in on one of my multiple 'offices' (coffee shops) offering free wi-fi when I feel deprived of social interaction...even if it's just so I can say "vanilla soy latte please" to the coffee guy.

After hours of loitering and nursing coffees for 2hrs at a time, here are my faves around town...

VENICE GRIND-Their awesome retro neon COFFEE sign suckered me in. I was further taken by their mod-ish decor and minty herbal tea. And the relatively undiscovered spot definitely hit the top of my mental list of favorite coffee shops after discovering the outdoor garden area, free hidden parking in the rear and iPod selection playing reggae and indie....until I tried to log on to write this blog. Apparently technical glitches make wi-fi spotty for PCs and damn near impossible for Macs. As a Mac-owner, not good news--but the kindly owners swear they are working on the situation so once internet is a go, Venice Grind will be back on my to-go list.
12224 Venice Boulevard, Mar Vista. (310)397-2227

JAVA MAN-Think anti-Starbucks. Beachy bungalow in Hermosa Beach has unpretentious atmosphere and laidback staff that won't make you feel the guilt for lingering for hours. Shabby-chic chairs and tables are more endearingly shabby than chic and filled with the flip-flop crowd. The have strong java drinks to help you stay up until the midnight closing time. If you wanna eat, their soups are as good as they are cheap ($2.50 for a cup).
157 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach. (310) 379-7209

INFUZION CAFE- Relaxed with plenty of privacy for marathon wi-fi sessions, even if the hard wooden chairs aren't conducive for long hauls. They've also got boba drinks galore and French-style pastries for snacking on. Juice up your laptop before coming, there's only one power outlet.
1149 3rd St, Santa Monica. http://www.infuzioncafe.com

DIEDRICHS-Low on atmosphere or available seating but this coffee chain gets props for offering free wi-fi when its fellow mega-chain counterparts (Starbucks, Coffee Bean to name a few) charge the equivalent of a couple grande frappuchinos to go online.
732 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica. (310) 656-7838

CORAL TREE CAFE-more restaurant-style cafe than coffee shop, this comfy, country-chic cafe serves organic salads and sandwiches that rival Urth café and a pastry selection that exceeds it. Plenty of seating both indoor and out with multiple power plugs makes the spot laptop friendly, however there's a limit on the tables during the lunch rush. Kinda pricey coffees sort of negate the free wi-fi but they're organic so you can feel good about spending the money. Limited street parking options so you'll have to pray nicely to the parking gods or give up and go with the $2.50 valet parking in the rear.
11645 San Vicente Blvd. Brentwood. (310)442-3503 http://www.coraltreecafe.net/

PYSCHOBABBLE-Screenwriter central. The lounge-friendly coffeehouse is as comfy as your own living room but comes with artsy & tattooed types and screenwriters to people-watch and eavesdrop about the latest screenplay idea or indie band discovered on myspace. Free internet with purchase so order a panini or yummy apple pie from their chalkboard menu, settle into their saggy, college-style upholstered sofas and log on. For those whose inspiration strikes at unorthodox hours, they're open 7am-2am every day. Check out your daily horoscope taped to the cash register.
1866 N. Vermont Ave, Los Feliz. (323)664-7500 http://www.psychobabblecafe.com

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