WiFi Free: Cafes for Coffee and Conversation

Free WiFi at coffee shops, once a touted amenity, is now so ubiquitous it's hard to find a cafe that doesn't serve as an ad hoc office. For anyone tired of stumbling over power cords, not being able to find a table and getting dirty looks for chatting in some unemployed guy's "workplace," the following cafes are some of the few Internet-free bastions where you can enjoy that lazy day latte-plus-NYT combo in unproductive peace. (Photo: The blissful, internet-free Four Barrel)

Updated: July 21, 2009

No Internet, No Problem

Four Barrel Coffee

375 Valencia, San Francisco, CA 94103

When this rustic place opened last year, coffee geeks thought it sacrilege not to offer WiFi with their expertly crafted cappuccinos, but now the spot has found a following among those who enjoy caffeinating without listening to the tappity-tap laptop typing of every unemployed writer in town.

Trouble Coffee Co

4033 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Don't mind the attitude you'll likely get from employees by bringing in a cell phone, let alone a computer, to this tiny Outer Sunset cafe--it's for your own good. Enjoy your perfectly foamed latte, coconut and toast with the laid-back beach vibe that rules the place; you can always troll FB for dates at home.

Blue Bottle Cafe

66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Considering this SoMa coffee temple is surrounded by start-ups, it's a bit surprising--and refreshing--that they don't cater to the crowd's needs and offer free Internet. Turns out that what techies really need is some non-virtual interaction in the form of friendly baristas, fellow downtown workers and coffee connoisseurs.

Samovar Tea Lounge

297 Page St, San Francisco, CA 94102

All three locations of this zen-like sanctuary for tea fiends provide the sort of respite one needs from life's grueling pace, and the newest Hayes Valley spot is no exception. Focus on the tea selection instead of a computer screen; no Internet access is available, so you'll have to (gasp) talk to your neighbors.

Spike's Coffees & Tea

4117 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

It's evident in the laidback nature of this Castro coffee shop that workers and customers alike enjoy being here--perhaps a testament to the fact that there's no WiFi, and therefore people come for the coffee, not a co-working space. On a sunny day, there's no better spot for sipping than at one of the outdoor tables.


1435 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

This garden-themed jewel box of a cafe way off the beaten path in the Sunset invites passersby in to enjoy simple, spot-on espresso drinks (made with Ritual beans) and delicate little pastries--not to sit for hours and update their eHarmony profiles.