Coffee shops across Cape Town are increasingly offering the city’s entrepreneurs broadband in exchange for their patronage. Read our list of favourite coffices (coffee offices) across the city. What are yours?
Where is the best place in the city to get plugged in? Here are top spots for free WiFi in Cape Town.
The Central Library offers free WiFi up to 500 megabytes per month. A coffee shop should open by year end or early 2012 at the latest, and in the meantime, you can get wired on their e-resource of business plans and make use of their many computers – two in particular equipped with invoicing, payroll and point of sale software. Their doors are open from 09h00 until 20h00 on Mondays, 08h00 until 20h00 Tuesday to Thursday, 09h00 until 18h00 on Fridays and 09h00 until 16h00 on Saturdays.
Corner of Parade and Darling streets
T: 021 467 1500
This design-minded bistro with its touch of quirky décor attached to Freeworld Design Centre offers capped WiFi for customers. Food is pricey but delicious, coffee comes in a comforting handle-less cups, and they’re open from 09h00 until 16h00 Monday to Friday and 09h00 until 15h00 on Saturdays. Tip: Try the pie, whatever flavour it comes in. It’s worth it.
71 Waterkant Street
T: 021 418 2042
Masterminded by creative partnership Brad Armitage and Rui Esteves, & UNION offers 100% certified organic coffee (the espresso beans are from a single, family owned farm in Nicaragua), craft beer, tasty morsels from the charcuterie (vegetarians and flexitarians, you’re catered for too) – and free wireless from 07h00 until 23h00 every day except Sunday (they operate from St Stephen’s Church, and do try to keep the peace). Tip: You wouldn’t guess, but the bathroom smells wonderful – parfumier Tammy Frazer operates above the brewery, and her scents waft through the & UNION space.
110 Bree Street
T: 021 422 2770
vida e caffé
Portuguese for “life and coffee”, vida e caffé offers both in abundance, and WiFi to boot – up to 50 megabytes a session. There are outlets all over the city, but those in Greenmarket Square, at the Icon Building on Hans Strijdom, and on Kloof Street (the original store first launched in 2001 by Brad and Rui from & UNION) stand out. Tip: try the meia de leite, vida’s Portuguese speciality, made up of one part steamed milk, one part espresso.
T: 021 461 0424
Doubling as a showroom for Pedersen + Lennard’s furniture, this cake and coffee shop offers courtesy WiFi, a R10 tea, and R10 coffee “happy hours” between 07h00 and 09h00. They’re open 07h00 until 16h00 Monday to Friday. Tip: Try some Tilly’s – ridiculously good ice cream handmade the old-fashioned way.
37 Barrack Street
T: 021 461 4599
Run by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lameen Abdul-Malik (who lived in Vienna before moving to Cape Town, so you can be sure he knows good coffee and its traditions), Escape Caffé is a halal outlet offering free WiFi all day Monday and after lunch Tuesday to Friday – to complement their London-style sandwiches and creamy coffee. Tip: While you’re there, look up “Penny University” on Wikipedia, and then start a conversation with Lameen.
130 Bree Street, Cape Town.
T: 021 422 1325
This lifestyle outlet on Long Street specialises in gourmet sandwiches, coffee and art exhibitions – with lashings of internet. They’re open from 06h00 until 16h00 Monday to Friday, and 09h00 until 14h00 on Saturdays. Tip: 0832988455. It’s your code to connectivity in this coffee joint.
175 Long Street
T: 021 422 3788
As you’re about to enter the city centre over the Fan Walk footbridge, be sure to stop by Truth Coffee in the Prestwich Memorial building. Here they see coffee as a religion, and specialise in flavour not bitterness. Three hours of internet is free (no password required), and if you order before 08h00, your cuppa is only R10. They’re open 07h00 until 17h45 Monday to Friday, and Saturday and Sunday 08h00 until 14h00 (or thereabouts). Tip: Explore the history of the space Truth is in.
1 Somerset Road
T: 021 200 0440
New in the neighbourhood, e’Mondo – meaning “our earth” – couples seasonal simplicity (ingredients are organic and locally sources whereever possible) with the convenience of a deli. Coffee’s great, WiFi’s free, and they’re open from 07h30 until 16h00 every weekday. Tip: Takeaways come in 100% biodegradable packaging recycled from sugarcane waste fibre, so there’s no feeling guilty when you have to run. (Even the tables are recycled, made from old shipping crates by local furniture designer Anton Ferreira, so there’s also no feeling guilty when you want to stay.)
42 Hans Strijdom Avenue
T: 021 418 1609
For a great directory of connected coffee shops across the country, go to www.ilovecoffee.co.za.
Do you have a favourite coffee spot with free WiFi that’s not mentioned? Include them in the comments section below.
This article first appeared in the November issue of City Views: Cape Town as an innovative design city.