When free wi-fi is a bug, not a feature.
February 28, 2011 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Seattle cafes WITHOUT free wi-fi?

I'm looking for great cafes and other friendly workplaces that do not offer free wi-fi. I'm finishing my dissertation, and tend to work well in somewhat busy places. However, I'm always surprised to see how productive I can be when cut off from the internet (on planes, etc.). There are a ton of great cafes within walking distance, but it's hard to escape the wi-fi. Does anyone have suggestions for wi-fi-free places to work in Seattle? I spend a lot of time in Capitol Hill and the U-District, so suggestions in those neighborhoods would be preferred.
posted by shaun to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You're probably better off installing LeechBlock/Self Control whatever. That being said, the wifi at Solstice on the Ave craps out enough that they might as well not have wifi most of the time. Vivace on Broadway turns theirs off on weekends, I think. Diva Espresso in Greenlake/Greenwood doesn't have wifi.
posted by proj at 12:22 PM on February 28, 2011

Best answer: There have been times when I've struggled with distractions and despite all my best intentions my World Class Inner Procrastinator comes to the fore and yet another afternoon has slipped by.

On my worst weeks I have taken to getting on a ferry and doing a round trip. The Vancouver <> Victoria trip takes the better part of 4 hours for about $26. I once took a train from Victoria, a ferry to Vancouver and a ferry back to Victoria. About 9 hours, 6 of them solid working hours and enough movement and scenery to make working feel like a bit of a mid week vacation. $50 for all the no internet and crappy cell service I could handle.

I imagine there might be a similar solution your way, south of the border, when in dire need.
posted by mce at 12:30 PM on February 28, 2011 [12 favorites]

I just posted this link in another askmi but https://www.rescuetime.com/ works pretty well for me with the "get focused" feature
posted by rebent at 12:35 PM on February 28, 2011

mce: there is internet on BC ferries now.
posted by ms.v. at 12:43 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Peet's on Capitol Hill only gives you an hour per purchase.

Columbia City Bakery (on Rainier and Edmonds) doesn't have wi-fi at all. However, they have some amazing pastries, great coffee with cheap refills, and are on the Light Rail line, by the Columbia City stop.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:48 PM on February 28, 2011

You can turn off the Wifi on your computer, or you can do what I did: create a new, parental controlled account on your computer and restrict access to web-browser and internet programs. Make this your default account and make the "internet capable" account password protected and in general a nuisance to use. What you are looking for is putting more distance between you and the browser while still enable all other functionality.

Other software-based solution also work.
posted by curiousZ at 3:47 PM on February 28, 2011

As to be expected, cafes are definitely going to have WiFi, but it's still surprisingly difficult to come by in many bars in Seattle.

For example, I'm pretty sure there's no accessible WiFi down in the College Inn Pub. I have also found many of the places on the Ave to have some pretty terrible WiFi - even if you do jump through the hoop of getting the day's password from the bartender at the Big Time you still barely get a functional connection in most of the bar and none of the other nearby networks are public.

I'm not sure how much the Ballmer Peak applies to dissertation writing rather than programming, so keep in mind that Seattle bars also usually have coffee or soda.
posted by lantius at 4:18 PM on February 28, 2011

Some cafes give you a password when you buy something, in order to get on the internet. You could just not take the password. Also, they often have time limits on them, so you could use the internet for an hour or whatever the limit is, and then work. Doesn't Starbucks in the US have this system?

Is there any work you can do sans computer? (reading, note taking?) You could do that part at a cafe and then go home to type it up.
posted by bearette at 5:05 PM on February 28, 2011

i was under the impression that victrola coffee had turned off their wifi. but that was a few years ago, and i can't tell if the ban is still in effect.
posted by bruceo at 8:17 PM on February 28, 2011

Nope, Victrola has wifi. At least the one on Pike between Summit and Bellevue. The barista commented to me the other day that half the time the back wall looks like a Mac advertisement.
posted by Because at 8:44 PM on February 28, 2011

As of Dec. 12, 2010, the Victoria Clipper ferries do not appear to have wifi. Perhaps a bit pricey for just a place to work on your dissertation... unless you were planning to go on a trip anyways.
posted by mhum at 10:06 PM on February 28, 2011

Doesn't Starbucks in the US have this system?

Nope, not any more. Now Starbucks wi-fi is fast, free, and readily available. (Which is great for people who want their wi-fi but not the OP).
posted by spinifex23 at 5:49 AM on March 1, 2011

yeah I still take the tsawassen<>schwartz bay ferry weekly, but now it's the basic-transportation-commute. There is free wifi on the run, and a couple others though it's flakey on the Queen. I'd rather assumed that a similar option might be available in Seattle.
posted by mce at 2:24 PM on March 1, 2011

Victrola on 15th turns their wifi off on Saturday and Sunday.
posted by groovinkim at 5:44 PM on March 17, 2011

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