Chicago/Hyde Park-filter: Good quiet environments for academic work?
May 14, 2011 8:28 PM   Subscribe

What would be a fairly quiet locale, with wifi, in Hyde Park (Chicago) to get some work done? I'm not affiliated with U of C, so any network requiring U of C affiliation is out.

Fellow Chicagoans! (On this blustery, rainy, cold evening in May...but I digress.)

I have some academic-like work that I need to get done; I'm going to be in Hyde Park tomorrow to run an unrelated errand and I'd like to see if I can find a good place to work. I'm not overly familiar with the coffee shops/libraries/bookstores out there, so I thought I'd appeal to the Ask MeFi world. What I'm looking for:

- Establishment with free or free-with-purchase (eg, coffee or pastry or whatever) wifi. As in, I'm not at all affiliated with U of C so anything that requires a U of C login to get online is a no-go.
- Preferably, a fairly quiet locale. In college, I worked best in quiet college libraries; I'm not one of those people who needs, or even likes, loud background buzz to work. I recognize that by dint of my non-affiliation with the university, most of the places suggested will probably be louder coffee places anyway, but I thought I'd mention it.
- Open until 8 pm or so on Sunday.
- Probably obvious with the wifi and all, but not a place with a very minimal number of electrical outlets so I can plug in a laptop.

- Bonus: If it's a coffee shop, a place with good tea! I'm actually more of a tea-person-who-likes-coffee-shop atmosphere. This is by far the least important criterion, however.
posted by andrewesque to Education (10 answers total)
Response by poster: Addendum: Ideally, I would just like to go work in a library at the university. However, I'm confused by the website about public access hours, and from my own undergrad experience I doubt free wifi networks abound in those areas.
posted by andrewesque at 8:40 PM on May 14, 2011

Best answer: I'd stay away from 57th Street, since those places will probably be more populated. Third World Cafe (I assume it's still open, haven't been to Hyde Park in a while) at 53rd and Kimbark is good. They were my internet-and-AC respite the summer it topped 100 degrees. If you resort to Starbucks, the one at 53rd and Harper is (much) quieter than the one at 55th and Woodlawn.
posted by phunniemee at 8:40 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For coffee shops you've got three options:
Istria either at the HPAC or under the train at 57th.
third world cafe at 53rd and kenwood. Probably on the loud side.
and this new place on 53rd that i've not been in. It's between dorchester and the park... 1300 E ish, can't recall the name.
A sticky point, however, is the openness. 8 pm is a lot to ask for in Hyde Park on a Sunday.
You might want to check out the public library at 49th and Blackstone.

and yes, this weather sux nematode infested balls.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:43 PM on May 14, 2011

The U of C student center, the Reynolds Club, has nice study spaces, including a coffee shop and really great study room with a fireplace. Only thing I don't know about is WiFi, but hopefully an undergrad on here (or in person there) can help you out.
posted by Mid at 8:44 PM on May 14, 2011

Oh, sorry - you can just walk right into the Reynolds Club - no student ID (at least last time I was there).
posted by Mid at 8:45 PM on May 14, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, I thought the closing time might be a little bit optimistic but I thought I'd try! Now that I think about it I'd probably like to come home for dinner (on the near NW side) so I'd probably be leaving by 6 anyway.
posted by andrewesque at 8:45 PM on May 14, 2011

Reynolds Club has U of C wifi, so you won't be able to use it.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:56 PM on May 14, 2011

If you can get WiFi in that study space in the Reynolds club, it's a good bet for quietness. I actually avoided it as a student because I found it to be a little too quiet.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:56 PM on May 14, 2011

3rd World Cafe is probably your best bet. They've extended their hours to 7pm too. Cafe 53 is the new coffee shop that opened on 53rd Street, but I haven't been there yet.
posted by astapasta24 at 9:05 PM on May 14, 2011

You can get a day pass to go in the U of C libraries; this will also include a login that will allow you to use their computers on-site. I'm not sure if it will allow you to use their wireless, but I suspect it will. You get it at the IDs and privileges office by the front entrance of the Regenstein (the big library), and they'll be able to tell you about the wireless.

Otherwise, Third World is probably your best bet, though do note that you need to spend at least $5 there to get wireless access.
posted by dizziest at 8:15 AM on May 15, 2011

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