There are times when you just need to get out of the house and away from the office to get anything accomplished.
If you live in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton, or you travel through Clayton periodically, then this list is for you.
Free WiFi is Just a Start:
I have a list of requirements for my WiFi spots before I’ll grab my laptop and head out for a work session. My favorite places have all 5 of the features below.
- Free Wi-Fi (free)
- Good coffee with free unlimited refills (coffee)
- Good access to outlets (plugs)
- Real food…not just muffins & dessert (food)
- Easy parking (cars)
To help you decide where you want to take your computer, I am noting these features on my list below for the places that I’ve visited. Some of the WiFi spots came from jiwire’s Wi-Fi finder and some of them came from my friends on twitter, so they won’t all have the features rated.
If you see any free WiFi spots I’ve missed, or can give us any information about the WiFi experience on any of the places I’ve listed below, leave a comment at the end of the post. And definitely let me know if the information is wrong…a place is closed or doesn’t actually offer free WiFi.
I’ve also put together a map with the locations throughout the entire St. Louis area other than the libraries, Starbucks and the fast food chains.
Free WiFi Locations in Clayton, MO:
free, coffee, plugs, food
Companion has 2 locations – Clayton and Ladue. I’ve never been to the Ladue location, so I can’t really comment on the seating and outlets, but I’ve driven by the parking lot out front that seems more than sufficient for the size. I wouldn’t take my laptop with me to Clayton unless it is patio weather. The interior seating is very limited and I’m guessing that there aren’t many (if any) outlets, but there are outlets in each of the 4 columns on the patio which means that about half of the tables outside are in reach. You do have to get your coffee refills at the counter (not self-service) and the menu is limited, but everything that they serve is wonderful. My only negative is that parking for the Clayton location is typical for the area – a pain. But, if it’s a nice day, I don’t mind the short walk from my car.
free, plugs, food
I’ve never taken my laptop into a First Watch, and I’m not sure that they would appreciate someone camping out for a few hours. First Watch is more of a diner style breakfast and lunch spot, with staff buzzing around turning over the tables as fast as they can during the busy times of day. Please note that though First Watch has unlimited free refills on coffee, I think they have some of the worst coffee in town. I think that First Watch could work if you wanted to check your email or conduct a business meeting using your Powerpoint presentation over lunch, but if you are looking for a 2nd office, I would pick another spot on the list. Though I normally would also give First Watch a positive parking rating, the Clayton location does not have a lot so you’ll be searching for street parking (typical for all restaurants in the Clayton business district). UPDATE: After I wrote the review above, a VP contacted me and actually looked into the coffee situation. He got back to me and said that they fixed a problem and the coffee should be better, and he send me a free coupon for 2 to try it out again. (BTW, perfect response for a company that gets a bad review!) I finally got around to it and agree the coffee IS better than it was, though I still think it is pretty boring if you are used to coffee shop java. This time I did take my computer. I met someone for a weekend business breakfast, and after we ate I set up the computer. My companion left and I stuck around for a little while to work. Though the waitress never made me feel uncomfortable, I definitely felt that it was time to pack up when the lunch rush started and people were waiting for tables. Keep in mind that the break between the breakfast and lunch rush is very short. If you are going to camp out, I suggest going for lunch or in the afternoon.
free, coffee, plugs, food
Another of my favorites, Kaldi’s has 2 cozy Clayton locations (DeMun and by the Ritz Hotel) plus large coffee shop/cafes in Kirkwood and Chesterfield. They also have purchased Kayaks and their loyalty program can be used their, but it remains under the Kayaks name (see review under St. Louis City). Kaldi’s is also a coffee roaster, so the coffee always tastes great. The menus are limited in Clayton, as are tables and outlets, but Kirkwood and Chesterfield locations meet more of my requirements. Kirkwood has the best mix for me – independent coffeehouse atmosphere, a bar stool height area with outlets set up for every seat and a full menu. The only downside is parking, but I can always find a spot within a block and there is a parking garage behind the building (Chesterfield is the only location with easy parking). WiFi is now free for however long you stay at the Kirkwood location. You get 2 hours with a purchase at DeMun- you’ll need to ask for a WiFi code when you pay at the register. Need more time, ask for another code, or simply buy yourself a cookie and get another 2 hours (not sure about time limits at the Ritz Clayton location).
free, food, cars
Located a couple of doors down from a place I get take-out often (Crazy Bowls), I’ve walked by Krueger’s a million times. I finally decided to give their food a try once. Figuring that bars are often best at classic bar food, I ordered a carry out burger and fries. I hate to give out bad reviews, but I won’t be ordering one again. The interior was classic corner bar and was really smokey, but that was before Clayton went smoke-free, so it is probably a lot better now. I have no idea if they have easy access to outlets or how often someone really fires up a laptop, but they do have a sign that states free WiFi. If you try it out, share your experiences here.
Northwest Coffee Roasting Company
Since Northwest Coffee doesn’t have food other than some granola bars, baked goods and steamed eggs, and the coffee doesn’t come with free refills, I don’t tend to spend as much time at this coffee house. However, the small corner coffeehouse atmosphere and easy access to outlets makes it a good stop for me in mid-afternoon or early evening. (Note: I’ve only been to the Clayton location)
St. Louis Bread Company (aka Panera Bread)
free, coffee, plugs, food, cars
With multiple locations all over town, Bread Co is the easiest choice for free WiFi. Every cafe has quite a few outlets plus enough seating that you can usually get a table near them. The only drawback – there is a 30 minute time limit on free WiFi from 11:30-2:00 pm. Given how busy they get at lunchtime, I can understand why they made this choice. Still, it has encouraged me to branch out and discover options where I can work for as long as I want.
free, coffee, plugs, food
Located on the street leading to the Ritz Carlton, parking can be a pain at the Clayton location. There is a paid parking garage and Stratton’s will valid your parking ticket for a few hours, but you’ll still will have a good walk from your car. It’s very easy to get a booth with an outlet, but the atmosphere feels more like a lunch spot than a place where people hang out. The Webster Groves location on Lockwood has easier parking and a cozier atmosphere, but it is smaller and gets pretty mobbed during breakfast and lunch time. Stratton’s has a full breakfast and lunch menu available all day at both locations with very reasonable prices. They serve Kaldi’s coffee with unlimited self-serve refills.
More About Clayton, MO:
If you live in Clayton and want to keep track of the Clayton housing market, or you are thinking about moving to Clayton, then visit our Clayton Community page.
The page includes:
- Homes and condos for sale
- Foreclosures for sale
- Housing market trend charts
- School district information
- Crime and demographic information links