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 City or you travel through the City 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. I haven’t visited all of the locations personally, 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. You can even pull up the map on your iPhone or Android phone. Simply add the map to your Google account using the ‘Add to My Maps’ link. Then pull up the map on your phone using the layers option in the Google maps app.
Free WiFi Locations in St. Louis City:
Downtown St. Louis Hot Zone (42-square-block area bounded by Broadway, Market Street, Tucker Boulevard & Washington Avenue)
I can’t find any information on this, so if a reader knows if it still exists or who can log on, I’d love to hear about it it in the comments.
2Schae Cafe (Central West End)
free, food, coffee
Brian Johnson – Real food, good coffee with refills and Free Wifi!
6 North (Central West End and Downtown)
Anthonino’s Taverna on the Hill (The Hill)
free, food, cars
Atomic Cowboy (The Grove)
Located in the newly fashionable The Grove area, parking is hit or miss but isn’t too tough to manage. I’ve never used their WiFi, but have been to Atomic Cowboy for a happy hour. If you are looking for a bar atmosphere where you can check your email and get some food, Atomic Cowboy might be perfect for you.
Bar Italia (Central West End)
Cafe Ventana (Mid-Town)
free, coffee, plugs, food, cars
Coffee Cartel (Central West End)
Coffee Cartel is a favorite spot for many in the CWE, but I haven’t had as much success there. The one time I went with my laptop, the internet service was spotty and the staff was pretty rude when I asked them about it. But, their late night hours (open 24 hours) is a plus for many. Parking is the normal CWE parking – plan on walking a block or two.
Coffee Oasis (Central West End)
Culture Cafe (Delmar just east of Skinker)
free, plugs, food
I was excited to see another option for free WiFi in the Loop, but left really disappointed after my visit to the Culture Cafe. After feeding my meter for 2 hours, I discovered that the WiFi wasn’t working and no one there seemed to have a clue about how to get it going. They did lead me to their router and let me reboot it (to no avail). The menu was overpriced and portions were very small, and even though I gave my order directly to the cook and told her twice I didn’t want my shrimp & curry rice spicy, she still sprinkled something across the shrimp that made it almost too hot for me to eat. When I asked if they had coffee, the response was ‘we can put it on’. And they don’t have an ice machine, so I ended up with a $1.50 Diet Coke out of the can. The staff could use some lessons in customer service, especially since I was the only diner there when I stopped in. As much as I hate to say it, if you are looking for a place to camp out with your computer, I would keep looking.
Hartford Coffee Company (Tower Grove South)
free, plugs, food, cars
Located smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood, this place was packed when I stopped by one snowy Saturday afternoon. The place was filled with laptop and book bearing customers, and strip cords were abundant so that anyone needing to plug in could find a way to do it. There is even a small divider that separates the front portion packed in with tables from a seating area perfect for people with kids (soft seating and some toys). The menu looked great and they roast their own coffee. Typical for city establishments on residential streets, they don’t have a parking lot. Still, every table but one was taken when I arrived and I was able to park on the street directly in front of the building.
Kayak’s (Skinker & Forest Park Parkway)
free, coffee, plugs, food
Located on the edge of the Washington University campus and only a few feet from University City and Forest Park, Kayaks is usually packed with college students and a few professors. Though I enjoy it anytime, I especially like going to Kayak’s when the University is on break and the students clear out, so I can have some choices in where I will sit. Still, I find the atmosphere energizing and love the extensive menu. I didn’t give them credit for easy parking since the lot behind the building has 24 hour meters…and in St. Louis most of us expect free parking unless we are in downtown St. Louis or downtown Clayton. There are a few spots out front without meters, but it’s rare to find one open. However, the Metro train stop is directly outside of their door so if you prefer light rail transportation, this is probably the best option in town. Now owned by Kaldi’s, the hours and menu have been extended making it even more of a favorite.
Local Harvest Cafe (Tower Grove South)
free, coffee, food, cars
Located in the budding new business district on Morgan Ford just south of Tower Grove Park, Local Harvest is a new favorite. The extensive menu made from local food products looked so good that it was a challenge to decide what to eat. The menu serves up plenty of options for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans too. The tasty coffee is self-serve, which I like so I don’t feel guilty about getting tons of refills. I stopped in about noon on a Saturday, and the place quickly filled up with every table filled. I saw a half dozen people either turn around and leave due to a lack of tables or took their food as carry out when they couldn’t sit down. The woman at the register said this was typical at lunchtime on Saturdays. If you plan to bring your computer and camp out, I would try to avoid the lunch rush or at least make sure you spend some money on food to justify using a table while potential paying customers are walking out. I did grab a table by an outlet, but it looked like there were only a couple of options to plug in.
Lori – Great food, coffee and decent plug access. Busy during lunch/dinner. They don’t mind if you stay during off hours. I leave out of courtesy during rush times or buy a full meal.
Mangia Italiano (South Grand)
Bridget – Mangia Italiano in South City has its own proprietary blend from Kaldi’s Coffee Roasters, almost every table has a plug nearby, and there’s an entire parking lot across the street. Plus you can eat the best pasta in St. Louis!
The Mud House (Benton Park)
free, coffee, plugs, food
Lana Azar – Great spot.
Murdoch Perk (South City)
free, plugs, cars
Shangri La Diner (Benton Park)
I didn’t bring my computer with me when I visited Shangri La, but I wasn’t nearly as impressed as I expected to be. The atmosphere is very 12 year old girl’s bedroom/retro…lots of bright pinks & orange decor and dangley things around. If you aren’t a vegan, you may have some trouble finding items on the menu that appeal to you. I ended up with a quesadilla and sweet potato fries, but both were quite greasy. I will say the staff was very friendly and helpful, and they did have an amazing banana cake.
Lori – Fabulous healthy food in a cool retro environment. Small, personal service. Easy parking. Plug access. Vegetarian and vegan available. Limited hours, however.
Shaw’s Coffee LTD (Shaw)
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. My favorite locations are UCity Loop, Creve Coeur and Brentwood.
According to their website, Starbucks is now offering free unlimited WiFi at all of their company owned stores in the United States. I’m guessing the outlet access and parking varies greatly, so you’ll have to check out each location individually. I have taken a computer into a Starbucks once or twice now, and if you don’t mind limited food and paying for coffee refills, it is probably a good place to spend a few hours online.
The Vine (South Grand)
Lana Azar – Not sure about coffee or plugs, but the best hummus in town!
World Cafe (South City)
free, coffee, food, cars
I’ve not been here, but my twitter friend Jeff said he loves the place and they have great coffee. Apparently it is a very kid friendly place, and he suggests avoiding weekend mornings and the kid’s music day (he thinks it is the 2nd Wed of the month) if you are looking for a quiet atmosphere. I’m giving it credit for easy parking since I know the area and usually street parking is easy for businesses at the intersections of city residential streets. No idea on outlet access.