Archived Q&A and Reviews

Cafe for studying with Free Wireless

Sept 2005

Can anyone suggest a cafe that would be good for studying/writing in Berkeley or North Oakland. Wireless would be good, and unless it's in N. Berkeley, I'll be driving, so it should be a place where it's possible to park within a block or so. I've gone to a few cafes(Bread Workshop, Rooz and Mocha Lisa), but keep wondering about other choices. Carol

Julie's coffee & tea garden in Alameda offers a soothing setting to hang and study and offers free wireless. May be a bit far for Berkeley folks to drive, but worth it. J. Baron
Try the Nomad cafe on Shattuck, a few blocks North of Alcatraz
Brewed Awakening on Euclid above Hearst has free wi-fi wireless and it's a fairly quiet comfortable place with good coffee. Do a google search for 'wi-fi berkeley' and you'll find more, for instance Ginger
There is free wireless at the Hudson Bay Cafe on College Ave. and Hudson (in Rockridge near the public library). It can get pretty crowded at times but may be worth checking out. It has a nice, local feel and good coffee, too. anon
There's a place on College a few blocks down from the BART station (towards Oakland) called ''Hudson'' or ''Hudson Bay'' that has free wifi, great coffee and seems like a calm place to work/study. I haven't had a problem finding parking nearby, but you have to watch the meter or 2 hour limit. free wifi advocate
Hi Carol. Check out for free internet access locations throughout California. I'm sure it's not complete but might give you more ideas. Jeanne
Fertile Grounds cafe (on Shattuck near Delaware) in North Berkeley has free wireless and lots of varied music. It's a great place (albeit noisy) and the food + drinks are yummy. radha
'Brewed Awakenings' on Euclid, just near the Berkeley campus, has free wifi and good cappuccinos. There is a bit of an intense atmosphere of study before row upon row of laptops, especially during the student day. But this can be conducive to working. I used to tutor my son in Math there, and he would concentrate well, getting the 'buzz' from all the college students. Thank heavens there are so many alternatives to Starbucks in Berkeley. Long may it last. Janice

Cafes to sit and write in Berkeley

June 2003

I am looking for good cafes in Berkeley/Oakland to sit and write for several hours at a stretch. Bonus points for quiet. Extra bonus points for electric outlets for charging my laptop. Thanks. Rachel

Try Cafe Roma across from Monterey Market, Hopkins and Monterey. Also the coffee place across Shattuck from Toyota of Berkeley. Susie
Rooz cafe on Piedmont Ave is a great little place to sit for hours...they have good coffee, good tea, nice light lunches and outlets to plug your laptop into. L'amyx teashop just down the street has all of the above as well. They are both quiet although Rooz sometimes plays 'funky' music but usually not too loud/distracting and sometimes really good! anon
A new one: ''Nomad'' on [email protected] (65th is 1 block north from Acatraz Ave). Free internet access. Some books. Chairs & tables outside. Old style in Rockridge: Forgot the name, it's in on College in the first block south of Claremont, opposite from a bike store. Sofas, easy chairs, classical or world music. Far leaves: Teahouse in Elmwood district, on College close to Ashby, opposite side from the movie theater, Very quiet, especially upstairs. Can sit on the floor or at a table. Great variety of teas, especially green teas, no coffee. Quiet room in the back & backyard: ''Beanery'' on [email protected], also in Elmwood district. Best, Julia
The Beanery, on College between Ashby and Russell, is so quiet I've nicknamed it ''the library cafe.'' It is full of laptop users, and I believe it has a wireless network. Laura
1) Caffe Roma (Roma's?) (at college and ashby) is a great place-- the back room has large tables and i don't think anyone sits at one for *less* than 2 hours. there are outlets scattered along the walls for laptops, and many folks use theirs there. Great food and nice service, too! 2) Yali's on Oxford just south of Hearst: filled with cal students and professors at peak times, but on the off-hours nice light, great food, and outlets beneath the back wall bench. I'm curious to read other postings! anon
Cafe Roma on Ashby/College is good (the back room is fairly quiet), but you'd have to get there early to get a good table. Not very ergonomical though. Otherwise, Borders in Emeryville.
Cafe Roma, in the corner of College and Ashby, has an area in the back that is rather quiet, and I believe (not sure) they have plugs. Cafe Milano, upstairs is nice too, but noisier than Roma. Cafe Milano is on Bancroft, near Telegraph. I don't recall any plugs there. ''A cuppa tea'' in the corner of College and Alcatraz seems to be quiet in the mornings (they have open mics some evenings). I think they have plugs and also internet access... Enjoy your coffee! ;-) Eva
A few good, quiet cafes I've found to work on my own dissertation a few hours at a stretch include: in Berkeley: Forx (on University Ave.) - corner table has a laptop outlet, very quiet in the early afternoons, closes at 5:00 though Cafe Nefeli (on Euclid Ave.) - back room is quieter, with outlets, exceptional coffee the Beanery (on College Ave.) - outlets in the quieter back room, seems to be a ''culture of studying'' back there, gets crowded through Cafe Roma (on College Ave.) - also outlets in the quieter back room, same as Beanery in that everyone goes to study, but outlets are quickly claimed too in Oakland: Cafe Davinci's (on Broadway and 40th) - hands-down the best undiscovered brunch place in the East Bay, owned by a cute, friendly Korean couple, excellent coffee, creative dishes -- because it's still undiscovered, it's a great place for studying in the early part of the day, closes at 3:00, has outlets Verna
Au Coquelet on University at Milvia. Good coffee, good food, nice atmosphere not deathly quiet but not real noisy. I've seen many people studying and using laptops there. don't know about an outlet, though. nancyf

Child Friendly Cafes

January 2005

I just went to Muffins Muffins Cookies & More in Alameda with my toddler son, only to find that they've gotten rid of their tot room! Is there anywhere else on the island or nearby (Oakland, San Leandro, etc) that serves beverages, cookies, and doesn't mind children (or even gives them room to do their own thing)? Mom with Cabin Fever needs Caffeine

Zocalo Coffee House in San Leandro (on Bancroft at Dutton) is wonderful....there's a toddler area in the back and it's big enough that noise from the children doesn't have an impact on the rest of the patrons at the cafe. Melinna
Zocalo Cafe on Bancroft in San Leandro is a great kid-friendly locale. It's nice and big with a kid's play area in the back, good coffee, treats and a nice community feel. Parking is easy too. You can visit their website here: anon
Funny you should ask about a cafe to go with a toddler, because my friend and I (both moms of very active kids) have been looking for this type of place for years! So, after several years of planning, we're opening one! It's called Play Cafe and we'll be opening sometime this spring (probably late March/early April). We'll have a cafe with a play area that surrounds the seating area (so you can see your child from most every vantage point - no need to chase them around so they won't ''get into anything''). The play area is imaginative play (read: no video games). Think of the same concept as Habitot but WITH food and WITHOUT the clean-up afterwards(no water feature and no messy paints). If I could break the concept down to one sentence, it would be: A place where kids AND parents want to be. We should be putting together a basic website by the end of February, if you want to keep updated. It will be If you want to send me your e- mail address, I'd be happy to send you an e-mail when we have an opening date. Hope to see you there! Nancy
October 2001

Does anyone know of a child/baby friendly cafe where you can just hang out and drink a cappuccino with your friend and let the kids play. There use to be a wonderful place on Solano Ave called Cafe Crayon. I'd been there a few times during my pre child days with friends who have kids and I thought the place was great. I couldn't wait for the day when I'd bring my own child. Well now that day has come and I'm very disappointed to find out that Cafe Crayon closed down a while ago. Did it just move somewhere else, or is it really gone? Is there any other place around like it? Any recommendations? Thanks. Laurey

Although it may be a bit of a drive, there is a wonderful cafe on Encinal in Alameda called Muffins, Muffins, Cookies and Beans. It has a whole playroom for children and great food/coffee! Dylyn
Try Gaylord's on Piedmont Avenue. Very friendly, child-loving and -tolerant staff. Rita
It's probably not in your neighborhood- but I cannot say enough wonderful things about my neighborhood cafe, The World Ground Cafe in the Laurel district of Oakland. Martha and Ulfe, the owners, have a 2 year old daughter. They also hire women with kids and let them bring the babies to work. There's a back room full of toys the kids can play in- and the neighborhood is full of people with kids. It's the most baby friendly place I know, better than the Parkway, cuz it's baby friendly every day. Kristy
I miss Cafe Crayon too, but as far as I know, it's gone and nothing similar is out there. (I'd love to open one but it seems like a hard business to make money at!) I think the Cafe Roma on Hopkins is a good place to go with kids, at least on warm days, as there is a good amount of space for kids to run around and play. Likewise, the outdoor seating area at Toot Sweets on Gilman is nice on warm days, but for the colder weather coming up, I was at a loss too when my kids were younger. Lucia
There's a place in the kensington circle (colusa ave in kensington - not far from solano ave) called kensington pub. don't be fooled by the name. it is very baby friendly- they have a play area with lots of toys, and basic american type food. not really a cafe, but definitely worth checking out at least once. the place doesn't become a bar til after 8 pm or so (tho they do serve beer all day, i assume) -m.h.s.
There is a great very child friendly cafe in Alameda called Muffins, Muffins, Coffee and Beans on Encinal at Versailles (take High street exit off of 880, go over bridge and take right on Encinal). They have many tables, inside and out, large tables for families or big groups, couches and soft cushy chairs. 2-3 computers with internet with access (I think) and computer games for kids; and a great play room for kids with lots of toys and videos. The have great baked goods, Peets coffee and nice sandwiches and salads for lunch. It is the moms hang out during the week (not uncommon to go during lunch and find gobs of nursing moms and kids of all ages) and weekends it is packed with families (parents reading the paper while drinking their coffee beverages and kids playing). It is a great place to meet a friend or to meet new friends for both you and your kids. It opens early and closes at 3. kogorzalek
The Kensington Bistro, just a few feet across the circle from the Kensington Pub on Colusa in Kensington, now also has a small play area for small children in a corner of their restaurant. It's not too big, but it has lots of toys for kids to play with, and a small area rug for them to sit on. Apparently the people who used to do the brunch at the Kensington Pub on weekends took over the Bistro, and now run the Bistro all week instead of just the weekend gig at the Pub. (Very nice folks.) They took the kid play area idea with them when they moved, although I think the kid play area has stayed at the Pub as well. Yay! We ate at the Bistro a couple of weeks ago and really liked it. I like the Pub and enjoy their food, but the nature of the traditional British menu there isn't the heart-healthiest in the world. (Although it's very yummy!) elaine