I’ve seen WiFi popping up everywhere lately. Bagel shops, coffee houses, cafes, libraries, and even bars. Where’s the best place to go for some quiet WiFi time in Raleigh?
I admit it. I’m a WiFi tourist. Being the arrogant, artsy, pretentious writer I am, I carry a laptop by my side at all times on the hunch that it might be useful to me when a spark of brilliance hits and needs to be punched into the keyboard. Many of my friends, however, carry their laptops around for another reason: Video games. Such is their addiction to the latest MMORPG that they can’t seem to go anywhere without it. So for writers, gamers, and computer lovers alike: I give you a list of excellent places to curl up with a bagel, a mocha, a book, or a beer and spend some quality time surfing the net.
New World Cafe – Pleasant Valley Shopping Center
Ah, just typing the name makes me feel cozy. New World Cafe is a new-age, hippie-lover, pretty chill place to relax. The walls are filled with abstract paintings of oversized Earths with misty words like “peace” and “zen” floating like clouds. For the casual drinker, small wooden tables dot the room, and booths are towards the back. By the front window a series of rainbow-colored chairs that look like gigantic, cupped hands offer you rest in their palms. The real seats, however, are through a small door into the back room, where all-day loungers sip their espresso in plush chairs with elegant cushions. Here, in this room, I unfold my laptop. If you go to this cafe enough, you will soon become friends with everyone there. Naturally, a patron can expect to say “Hello!” to a couple of passersby, perhaps discuss a bit of philosophy or a great new book, then curl up with their laptop in an intimate little cushioned corner.
The drinks are blended wonderfully here, too, and the Cafe sells bagels and muffins, as well as healthy wraps. So you won’t go hungry as you spend blissful hours surfing the net – or writing your latest play.
TEK – 3801-137 Hillsborough Street
When I first walked into TEK, I swore I’d found Gamer Nirvana. The free WiFi here is excellent because the room is filled with dozens of other people who want to stay up all night doing technical computer stuff, too! Many gamers frequent TEK because of the WiFi, so you’re certain to run into other people who are as addicted to World of Warcraft as you are. TEK’s atmosphere is very, well, “techy.” The room is large and shadowy, lit with the neon blue glow and gentle hum of dozens of computer screens. TEK also offers a variety of video games and consoles to play on, for when you’re tired of messing around on the internet. Furthermore, TEK serves food and major energy drinks, designed to keep you gaming all night long. It’s located near a college campus, so it has a large ratio of student customers. This is a fun place with a geeky, gamer crowd: far more exciting than your messy apartment.
The North Regional Library – 200 Horizon Dr, Raleigh, NC
This is another one of my favorite places to get WiFi. Again, as a writer, I find the library a perfect place to visit when I need to get some serious, hardcore writing done. There are no cushy, colorful chairs to distract me, no close personal buddies dropping by to visit. It’s just not that kind of place. This is good, however, when I have something I need to get done.
Naturally, I love visiting the library for hours at a time just to read through their books. It’s a great place to research for a paper (using both the internet and the thousands of books at your disposal) or build up your creativity by reading as you write. It’s also excellent for getting together large groups of people for school projects and the like. However, most libraries don’t serve coffee, chai, and food; so you’ll have to plan an exciting dinner for after your work session!
Hibernian Pub – 311 Glenwood Ave.
This is just such a great WiFi spot that I can’t pass up mentioning it! The Hibernian Pub has a full bar. The barstools are comfortable and the bartenders are friendly and make good conversation. You can come in after work and sit down with a cold beer on a hot day and check your email, stocks, and the news. I even see the occasional person playing an MMORPG. Maybe you gamers could hook up for a game of World of Warcraft.
The Hibernian also serves excellent Irish food. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but well-worth the cost when those warm croquettes hit your stomach. When the day is over and your tired of your nice, quiet Wi-Fi time, the evening crowd will come in, and you can turn off your computer and stick around for the weekend parties!
So these are a few of the places I use WiFi. If you want even more ideas on where you can find great WiFi in the Raleigh area, try this website: http://www.wififreespot.com/nc.html. It’s a great resource and lists every bagel place, bar, and bookstore where you can find free WiFi.
When I go out to use the internet, I feel like much less of a loser than when I sit around at home surfing for hours. At least out there I’m being social. So get out of your computer chair and visit some of these excellent places to stay connected online and in the real world.