I love coffee. I drink multiple cups a day, usually multiple cups before I leave home in the morning. Shoot, I’m drinking coffee while writing this story.
I like working at coffee shops in the morning, where I can put on headphones and focus in a relaxed environment. Sometimes, though, especially late in the day, I’m tired of coffee and I want to work somewhere else. But where?
I present these seven coffee shop alternatives where you can crack open the laptop, jump on the free WiFi and get stuff done. This list combines my favorites with suggestions of some colleagues who also love to escape the office.
131 Matthews Station St #1C, Matthews.
You have to wait until the afternoon for this one, but you’re probably not craving beer before noon, anyway. CBT has a laid-back, coffee shop feel and good WiFi, but you can get a coffee stout instead of a latte. One of my favorites for afternoon working.
1235 East Blvd., Suite I; 7824 Fairview Rd.
Beer not your thing? Grab a glass of wine at Foxcroft Wine Co. Good space. Free WiFi. No free wine, though.
People love to hate Time Warner Cable around here — I’m no different — but the WiFi hotspots around town make up for at least some of the frustration. You can find a map of the hotspots at coverage.twcwifi.com. It includes a decent chunk of uptown, which opens up the possibility of working outside at, say, Romare Bearden Park on a nice day.
Working at a grocery store? Don’t knock it until you try it. You can also try Whole Foods, but this Harris Teeter at The Plaza and Central offers a sweet view of the uptown skyline from the second floor.
1704 Central Ave
If you’re scared of leaving your favorite coffee shop and don’t want to jump into the deep end of new options, consider these places dipping your toe in the water. I almost didn’t include them because they feel a lot like coffee shops to me, but they are good alternatives to grab some food and/or an adult beverage and get some work done.
Common Market: 2007 Commonwealth Ave & 1515 South Tryon St.
Rhino Market: 1500 W. Morehead St. Ste. E
Earl’s Grocery: 1609 Elizabeth Ave.
Mayobird: 1531 East Blvd
Not that you would go to the airport just to use the WiFi, but it is good to know it’s there. You can get checked in for your flight a little early and get some work done. Or you can watch Netflix when your flight is delayed. In one of those sweet rocking chairs.
I’m only half joking about this. My years as a high school sportswriter writing game stories at 10 p.m. taught me to love Mickey D’s and its free WiFi and 24 hour (or at least late-night) dining rooms. If you’re in a pinch because it’s late or you’re not near a Starbucks, McDonald’s has good free WiFi (and decent sweet tea).
What are your favorites not on this list? Tweet to us @Charlotte_Five or shoot us an email. Thanks to Ely Portillo, Katie Coleman, Katie Toussaint, Caroline Portillo and Sergio Tovar for helping me compile this list.
Photos: Davie Hinshaw/Charlotte Observer; Corey Inscoe; Observer file photo