Anyone interested exclusively in free Wi-Fi and less in small, locally run cafés with tons of ambiance (no judgments here) should know that Starbucks now offers free Wi-Fi in all its stores.
Kinski, 128 Rivington. Lower East Side.
This little Austrian café, which opened earlier this year, really does feel as if it has been teleported ready-made from Vienna’s supercool Leopoldstadt neighborhood to the Lower East Side. The aesthetic is austere and fresh. Think plywood walls, communal tables, and dangling light bulbs. And after your delicious Marillenknödel and bracing Einspänner, you can whip your laptop out and enjoy the free Wi-Fi.
Ace Hotel, 20 W. 29th Street. Madison Square North.
A welcome blast of Pacific Northwest cool saturates the Ace Hotel. You know it. Everyone knows it. The Ace is one of the most exciting newish hotels in the city. And with the purchase of an item from the hotel’s café or restaurant, you can sit in the lobby and absorb all that West Coast energy while trying out different Tumblr themes.
Birch Coffee, 7 E. 27th Street. Madison Square North.
Then again, if the Ace is too crowded with design magazine editors or visiting musicians, you can always decamp to the Gershwin Hotel a few blocks away. On the Gershwin’s ground floor is the absolutely lovely Birch Coffee. Birch’s eco-credentials are solid. Menu items are sourced locally and wines and beers on offer are organic. The atmosphere is friendly, even folksy. There are Friday events on the calendar at Birch, as well.
McNally Jackson, 52 Prince. Nolita.
One of Manhattan’s best bookstores, McNally Jackson is a fabulous place to simply hang out and get lost in the stacks. Its café takes up a tiny piece of the store, and is typically crowded with patrons ordering off the small but appealing menu. Happily, there is free Wi-Fi throughout the bookstore here, so even if the café area is terribly crowded you’ll be able to perch on a chair and type away.
AQ Kafe, 1800 Broadway. Columbus Circle.
Since September 2008, Marcus Samuelsson’s impressive empire has included this low-key café on Columbus Circle. AQ Kafe introduces a certain Swedish élan to Columbus Circle. Pale wood features, well-spaced tables offering better-than-average privacy, and expansive floor space make for an agreeable place to hunker down and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi.