7 great Toronto cafes that don't have WiFi
Cafes that don't have WiFi? Yes, indeed. These coffee shops remain boastfully unconnected, offering customers things like "atmosphere," "coziness," and "conversation." While these types of cafes are now in the minority in Toronto, the lack of laptops and day-dwellers hogging tables certainly offer some boons. And if you get desperate, there's always data on your phone, right? If you want a coffee without the laptop clutter, count on this list of cafes.
Snakes and Lattes
Fairly obvious to some, I'd say. But I also trust that there's some poor sap out there who'd head to Snakes and Lattes, open his laptop, and try to play Words With Friends. Terrible. With an unbelievable assortment of physical games, Snakes and Lattes is all about pleasant interaction with the people around you. Until someone crosses the line during a round of Cards Against Humanity. Whatever, more coffee for you.
Just try to hunker down and waste away an afternoon on your laptop at Bulldog. Go ahead. Just try. This cafe, of course, does not offer WiFi, which is a mighty good thing with such limited seating. Though the crowd at Bulldog is usually student-like in composition, Americano-sippers generally refrain from technology and opt for in-person conversation. Novel, I know.
Balzacs Coffee (Distillery)
Stick to Ryerson or the Reference Library if you want WiFi. Balzacs in the Distillery is total classic coffee shop, complete with yummy mummies, people reading actual books (or Kindles with good battery lives) and miscellaneous coffee enthusiasts. A totally different ambiance compared to any of its other locations.
Broadview Espresso is the epitome of "neighbourhood" cafe. Regulars have been stopping into this spot for a latte for years, never interrupted by someone who wants to "uh, switch tables to get closer to the power outlet" (full disclosure: I'm usually that jerk looking for a seat to plug in my laptop). The space is cosy and comfy with furniture that looks plucked from someone's living room, and it always comes WiFi-free (not to be confused with "free WiFi").
Sam James Coffee Bar
Sam James Coffee Bar is and always has been all about the coffee. It's not surprising, then, that its space does not offer free WiFi. Instead, customers can test Sam James baristas on their coffee knowledge, check out the photos on the wall, or simply chat with a friend over some of the best espressos in Toronto. And tweet about it from your phone, if you must.
A venerable name on Toronto's coffee scene and one that is decidedly without free WiFi. The decision has sparked quite the conversation, even on blogTO's own comment thread, but I suspect Manic isn't at all worse for the wear. Lots of room means fellow customers won't necessarily overhear your (in-person) conversations, and physical books are certainly prevalent throughout the Manic space.
Ask some of the regulars here, and they'll tell you it's the lack of WiFi that makes this place sublime. You won't find table hogs typing away the afternoon here, nor will there be any obnoxious Youtube-watchers who happened to have forgotten their headphones. In any case, with such an incredible collection of vinyl to peruse, why would you want to fix your gaze on your laptop? Sublime does all types of coffees, with a couple smoothies on the menu, too.
See also: The best cafes for free WiFi in Toronto
Photo by notpeppermint in the blogTO Flickr pool