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Eat & Drink

7 great Toronto cafes that don't have WiFi

Posted by Robyn Urback / October 30, 2012

toronto cafes no wifiCafes 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.

Bulldog Coffee
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
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.

Manic Coffee
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.

Sublime Cafe
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



sumit / October 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm
i wish there were some cafes in Toronto that didn't play music, so if you went there to enjoy coffee and read your book, you can actually focus on the book. i am on of those people who can't focus with music playing, alas i will never have that experience.
D / October 30, 2012 at 01:00 pm
Patricia / October 30, 2012 at 01:14 pm
Cafe Unwind is another great suggestions for this!
MacDouche / October 30, 2012 at 01:26 pm
How will I send friends my latest screen play I just wrote on my Macbook Pro whilst having a coffee if there is no wi-fi?
kdiddy / October 30, 2012 at 01:46 pm
"Great Cafe" with "No Wifi".

Isn't that an oxymoron or something?
Jenny / October 30, 2012 at 01:47 pm
The Green Beanery at Bathurst and Bloor.
Cesar Ojeda / October 30, 2012 at 02:29 pm
thank you for this!
Graeme Quinn / October 30, 2012 at 02:48 pm
No Moonbean in Kensington?

Strange. They are one of the best cafes in the city, regardless of whether or not they have wireless (which they don't).
chris / October 30, 2012 at 03:27 pm
need more of these.

less freelance rows.
Mike Swiegot / October 31, 2012 at 03:00 am
Questions is......will I see 10 hipsters at once? ;)
Mon / October 31, 2012 at 08:36 am
You missed Moobean!!!
abc / October 31, 2012 at 10:16 am
Moonbean! (However, I found that if you sit at the tables in the backroom, you can get some decent Kensington Wifi!)
Ana / October 31, 2012 at 03:41 pm
The Pie Shack. Not officially a cafe, but not only it is wi-fi free but also laptop-free!
Marie / November 1, 2012 at 10:15 am
If you are looking for coffee shops with Wi-Fi we have an app just for that - Find Me Coffee. We help coffee lovers find nearby coffee shops all over the world via our website, mobile site, iPhone & Android apps. Check us out:

The free service detects a user’s location and serves up a map featuring every great coffee shop in the area. Everything from store hours and amenities (WIFI, a drive thru, late hours and more) to user-generated ratings and reviews, FindMeCoffee enables those in search of the perfect cup to find perfect café location and share it with the world.
birdoasis / January 20, 2013 at 10:16 pm
another u missed
yorkville espresso bar
Other Cities: Montreal