The East Bay has a ton of excellent coffee shops, but a surprising number of them don’t offer wifi. It’s understandable — not every owner wants their cafe turned into an unofficial coworking space. But sometimes you’re in a pinch, and you need a spot with respectable drinks, food, and free wifi, stat. That’s where this list of 24 coffee shops in Oakland and Berkeley with free wifi comes in handy.Read More
The Best East Bay Coffee Shops with Free Wifi
Sometimes you just really need the internet
The first Philz in the East Bay follows the SF-born chain’s mantra of brewing one cup at a time, tailored to the customer’s personal preferences. There is good reason why everyone remembers their first mint mojito iced coffee from Philz. Philz also has locations in Rockridge (6310 College Avenue in Oakland) and West Berkeley (1313 9th Street), but the Shattuck spot has a nice old-school, comfy feel.
If you ever find yourself in need of a caffeine jolt and free wifi after a meeting at UC Berkeley, this is the place to go. It’s perennially packed with students, and who can blame them? Caffe Strada is affordable and fast, with a ton of outdoor seating surrounded by greenery and heat lamps.
Algorithm Coffee Co.
Instead of ordering a latte, cappuccino, or cortado at Algorithm, order espresso with milk by size. The stripped down, simplified menu means you get a proportion deemed ideal by the coffee obsessed at Algorithm, but it also lacks customization if you’re into that sort of thing. Regardless, the small batch, single-origin espresso tastes marvelous, and there are loads of spots to sit.
1951 Coffee Company
It’s immediately clear upon walking into 1951 Coffee Company that it’s a very unique coffee shop, with educational charts lining the walls. It’s actually a nonprofit that provides job training and employment to refugees and asylees, while also aiming to raise awareness of refugee issues in the greater community; baristas have gone on to work at notable Bay Area coffee companies. Regardless of social mission, though, 1951 makes a good cup of coffee.
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Way Station Brew
House-roasted coffee, a full food menu, beer on draft, wine, and Firebrand pastries are just some of the attractions at Way Station Brew. There’s also the lovely brick walls, plush booth seating, and one of the best secret back patios in Berkeley.
Souvenir Coffee Co.
A contemporary cafe with a clear passion for quality coffee, Souvenir roasts its beans every two weeks to ensure freshness. There are some pastries and sandwiches, but really, it’s all about coffee here — try the cortado, which comes with a small glass of sparkling water to cleanse the palate.
The spices used in Rasa Caffe’s drinks set this tiny South Berkeley coffee shop apart. The signature Rasa Coffee mixed cardamom and cinnamon into espresso, while the rose latte features saffron, rose, and vanilla bean. The chai is excellent, too.
Alchemy Collective Cafe and Roaster
Alchemy purports to be the only majority queer, people of color-owned cooperative roaster in the United States. It operates out of a hip, funky, and colorful space in South Berkeley, serving toasts alongside its top-notch espresso drinks.
Relaxed and friendly, Rockridge’s Bica rotates between serving beans from roasters like Heart, Verve, Ritual, and Coava, while introducing a new roaster every three months. Regardless, the espresso drinks are expertly prepared in a warm setting lined with local art.
With a focus on teas and herbal elixirs, The Well carries am eclectic and colorful hippie vibe befitting of its Temescal neighborhood. The coffee comes from Alchemy, the mochi muffins from Third Culture Bakery, and alt-milk, vegan, and gluten-free options abound — not to mention kava, occasional live music, and community-oriented events.
Temescal’s Julie’s offers a long tea list, solid coffee, and excellent food in a bright space, made even better by the sunny patio in the back. The housemade pastries — like the scones and biscuits — are particularly good with a pot of tea.
Hawk and Pony
It’d be easy to spend a full day in Temescal’s Hawk and Pony between the Bicycle coffee, loose-leaf teas, sandwiches, wifi, and beer on tap. Plus, it’s actually open a good deal later — until 7 p.m. daily — than a lot of other cafes on this list. Beware it’s cash only.
Roomy digs, tasty drinks, fast wifi, and solid food choices make Kilovolt Coffee an easy favorite in West Oakland. The beans come from SF’s Sightglass Coffee, which isn’t as common on this side of the bay.
Equator Coffees & Teas
The only East Bay location of Equator Coffees & Teas is actually a shipping container near Lake Merritt. That said, it does have some nice outdoor seating enlivened with succulents — and wifi. In addition to its usual fleet of coffee and teas, the Oakland Equator also serves canned wine, beer, and ice cream.
The East Bay location of SF’s Farley’s is a two-level, laid-back spot with a full food menu in addition to quality coffee drinks. The parklet in front is a notably lovely and sunny place to gaze upon the bustling Uptown neighborhood.
The Octopus Literary Salon
Part cafe, part bookstore, and part music venue, the Octopus is tough to sum up quickly. Whether you want to cozy up with a cup of tea and a new read, or get some work done fueled by coffee, or drink beer while listening to local artists perform, or eat a big vegan, gluten-free meal, the Octopus is there for you.
Modern Coffee has a whopping three locations mere blocks from each other in Oakland. We like the Uptown spot for its striking red-and-black aesthetics, plus it feels a little roomier than the downtown cafes. Try one of the rotating specials, like the burnt cinnamon latte.
Open Coffee Shop
Find local roasters, local zines, and local skateboards on display at Open, a very small and very aesthetically pleasing cafe in downtown Oakland. Seating is limited, but there’s a cool selection of artsy magazines to explore in the back while you wait for someone else to vacate.
In a small and minimalist, black-and-white space, Uccello Coffee serves the basics along with a sizable sandwich menu. With its location, it’s a prime spot for the downtown working crowd — and fittingly, it closes at an early 3:30 p.m. on weekdays and remains dark on the weekends.
Fig & Poe Coffee Bar
Downtown’s new cafe Fig & Poe looks extremely stylish with its white tile, hanging plants, and modern light fixtures. Luckily, the attention to detail extends to the ingredients, with coffee from Ritual, chocolate from Dandelion, and house-made Liege waffles.
Hive, the Place to Bee
Thanks to the friendly staff and corner full of kids’ toys, Hive, the Place to Bee feels like an exceptionally welcoming cafe in the Dimond district. There’s a lot of indoor seating, plus a parklet with built-in bike parking.
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Friendly and laid-back, Oakland’s Bicycle Coffee roasts organic beans and delivers wholesale orders by bike. Perhaps even more famously, it serves free drip coffee and cold brew to all on Fridays, making it feel like a true community spot.
Hasta Muerte Coffee
Hasta Muerte made national headlines for its policy to not serve police officers in the name of keeping its East Oakland space safe for people of color. Politics imbue the entire cafe, from the small bookstore in the back to the activist artwork on the walls. Smoothies and empanadas round out the caffeinated offerings.
Red Bay Coffee Roastery & Bar (Headquarters)
On a warehouse-lined stretch of Fruitvale sits the headquarters of Red Bay Coffee, Oakland’s black-owned company with a social justice ethos. The space is open, airy, and industrial, with lots of places to sit and work. In the evenings and on weekends, it often transforms into a lively community events space. Go for unique offerings like the charcoal or candied yam lattes.