Log on Like a Boss! How to find a surprisingly civilized oasis with free Wi-Fi in Uptown.
When I’m not manning the kitchen, I’m looking for a spot to drink coffee, grab a bite, and write. In its Log On series, miLam will tell you where to find such places, with free Wi-Fi, in Chicago.
Free Wi-Fi in Uptown
Baker & Nosh is the best café in Uptown.(4.75 / 5)
Wilson at Malden
Where Am I?
I consider B&N to be in Uptown. However, credible sources say that this notch in the middle of Uptown’s southern border has declared its independence as a sovereign territory called Sheridan Park, and that its residents claim B&N as their own. I can’t blame them. That area is different from the rest of Uptown, and B&N is a delightful addition.
NEW!→ I originally knocked off points for size (easily becomes crowded) and plugs (limited). However, they’ve worked to improve the situation. During summer, they now add a seating area on the sidewalk. They’ve also expanded the indoor seating with a high-top table near the entrance. Plus, they continue to develop their offerings, and everything I’ve ever had here I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and found to be unlike what I find in most other cafes: more artisan, more old-world, more one-off and hand-made instead of mass produced and shipped in. The plugs are still limited, but I care less and less. It still gets crowded – especially around lunchtime – but that’s because, I suspect, it’s popularity has increased as they’ve expanded. In fact, Rahm mentioned this as one of his favorite independent cafes. I highly doubt that he’s ever been driving through Uptown and said to his driver, “Ooh! Pull over there! I love that place.” Nonetheless, nice way to plug a local business in an election year, Rahm, and this one’s worth plugging. ←4/3/15
The shade of an ash makes about ⅔ of the sidewalk seating area amendable to laptop screens. Add a wonderful breeze blowing on a gorgeously 80°F day, and I can’t imagine where I’d rather be. Sure, as soon as I say that, one of the voices inside my head says, “the beach.” But the beach doesn’t have coffee, or baked doughnuts, or seats, or tables. “You could lug all that shit down there–” Shut up, voice. I’ve got shit to do. OK, where was I? Oh yeah, no outdoor plugs, of course. Not at B&N, not at the beach – although both places are worth your battery juice.
Can you work or study here?
Yes. Seating indoors can be tight, especially in winter, when you can’t sit outdoors. Still, you’ll experience no pressure to not park yourself here and crack open your laptop. Plugs: inside only, along the window. The “floating” seats don’t have access to outlets. WIFI? Yes, and it’s decent. It reaches the outdoor areas. Ask the cashier for the password; sometimes, he’s an adorable bastard. Bathrooms: yes, and I don’t know what you call that floor treatment, but it rocks. Alt: if you want a less charming outdoor space with a plug, try the Starbucks a block to the east.
Coffee: excellent – not “Ch’ava” excellent (RIP, Ch’ava) … more of a “Starbucks” excellent.
Why choose this place?
6/17/2014, 11:07 AM – 1 PM
4/1/14, 1:15 – 3:30 PM
1303 W Wilson Ave
Log on in other neighborhoods:
Join us! Suggest a free Wi-Fi café for review, or maybe contribute a review of your own. miLam would love to hear from you. See “contact us” instructions on the bottom of this page. I talked it over with Bones and Kirk, and they both agreed this would be a good move for you.
Image Credit: The Sheridan Parkonian