Thanks to the Personal Telco Project’s initiative to provide free Internet access to the city, virtually all of downtown Portland has free Wi-Fi access. You can check the Personal Telco page or WiFi PDX to find where the hotspots are. Pioneer Courthouse Square is a great spot to pick up free access, and, if you don’t mind sitting on a bench or the steps, there are a number of places where you can grab a seat. Another hotspot is in the South Park Blocks, where you can hunker down in the shade or grab a bench. You can always find access at one of the many local coffee shops, and at some of the chain coffee stores.
Here are ten great coffeehouses to choose from in Portland:
On the north side of town, Albina Press (4637 N. Albina Ave., 503/282-5214) is a popular spot to grab a cup of Stumptown Coffee. The café is always bustling with energy, but there are some cozy couches available if you can catch one. Albina is also pretty laptop-friendly, since they have an abundance of outlets.
This Internet café (115 NW 5th Ave., 503/248-2900) has a lot going for it. The multi-use space is open until 11 p.m. or midnight most nights. They have lots of places to settle in and work with a number of outlets and PCs to rent by the hour. They serve Stumptown Coffee, Hot Lips pizza, and an array of vegan and vegetarian food.
This quiet little place with the unassuming name (1951 W. Burnside St., 503/248-2133) has some of the best coffee and hot chocolate around. There are a couple of larger tables for gathering, but mostly, the place is lined with small tables and outlets, perfect for plugging in and getting down to business.
This European-style coffeehouse (2222 NE Broadway St., 503/287-0270) has the distinct feel of the sort of café and konditorei it is patterned after. There are a number of heavy wooden tables and chairs, and the space is pretty open and accommodating. The Caffe Umbira coffee is good, but the food is even better. Quiche, soups, sandwiches, and pastries are homemade and fresh. Their scones are some of the best in the city.
This quiet little place (923 SW Oak St., 503/545-6444) with its hand-drawn signs and menus has some of the best and most thoughtfully served coffee in town. It’s a small place and seating is limited, but they have free Wi-Fi. There is usually music spinning from the record player at the bar and monthly rotating art.
There are two Fresh Pots in town, but the Mississippi Avenue café (4001 N. Mississippi Ave., 503/284-8928) holds some truly undeniable charm. It was the set of the 2007 film Feast of Love, which captured the coffee shop’s welcoming vibe.
Okay, this little parlor (836 NW 23rd Ave., 971/271-8168) is not a coffee shop, but they do sell Stumptown Coffee and some delightful pastries and muffins. And hey, as long as you’re there making use of the Wi-Fi, you might as well grab a couple of scoops of salted caramel ice cream.
A number of venues call themselves Stumptown, and even more places serve their signature roast, but the downtown Stumptown Coffee Roasters (128 SW 3rd Ave., 503/295-6144) is the perfect fit if you are someone who works best while a cacophony of noise surrounds you. There are a number of tables where you can sip some perfectly brewed Hairbender blend.
If coffee is not on the menu for you, but you still need to caffeinate and update your Facebook, head over to Townshend’s (2223 NE Alberta St., 503/445-6699). The wall of tea is both pretty to look at and wonderfully fragrant, and the whole place is outfitted with comfortable couches and overstuffed chairs, as well as tables and chairs for more serious working.
There are two locations for Urban Grind; the Northeast Portland location (2214 NE Oregon St., 503/546-0649) is shockingly spacious, with ample seating and lots of natural light. It also has a separate kids’ room accessible through a small door that has been painted like the trunk of a tree.
Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Portland.