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It is day 296 of the year 2020. You’ve Zoomed, you’ve worked, you’ve combed through Netflix, and tomorrow you’ll wake up and do it all again, and again and again. It’s been some time since you’ve traveled, seen those good friends, gone out for that perfect cup of coffee. Cafes all over Atlanta are finding safe ways for you to fuel your caffeine fix during this pandemic time. If you’re in the ATL, here are some of the best blends of free Wi-Fi for your mobile device or laptop and the outdoor space where you can safely sit and sip.
Golden Drops Cafe | 404.968.9981
Like any lengthy relationship, your love affair with breakfast could probably use a dash of spice. You can count on the Golden Drops Cafe to rekindle that spark. Trade danishes for empanadas and bagels for coxinhas (stuffed, succulent balls of fried dough — a Brazilian favorite), and you may never go back to biscuits. Their house-favorite Golden Latte, like any great South American coffee, is as strong and rich as the culture that cultivated it.
Latin American java, though, is not their only specialty. The cafe’s exquisite espresso, corretto and affogato suggest its deep and abiding stewardship of all things coffee. You might go back to biscuits eventually, but not without returning from time to time to your newest guilty pleasure. With fast, free Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to work a little bit without having to switch to your mobile hotspot.
Xander Coffee | 404.937.3356
A day of work in this Buckhead gem feels like moonlighting at a chic tech company, only with much better coffee. Think of space with roomy seating areas between clean, white walls splattered with vibrant color. Throw in the high, airy ceilings and it’s like being inside a metaphor for inspiration. All this style comes with a side of substance, because Xander knows coffee. The combination of Counter Culture Coffee and Emerald City bagels satisfies even the most savage morning craving. After the staff treats you like family, slip out of the glass garage doors to the generous patio seating to enjoy an iced Americano as crisp as an Atlanta autumn. The Wi-Fi and smiles are both free, so head over this fall.
Chattahoochee Coffee Company | 770.955.0788
Coffee on the Chattahoochee may be the closest Atlanta comes to England’s Stratford-upon-Avon. And while we can’t promise Shakespearean creativity, we’re sure that few sip to the sound of the river without finding inspiration. After all, coffee is a retreat for so many of us. Combined with the easy rhythm of the Chattahoochee just miles above downtown Atlanta, it’s almost a vacation. It helps, of course, that the coffee is splendid, featuring local milk from Claremont’s Mountain Fresh Creamery. It helps even more that you’re drinking for a good cause. The Chattahoochee Coffee Company donates at least 10% of their revenue to hand-picked charities. So whether you’re starting your day at the Westside location or by the river, your conscience can stay as clear as water.
Victory C.C. | 404.228.7226
This daring rebrand of an Atlanta coffee staple (formerly DeKalb Athletic Club) goes down as smoothly as a crafted cold brew. Their menu, stacked with diabolically good biscuits, reflects the low-key, comfortable atmosphere of a place that knows a thing or two about service. Neither the space, nor the attitude is stuffy, with high ceilings and plenty of outdoor real estate to stretch out with a signature espresso. Victory will keep refilling the (surprisingly affordable) coffee, brewed from local beans courtesy of Radio Roasters, so you might as well stay for lunch. Fortunately LLoyd’s, the ever-popular spot that shares owners with Victory, will be happy to send over sandwiches!
Muchacho | 404.748.9254
This East Atlanta spot is as much a vibe as a coffee shop. Moving Venice Beach to Reynoldstown may seem risky, but not when Muchacho combines three millennial obsessions: coffee, tacos and booze. It’s not for early risers, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, but on those late-week mornings when you wish that vacation could start a little earlier, Muchacho is the bridge to your liberation. The trademark golden door is a portal to a vintage 70s cafe with modern culinary swagger. It’s a great place to stay and work via the free Wi-Fi connection, especially with the outdoor option in good weather. Pair your Counter Culture Coffee selection with any number of their breakfast tacos, and commence your especially chill day. You could lounge inside, but we suggest spreading out on their plant-rich patio. Don’t trust us? Just ask Owen Wilson (yes that Owen Wilson). He hung out here just a few weeks ago. If he’s not there, just hop onto the Wi-Fi and watch some of his movies.
Garnet Gal’s Coffeeshop & Bakery | 404.748.4027
Longing for a place to start your day where terms like kindness and warmth are more than just shopworn corporate buzzwords? Well look no further than this quaint Buckhead newcomer. Everything about Garnet Gal’s is real, from the freshly-milled Old Testament flours to the ever-so-smooth organic coffee. The feeling the shop inspires — a cross between Christmas morning and the perfect first date — is also real. But if you aren’t a regular at first sight, just wait until you try the lavender latte and the orange-cranberry muffins, and don’t forget to ask about their ample vegan options. In a market often fixated on coffee, this is a true marriage of beverage and bakery. The Wi-Fi and internet are free, so as long as it’s not too crowded, you won’t have to use your mobile hotspot. Whether sweet or savory, Garnet Gal’s brings the flavor and heart of the real South to the concrete jungle.
ParkGrounds | 678.528.9901
You want to know the perfect business concept? Combine our love for coffee with our love for dogs. ParkGrounds does just that by hosting a daily doggie convention in the backyard of its neighborhood coffee shop. At ParkGrounds, everyone — even the furriest of friends — gets treated like family. Unwind under shady oaks with a Pumpkin Pie Latte (it’s so much more than mere pumpkin spice), and take in the day’s doggie drama. When the pooches take a well-deserved rest, treat yourself to the quality coffee options and indulge in their tantalizing mix of reasonably-priced breakfast and lunch favorites. By the time you’ve returned with your helping of housemade granola, there’s no telling what mischief your four-legged friends will be up to.
East Pole Coffee Co. | 404.939.6498
For that elusive farm-to-cup flavor, Atlantans are quickly learning to look no further than this instant player on the ATL coffee scene. You may not be able to recognize (or even pronounce) where their beans have travelled from, but you can taste their authenticity. It’s a coffee drinker’s coffee shop, with a no-frills menu grounded in elegant restraint. A graceful, understated design with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating (including an upscale take on wooden bleachers), it is a pleasant companion to uncommon coffee. Their quest for freshly-sourced beans ensures that you’ll never have the same cup twice. As a convenient bonus, when you have to leave this java nirvana after a workday, a happy hour at Sweetwater Brewery is just a short stroll down the street. But you’ll want to stay here if you’re looking for free Wi-Fi outside and a coffee. It’s a great place to get an hour or two of work in while you sip.
Just Add Honey Tea Company | 404.850.6510
With all the buzz over coffee, it’s easy to overlook Atlanta’s other caffeinated community: Tea lovers. The husband and wife TEAm of Jermail and Brandi Shelton, the inspiring (and pun-loving) owners of Just Add Honey, brew their loose-leaf teas with love. They’ve been converting coffee drinkers from their East Atlanta location since 2006, when Brandi decided to turn her lifelong relationship with tea into a passion project. The results are rich, aromatic blends steeped in generations of care. While the interior of their comfortable, modern tea shop remains closed to promote public health, the brew comes through just as strong on the covered outdoor patio. Don’t be afraid to bring a friend either, because for those not quite ready to make the switch to #TeaonTheBeltline, the coffee and baked goods are also outstanding.
JPresso | 404.458.5537
JPresso is so good, it might just be pandemic-proof. The Hapeville shop has persisted, despite opening right on the brink of Covid-19. Just don’t call them lucky, because they deserve the early success. Few cafes find the balance between comfort and refinement that JPresso has fostered in just a few short months. Hardwood tables and abundant natural light give the sense that you just ordered coffee in a trendy farmhouse or retrofitted barn. The modern-rural motif continues outside, where walls of plants border a spacious garden patio. The food is like the feel: clean, elegant and worth savoring. We suggest you start with a stylish breakfast croissant and the iced brew coffee, then stick around until lunch for an acai bowl with bubble tea. Or maybe save that treat for next time. After all, JPresso is here to stay.
By Jacob Klein
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