While AirBears, UC Berkeley’s wireless Internet connection for students, faculty and staff, offers Wi-Fi on and around the campus, the city of Berkeley and nearby environs offer dozens of restaurants and coffee shops featuring wireless connections for everybody.
So if you are itching to get work done outside of your house or apartment, grab your computer and use this guide to find places around town where you can connect to the Internet.
Though most of these places have a specific address, there’s another group of sites planned that will be harder to pin down—the 40 or so buses that the AC Transit plans to equip with Wi-Fi for commuters who travel between the East Bay and San Francisco during peak commute periods.
Wi-Fi—techno-speak for wireless fidelity—has gone from a rarity to commonplace in the course of a few years. Elsewhere, whole cities have begun offering free or low-cost service to residents and visitors.
San Francisco has taken the first steps toward providing city-wide low-cost Wi-Fi, and Tempe, Ariz., already provides free access to all city and Arizona State websites and large areas of free service. Seattle offers unrestricted free Wi-Fi to residents in many areas, and universal free service is already available in places like Peachtree, Georgia.
Free Wi-Fi around Berkeley
You can enjoy net surfing while you sample decadent pastries, peruse games and zines, nosh on pizza or fine cuisine or simply sip a large latte at many places around town. Some of the favorites of staff at the Daily Planet are:
• Crixa Cakes, at 2748 Adeline St., home of excellent pastries and other decadent delights. Another bakery offering free Wi-Fi is Sweet Adeline Bakeshop at 3350 Adeline St.
• Le Bateau Ivre, at 2969 Telegraph Ave., is an easy walk from the UC campus and the source of reasonably priced French food as well as free Wi-Fi and DSL hookups.
• The Nomad Cafe, at 6500 Shattuck Ave., just across the Oakland city limits, is your basic coffee shop, featuring good food and tech-literate clientele who love both the coffee and Wi-Fi.
• For devotees of Chinese cuisine, there’s the Yangtze River Restaurant at 1688 Shattuck Ave.
• Yali’s Cafe, at 1920 Oxford St., just across from campus has free Wi-Fi, and customers say you can also find AirBears service there.
• The Caproeira Arts Cafe offers free Wi-Fi and unusual cuisine at 2026 Addison St.
• Fertile Grounds, at 1796 Shattuck Ave., seems to be a favorite of graduate students.
• There’s also free Wi-Fi at the Steamworks, Berkeley’s gay bath house at 2107 Fourth St.
• For gamers, there’s Eudemonia at 2154 University Ave., another close-to-campus locale.
• For chocoholics, there’s Cafe Cacao, located in Berkeley’s famous Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory at 914 Heinz Ave.
• And, finally, for pizzaholics, there’s Spud’s Pizza at 3290 Adeline St.
Finding hot spots
For a more comprehensive listing of free Wi-Fi locations, around the Bay Area and beyond, see the following websites:
• The Wi-Fi-FreeSpot Directory is just that, a listing of free Wi-Fi hotspots. Go to www.wififreespot.com and click on California to find free locales throughout the state, including 13 in Berkeley, one in nearby Albany and several just south of the Berkeley city limits in Oakland.
• Another compendium of free hotspots can be found on the Beast Blog (Beast in Pig Latin is “EastBay”) at www.beastblog.com. Enter “Wi-Fi” in the search engine. The Beast Blog also contains a wide range of listings in its right-hand column, where you’ll find restaurants categorized by ethnicity and location, entertainment venues, and a host of other information about neighborhoods and communities.
• For additional free sites in the area, try bayareafreefi.com, and for both pay and free locales, see www.jiwire.com.›