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Where is the Best Free Wifi in Metro Detroit?

In this age of connectedness we have come to expect free wifi, it’s everywhere these days. However, free wifi and the places that offer them are not created equal. I’m looking to find the best free wifi in metro Detroit. 

So, I’m asking you, my lovely readers, to share your favorite places to take your laptop and get some work done. Some places might be quiet and perfect for solo working and other places might be better for collaborative work. I’m looking for all of the options including coffee & tea shops, restaurants, bars, and the unique.

A few things to consider:

  •  It must have fast and free wifi. Also, are power outlets hard to come by or in abundance?
  • Amenities. Is the food, coffee, or beer just as good as the wifi?
  • Atmosphere. Is there a great view, artwork on the walls, or a cozy couch to get comfy on?

Bonus points if it’s locally owned but I won’t rule out national chains for their convenience and locations.

Share your favorite wifi places in the comments and be sure to include why they are your favorite. I’ll compile a “best wifi in Detroit” list for a future post.

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Reader Comments (25)

Royal Orchid Thai on Square Lake & Livernois has decent free WiFi.

Speed: 8/10 it was slow one time I was in there but has been fast every other time.
Power outlets: 0/10 I didn't see any at all - but they may have been hidden
Food: 9/10 Thai, best I've had in Metro Detroit
Atmosphere: 8/10 Pretty standard thai restaurant decor with a large fishtank in the middle

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Sarlow

Also, one of my neighbors has a decent wifi connection with no security. You could knock on the door and ask for some food too I guess - you'll just have to work out which place it is :) (Thanks 'Blue Lantern 5')

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Sarlow

any of the barnes & noble using att. why? apparently has enough bandwidth for WoW lol.

black lotus is ... ok.... food is meh, but the beer rocks. wifi is good.

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

I've logged on at the Beat & Leaf in downtown Royal Oak a few times. Coffee, tea and snacks available....local photogs work shown on walls :)
WiFi is free for customers...they had to password-protect the WiFi because too many folks at the coney place next door were using it and slowing it down for B&L customers.

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

We've also been on at the Caribou Coffee in Madison Heights. I know that's a chain, but the folks are friendly, and it's close to work for me.

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

I almost don't want to post this for fear of it getting crowded, but the owner deserves it. City Coffeehouse in Allen Park is my favorite little place for free wifi. Their espresso is excellent and their tea selection is vast. They serve cookies from Avalon Bakery, and they're more than happy to let me sit there and blog my heart out for a couple of hours.

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Thank you all for stopping by sharing your favorites.

Maybe I should have clarified that it would be a commercial establishment? ;-) I'm sure Blue Lantern 5 is happy you didn't post the address!

I've only been to Black Lotus once but didn't have my laptop with me. Funny about Barnes & Noble!

I've heard good things about Bean & Leaf, must check it out.

Thanks for sharing. City Coffeehouse sounds awesome, wish it was closer to me.

Keep the suggestions coming!

November 9, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

I have to echo what Dominique said. I tend to choose Bean & Leaf in Royal Oak when I need WiFi. I love the photos on the walls from local artists. The WiFi is quick (password protected, which is good), the staff is very friendly and the atmosphere is great. B&L can fill up pretty quickly, so sometimes it's hard to find a good spot. My only complaint is that there aren't enough outlets, but it seems like most establishments with WiFi need more outlets.

Java Hut in Ferndale is another good spot. It's usually less crowded than B&L, and it offers the same friendly service and good atmosphere.

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNikki Stephan

I like the Grand Traverse Pie Company on Maple in Troy. Very good connections and lots of outlets. The name really is an oxymoron though as they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner? (not sure on that). People are really friendly. Also as a bonus it's not the busiest place in the world. kinda didn't want to nominate them as then the word spreads. But, they deserve the props.

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMike Morawski

Like Nikki, Java Hutt in Ferndale gets my vote 'cause they've got good connections, lot's of outlets, and decent coffee. As for crowds it's feast or famine! And the staff is friendly.

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Java Hutt in Ferndale, AJ's is pretty good too, Bean and Leaf in RO. Biggby's are always a safe bet if there's one in your area.

If you want beer with your wifi, in Ferndale the WAB and Emory both have wifi (the Emory's isn't rock-solid, though, I would recommend people mention to the staff that it's flaky so they get it fixed sooner than later). Black Lotus makes a good beer and has good wifi, but I think their food is pretty meh. The Berkley Front has wifi and the best beer list in the area (and good food!), but it's smokier than hell in there, sadly.

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Meray |

Wow, more great suggestions!

I stopped into Bean & Leaf once, just to look at the photo's on the wall, and it was crowded! Seems to be a very popular place.

I'll have to check out Java Hutt in Ferndale, I've been to the one in Birmingham. Friendly staff is always a plus.

Thanks for sharing the Grand Traverse Pie Company. I had no idea they did full meals!

I was wondering when someone was going to mention Biggby's, every time I go there the staff are so friendly and helpful.
Beer with wifi? Yes, please. Great suggestions, I need to hit the WAB and The Berkley Front soon.

Thank you for sharing your favorite places!

November 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Saw the tweet about Downtown Detroit, Becks. unfortunately, there's not much anymore.

Foran's is pretty good and so is Ephs, but for working Foran's is better but both Ephs and Foran have fantabulous food. In the summer months, there's good wifi on the Riverwalk over by the cafe and Diamond Jack. Fourth place is Janet's Java in the bottom of Compuware, but their coffee, not so great. Make sure you veer toward the juice choices. You'll need a password for that last one.

If there's a thing Detroit could do better on, it's Wifi. Don't be fooled by the Campus Martius, Au Bon Pan, or other networks that don't work well at all. They may as well take them down they're so unreliable.

The one BEST working places, but has no Wifi, is the Starbucks in the Rencen. There are working "pods" that hang out over GM world - but unless you have a wireless cell data card or a GM employee who knows one of the 20 locked networks, no go on the internet. Absolute shame. I've complained multiple times, apparently, it's the hotel's doing as the location is technically part of the Marriott. That isn't a downtown alone issue; hotel wifi in the Detroit region is horrid and overpriced where pretty much every city I've traveled everywhere else is free and solid.

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeremiah Staes

And as I write that last comment, Ephs is going to become "Foran's Deluxe Diner" I hear. I hope they keep the pickle. At least there's a wine store going in up top.

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeremiah Staes

I've been on at a few different Caribou Coffee locations. I know that was mentioned before, but they seem pretty consistent. Good chain option.

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZak

Thanks for the downtown report. I was at Foran's on Sunday but didn't have my laptop with me. I love the pickle at Eph's, I hope they keep it too.

I love the pods at the RenCen and assumed you could get on Starbucks wifi with it. That kind of sucks! One thing I want to check out is the Winter Garden at the RenCen. When we went on the RenCen tour they told us the Winter Garden had free wifi and it's only steps away from the "pods."

I'm not ruling out chains, they serve their purpose and are convenient.

November 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

It is, in practice, catch as catch can in the Wintergarden. I've tried many a times hoping to no avail, but sometimes I get lucky. Apparently the hotel gets all bent out of shape as they have an exclusive contract with a paid wifi provider that was obviously made by a complete and total dolt. I guess if they made the wifi free, the hotel patrons would go down and use it instead of paying for it in the lobby or in their rooms.

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeremiah Staes

Thanks again Jeremiah,
I'll have to check it out for myself. I can see how Marriott might get their panties in a bunch if they are charging for wifi in the hotel but a few steps away you can have it for free.

November 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

I'm surprised that no one mentioned Goldfish Tea in Royal Oak, which has solid wi-fi and it's free. They definitely have it going on in the amenities department. I would say the environment is comfortable. The owners are vigilant about making sure there are plenty of outlets for laptop cords too.

Two places intrigue me that I haven't been to yet, but will vet them soon - Tubby's on 11 Mile in Royal Oak and Ye Olde Tap Room in Grosse Pointe Park, MI. Seriously, they have a sign on the Tubby's that says they have wi-fi. I have NEVER sat in a Tubby's restaurant, but it is an old chilldhood favorite. This might rekindle it.

Other random places downtown that have wi-fi that people don't know about: PJ's Lager House (booze and patio dining) and Oslo (sushi, thai cuisine, booze)

November 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHubertGAM

Thanks for your input. I was surprised that Goldfish Tea wasn't mentioned as well. When I made a comment about it on Twitter Ryan Meray pointed out that it's a black hole for AT & T users. But if you have your laptop do you need a great connection for your iphone?

I don't think I could sit in a Tubby's for longer than it takes to eat my sub, but maybe that's just me. ;-) The other places are worth checking out.

November 16, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

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