Annette  Bagley | 04/08/2013 | Insider Blogs |   

Secret WiFi Hotspots in Bellingham

Searching for a great spot in Bellingham to settle in with your laptop and a latte? I've tried out numerous locations and started a list of my favorite WiFi hotspots to share. What're my criteria?

  • Wide tables are a key factor for me, big enough to prop up a laptop as well as a latte and some lunch.
  • Low noise is another factor, which usually has to do with the size of the venue. Larger spaces can absorb the noise, even when filled with people.
  • Good food is of course important. I like to eat while I work, or work while I eat, which is why I'm searching for WiFi.
Avenue Bread on James Street - Located in the Sunnyland neighborhood, near Trader Joes. As you can see in the photos on its website, from the outside, it looks like a classic old-style cafe, but inside it features a fresh and fun menu including its own breads which are "Born in Bellingham" daily.  As a WiFi hotspot, it gets my vote for big empty tables to spread out on. After ordering at the counter, food is brought to the table, but utensils and water are self-serve. Ave Bread Born in BellinghamAve bread board Avenue Bread is where I go for my favorite comfort food: Tomato Dill Soup. It is spicy and hearty, yet creamy and warm (and happens to be gluten-free). The menu ranges from full breakfasts to soups and salads, sandwiches and lattes. They are now offering dinners called "Sunnyland Suppers" from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. nightly, with a menu of "gourmet comfort food." This location is a crossroads of the community. Looking around the room on a typical weekday I see business meetings, moms and kids, friends gathering, couples, and even entire families grabbing lunch together. I always feel welcome to stay as long as I'd like.  Best of all parking is FREE! Ave bread soup   Cafe Adagio on Railroad Avenue - This is a large, but cozy espresso shop on the quiet corner of Railroad Avenue and Champion Street in downtown Bellingham. Plenty of metered parking is usually available on this end of Railroad Ave., with some spots up to 3 hours. Be sure to bring your quarters. The cost is 75 cents per hour. Cafe Adaggio is located across the street from the downtown WTA bus terminal, so it is easy to get here car-free as well. The Cafe Adagio website entices viewers with numerous photos of artistically-styled lattes. I can attest they are real. On a recent morning, I was served a hot chocolate almost too pretty to drink. When I took a sip, my taste buds were just as happy as my eyes. The flavor was deep and dark, made from real cocoa powder, not just chocolate syrup. I was warmed to the core! Cafe Adagio When it comes to food, Cafe Adagio serves great menu of soup and sandwiches for lunch. I personally gravitate to this spot because they also carry my favorite gluten-free cookies and brownies by WOW Baking Company, AND they offer Chocolate Necessities truffles!  (Yep, I'm also a chocoholic.) The space features nearly 25 ample tables, which are great for WiFi users. There are also cozy couches by a fireplace "living room" area and a library of interesting books to browse from the Collected Dialogues of Plato to the History of Vietnam (for those who are not laptop-ing it, like me). The Woods Coffee on Lakeway - This brand new location won't be a secret for long. It's on the busy corner of Lakeway Avenue and King Street near the on-ramp for I-5. Its drive-through feature makes it especially popular. MY favorite aspects are the free WiFi, free parking and the new booth tables near sunny windows, with plenty of laptop room! The menu is more limited, but they do offer hot breakfast sandwiches all day (and a yummy gluten-free version). Woods coffee photo Wood decor is the most striking feature of this local chain, and the new location is especially earthy. I'm impressed by their ability to scale a former Chinese restaurant into a friendly coffee shop. According to the website, they open at 5:30 a.m. Monday - Friday, and 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Book Fare Café - This is one of Bellingham's "hidden" gems because it isn't seen from the street. It is located on the second floor of Village Books in the historic Fairhaven district. I mentioned it previously in my post about bookstores. It fits all my criteria: wide tables (with sunny windows) and room to stretch out, a restful atmosphere (even when its busy), free WiFi, and fantastic food that is always evolving. The menu changes every three months to reflect the season, including salads, soups, sandwiches and bakery items all prepared by hand in the kitchen. I recently tried the "Fancy Grilled Cheese," and my response was WOW! This was brie and goat cheese on rosemary kalamata bread. Definitely worth the trip. I also recommend the rosemary peanut butter cookie - great for nibbling and typing. Book Fare is open Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 - 6. Save me a table!  

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