I’m a software developer. My existence depends upon being connected to the net. I, like many other software developers, enjoy taking my laptop to the coffee shop, drinking coffee while reading up on the latest Hacker News articles or reading up on new programming languages. In order to do this, WiFi is kind-of useful. So, here is my list of the best spots to go in Cape Town to get some work done while enjoying a great cup of coffee.
But first, a rant. Seriously, last time I checked it was 2016. How can a coffee shop not have WiFi in this day and age. Worse, how can a chain of coffee shops not have WiFi at all. I really don’t know what’s worse between a place not having WiFi at all and having a so-called “AlwaysOn” WiFi hotspot. Really, AlwaysOn is a remnant of a time in South African telecoms that is best forgotten. I wish that them and G-Connect would go rip people off somewhere else. I mean really, R50 for 500MB of data? Come on. In a time where you get uncapped unshaped 100Mbit connections at your home, how can they justify this. Also, how are their corporate partners (Mugg & Bean, amongst others) not wising up and ditching them? What’s wrong with a good old access point and an ADSL (or better) connection that is shared amongst the coffee drinkers? Honestly, I think there is so much business to be gained by a decent WiFi connection in a coffee shop and these days it is so cheap.
To give an example, this is my home FTTH connection, which is uncapped and unshaped. I pay R 999/month:
So, after that rant, let’s get to the list of the best coffee shops for WiFi in Cape Town. I wish this list was longer but unfortunately the length of this list is a reflection of the state of coffee shop WiFi in what is supposed to be the tech hub of South Africa.
4. Truth Coffee Roasting - Buitenkant Street
There are more than enough articles written about Cape Town’s premier coffee shop with its steam-punk theme. Spending time at Truth is like role-playing a Mad Max movie where you are invited to have coffee in the lair of the villain. From their over-the-top coffee grinders, to the copper piping running on the outside of the walls, to the small golden clocks the waiting staff wears, every detail of the experience is crafted. In terms of getting work done I think its a great place to go on a Saturday morning, sit at the communal table with your laptop and just take in the experience.
3. Bootlegger Coffee Shop - Main Road, Sea Point
I think that Bootleggers is a great chain of coffee shops to sit down and get some work done at. All-in-all a great experience even if the music is a bit too loud and I could never learn to enjoy drinking a hot cup of coffee out of a glass. Bootleggers also has great happy hour drinks specials and its a great place to meet colleagues for a beer after work.
2. Woolworths Cafe - V&A Waterfront
Not only does the Woolworths Cafe in the Waterfront probably have the best view of any coffee shop in town, it also has the best omelettes and the best WiFi. Hats off to Woolworths for wising up and actually making my coffee shop experience very pleasant. This is more of a weekend spot where you hang out on a Saturday morning before catching a movie or doing some shopping.
They seem to have some sort-of symmetrical fibre connection because I get very decent upload and download rates. It is completely free for (even though its only for 2 hours) so long as you provide them with your email address so that they can spam you with marketing information. The trade-off is acceptable in my opinion.
1. Molten Toffee - Kloof Street
I am a bit biased towards this coffee shop because I know the owner and staff very well and I think the vibe there is just great. Its a popular hangout for the trendy folk in the fashion industry to hang out with their laptops while getting some work done. The coffee is great and the WiFi is fast and free. Grab your “John Lennon”-style glasses, knitted sweater and Macbook. Grab a coffee or a freshly-made raw juice here, smile and say hello to all the friendly people chilling around you. Highly recommended.