I don’t know about you, but I have an increasing need for good internet cafés. I’m looking for local hotspots, with decent bandwidth. In addition to being a good spot to connect electronically, I’d like to find good places to meet locals, friends and associates in the Napa area. And, of course, there has to be some good coffee too.
So, armed with my fancy Win 7 laptop, I'm going to explore some of these locations around Napa. I know a few already, so I’ll start with those I already know.
3678 Bel Aire Plaza
I tried out Napa Peet’s on Monday at 9:00am. It was certainly buzzing at that time. The outside tables are very popular, and I’ve met with people both professionally and personally at them myself. It’s very pleasant, but the view is a parking lot. There’s lots of good people watching, however, as Peet’s enjoys a varied and interesting crowd. That holds true inside as well, and there was never a shortage of seating, just almost.
Service: 5 out of 5 Baristas
Service was excellent. I was greeted quickly, and when the barista saw my laptop gear, she asked me if I needed internet access, which I gratefully said yes to.
Coffee: 4 out of 5 Lattes
The large latte was delicious.
Connection: 4 out of 5 Routers
Connection is free with purchase. When I piloted myself to the table, I connected quite easily, and the printout with the connection code gives clear, easy instructions on how to connect. You are instantly brought to the local router’s secure logon, which grants the patron access for an hour.
The connection strength inside was excellent. I’m not going to get technical and measure the bandwidth technically, but from a user standpoint. I used a couple of video streaming services to check out the speed. There was the occasional hang-ups, but much better than many home networks. You Tube was nearly seamless at 380p, but higher resolution and HD seriously bogged. Hulu had a few more hiccoughs. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ were all quickly loaded, and I was able to post quite easily. MS Outlook had no difficulty picking up my email, but that could vary with your provider and software and settings. Certainly, there was no problem accessing my mail on the web.
Overall: I’ll be back.
(This says a lot, believe me.)
Got a great place to connect in Napa? Let me know in comments, and I'll check it out!