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October 2006

Wireless in the City


With Internet access now more of a necessity than a luxury, it’s no wonder that, in Munich, Net cafés seem to be as numerous as food vendors. Our dependence on a connection, however, often makes us willing to endure the most dreadful of cafe conditions. Sticky keyboards, ridiculous hourly rates and the stench of smokers at neighboring stations are all part of the user experience. Laptop owners can bypass the first problem by visiting Internet cafés that are equipped with Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) connectivity, but they will still pay a handful for the privilege of using the network while hunched over in an uncomfortable chair.
Luckily, Net cafés are not the only locations with WLAN hotspots. Wimmer bakeries and San Francisco Coffee Company stores, for example, prominently advertise their wireless networks. Unfortunately, access at these and other establishments is rarely free and often more expensive than at Internet cafés. Users must pay around € 3 per hour, € 7 per day or € 25 per month for a voucher code granting Internet access. In the United States, similar establishments offer Wi-Fi for free, based on the assumption that surfing customers will spend at least that much on coffee and other sustenance. As more and more Munich business owners adopt that perspective, they are beginning to offer free WLAN access. As long as your computer is portable and Wi-Fi-ready, paying a visit to one of these spots is the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to stay connected. Of course, the obligatory cup of coffee or sandwich is a kind of user fee, but you had to pay for food somewhere! At all of the following establishments, you will pay just once for two of the necessities of daily life: Internet access and nourishment. They all offer free Wi-Fi and a comfortable environment in which to surf, eat, drink and leave the Internet cafés to the truly desperate.

Barerstr. 42 (Maxvorstadt)
Tel. 28 77 91 62
Mon.–Fri., 8 am–8 pm, Sat. and Sun., 9:30 am–7:30 pm
Fresh waffles, a lending library and comfortable leather chairs are the highlights of this spot near the Pinakothek museums.

Café Forum
Corneliusstr. 2 (Glockenbachviertel)
Tel. 89 26 88 18
Daily, 8 am–3 am
With its warm modern design, brunch served until midnight and plenty of seating, Café Forum encourages long visits.

Thalkirchnerstr. 7 (Glockenbachviertel)
Tel. 21 58 88 81
Sun.–Thurs., 10 am–1 am, Fri. and Sat., 10 am–3 am
Visitors without a laptop can use one of the six PCs for a small fee in this BGLTS-friendly shop.

Café USW
Türkenstr. 55 (Schwabing)
Tel. 272 08 51
Mon.–Fri., 8 am–1 am, Sat. and Sun., 10 am–1 am
Omelets, salads and fancy toasts are served in a small nook that’s as cozy as a friend’s kitchen.

Café am Nordbad
Schleissheimerstr. 142 A (Schwabing)
Tel. 12 70 04 33
Daily 8 am–1 am
An array of sundaes is the standout on a solid and varied menu.

Königinstr. 2, English Garden (Schwabing)
Tel. 517 29 71 80
Daily 10 am–8 pm, 10 pm in good weather
Such organic offerings as Brez’n with sea salt and fair trade cappuccinos are great for socially conscious surfers.

Donnersbergerstr. 37 (Neuhausen)
Tel. 16 47 25
Sun.–Thurs., 10 am–1 am, Fri. and Sat., 10 am–3 am
Specials include midday Menüs for € 6.10 and coffees for € 1.50 during Happy Hour. Open weekdays, 10 am–noon and 2 pm–5 pm.

Café Neuhausen
Schleissheimerstr. 142 A (Neuhausen)
Tel. 891 23 62 88
Mon.–Fri., 9 am–1 am, Sat. and Sun., 11 am–1 am
Here, you must ask the waitstaff or a bartender for a Wi-Fi card and a user name.

Wittelbacherstr. 15 (Isarvorstadt)
Tel. 201 00 59
Sun.–Wed., 9 am–1 am, Thurs.–Sat., 9 am–3 am
Users can stay connected and healthy in a non-smoking area.

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