|Torino Espresso + Bar. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.|
As a freelancer I know what is probably a disproportionate number of other freelancers in Detroit, and we all seem to share the same basic three needs: the need for strong coffee before noon, the need for strong drink any time after noon, and the need for endless reliable WiFi. While we often work from home, we are also known to occasionally seek out the company of other humans by putting pants on long enough to crawl out of our respective holes and stumble our way to the nearest coffee house or bar.
Coffee houses are great. We love coffee. Coffee makes our work possible. But sometimes we need to imbibe in a beverage stronger than Joe. Sometimes we need Jack, Jim or Jose (or really their crafty equivalents; we're not savages). We also need these drinks in a place that offers flowing streams of beautiful, beautiful bandwidth (for free) in an environment where our kind are welcomed and appreciated - not somewhere where opening a laptop will be met with looks of "Who farted?" Using my own personal experience and polling some of my freelancer friends (both writers and photogs), I've determined these bars are the most freelancer-friendly.
#1 Torino Espresso + Bar (Ferndale)
Torino wins by automatic default because they are both a coffee house AND a cocktail bar. Plan your day right and you can put in a full 12-hour workday starting with coffee and ending with cocktails and even get a few snacks in between (the panini are delish). Heck, you can even move around to different parts of the restaurant to suit different moods ("...and now I shall sit in the lounge"). It also helps that Torino happens to have really freaking good coffee and really freaking good cocktails. And, they play the Black Keys a lot. I'm known to spend long hours working here and I also hold the majority of my business meetings here, so this place is pretty much my office now. I hope they don't start charging me rent...
|Hipstergram photo by RPH.|
(Editor's note: one of my fellow freelancers loves this place so much he wanted to do the write-up for me. This meant less work for me, of which I am always a fan.)
The Bronx is Midtown’s king dive bar. It sits proudly on the corner of Second and Prentis, offering a bird’s eye view of gentrification in action. Sure, it masquerades as a Wayne State college bar on the weekends. But in this economy, we’ve all got to moonlight as something. No one’s judging so long as the sweet-and-salty Charlene governs the weekday afternoon shift, piping in classical music and allowing me to type away at my laptop in peace. The challenge is resisting smuggling a beer into your stomach before the clock strikes 4:00pm and not wrapping your arteries around the best damn cheeseburger (and overall bar menu) every time you set up shop. If you can resist the Bronx’s siren call, you’ve found yourself the best damn pop-up office the city has to offer. - Ryan Patrick Hooper, freelance writer and Bronx bar staple.
#3 Honest?John's (Detroit)
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Honest?John's is one of those divey Detroit bars that we all love and feel compelled to frequent. The best part about this place is not the food (greasy and good, but none too noteworthy) or the drinks (the selection is meh and the pricing is not quite divey enough) but the ambiance. Neon signs sport cheery sayings like, "Men Lie" and "Sobriety Sucks." The bathrooms are covered in years of drunken graffiti, and the jukebox kills (along with the Bronx, it's one of Detroit's best). Ashley Catherine Woods, Entertainment Producer for MLive, even says she has "a favorite booth, waitress and jukebox selection for the am." This is the kind of place where regulars rule.
#4 Cass Cafe (Detroit)
It's a restaurant-slash-art gallery serving healthful, globally-inspired food that is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, and they also have killer drink specials. Located in the heart of Midtown, Cass Cafe gets a strong turnout of Wayne State and CCS students, artists, area hipsters and what-have-yous, and has always been a relaxed place for some good food, cheap drink, and sweet, sweet WiFi. Fire up the Mac and you'll fit right in, day or night.
#5 Woodbridge Pub (Detroit)
It's a restaurant-slash-art gallery serving healthful, globally-inspired food that is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, and they also have killer drink specials. Located in the heart of
Bubbling under The Emory (Ferndale), Foran's Grand Trunk Pub (Detroit), Angelina Italian Bistro (Detroit - great for evening work meetings when WiFi is needed), Park Bar (Detroit), the Rock on Third (Royal Oak), Motor City Brewing Works (Detroit), Andrews on the Corner (Detroit), Traffic Jam and Snug (Detroit)