The Social, spawn of the legendary Heavenly Social club night held at Turnmills in the 1990s, has been a haven from the horrors of Oxford Street for a decade. Free wi-fi is available in the top bar where you can nestle in the diner-style booths and indulge in such homely comforts as pie and mash or fish finger sandwiches. Beers include Hoegaarden and Kronenbourg; the cocktail list features exotic creations such as a cucumber martini. In evening live music is a regular fixture, so it’s probably not the place to hold your business meeting.
The Social, 5 Little Portland St, W1W 7JD (7636 4992/www.thesocial.com).
Bedford & Strand
Bedford & Strand, 1a Bedford St, WC2E 9HH (7836 3033/www.bedford-strand.com).
Brasserie de Malmaison
This is the place to come for the open access wi-fi washed down with American fast food. The all-day breakfast of pancakes, omelettes and Mexican treats is more than enough to power you through a three-hour Facebook-athon.
The Diner, 16-18 Ganton St, W1F 7BU (7287 8962/www.thedinersoho.com).
Eagle Bar Diner
It’s probably best to avoid this place during lunchtimes if you’re planning on stretching a Budweiser out over an afternoon’s worth of email catch-up – it gets quite busy. Otherwise it’s a perfect place for a big burger and fries washed down with a mammoth milkshake.
Eagle Bar Diner, 3-5 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HJ (7637 1418/www.eaglebardiner.com).
Given there can often be a dirth of pews to pull up in this debonair steakhouse and cocktail bar, you might prefer a branch of Coffee Republic for setting up your mobile office for the day, but if you are happy perching on a barstool, have a penchant for saucy cocktails and highly acclaimed slices of beef, then this is the wi-fi place for you.
Hawksmoor, 157 Commercial St, E1 6BJ (7247 7392/www.thehawksmoor.com).
Shampers, Kingly St, W1B 5PE (7437 1692/www.shampers.net).
Zetter, 86-88 Clerkenwell Rd, EC1M 5RJ (7324 4455/www.thezetter.com).
Café at Foyles
Fresh juices, healthy salads, top-notch sandwiches, Monmouth coffee, plenty of seating, jazz on the soundsystem… the café in Foyles provides a buzzy environment in which to wile away the afternoon surfing the web. If you tire of digital reading, pop downstairs to buy an old-fashioned book.
Café at Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0EB (7440 3207/www.foyles.co.uk).
Quirky café and deli serving delicious Swedish open sandwiches, gravadlax, herrings, meatballs and the Danish ‘red hotdog’, apparently the Vikings’s favourite snack. In the spirit of Scandinavian egalitarianism there is a fair usage policy, so in other words you shouldn’t abuse their good will by sitting there all day and not buying anything (and yes, that means you will be frowned upon if you nurse a single cup of coffee throughout the lunchtime rush).
Scandinavian Kitchen, 61 Great Titchfield St, W1W 7PP (7580 7161/www.scandikitchen.co.uk).
Since its Peyton & Byrne makeover, this café and bar has become a super-stylish destination in which to dine on simple, tasty food and sip on a cocktail or two. The daily membership fee has been scrapped so it’s free to get in. Take your laptop and update your blog on aesthetic discourse.
ICA Café, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH (7930 3647/www.ica.org.uk).
A temple to chickpeas, Hummus brothers serves, erm, houmous, with a wide variety of toppings and wedges of warm pitta bread. There is open wi-fi access but this is essentially a busy fast-food restaurant so avoid lingering at peak times. There’s another branch on Southampton Row.
Hummus Bros, 88 Wardour St, W1F OTJ (7734 1311/www.hbros.co.uk).
Camera Café, 44 Museum St, WC1 (7831 1566/www.cameracafe.co.uk).