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Mizzou Coffee & Wi-Fi … It’s Not All About Starbucks

May 3rd, 2014 · Tags:Cities · Coffee Shops · Wi-Fi

 

Ninth Bux

 

Today, let’s get old school here in the college town of Columbia, Mo. None of that blogging about nothing. No rock or film reviews. No interviews of FOX or CBS correspondents (dig into ping, they’re there). Today, we ping Wi-Fi hotspots — as we did when this blog began — here in the “Athens of Missouri.”

 

First up … a tale of three lattes — three Starbucks within about a five-mile radius. First up, I hit the Bux on Broadway, over by Stephens Lake Park.

 

 

For gosh sakes, hang some dark shades over the windows on the west side of the cafe or give two for one discounts on tanning. Otherwise, great Wi-Fi and a nice green tea frap, almost as good as the ones back home in Fort Worth – 6 pings.

 

Quick story. There’s only two easy chairs in the joint. Naturally I nabbed one at the first avail. Soon after, a foreign doctoral candidate entered my airspace to snatch up the chair that was the ying to my cushioned yang. Land grabber! She always wanted the foot stool sitting in front of me. On first thought, I was courteous and gave it up quickly. She showed little gratitude, but I gave her a break for cultural differences, but then decided to pull her leg a bit. I pulled out my earbuds and motioned for her to do the same.

 

“I’ve changed my mind. I want it,” I said, in my most serious voice.

 

She looked startled, so I was going to “call off the dogs quickly” and tell her I was joking. Before i could … dragon lady looked at me, very defiantly … not at all demure … and said, “It’s a bit late for that.”

 

Ha … I told her I was kidding anyway. Not a smile in the least. Just curious … Is there a five-second rule for reclaiming one’s easy chair foot lounger?

 

Bux #2 … This one is on the coolest street in town, the college drag – Ninth. Interesting, there are three coffee shops on Ninth, all within three blocks. (More on that later …)

 

The drinks behind Starbucks door #2 are typically excellent. One good thing about a chain, they do duplicate some near-perfection. in every location But … but … the Wi-Fi at Starbucks #2 leaves something to be desired. Tweets tended to twit, e-mails were snails, and I could barely ping any-ting.

 

 

Great people watching, especially when the moms were in town to go all-vogue during Greek Week with they dottas. But, in this Bux, the easy chairs are in front of the cash register! Do I look like I sat on the front row in school? – room for improvement, 3 pings. You are a huge mega-chain. Get the Wi-Fi right!

 

Brandon at Kaldi’s

 

Just down the street from Bux #2 is a local favorite – Kaldi’s. (Actually, numerous locations in St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia …) We heart it too.

Kaldi’s

Great place to study, apparently, because the more than abundant, tightly placed tiny tables are always full, with laptops aplenty. Haven’t tried the food yet, other than a nice berry flavored scone. But, I had a seemingly bottomless pot of Earl Grey on a rainy, cold day. Interesting … hot tea served without a tea cup … but rather in a glass more suited for a scotch on the rocks. Hmmm … but it was the Wi-Fi that let me down at Kaldi’s. I mean it is a great icebreaker when you can legitimately ask the co-ed next to you if they too were just kicked off the Wi-Fi. But you can only ask that once or twice on the same evening. I looked around the room and read the faces of several laptop types. We were not amused.

 

 

Like contestant #2 above, there was trouble brewing on the Wi-Fi at Kaldi’s. But the place has enough entrepreneurial charm to compensate … somewhat – 4 pings. Kaldi’s, you cool. Get the Wi-Fi fixed.

 

 

What happened to Bux #3? Well, I’ll tell you. When I had the Garmin GPS land me at that one, I though my Ford Explorer had been repurposed to search for Flight 370. We passed Tiger Stadium — The Zoo … zoomed on by the Kappa Delta house … passed a student union building of some sort …caught a glimpse of the clock tower and the dome near The Quadrangle, and a few more turns, before we hung a right at the home of the fine southern gentleman Kappa Alpha Order. Then the satellite tracker told me to turn into a side street that looked as if the only traffic was probably the trash dumpster truck. Then I spotted patio umbrellas.

 

What’s this? A Starbucks right in the heart of the Mizzou campus. Well, aren’t we entitled:) But, i noticed something was different, as I parked. The umbrellas were not Starbucks green. They were a yellow, goldenrod shade, as are most things around Mizzou, (even though they call it gold). Cool.

 

Bux #3 was in yet another student union building of sorts — Memorial Union — complete with a huge ballroom like mixer area … a huge study room lined with group tables, couches, circular columns, bars and bar chairs lining the windows … and about two electrical outlets in a 3,000-square-foot hotspot. The actual coffee bar was tucked away in one corner of the space. They made a mean GTFrap too … and the Wi-Fi throughout the space was impeccable. Wireless was also perfect on the (YES smoke free!) patio outside, on one of the first sunny days I had seen in weeks …

 

 

The service at this Bux was not quite as quick, friendly or personable as I have come to expect in my travels of the 50 contiguous. It definitely had that “almost a Starbucks” feel like you get at a hotel Starbucks or an airport kiosk — 5 pings.

 

Starbucks #3 is a great place to see a cross section of doctoral candidates, lab instructors, prospective students touring the campus with their families, and yes … what are often referred to as the “dorm rats” … the campus dwellers … and certain a good representation of the foreign students. Which is cool … but if a little woman from Malaysia mistakes you for Liam Neesom, just smile politely and sign the stankin autograph.

 

As the sun dipped down in the west, and my straw made that slurping sound at the bottom of a frap … Johnny hipster, on campus, continued to practice his best flip-and-roll-the-skateboard-and-land-on-it upright maneuver a hundred yards away from the patio. Ah … college life.

 

Next up … a dreadlocked little joint across the street from Kaldi’s .. We’ll test the Wi-Fi and caffeine at Lakota (love the name) when we resume the Wi-Fi tour of Mizzou …

 

Know what I sayin?