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PHASE II: Awaken Cafe Launches Phase Two of Our Wifi-Free Experiment 

Oakland, CA - It’s been seven months since we went Wifi & Computer-Free four days a week at Awaken Cafe. The feedback has been all over the place: many of you love having a screen-free sanctuary and appreciate that you can often find an empty table. Others, well, hate the idea. 

It’s been an interesting experiment resulting in many fascinating conversations about the role technology plays in our lives. 

We’ve discovered a few things in the process: (1) it really has a positive impact on the atmosphere in the cafe when, instead a seeing people head down in front of their glowing screens, we have a room full of engaged people, alive with conversation; (2) communicating a policy of 3-days-on-4-days-off-no-wifi-no-computer-use to every single person every day is a cumbersome and sizable undertaking for our staff; and (3) many of you would very, very much like to just pull your computer out for just a few moments for just one little task, to reference something in a meeting, or to do some other creative, offline endeavor. 

Which brings us to Phase Two: effective Wednesday, October 14th, we’ll be turning off the wifi at Awaken Cafe all together and going wifi-free 7 days a week. BUT we are no longer going to enforce a computer ban. Said another way, wifi will be off but we’ll no longer be reminding you at the counter “that today is a computer free day” as customers will be permitted to use computers offline at the cafe seven days a week (with the exception of during shows and performances).

PHASE I: In Partnership with Oakland’s Digital Detox, Awaken Cafe is Now Wifi-Free Four Days A Week

Dear Oakland,

Over the last five years in downtown Oakland we have witnessed a huge demand and need for publically available, Free Wifi. And although we never set out to be an internet cafe per se, it has been our pleasure to welcome the laptop generation to use Awaken Cafe and we are grateful for the business that Wifi users have brought to the cafe.

As we round the corner on our third year at our Broadway location, we’ve been doing some navel gazing. Ruminating on our mission to Bring People Together and Launch Movements, we’ve begun to imagine a fourth kind of space. A space where we might come together and connect in a way that sometimes gets neglected: offline, analog to analog, face to face. 

In partnership with our friends at Oakland’s Digital Detox, Awaken Cafe is excited to announce the next phase of our mission: a Wifi-Free space four days a week. On our Wifi-Free days we invite you to come together around the things that have been bringing people together since forever: dear friends, great coffee, a hot cup of tea, local beer, a glass of wine, beautiful art and excellent music free from the ever present, infinite reach of our digital devices.  

“We are incredibly excited to partner with Awaken Cafe as it creates a Wifi-Free space,” said Levi Felix, Founder of Digital Detox, “In a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to connect with a stranger or enjoy a spontaneous encounter (without the distraction of a glowing screen), we are inspired to see what unfurls around the tabletops of Awaken Cafe. We look forward to hosting device-free drinks, phone-free concerts, analog game nights and a speaker series on the topic of Digital Detox at Awaken Cafe this year.”

On February 1, 2015, Awaken Cafe became Wifi-Free Wednesday to Saturday (with Free-Wifi Sunday to Tuesday). On Wifi-Free days we will no longer be broadcasting an open wifi signal and will kindly ask our customers to leave computers and tablets at home or stash them away in bags.

Our hope is that you’ll find yourself enjoying the company of friends new and old, the great food and drinks we serve, a new band, or just seeing what shows up when we allow ourselves to digitally detox for a moment. 

This is a leap of faith for us. Certainly we realize that many people make Awaken Cafe a destination for the sole reason that we provide free wifi. If this idea appeals to you, we invite you to join us at Awaken Cafe on our Wifi-Free days. Your support and your business mean a lot to us. 

Awaken Cafe is a live music venue, Four Barrel coffee shop, craft beer bar, organic eatery and art gallery with the mission to Bring People Together and Launch Movements. Awaken Cafe is located at 1429 Broadway in the heart of downtown Oakland.

Digital Detox is an organization that exists to inspire, empower and educate our collective generation to create more mindful, meaningful and balanced lives, both online and off. Through retreats, parties, a device-free Summer Camp and programming - Digital Detox gives people the permission to pause, reflect and reconnect with what’s most important to them.

For our customers looking for alternative spaces with wifi in Oakland, we recommend our friends at Impact Hub Oakland, Tech Liminal, Farley’s East, Modern Coffee, Actual Cafe, Commonwealth, or the original coworking space, the Oakland Public Library.


Cortt, Owner

Awaken Cafe