DOUBLE SOY LATTE, PLEASE! Good drinks, wi-fi, ambiance: Choose two

Wired Puppy knows good coffee, but could use some help attracting customers

Wired Puppy

250 Newbury Street

Boston, MA 02116

Travel time from 77 Mass Ave: 10 minutes

Last week, the hard drive in my clunky Dell whirred its final breath. So today, I present you with the first café review written on my shiny new netbook. Its lightweight portability inspired me to kill a flock of birds with one stone, something I couldn’t have done before without getting scoliosis. In one trip, I returned a sweater from Copley Place (buyer’s remorse), bought tortillas at Trader Joe’s (huevos rancheros for brunch tomorrow), and investigated a café I’d never been to on Newbury Street.

This was my fresh-start, optimistic mentality upon stepping into Wired Puppy, an internet café between Gloucester and Fairfield Streets. By the time I left, I had mixed feelings.

Maybe it’s the name: Wired Puppy. The logo features a blue dog strung out on caffeine, but it looks more like it’s been subjected to electric shock therapy. Overall, it doesn’t evoke images of calm study spaces or good coffee. This is both a blessing and a curse, because I counted ten seats inside and nine of them were open. There’s a free computer (a Mac!) that you can use in the back of the shop, and you can send print jobs to the shop next door. Yet even with free wi-fi, people don’t seem to be flocking to the poor old electrocuted canine.

That’s too bad, because their espresso is nicely done, better than anything you’ll find near campus. It’s not too bitter and not too watery. Wired Puppy’s original location in Provincetown made it big by using only organic and fair trade beans, a philosophy upheld in their Boston store. Both the price and the taste reflect this choice: It’s more expensive than Starbucks, but at least your drink won’t taste burnt. A word of warning to foam-haters: Their lattes have quite a thick layer of undecorated froth.

I waited a while for my drink to cool down because it was served in a handle-less mug, similar to the Hug Mug used at Max Brenner in New York City, but definitely less endearing because it was merely a Crate & Barrel rice bowl. I can’t ride my bike with no handlebars, what makes you think I can drink my lattes with no handles?

Excuse my lame joke. It’s just that my ears were assaulted with so many bad songs from years past as I sat in Wired Puppy. I usually try to enjoy the ambience set by a coffee shop’s music, but I can only take so much “bump, bump, bump”-ing from B2K and persistent prodding from P!nk to “get this party started” before I reach for my iPod. According to a sign posted inside, the baristas each choose their own playlist, so perhaps I was just cursed with the one who still thinks it’s 2002.

I can think of a few scenarios that would warrant a return trip to Wired Puppy. Maybe I’ll forget to print out a coupon to a store on Newbury Street. Or all of the other coffee shops will be jam-packed. Or I’ll want to use a clean bathroom while I’m out and about. But other than that, Wired Puppy won’t cut it as my go-to coffee shop in this part of town.

Unless I want to remember how that one song by Ashanti and Ja Rule goes.