Nice free-wifi cafe in DC?
July 20, 2006 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Good cafe in DC to work with laptop, one with free wifi?

I'm staying in DC for 2 weeks, at the corner of K and 12 NW. Any recommendations for a nice cafe within walking distance to sit + work on my laptop for a few hours a day + have coffee, one that offers free wifi? Given the summer heat, decent aircon would be very nice too. I googled and found a few lists of places. Aside from seeing the same list again and again, I didn't see a place close to K & 12 except District Deli which had earned a bad review for being very hot inside. Thanks for any tips.
posted by shortfuse to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know of much downtown, but if you're willing to walk 2 blocks west and take the bus, Sparky's at 1720 14th street is great and has free wifi.
posted by echo0720 at 11:40 AM on July 20, 2006

Tryst in Adam's Morgan, but it can get pretty busy sometimes. Open City in Woodley Park also has free wifi, and while it is not as fun as Trysy, you are more likely to get an open seat during weekends. Both are owned by the same entity. Sorry that neither of these are near K and 12.
posted by Falconetti at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2006

Response by poster: Cool, I'll try Sparky's and Tryst.

I should have also said: Not close to K & 12, but the Circulator bus seems to take me from where I am to Georgetown very easily? Any tips about Georgetown are appreciated too.
posted by shortfuse at 12:06 PM on July 20, 2006

I think busboys and poets on U and 14th is always good. It's free and has great coffee. Also good is Eastern Market.
posted by parmanparman at 12:37 PM on July 20, 2006

Afterwords Cafe is in your area, on 1517 Conn. Avenue, NW. Take the metro to Dupont, or simply walk the distance there yourself. It's in Kramers, an independent bookstore right out the metro. Wifi is available in the cafe itself.
posted by zoomorphic at 12:46 PM on July 20, 2006

Tryst does not have wifi on weekends, go to Coffee and Crumbs on Columbia if you're in that area...
posted by stratastar at 1:28 PM on July 20, 2006

Last I remember, the wifi at Sparky's isn't free (it's a pay-per-use online system), the light is fairly bad, and it's pretty cramped.

Busboys & Poets is good, but my highest recommendation is for Steam, at the corner of 17th & R. It's well lit, well-air conditioned, and almost never full.
posted by kittyprecious at 1:35 PM on July 20, 2006

Tryst does not have wifi on weekends

Is this true? I haven't lived in DC for the last three months, but when I left I was under the impression that they stopped the wifi around 7 or 8pm on the weekends, but during the morning and day it was still on. I know for a fact that wifi was available during the day on a Saturday in May (last time I was there).
posted by Falconetti at 1:45 PM on July 20, 2006

Given the summer heat, decent aircon would be very nice too.

I'd be very surprised if any of the nice cafes in DC don't have air conditioning. It's pretty much a given here.
posted by puffin at 2:02 PM on July 20, 2006

go to murky coffee. there are two locations, one near the clarendon metro station in arlington (10 minute metro away) and one in capitol hill (similar). best coffee shops in the area and great wifi. also, excellent for people-watching but not a noisy-social place. i get lots of work done there.
posted by kneelconqueso at 3:13 PM on July 20, 2006

I second the Murky Coffee suggestion (802.11g), but also keep in mind that much of the arlington corridor between Court House and Clarendon metro stops on the orange line has free wifi (802.11b). You'll see it in your wireless SSID as ArlingtonWireless.
posted by jldindc at 4:59 PM on July 20, 2006

Best answer: Azi's Cafe at 1336 9th St NW is about a 7 block walk. It has sandwiches and coffee. They don't ever seem to be crowded.

Juan Valdez Cafe on E & 7th NW just opened a few months ago and is pretty nice. I really like their coffee. 10 blocks.

Artizen Cafe is at 12th & E NW, about 6 blocks. I've never been there but their website says free wifi.

Warehouse Theater Cafe at 1017 7th St NW is about 6 blocks. I've also never been to this one. I have heard they have free wireless but their website doesn't say anything, so doublecheck.
posted by clarissajoy at 5:26 PM on July 20, 2006

@Falconetti Tryst's wireless was off a saturday afternoon when I was there. Anyways it's way too busy there on weekends to be any good for stuff.

The Dupont Circle area also has free wireless, so sitting in the circle on a nice day is always an option too.
posted by stratastar at 8:07 AM on July 21, 2006

Response by poster: I'm writing from Juan Valdez Cafe on E & 7th NW. Nice coffee, free wifi, strong aircon, spacious, not crowded on a Sunday afternoon, good view of the street intersection for random people watching. Thanks clarissajoy!

I'll mark as best answers all the suggestions that I manage to check out + find to be very nice.

Related: Chowhound thread on best DC coffee.
posted by shortfuse at 1:48 PM on July 23, 2006

Response by poster: Re: Juan Valdez Cafe

Here's a nitpick about the free wifi at JVC: they use Sprint and a Nomadix setup, and on Mac OS X + Safari, it causes a popup-like window to appear, displaying the elapsed time you've been online. Not a big deal - except the window keeps stealing focus every minute as it updates its display. Very annoying if you are typing something in another browser window for extended time, and you keep losing focus.

Just a FY nitpicky I.
posted by shortfuse at 2:58 PM on July 23, 2006

Response by poster: Artizen Cafe at 12th & E NW is closed and has been replaced by a Cafe Bravo. Not sure if it has free wifi, as it's only open 9am-4pm and already closed. It looks like the replacement happened recently: Cafe Bravo's sign is literally plastered over Artizen's own logo on the awning.

I tried to check out Murky Coffee yesterday, but I found myself at the right intersection in the wrong area (NW instead of SE). Silly me.

So far I've been defaulting to Juan Valdez Cafe on 7th & E NW and enjoying it.
posted by shortfuse at 1:40 PM on July 27, 2006

Response by poster: Azi's Cafe at 1336 9th St NW is nice too. Ok coffee, wifi, cheesecake, sorta-weak aircon, neighborhood-cafe feel, small but uncrowded. Plus easy access with the Circulator bus line, just like Juan Valdez Cafe.
posted by shortfuse at 12:42 PM on July 28, 2006

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