Just the write place, DC
July 18, 2008 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Anybody know some nice places to write in downtown DC? My qualifiers are electrical outlets, air-conditioning, metro-accessible, space to spread out, and a view. If I have to pay $10 for food or whatever, that could be worth it.

I work four days a week and a one-day weekend shift with Fridays off. I'd really like to get out of the house on that Friday and write somewhere in the city. I've never had a good experience in a DC coffee shop (I don't like coffee or noise) but I haven't tried them all. I was hoping there was a library or gov. building somewhere ... but with a view and close to the Metro?
posted by metajc to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe Union Station? I'm not positive about the electrical outlets though.

A great view is available at the Rooftop Sky Terrace at the Washington Hotel.
posted by matty at 8:33 AM on July 18, 2008

I'm not sure about the electrical outlets, but I've been enjoying the branch of Firehook inside the National Buildings Museum. It's just sort of chairs and tables in the corner of the main hall, but the main hall there of course is in itself an amazing view. I'd love more ideas myself too, though...
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:39 AM on July 18, 2008

The Library of Congress sounds like it might work for you if you're looking for a place to go during the day. At least some of the reading rooms have electrical outlets available (a section of the main reading room is designated for laptop use). You have to apply for a readers card, but it's a quick process.
posted by Jahaza at 8:48 AM on July 18, 2008

i like the mayorga coffee house in silver spring... i know, it's a coffee house. but it's relatively quiet on a friday and well air conditioned, lots of electrical outlets, free wifi, pay to print, *really* comfortable chairs and couches and lots of other people tryin to do the same thing as you. and the food and coffee is good to boot and all free trade and eco friendly and whatnot.

mayorga's a chain and there's also locations in bethesda and columbia heights but i haven't been to either of those so i can't really say if they're as good but i love the silver spring one.
posted by emmatwofour at 9:01 AM on July 18, 2008

Seconding Library of Congress' Jefferson Reading Room. Amazing surroundings, electrical outlets, and, yeah, air conditioning. There's a pretty low threshold to get a reader's card--just tell them about a research project you're working on. No view, but the interiors aren't bad.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:09 AM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

@matty: The Washington Hotel closed. And I don't think a train station/mall is good for someone who doesn't like noise.

I like Bus Boys & Poets off U Street. It's pretty quiet until the bar crowd rolls in.
posted by meta_eli at 9:19 AM on July 18, 2008

Bus Boys and Poets link

Also, there's Open City in Woodley Park and 14u Cafe (though I don't know how laptop-friendly they are)
posted by meta_eli at 9:29 AM on July 18, 2008

Too bad the Washington Hotel closed, that was probably the kind of thing I was looking for; a chill place with an outdoor view, close to a Metro line.

National Building Museum and Mayorga's sound worth a go.

Jefferson reading room, I've tried but I couldn't get comfortable in there. Went there not knowing anything and it took me forever to get it figured out. Maybe it will be better this time around.

Bus Boys and Poets is always hipster bedlam every time I've been by there. I've never actually been able to get in the door. Maybe it's not so bad during the weekday.

Anything else?
posted by metajc at 9:33 AM on July 18, 2008

Teaism Penn Square has a nice little loft upstairs where a lot of people either bring books or laptops
posted by stratastar at 10:38 AM on July 18, 2008

Maybe I'm stating the obvious here, but branches of the DC public library have wifi. Open Park has information about hotspots around the mall and the Smithsonian libraries have wifi at a few locations, but I'm not sure if you can just casually stroll right in and setup a laptop. Might want to call ahead first.
posted by hoppytoad at 10:50 AM on July 18, 2008

(I should emphasize that there is plenty of noise in the National Buildings Museum, but not nearby constant chatter, or background music, which is what I personally hate. Just the general ambient noise of the museum.)
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 10:57 AM on July 18, 2008

@gwtter: I think ambient chatter in wide-open places is great for writing... I love the National Building Museum just as a place too. The portrait gallery has a pretty nice covered courtyard also.
posted by metajc at 11:30 AM on July 18, 2008


Not downtown, but pretty good.

hard to find a place with a view with all of that included.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:32 AM on July 18, 2008

Teaism Penn Square has a nice little loft upstairs where a lot of people either bring books or laptops

Yeah, you'll get a nice view of my office building across the street. That's about it.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:33 AM on July 18, 2008

Nthing Teaism Penn Quarter. It's one of my favorite places to go and chill in the city, and I think the foods fantastic.

The lower level is incredibly relaxing, with a koi pond, and it is quite cool. There is also no wifi, which in this case might be a benefit, since you don't want distractions. Keep in mind that often groups will have meetups there (such as my own game night group), but even then, it is usually quiet, and I have never had trouble finding space.

It also has the benefit of being close to be the Archives stop (yellow/green) and Chinatown (red/yellow/green). And a quick walk to Federal Triangle (blue/orange).

This is my first Mefi comment.
posted by X-Himy at 11:44 AM on July 18, 2008

I didn't realize the Washington Hotel closed... DRAT!!!

Also, from this thread I'm finding some cool places around town to try out that I haven't been to yet. Thanks!

Although it doesn't meet the 'electrical outlet' requirement - what about one of the bajillion parks around town? Something like McPhereson Square is nice to chill in if it's not to hot outside (so don't go today or this weekend!!) If your battery juice gets low you could always hop into one of the Starbucks on two of the four corners.
posted by matty at 3:31 PM on July 18, 2008

It's a coffee shop, but I was always able to get work done at the Caribou @ L and 17 NW. Lots of seating, strong AC, and a nice clean environment. Also, you can sit there forever with one cup of coffee (or tea, or whatever).

The Mayorga in Columbia Heights is nice, but I never was able to do much work there.
posted by lunasol at 7:41 PM on July 18, 2008

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