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If you’ve been to Filter, the tiny craft coffee place tucked away on 20th Street north of Dupont Circle that’s apparently the best in the city, you probably haven’t been able to find a seat, it’s that full of people tapping away on their laptops. Its new location in Foggy Bottom, scheduled to open in April at 1919 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (but behind the building, on I Street between 19th and 20th), will have—-brace yourself—-no wireless Internet.
Other coffeeshops have started to turn off the WiFi on weekends in order to dissuade the laptopping squatters (UPDATE, Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – Peregrine Coffee’s new 14th Street location has also never had wireless). But Filter’s owner Rasheed Jabr says he’s going cold turkey with the new location, which will be only slightly larger than his current one.
“I would like to have the space for people to come sit, chat, have a cup of coffee whenever they want to, rather than a sea of laptops,” Jabr says, noting that he’s catering more to Foggy Bottom’s international crowd than its students. “I promote conversation and reading because those are good things. I’d rather people walk into my coffeeshop and see that it’s busy because it’s busy, rather that it’s busy because people have been sitting in front of their laptop for three hours.”
Of course, people may still hang around and read textbooks for three hours. But the folks who are attracted to WiFi like a plant is to sunlight will have to find it somewhere else.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery