Modern Times Coffeehouse, located at Politics & Prose Bookstore, closed on February 28th 2015. The bookstore’s owners bought the operation and management rights from Javier Rivas. Modern Times’ staff and menu will remain the same for the immediate future. Service won’t be interrupted.

Modern Times Coffeehouse opened in Politics & Prose in 2006, founded by Washingtonians Javier Rivas, Adam Hasler, and Ryan Wisnor. Before that the Sirius Coffee Company operated the outlet. In 2009, Rivas became sole proprietor. At that time the coffeehouse held a lease with P&P owners Barbara Meade and Carla Cohen.

Under Rivas, Modern Times further developed a ‘third wave’ coffee program. It offered a full food menu prepared in-house. The café also underwent a renovation of its interiors, kitchen and seating area.

In 2011, Meade sold the bookstore to Bradley Graham and Lisa Muscatine. The new owners honored the existing lease through early 2014 and renewed it for one year after that. Rivas will remain a management consultant for the bookstore through 2015.

In the meantime, Rivas will focus on building up La Mano Coffee Bar. Rivas and business partner Anna Petrillo opened the café earlier last year. Petrillo had also previously worked for Modern Times. La Mano is in the Takoma neighborhood of northwest D.C. It specializes in espresso and single origin coffee service. The café also offers baked goods produced in-house.

Rivas says: “For three young dudes, Modern Times was a lesson in opening and operating a coffeehouse. We knew that we were incredibly fortunate to set up business in a space and community that nurtured our creativity and allowed us to make some mistakes and learn from them as we grew. I am eternally grateful to P&P for trusting us and hosting a flourishing business. Nine years later, I’m taking the foundations of the success of Modern Times and applying them to La Mano Coffee Bar. That means dedication to quality ingredients, hiring and training highly motivated staff. With the help of Anna Petrillo, we also want to cultivate community and strong business partnerships in Takoma.”

“La Mano offers exciting new challenges in my professional development. We benefit from the focus and attention to detail necessary to operate in such a tight space. It’s a true testament to the importance of working with a tight crew, and using simple, good ingredients married with elegant, efficient design. Takoma is the perfect place for La Mano and for my family - I can’t think of a better place to raise my daughter.”

For more information, contact: Javier Rivas, javier@lamanocoffee.com


NERDS! 2015

Our first NERDS Trivia of 2015 is upon us. Come on out to play on Jan. 31.

Check out the poster for clues!
As always, sign up in the cafe at 7pm, game starts at 8pm upstairs. Bring your team or find one here! and don't forget the grilled cheese.


From Pen to Print

MTC is proud to host our very own Matthew Scott Davis' From Pen to Print

From Pen To Print is an entirely new series of work from Matthew Scott Davis. With a degree focused on illustration and print production this is the first time he has put together works of art that cover both disciplines. Every piece displayed was first illustrated by hand before being printed. Its his attempt to challenge the limits and detail of what photo emulsion can handle while maintaining a simplicity that silk screening is more commonly known for.

Inspired by pop artists, street artists, writers, poets and the simplicity of childrens book illustrations From Pen to Print is the beginning of what Matthew intends to be a continuing experiment blurring the lines between pen & pencil illustrations and silk screen printing.


November NERDS!

NERDS is coming up, so escape your family or bring them with, but be sure to come get your trivia on!

Join us Saturday, Nov. 29 - sign up at 7pm downstairs, trivia begins at 8pm


Max: Feline Muse (Nov. 3-Dec. 14)

MTC is proud to present its newest show - Max: Feline Muse by Leslie Blackmon.

Be sure to join us Saturday, Nov. 8, 7-9pm for our opening reception!

"In April 2013, I undertook to draw my Tuxedo Cat, Max - thirty ways in thirty days. My intention was to capture max with a variety of different media and techniques. The drawings are necessarily quick and gestural, as Max is not a terribly cooperative model. You may see multiple heads and poses inspired by Max's restless resistance to my artistic efforts. The paintings are re-imaginings of images taken from the drawings.

I wished to top off my series with something bold, and so I painted Les Chats D'Avignon, after Picasso's monumental masterpiece 'Les Demoiselles D'Avignon.' I think this a fitting tribute to my delightful muse."


The NERDS! hiatus has come to an end!

Join us on Saturday for October NERDS! We're back to party!

Sign up in the cafe at 7pm, game starts at 8pm.

Teams are limited to 5 people; grilled cheese special from 7-9pm; and don't forget PRIZES!!!


Dear Friends:

We have some hiring news! We are looking for new baristas to join our team! We are looking for someone with previous café experience, who works well in a fast-paced environment, who can both serve food (pastries, sandwiches, soups) and also make tasty drinks on the espresso machine. Perks of the job include a meal with every shift worked, along with significant discounts in the coffeehouse & bookstore as well as neighboring businesses. If you love coffee as much we do, come join us! Please email Café Manager Matthew Scott Davis: matt.davis@moderntimescoffeehouse.com


The season of change

Just as the leaves start signaling the beginning of fall, there are changes coming to Modern Times Coffeehouse in the upcoming months.  With an infusion of some new faces and a return of some familiar ones (Matthew Davis!), we have already started putting some changes in effect.  Ultimately, you will find your experience to be easier and our menu to reflect our commitment to bringing you quality food and drinks prepared with care.  

Starting October 1st you will find a streamlined menu and an increase in our food and drink prices.  We have not changed our prices in three years; we can no longer continue to absorb the increased cost of our wholesale ingredients, especially produce, dairy and bread - which, when you think about it, comprise fifty percent of our menu. You will see the highest increase reflected in the price of our food items prepared every day on-site, using quality ingredients from vendors with whom we have fostered strong relationships over our 8.5+ years in business.  We promise to continue purchasing the best quality ingredients, sourcing from as many local vendors as possible, and preparing our food in-house.  

We are also committed to helping our employees keep up with the cost of living increase in Washington, D.C.  One of the reasons that you see so many familiar faces in our shop is that we foster an environment where employees feel empowered to bring about change and have say in our policies and offerings.  Our dear city is becoming less affordable for young people in the service industry; a good percentage of the price increase will go toward giving more access and opportunities to thrive in D.C. to our employees.  They do a fantastic job every day and we feel lucky to have them run the shop so well.  

We feel that our new price structure and selections are comparable to similar businesses in the area and to a national standard.  Independent coffee shops are moving toward a simpler menu, leaving behind confusing nomenclature and multiple sizes.  The foundation of our drinks are two very simple ingredients: milk and coffee.  No need to make it more complicated.  We have chosen to eliminate multiple sizes to reflect a commitment to serving delicious, balanced drinks.  Of course, there is always room for personalizations and further variations and your barista will be happy to make drinks that you might not see in our new menu.  

Let me take this opportunity to thank you for supporting the growth of Modern Times Coffeehouse for almost 9 years.  You might have wondered where I have been all this time.  As some of you might know, a year ago, I opened another shop in Takoma, La Mano Coffee Bar, with a friend and former employee of MTC, Anna.  My own family has grown with the addition of my daughter, Nina Inés, six months ago, who I adore and brings joy to my life every day.  With a new business and a brand new life in my hands, I have chosen to not pursue a renewal of our lease with Politics and Prose ending in February 2015.  The coffeehouse at Politics and Prose will continue as such beyond our lease.  Barbara and Carla,  and now Brad and Lissa have been gracious hosts and partners in our growth and, recently, have injected the space with vitality and continue a commitment to our space as a center for community, exploration, and the power of ideas.  I wish them and their wonderful staff luck with their own continued growth.  

Thank you so much!  

Please direct any personal comments or questions to 
javier [at] moderntimescoffeehouse [dot] com  or matt [dot] davis [at] moderntimescoffeehouse [dot] com 



Boat Hulls (Sept. 22-Nov. 2)

MTC is proud to present Boat Hulls: Maritime Abstracts by Frances Borchardt

Be sure to join us for the opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 27, 7-9pm.

"My abstract photographs capture what often goes unseen or unnoticed. Boat Hulls are pictures of the undersides of boats placed on marine jack stands to weather the winter months. They are straight views
paired with detail shots. Otherwise ordinary surfaces are transformed into things of beauty by focusing on color, texture, light and shadow cast on weather-beaten hulls.”

Frances Borchardt worked as a magazine photo editor for more than twenty-five years and attributes her career choice to developing an eye for visual storytelling, design and composition.  A non-traditional photographer, Borchardt's work is often referred to as being “unconventional” or “outside the box". She explores multiple image collage, alternative photographic processes and creates complex black and white images through double exposures. Additional work can be viewed at http://borchardtphotography.com.

To purchase the works, contact the artist directly at feborchardt@aol.com.


Featured Art: Amidst the Tangle - Works on Paper (Aug. 18-Sept. 21)

MTC is proud to present Amidst the Tangle: Works on Paper by Alex L. Porter.

Be sure to join us to celebrate his works on August 23, 7-9pm.

Alex L. Porter’s art depicts landscape elements as icons of all life in order to address the profound experience that the spectacle of nature provides. Rather than presenting the landscape purely as scenery, his images point to our common involvement with these features. The environment that becomes a pastoral backdrop to human life is, itself, undergoing the brutal ritual of living and dying. Seeing and representing this ritual in nature is pertinent to understanding the struggle we all undergo.

The subject of most of the pieces is simply, growth. It emerges from a bleak but fertile void until it becomes an overwhelming force. The process used to create each piece also relates directly to this idea. These drawings are built slowly and delicately, but depict the raw, chaotic elements that command the form of the natural world. Portrayed flatly as black ink silhouettes, but in focused detail, branches and trunks emerge from the lines. No shorthand brushwork or painterly illusion is employed. Every mark is equally attended to on the paper, allowing the viewers’ eye to find or create emphasis as they view the piece.

This style emerged slowly from more traditional landscape drawings and paintings done in a variety of media. This current approach he developed primarily in the interest of ritual over illusion. His images are about forms, about a language of lines rather than a play of light.

Alex is a D.C. area local, and has practiced in drawing and painting from a very young age. His work has always benefited from the combination of a family-life that found him frequently outdoors, and the inspiration of many great art instructors. Alex spent years developing skill in both oil and acrylic painting, but was focused increasingly on watercolor landscapes. After graduating from the Corcoran College of Art + Design he continued in this style of landscape illustration to develop his current body of work.