Modern Times in Washingtonian magazine

Check out the April print issue of Washingtonian magazine. Carolyn Hax from The Washington Post picks Modern Times Coffeehouse as one of the city's "hidden gems". Thank you, Ms. Hax!


etiquette for the coffeehouse as your workplace

The coffeehouse continues growing and the spring winds blow in fresh faces.  You should be outside!  But we understand the appeal (and necessity) of having a space like ours to work from.  We would like to post these common sense rules concerning those working from our, at times, crowded space.  Thanks for remembering that we are a small business functioning also as a community space, serving a varied group of individuals.  We try our best to keep our space welcoming and comfortable to all.

(Found these rules on the mightygirl.com site)

 1. Remember you’re frequenting a business. If the coffee shop isn’t profitable, it closes, leaving you pantsless in front of a Top Chef marathon. You, my friend, are a customer — so rise to the challenge. While you’re working, keep a purchase in front of you, and buy something every hour or so. If you can’t afford that, the library beckons.
2. Don’t bring a picnic. This should go without saying, but you may not bring food or drink to a place that sells things to eat and drink. Not even if you bought a coffee at some point. You can leave and come back if you want, but go eat your PBJ somewhere else.
3. Hang up. The barista is not a vending machine. Put away your cell phone while you’re ordering.
4. Tip well. Tip at least a buck every time you make a purchase. This promotes goodwill and serves as karmic rent. It’s an acknowledgement that you’re using space someone else could fill. Someone who tips.
5. Clean up after yourself. If you spill half the creamer on the counter before you find your cup, wipe it up. Empty sugar packets go in the trash, which is conveniently located inches from your hand. Bus your table between purchases and clear the table before you go. If someone takes your empty glass while you’re still sitting, that’s a forceful hint that it’s time to buy something else or leave.
6. Let the baristas be. If they want to talk to you, they will, and a pleasant conversation may ensue. But if you feel chatty — or god forbid flirtatious — direct those impulses elsewhere. Employees can’t be rude in the face of your attentions, and they can’t exactly leave work to avoid you.
7. Take one chair, and the smallest table available. If that happens to be a large table, offer to share until someone accepts. Don’t wait for others to ask, and don’t cover the table surface with papers in hopes that no one will bother you. As soon as a smaller table opens up, move.
8. Leave chairs free. If the space is busy, your bag goes on the floor, not a nearby chair. That way other people can use the chair without interrupting you. If you’d like someone to clear a laptop bag so you can sit, say, “Excuse me, is someone sitting here?”
9. Don’t bogart bandwidth. No P2P or large file downloads while everyone is sharing a network. Besides, we can all see your porn, and it’s awkward.
10. Respect the owner’s intent. If wi-fi is turned off at certain hours, then your laptop probably isn’t welcome either. Be aware of the cafe’s culture. If everyone around you is reading newspapers, or having quiet chats, this isn’t the place to start coding.
11. Avoid noise pollution. Switch your cell to vibrate, and take calls outside. If that’s not possible, keep conversations brief and quiet. Also, mute the sound on your computer, or wear headphones. Do you have any idea how much time you’re spending on Hulu?
12. Recognize that everyone wants the outlet seat. Unless outlets are plentiful, don’t use one unless you must. Arrive with a charged machine, and consider bringing an extra battery to avoid the whole drama. If you’re sitting at an outlet and you have enough battery to work for an hour or so, offer to share.
13. Don’t tamper with outlets. If an outlet is covered with a plate or tape, are you seriously willing to be the guy who opens it up? Don’t be that guy. What’s more, if there’s a fan, a lamp, or any other electrical device plugged in, you may not unplug it in order to charge your machine.
14. Ask before you pull out a power strip. In some cases it’s fine to bring along a power strip to multiply outlets, in other cases it irritates the owner. It’s more likely to be a good idea at a Starbucks than a mom-and-pop cafe. Another good sign is if the coffee shop has several available outlets, and is clearly set up for laptop use. When in doubt, ask the owner.
15. Once in a while, change your scenery. If you plan to spend an entire nine-to-five workweek in the same space, you might as well get a real job. Perhaps you’d be interested in learning to make a good latte?



Parking Woes 2012

I only had to update a post from June of 2010 to bring you this warning, AGAIN:

A parking enforcement officer visited our parking lot today to inform us that PARKING ON THE GRAVEL/DIRT ABUTTING THE WOODED AREA IS ILLEGAL. I would suggest parking on the paved lot or on 36th St. while we, along with the other businesses on the block, try to appeal this decision since using those spaces has been an accepted practice for several years.

Even though we've dealt with this issue before and our landlord insists that he has an arrangement with the Park Service allowing cars to park in that area, we continue getting visits from the DC Police and Park Police.  I will keep you informed of any developments.


April Art Show: Sharp Shirter

On display at Modern Times through May:

Sharp Shirter is dedicated to creating products that revolve aroundthe relationship between animals and humans. We are intrigued by the way in which humans group animals into different categories. Some we eat, some we protect, some we own, and some we fear. Similarly, animals have a range of intentions when dealing with humans. Some are fearful of us while others love and protect us. Still, others will attack us and view us as a threat to their existence.
We don’t attempt to give answers to any of these relations but rather we are satisfied with questions that we create.


New Shirt Designs Are In!

Here's Alexander and Yoko braving a windy day and a demanding photographer. Don't they look great sporting our new tee-shirts? You would too, I bet. You would have to explain the "treacherous imagery" of the design (drafted beautifully by our friend, Nguyên Khôi Nguyễn) to your jealous friends, but you can figure it out. You are customers of Modern Times Coffeehouse after all.
Available in Gold and Sea Foam Green. X-small to X-large sizes available. Ask your friendly barista.


Easter Sunday Hours.

Modern Times Coffeehouse will be open from 8a - 7p this Sunday 4/8.
Politics and Prose Bookstore will be open from 11a - 7p.


Free Film Screening/Panel: Water Issues in Africa & Bangladesh

Join us on Wed, April 11th at 7:30 for a free film screening and discussion in the coffeehouse. Seating is open but limited to 25.

Meridian Hill Pictures and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting present a selection of new short documentaries on the topic of water and sanitation in Nigeria, Ghana and Bangladesh produced through an innovative collaborative reporting project.

Join two Pulitzer Center grantees — Nigerian journalist Ameto Akpe and award-winning news documentary producer Stephen Sapienza — as they present their short pieces and lead a discussion on their coverage in West Africa. The segments look at issues of inadequate access to safe drinking water in the region and harmful effects resulting in waterborne illness and death. The initiative matched two international journalists with four local journalists to produce the series of reports to be published and broadcast in West African as well as international media outlets. Following the screening, Peter Sawyer of the Pulitzer Center will moderate a discussion with the journalists about their work.