Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where to Work

For some reason, I have always been more successful at getting work done outside of my apartment than in it.  By venturing out, I have more incentive to limit the amount of time I waste staring off into space or surfing the Internet for things like how to fishtail braid hair because I just want to get back to a place where I can walk around in mismatched pajamas and no one will judge me.

As I sit here, procrastinating on a super uninteresting final paper, I thought it might be helpful to pull together a list of places that make doing work just a little less painful.  

The library

Before you roll your eyes and let out a loud duh, I want to add that I included this because I think a lot of folks, myself included, tend to underutilize D.C.’s libraries.  Part of the reason is because there are a plethora of options that offer more festive environments, like cafes that entice with snacks and coffee- or wine, whatever, I’m not judging- which makes the work process a lot less painful.  But the library is really the place to go when you need to get down to business, and the recently renovated libraries like the ones in Petworth and Tenleytown are surprisingly bright and inviting.  I like the library for times I require silence, like when trying to cram information into my brain prior to an exam, but usually choose one of the options below for tasks like paper writing or research.


All the cool kids go to Tryst in Adams Morgan, which is on the opposite end of the spectrum as the library.  It’s open late and it’s loud and it’s funky.  Sorry, I just channeled my grandfather for a second.  The problem with Tryst is that it is always hard to get a good seat.  There is a never a time of day when Tryst is sparsely populated, but then again, that’s part of its appeal.  But don’t worry, I have a good backup option for you should you arrive to a sea of hipster paper-writers with nary a spot to spare.


Less than a block away from Tryst, Snap is a nice medium between the aforementioned hot spot  and the library.  It stays fairly quiet, there's Wi-Fi, I’ve never had trouble getting a table, and there are plentiful outlets.  Plus, crepes and bubble tea!  Any place that heavily features Nutella on the menu can do no wrong by me.    

Whole Foods

I could write odes upon odes to the Whole Foods prepared food bar, but I will spare you.  So when I realized recently that Whole Foods has Wi-Fi, I decided I’d make it my go-to spot from then on.  However, that dream was shattered when I learned they kick you off their Internet after you’ve been on for two hours.  How rude.  Therefore, Whole Foods is best for those times when you plan to really half-ass your stuff and get it done in under two hours.  

The Portrait Gallery

The Portrait Gallery in Chinatown has a really lovely indoor courtyard that offers Wi-Fi, ample space for work, and a cafe.  It’s bright and airy and just the right noise level.  

The downside is, being a museum, it closes at 6:30 pm.  If it didn’t, this would probably be my number one recommendation.  

Panera, Cosi, Au Bon Pain, Starbucks

These are all essentially the same place.  You can count on them for Wi-Fi, quick food, and a variety of coffee drinks.  There’s at least one on every block, they’re reliable and convenient, and they have varying degrees of ambiance.  Be warned, though, that like Whole Foods, certain locations have two hour limits.  Jerks!  What, I can’t nurse my $2.00 coffee and take up your table space for five hours?  Okay, that actually seems fair.     

Baked and Wired

I added this because going to Baked and Wired in Georgetown is a great excuse for shoving an over-sized and delicious cupcake into your mouth.  But the space there is very limited, so I’d only recommend going here to camp out if you have a backup option in mind.  

Anyone have any other recommendations for good places to work?  Share them below!   

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