Dear PoP – good meeting spaces?

Photo by PoPville flickr user lmno.p

“Dear PoP,

My volunteer group has been struggling to find a good meeting space for our monthly meetings. Our group promotes volunteering by creating a fun and social atmosphere, but our meetings may have to move to a library in order to accommodate the group…ugh! We’re trying to find a place that’s quiet enough that we can hold a meeting, with food (and preferably beverages!) either available to order, or somewhere that allows us to bring food into, that can accommodate 15 or so people, that is metro accessible and somewhat centrally located between DC/VA/MD (we’ve been trying to stick to gallery place/metro center/penn quarter area). And again, we’re a non-profit volunteer group with limited funds so we try to keep it fairly cheap. Anyone have any suggestions? We’ve tried places like Teaism (surprisingly loud on a week night), Cosi (crappy food/service), Laughing Man Tavern (unsurprisingly loud).”

Hmm, I was gonna recommend one of the new libraries! But obviously no food or drink could be a downer.

How about Union Station? Or the pavilion at the National Portrait Gallery? Where would you guys suggest?

21 Comment

  • I second the emotion on the Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum Courtyard: the concession stand stays open until close (sells beer and wine, though not cheaply), it’s cavernous, it’s central, and you should be able to stake out a little corner to meet that doesn’t really bother anybody. Plus, after the meeting, you can just move on to any of a dozen bars within the space of 2 blocks. Just have to make sure you’re not scheduled against some bigger event there and can finish up before 7, when it closes.

  • A metro station is ideal.

    Gallery Place or Metro Center.

  • Bloombars can be rented out for a decent price if you are a non profit, and you can have the whole place to yourselves. There is a food place next door (el rinconcito).

  • maybe go in to Irish Channel or Full Kee in Chinatown.

  • Basement area at the Dupont Circle Panera Bread.

  • If they can handle the trip across the water, why not Artisphere in Rosslyn? It has a huge open space and is open weekdays, weekends and (relatively) late nights. They’re opening a restaurant soon as well.

  • Have you asked one of the local colleges or universities? GWU sounds like it would be a convenient location. They may or may not make them available to non-profit groups, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

    Apparently, you can also reserve Brooks Mansion. It’s not as centrally located, but it is fairly rad and located directly on top of the Brookland Metro. No booze, though I suppose you can always go across the street and rip a few back at Colonel Brooks’ as your meeting postpones.

  • Depending on the time of day, the National Building Museum might work.

    I just went to something in the back room of RFD, which seems like it could be perfect. I don’t know how much it costs.

    And the True Reformer building near U St. is good–they waive the room rental cost for nonprofit, but there might be cleanup fees if you bring food in.

    • Agree with the National Building Museum atrium suggestion. There’s a Firehook bakery in the atrium and a fair amount of seating. It’s a pretty spectacular space, too.

  • center from green urbanism

    rfd has a meeting room
    i rented it once for a function and it was very inexpensive.

    the sumner school is free, but you gotta book it far in advance, usually.

  • Why does using a library meeting room = ugh? It’s free and many libraries *do* allow food and beverages these days. I’m not sure about D.C.’s libraries (and I couldn’t find anything on their website), but I do know that PG County’s public libraries allow drinks and snacks in their meeting rooms.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I agree, I’ve been in very nice library meeting rooms in other cities that allow food. Call them up and ask.

    • Farragut

      I agree with Anonymous–I don’t know why libraries are out. DC Library has meeting rooms available (see: ) and they do allow food & drink (see: ) with library permission.

      I don’t know about all the libraries, but obviously MLK Library is very convenient to Metro Center & Gallery Place. Another library that is superclose to a Metro station is Tenley-Friendship, literally across the street from the Tenleytown stop.

  • Try area churches. Like St. Stephen & the Incarnation, in Columbia Heights, which seems to be very generous to community groups.

  • The new Tynan Coffee & Tea in NoMA has plenty of space, and it’s *empty* in the evenings. Of course, they have food and coffee, but more importantly, they also have beer and wine.

    1st & M NE, on the same block as the NY Ave Metro and just a couple blocks from the 90-series buses.

  • There’s a building on Columbia and 17th that’s in Adams Morgan called the Festival Center (servant leadership school meets there) and they rent out conference rooms. A bunch of non-profits rent offices in the building and they rent conference rooms for cheap, especially for non-profits or volunteer groups. They also have a full service kitchen for use and a sweet rooftop deck for summertime. It’s not in your preferred area but it’s a great spot for cheap. Accessible from Woodley Park Metro and Columbia Heights metro.

  • There are lots of restaurants in the Dupont Circle area that would welcome you into one of their private rooms, usually for free if you’ll be ordering food & drinks! Try Scion on P Street, Dupont Cafe at the Hotel Dupont, upstairs at French Bistro or downstairs at Black Fox Lounge (both in the 1700 block). Or, James Hobans at 1 Dupont has a private room, as does Darlington House on 20th Street.

  • I agree with above… There are many restaurants that would give you private space if you are ordering dinner/apps as a group at no charge.

    We were at Carmines in Penn Quarter a few months ago and they seemed to have all these different panels where they close off to make private rooms.

    Another option might be busboys and poets at the 5th and K location– They have plenty of space (perhaps upstairs or back room).

    Non-Food related, you could always try the lobby of the convention center… It would probably totally depend on the what is going on that day.

    There are tons of condo/apt buildings that have common rooms and/or rooftop areas in the building that are free to residents so I would ask around in your group.

  • The downstairs room at PJ Clarkes (16th and K NW) also known as ‘Sidecar’ is a perfect location for meetings. Quiet, confined, quaint, and the food is awesome!!

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