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Filter Coffeehouse Opens in Foggy Bottom and They Want You to Leave Your Computers at Home

by Prince Of Petworth May 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm 146 Comments

Thanks to all who sent word that Filter’s Foggy Bottom location is now open on I St, NW just east of 20th Street. One reader shares more interesting info from Filter:

“The second Filter location is now open, and they have some new signs (from @rosscott

  • Anonymous

    Huh. How are laptops different from books in this context? How will they enforce it? What about smartphones?

    Seems like a way to alienate customers without actually changing/ improving anything. Also, I feel very sorry for the 19-year-old barista who will have to tell a paying customer to stow the electronics.

    • thoughtfull

      you won’t be asked to stow anything. most of the wi-fi pirates will put away their gear on their own when they see they can’t surf the web. maybe that’ll leave more seat room for the laptop cowboy/girl typing up the next great american novel/screenplay

      • jburka

        I would have thought that too, but it’s certainly not the case at the 14th Street Peregrine, where people monopolize the limited seating with their laptops despite the lack of wifi.

    • People on laptops never leave and they make customers who want to sip and enjoy coffee feel like their in an office. I commend this place for establishing this rule and will frequent this shop if for no other reason. (P.S. Dos Gringos in Mount Pleasant has a similar policy).

  • Love it. Why not? A little variety.

    • Anonymous

      I love it, too. There are plenty of other places to freeload with your laptop and spend hours on Facebook.

      • Bravo!

        Like Judge Judy said – one day young people will be born with enormous flexible thumbs and their mouths will grow shut…

  • Abe


    • Anonymous

      +1, and I’m an athiest!

  • Anon

    I don’t think this is going to last.

    • I give them a month before they cave into the demands of the wifi-leeching hobos.

      • Matt

        What are the hobos going to do? Threaten to stop not buying things?

        • The hobos will leave the restroom even more uninhabitable and steal twice as much toiletpaper.

          • Unhabitable? But who wants to live in a bathroom anyway? ;)

    • Oh yeah?

      Hold your breath please.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks. I will be bringing my phone with mobile hotspot just to annoy the “technology is a fad” group of 40 somthings

    • mike

      the one thing I see with people who do the ‘laptop as performance art’ thing is they have to have a plug-in. yes you can bring your mobile hot spot phone technology, -but what will you do when you can’t find a power outlet to plug in your electronic ego?

      • tinywings

        Ha ha, come on; you’re really forcing the ‘out of touch’ look! There’s been a battery tech revolution since end of the last decade. Mobile computers can last the bulk of a venue’s opening hours on one charge.

        • thoughtfull

          clearly you have not used a macbook air lately. surf the web on that thing and you’ll be lucky to last a few hours.

  • caballero

    Thank you. The more I see people addicted to their devices, the more content I am being a borderline Luddite. Young people today are going to live unhappy and lonely lives (they already are, according to studies I have seen), while us old-timers will be telling stories around the campfire, swapping jokes, and enjoying the company of real people.

    Seriously people……turn off your devices. Smell the grass. Listen to the birds. Feel the breeze. Talk to your neighbor. Live a real life with real people. Your gadgets are to real life what porn is to sex…..not nearly as good as the real thing.

    • +1. Amen.

    • BrennaLM

      Yet they allow books. How are books more social than mobile technology?

      See also: Everything Bad Is Good For You ( How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter) by Steven Johnson. Link goes to an excerpt imagining if books came along after video games -> http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/2005/04/everything_bad_.html

      /Getting off your lawn now.

      • thoughtfull

        you forgot to mention the opening warning before the excerpt explaining that the author’s boosting of video games over books in the excerpt was *satire*.

        reading remains fundamental.

    • I agree with you! I am a young person, a closet Luddite, and I also feel sorry for young people addicted to their devices.

      Technology has so many benefits and makes my life a lot better. But I am so, so thankful that I at least had the change to experience life before smartphones and tablets.

    • Anonymous

      I am certainly no luddite, but when I go into a coffee shop and absolutely everyone is staring at their laptop, I don’t know whether to laugh or wince, it is so lame. I feel like I’m entering a library, not a coffee shop.

    • yeah, maybe. i can’t seem to get to ze frank’s speech about this, but i think it’s here: http://blog.ted.com/2010/10/15/making-real-connections-over-the-web-ze-frank-on-ted-com/ … he makes the point that even though we *look* like we’re glued to a dumb cell phone, we’re actually traveling across country to learn about what ma’s doing today, or reading some Atlantic article about health care reform, or listening to Bach, etc. Your body may look like you’re just a zombie hooked into a phone, but your mind might be doing something else completely.

  • Christina

    I don’t care that this place doesn’t have WiFi, but it annoys me that they couch it in terms of encouraging “interaction” when it really has more to do with wanting to turn over seats faster. Just say you don’t have WiFi and leave the moralizing alone.

    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      exactly. and I appreciate that in order to be profitable they need to turn over seats, but the signs have a negative tone. the signs they used to put out front of the dupont filter also had a snarky negative tone which made me not want to give those people my money (especially when I found out it was $5.50 for an iced mocha. wtf.)

      there needs to be a lot more thought here. the way you get people to be more social isn’t by pontificating. you don’t need a stupid judgmental sign about it. you simply don’t offer wifi, then you lay out the interior in such a way as to encourage people to be social. the sound, light, and furniture can all play a part here. the fact of the matter is that most people need computers to do their jobs, most people with jobs can’t long coffee breaks, and most people who can afford filter coffee have jobs. I’m all for people unplugging, but this seems like weird, judgmental discrimination.

      just don’t offer wifi and leave the holier-than-thou attitude at home.

      • Anonymous


      • Rasheed

        First, I would like to thank Prince of Petworth for always being on top of the DC small business scene, thank you thank you thank you. Second, We have only posted the sign that says Nope, No Wifi. The signs that everyone saw on twitter were all the designs that were submitted, and although humorous and to the point, not all will be posted.

        Thank you all for posting your comments today, we love you all. As for complaining about our price for an Iced Mocha? Here’s how it is: We use single origin chocolate from Peru, milk from Kreider Farms in Lancaster, and our AWESOME espresso from Ceremony… 3 Shots of it. If that isn’t enough to charge 5.50 for it, maybe you’d like us to lose money on our product, enjoy your Iced Mocha’s elsewhere.

        We don’t want to be-little people, and we don’t need to give a valid reason for no wifi or no laptops, but we will be happy to remind and enforce the rule. And no, we won’t be “caving in” after a month or so… ;-)


        • DCPeeps


          I love the idea of no WiFi save the seats for the actual customers! Not some punk student or teleworker who only buys a drip coffee and takes up a whole table for 4 hours. The rest of us wanna come in, grab a cup of coffee and a pastry, read the paper and be out. Buck the trend and the heck with anyone who doesn’t like it. “The Mermaid-logoed” coffee shop and their crappy/burnt tasting coffee is around the corner.

          Can’t wait to try out our shop!

        • Anon

          “enjoy your Iced Mocha’s elsewhere”

          No problem.

          • Anonymous

            agreed. i’ve been to the dupont filter once with a friend. i didn’t order coffee (don’t drink it) and the people behind the counter gave me such attitude about it (not in a friendly way — they were openly hostile and critical when I said I don’t drink coffee) that I’ll never go back.

        • Denizen of Tenallytown


          Thanks for leaving a direct and honest response back to everyone here. I agree you don’t need a reason to ban the use of computers in your own shop. I’ll support your stores because I love your coffee, and don’t feel the need to post to my Facebook account for hours at a time in a public space while ignoring those around me (although the irony is certainly delicious).

        • Petworthian

          I’ve never been to Filter, and was considering trying it out after seeing this post. But, after seeing the (presumably) owner’s snide remarks above, no thanks. Also, $5.50 is too much for an iced mocha.

          • Rukasu

            I smell a junk punching waiting to happen

        • Mikel

          As long as someone doesn’t start talking to me 80dB too loud just to try to tell me how smart or accomplished they are its OK with me for no wifi. I prefer bawdy humor over any holier than thou political hopscotch anyway, “hey look that guy has a flip phone, oh wait, its a goiter”. I look forward to your 5.50 coffee, quit thinking everything has to be free whoever you were and while I’m on the subject- your white coffee rules and love the name, the black coffee thing is so 2008.

        • SS3345

          I never take my laptop to a coffee shop, but i think this policy is pretty dumb. I dont need a business telling me what i can or cant do there, as long as it isnt illegal or bothers other customers. And after seeing this guy’s snark remarks, I certainly don’t plan to give them my money.

        • E&T

          IMHO Filter sets the bar for a proper coffee shop. Aside from the no frills drink your cafe with a small glass of water, Rasheed serves up top notch customer service. I needed a last minute gift (coffee tamper) and Rasheed called his distributor and I had a tamper two days later. I walked from CH to Dupont specifically for a bag of stellar beans (roasted the day before – Sweet Cheeks ROCKS! btw) when I arrived I realized I forgot my wallet. Rasheed told me not worry about it and pay for it the next time I came in. So, in response to those on the fence after his post, chillax. He was being honest and funny. Check Filter out. Damn. Good. Coffee. Cheers!

          • Anonymous

            his brand of “humor” isn’t to everyone’s taste. a shop owner telling people “if you don’t like it, go elsewhere” will certainly get people to go elsewhere.

            as for the “no frills” comment: the few times I’ve been in there, there is a long list of pour over coffees that uses all the buzzwords in the industry. I don’t call a $3.50 cup of joe that you have to wait 5 minutes for “no frills”. I call is pretentious. some people think they can tell the difference, the rest of us know better. but whatever, to each his own.

            obviously they are popular so people like the place, but I’ve gotten a weird vibe from the signs outside, the menu, and the atmosphere there. not my cup o’ tea.

          • Filter fan

            Rasheed is a cool dude and he knows how to run a coffee shop. What some people don’t appreciate is he makes no apologies for running it the right way. Filter isn’t for everyone and Rasheed isn’t interested in competing with Starbucks on a race to the bottom. If you like crap coffee, you have plenty of other options.

    • ET


      I am quite certain this is totally about not wanting wi-fi campers taking up seat for a lot longer than most others. And lets not forget that it costs them to provide that wi-fi so in a business with small margins why waste the cash.

      • Coffee is NOT a small margin business. In fact, it’s one of the highest-margin businesses one can start.

        • Anon

          Cite your source.

    • Marcus Aurelius

      I don’t think it’s necessarily about turning seats over quicker, since they will aparently still allow people to read, write, work, whatever, as long as it’s not done using a laptop. Someone could still camp out there all day nursing one cup of coffee while they are reading or writing.
      But I agree with you that if they don’t want to provide wifi as a matter of principle, they could have just said as much and left it at that, rather than try to couch it as a way of promoting social interaction. Maybe they think a person is more likely to interact with a stranger reading a book or writing with a pen and paper than with someone staring at a laptop. I don’t think that’s true but whatever, it’s their store.

      • Anonymous

        why would they care if people interact? they exist to make money by selling coffee.

        • Marcus Aurelius

          They probably feel that there is a market of coffeehouse fans who are turned off when they walk into a coffeehouse and it looks just like an office for a dot.com company – i.e., it’s full of people just staring at computer screens with headphones on. They figure this market is as if not more lucrative – to the extent any coffeehouse can be lucrative – than the market of people who want to sit in a coffeehouse and stare at their computer for hours.

        • thoughtfull

          they clearly want to differentiate themselves from the other places one could go to buy coffee. it’s called a business strategy. whether it works or not is another question. we’ll see.

    • Well said, Christina.

  • live from Columbia Heights

    will you please leave so someone else can sit down?

  • Anon

    Those objecting to this policy have obviously never been to the Dupont Filter. I absolutely adore the place, but in my 50+ times there, I have only been able to find a seat for my daughter and I one time. All of the seats are always taken for hours by those who are using it as an office. It makes it impossible to just go in and enjoy a beverage.

    • Anonymous

      people who use coffee shops as an office are jerks. the run the coffee shops out of business and annoy everyone else… but I still don’t like the signs. they’re a huge turnoff.

    • Christina

      I have zero complaints about the policy itself — how these people want to run their business is up to them. It’s just that if I park in a seat with a long book I’ll be taking up the same amount of space and I won’t be very “social.” They just want to roll over their seats faster because they believe it’ll help them make more money, not because they’re trying to encourage their customers to be better people.

      • j

        Is it possible you are overthinking this?

        • What gives?

          Yes. I think everyone is overthinking this. It’s just a reminder that we are surrounded by other human beings every day and we spend vastly more time staring into tiny screens and communicating with strangers (like I’m doing right now! ha! irony.) than chatting with the person in the next seat.
          Sure, books don’t really fit this mold, but I look at it a different way: reading a book is so much healthier a mental exercise than tweeting or facebooking about Lady GaGa.
          Whatever. I like it.

    • KK

      Agreed. Seating is also an issue at Flying Fish in Mt. Pleasant, the best coffee shop in the Mt. Pleasant / Columbia Heights area (IMHO…their smooth, chocolate-y brews are eons better than the burnt, bitter Starbucks and Tynan). The omnipresent sea of MacBooks at Filter, Flying Fish, Big Bear, and other coffee shops of their caliber is reminiscent of a college library at finals. While I understand the frustration some may have with a seemingly rigid “no laptop / no Wi-Fi” policy, it’s awkward asking someone if you can sit in the one remaining empty seat that happens to be at their “office” only to be met with a sigh and a reluctant “yes” before they pop their headphones back on.

  • me

    I don’t think this is all about turnover. They say that they allow reading, and they encourage it. I really like this idea.

    • Mikel

      reading but no thinking, there’s too much of that going around

  • indc

    this is a great idea. I recently went to Qualia and found out that once a month they turn off their wifi. It didn’t seem to upset anyone there, lots of people were reading or talking to their friends…and no the world didn’t come to an end.

  • U-St

    Yes, thank god they are doing this. I realize that people like to sit an work in coffee shops, but there reaches a point where it just resembles a library. I have been shushed in the Dupont Filter by people who find conversation in a coffeeshop to be disruptive to their typing.

    • But you can’t work in the library anymore because everybody stinks!

    • Anonymous

      “I have been shushed in the Dupont Filter by people who find conversation in a coffeeshop to be disruptive to their typing.”

      wow! I would have gone apeshit on them.

  • mvt’er

    THANK YOU! Do your homework at home and use your own network!

  • Do people actually work or study when using their laptops at a coffee shop? I’ve always thought of it as nothing more than a way to have a “missed connection”.

  • Anonymous

    What about iBooks!?!

    • anon

      May God have mercy on your soul.

  • Anonymous

    The most ridiculous thing about some of these comments is the overwhelming sense of entitlement that so many people have these days, like having free WiFi and being able to spend hours on your laptop in a coffee shop is somehow a God-given right.

    This is a private business. If you’ve got a problem with it, take your business elsewhere. But I think they’re product is good enough, and there are enough people out there who will actually appreciate this policy, that they’ll do just fine.

  • anonnnnn

    i really like this idea. it always makes me curious when i see people sitting at a coffee shop, one person per table, staring into the brightly lit screen of their laptops, no one interacting. why even bother going to a coffee shop. you want to go into public to isolate? and then they seem really bothered by you if you talk, make noise, sit down next to them. stay at home if you really need to concentrate and don’t want people in your bubble.

    • Christina

      Some people just like to get out of the house every so often, or don’t have the internet in their homes. But I agree that you can’t then get bitchy when people use the coffee shop AS a coffee shop.

      • anon

        No internet at home? So that justifies camping at someone’s business?

  • Anonymouse

    What’s more isolating than reading a book? Using a computer, apparently. Makes no sense.

  • Sorry Filter, but I don’t see how I can stay off my computer when there’s cool stuff to see on Prince of Petworth.

  • Kiki

    Points for the intent, but points deducted for execution.

    Some of my favorite memories of DC were long nights socializing and meeting new people down at Soho (pre-wifi days). Now when you go to a coffee shop, most people really do have their faces in a laptop. I do find books to be pretty different in that I have found people to strike a conversation based on a book somebody has out.

    The messaging could definitely be executed a with a bit more charm and/or humor. The signs work if you actually just remove any references to technology.

    Oh, and yes, coffee shops are great places to study. I have pounded out many a paper or final for grad school in a coffee shop. It’s a great escape from being couped-up at home. If you choose to, be courteous to the business and keep buying things.


    • j

      Yikes. Settle down Beavis.

    • Also from Eckington

      I would be at your “no sweaty people/no kids” coffee shop every day. Open one. You could even make it “no computers” as well and it wouldnt bother me. Also, blaring really bad music so loudly no one can speak is also a huge turn off.

      Basically, do everything opposite of Big Bear and open it in Eckington. You’ll have at least one regular customer.

      • RLeary

        Or you could open a coffee shop that bans the peter-pan 20-30 somethings that left the burbs and believe the city was created for them as a place where they don’t have to see families, you know- the cliched kid loathing forever children, self-loathing yuppies who don’t want to be around other humans at any other stages of development aside from the grad-school years. Open a coffee shop that bans them and save us all from having to hear their triffling bitching.

        • KenyonDweller

          Love it.

        • Also from Eckington

          I dont hate all kids. I hate the kids that were popped out by parents like you.

        • Anonymous

          We don’t hate kids; we hate parents. You know, the cliché of those people so embittered by raising their spawn that they take refuge in their responsibility completely denigrating those who choose a different path and who do not feel the need to impose their genetic issue on the world in a sad and ultimately disappointed attempt to give meaning to an otherwise pointless existence. Having children does not define one as a responsible, functioning and contributing member of society. Nor is every establishment in society an appropriate place to bring children.

          • P.

            “we hate parents” ah… I bet you were a charmer as a child. Just because your parents so mistakingly released their genetic issue into the world, doesn’t mean you can just flaunt it around like that.

          • Anonymous

            Your use of “flaunt” gives you away yet you try to couch your jealousy in smug superiority. Whatever. I, however, have no obligation to like or think children are just the most precious. Or parents for that matter. It does not make me a bad or immature person. I am very well adjusted to my choice to remain childfree. Don’t lash at because you are unhappy with the choices you have made.

          • anon

            There are definitely too many parents these days who think it’s appropriate to let their kids run wild in restaurants, coffee shops, etc., and who think that anyone who objects is some kind of miserable party pooper.

            Selfishness exists among all people, from the parents who let their kids run amok to the dog owners who inappropriately let their dogs off leash to single people who have loud parties and annoy their neighbors.

            Be nice to other people, try not to inconvenience them, and have some consideration for other people’s points of view.

          • P.

            Jealous? Man, I don’t even have kids, what the hell are you talking about? Do you honestly go through life thinking that all parents are jealous of child-free people? You really think that? Like kids were something they were forced to have? Wow. I was not referring to you flaunting your child-free life (who gives a shit if you reproduce or not? No one wants you to), I was referring to the fact that you flaunt that you are an arrogant delicate person who hates parents, and is probably really bothered by all sorts of things.

            I hope to someday have the good fortune (and means) to have children, so yes I like kids, and I don’t go around seeking out places where I am only exposed to my own age group. It’s not the job of the parents of the world to shield your delicate sensibilities from young people and the sounds they make. It’s your job not to be so maladjusted.

            If I were to make a completely stupid blanket assumption about you, it would be that your parents did us all a disservice by raising you in an environment in which kids and adults were so separated (I would assume the US suburbs), it gave you some complex about keeping your “adult” spaces free of noise and play. I was lucky enough to be raised in this city, in which my parents took me to hear music with their adult friends, and other kids, before anyone cared.

            Here’s the thing you probably need to know- no one wants you to reproduce or “not mind” their kids, they just don’t give a shit about all the things that bother you.

          • Anonymous

            Yes, it is the job of parents the world over to teach and make sure their children behave appropriately in public, and play to their hearts’ content at home or school or the playground or any number of places designed for such. My parents did raise me that I was not the center of the universe and to be respectful of my surroundings and the people in it. This does not make me delicate or have a complex. It is the basic underlying structure of civil society: manners.

            I don’t actually hate parents but was in fact making a flip response to the excessive comment regarding self-loathing yuppies. Perhaps it is arrogance on my part, though I’m not particularly bothered by it, to believe that parents and potential parents should parent and to accept the fact that until children can not make a nuisance (and by this I mean excessive undisciplinedness and not just child’s exuberance) of themselves they should not be put in situation where it will be an issue. It is unfair to the child and unfair to others.

          • Um…

            HOLY TANGENT BATMAN!!!

    • Anonymous

      Hilarious! I love it!

    • lol

      So basically, a bar with coffee instead of alcohol. I’m so in.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome. I hope it works as a business model.

    • Matt

      If you recall, this was THE business model of a coffeeshop about 10+ years ago.

      • Marcus Aurelius

        True. But 10 years ago the business model for books, newspapers, and magazines – the things people will be reading in this shop – was print editions. Now it’s at least half if not more electronic. Is there a functional difference between the person who plops down at a seat in a coffeehouse and unfolds the Times and the person who plops down in a seat, pulls out his laptop, and accesses the online version of the Times? Both of them are reading. This is probably more about the cost of providing “free” wifi than encouraging social interaction. But it’s their store and they can do whatever they want.

        • There is a different dynamic when people are reading actual books, papers & magazines – much more opportunity for interaction – at communal tables anyway. Of course you can sit in an armchair away by yourself with your book at Tryst when you just really want to read, but the communal table in pre-laptop days was usually full of people who brought something to read or write – perhaps some interesting books they bought at Idle Times – but were always open to conversation.

          It is much more acceptable to glance at the title of a book, make eye contact and initiate a conversation when the reader puts the book down to eat his muffin than to lean over someone’s shoulder and spy on their screen.

          I don’t see how the suggestion to “take a break” and “emails can wait” can be seen as preachy or “moralizing!” I do agree that the interior of the space will be the critical factor.

          • Mikel

            I loved the long sticks that they used to set the newspapers in, it had a rubber band at the end to hold it all together- I miss those attack weapons. Be good to use on some of the nastier posters here.

  • Matt


  • dcredhead

    That’s basically like saying no sitting. Why would I sit inside the coffee shop if not to do work? Otherwise I take my coffee to go.

    • anonnnnn

      you really can’t think of another reason to go sit in a coffee shop? what about engaging with other people, bring a friend and chat, people watch, read a book or mag, write in a journal. i love people watching.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t want people to strike up conversations with me when I’m in a coffee shop. I like to sit quietly, drink my coffee, read the paper… or converse with the people I went there with. If they want this to be come some kind of meat market coffee shop where weirdoes bother each other, more power to them, but I ain’t going.

        • Meat Market Coffee = yet another lost business opportunity. They should serve small plates, American tapas, sponsor speed dating nights, and they’d have a license to print money.

  • Anonymous

    this is problematic because it’s unclear whether they are banning computers or not. if they are, they need a sign with less attitude and a real reason to do so.

    why not just have a sign that says, “if you’ve been here for over an hour and people would like to sit, please give up your seat”? not a sign that says, “here’s how to be a better person according to us because apparently you’re too stupid and miserable to figure it out yourself”.

    if they wanted to start a chain of coffee shops that are “social” coffee shops or whatever, they should hire a branding person that knows what they’re doing. I have zero problem with not offering wifi, but this leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.

  • Southwest

    Those claiming that books are as isolating as computers are forgetting that books can be a great icebreaker to say “Hi” to your neighbor, ask or notice what their reading and be social, as the sign suggests. Someone with headphones in while on their Macbook is not inviting the same.

    This business model is a reminder that you’re a member of society and it’s okay to converse with your fellow human, in person. Cheers to them.

    • Anonymous

      I wasn’t raise by wolves. I don’t need them to give me tips on socializing with my kind.

      • Bloomingdude

        Actually, if you had been raised by wolves, you would’ve received tips (mainly growls, licking and some bites) by your kind to teach you how to be social.

  • i love this. also, i think reading a book or a magazine is more social than typing on a computer. Because other people can see what you’re reading. and they might start a conversation with you about it.

    • True. A lot less creepy than peeking over someone’s shoulder to see what they’re looking at on their computer screen.

    • watts

      unless you are reading “50 shades of grey”…please get an e-reader for that! i am so not comfortable sitting next to ladies on metro reading that book! and i’m a lady!

  • What’s the policy on Kindles, I wonder?

    • anonnnnn

      well since it just says no wifi, or no laptops, i’d think a kindle would be allowed. you don’t need wifi for that right? and it’s really just a digitized book…

  • RV

    I have nothing against this “concept,” but I do find it downright stupid to try it in Foggy Bottom, an area with such a high concentration of students and workers.

  • Petworther

    The only thing I hate worse than people on their laptops and cell phones in a coffee shop is businesses that try and micromanage their customers’ behavior (see: Dos Gringos).

    • Petworther

      Just kidding. I don’t care if people use laptops and cell phones in coffee shops.

      • Anon

        So clever!

        • Anon

          Just kidding.

  • i have mixed feelings on this, for sure. on one hand i definitely agree that people are too ‘plugged in’ or whatever. i would, however, kind of rather see someone on a laptop than on a smart phone though. smart phones are pacifiers for adults; it’s super obnoxious.
    but i also have benefited greatly from working at coffee shops while in grad school. and honestly i made some friends that way or at least became friendly with folks – sharing tables, etc.
    buuut, i do like this idea of wi-fi free. it has its appeal, although the execution definitely comes off as a little condescending.

  • I gotta agree with:

    “I don’t care that this place doesn’t have WiFi, but it annoys me that they couch it in terms of encouraging ‘interaction’ when it really has more to do with wanting to turn over seats faster. Just say you don’t have WiFi and leave the moralizing alone.”


    “Points for the intent, but points deducted for execution.”


    • imonaboat

      Only if you don’t buy any coffee.

    • Put. The chips. Down. Backgammon is for closers.

      • live from Columbia Heights

        The beans are weak!

  • I can see how they’d want to free up seats so they can get more customers through the door, but they shouldn’t frame it as “we just want everyone to be social!” That seems kinda dumb.

    The Star Tribune had an article about this lately -> http://www.startribune.com/printarticle/?id=147017085 . With many new jobs allowing folks to be mobile, it seems that coffee shops should welcome these new customers. I mean, I used to buy a ton of food and refills when I used to study for different things. There should be a rule for everyone who’s not buying things and taking up space, so the folks who use coffee shops to get work done will have places to go :/

  • imonaboat

    I get what Filter is going for, but the signs are a little cranky and judgmental for my taste.

    • Anonymous


      They should have opened up a bar if they want people to be social.

      • Anon

        Socializing = alcohol? Very telling.

    • Anonymous

      The signs are my favorite part.

  • Denizen of Tenallytown

    Here’s a WSJ article from 2009 about coffee shops in the NYC area pulling the plug on laptops:


    Last two paragraphs:

    At Café Grumpy in Chelsea, Ty-Lör Boring, a 32-year-old chef, says he often uses his laptop at coffee shops, but loves it when there are none around because, then, people talk to one another.

    “You can isolate yourself behind a laptop,” he says, “but look at this place: Almost everyone is having a conversation.”

  • Christina

    I may just be a misanthrope, but I can’t remember the last time I had a really good conversation with a stranger who commented on a book I was reading. Usually they have not read the book and they want me to give them a full synopsis (“um, I’m only 20 pages in,”) or they have read the book and come really close to spoiling it for me, or they interrupt me at a good part when I’m really engrossed in the story; or they have some kind of comment to make about my choice of genre.

    Or its just a guy trying awkwardly to chat me up.

    But maybe Filter will be different in some fundamental way. Good luck to them!

    • hahaha! I love this. so true.

    • I agree completely.
      the ques: “is that a good book?” I am always tempted to say “no, it sucks. I only read crap books.” I don’t know why people think its ok to interrupt someone who is reading a book, just to make small talk or whatever.

    • Ed

      Go to Filter in Dupont. There is a friendly customer there almost every day who strikes up conversations with strangers every time I see him. He’s like a greeter at Wal-Mart except he doesn’t work for the store.

      • Anon

        The leotard guy?!?

  • Katie

    Love this. They make great coffee and are encouraging community. I hope their next FILTER is near 14th st.

    • +1

      Peregrine is really good, but I think Filter has the best coffee in DC. And I don’t own a laptop, so I won’t be bothered by their new rules :)

  • Anonymous

    Letting people park in a seat all day is not how you make money so I’m not sure how anyone can fault Filter for this. Get a cup of coffee and read or chat for 30 minutes, then move on. It’s a coffee-shop, not a public library. This is why I love Filter – the coffee is great and the baristas do a fantastic job.

    • Anonymous

      I think that’s everyone’s point. Nobody has a problem with them trying to keep their business afloat and not offering wifi, some people just don’t like the attitude with which they are doing that.

    • Mikel

      some of their baristas are super sexy too- something hot about the way they work that coffee into the foam, mmmmmmmmm

  • My god, this is the single most important issue ever.

    I don’t care about this sign, about people using laptops or not, and about high prices in coffee shops. I am so out of touch apparently.

    • Anonymous

      No, clearly, you’re just too important, busy, and cool. But wait, you just commented here…

  • bcbwdc

    Don’t like the rules? Go somewhere else.

  • anonymous

    I’m a local business owner and I agree with Rasheed. If you don’t like the business I’ve opened feel free to go somewhere else. DC is a big place with lots of options and folks vote with their feet. I opened my businesses because I thought they were a good idea and it was my life-gamble to take on wether or not others would enjoy my hard efforts as well. To those who post negatively on here about Filter’s rules (or any other establishments) I would love for you to go through the process of opening and running your own business. Feel free to quit your cushy air-conditioned job that someone else had the balls to create. Give up your health insurance, cash in your 401K and toss your degree in the toilet. Strap up your work boots and overhaul a dump that you fought tooth and nail with some dick-head business broker to get a fair price on and then enjoy the permitting process and DCRA (plus whatever god awful DC GOV agency you have to beg and plead with). Then there are a 1000 other steps from ordering supplies to hiring (honest) staff, printing, advertising, trash contracts, delivery schedules, utilities, BSing with the local ANC. You think running your 1 bedroom condo is difficult… …. the list keeps going and going… and after all of the work my partners and I have done you don’t like the rules set forth in OUR businesses PLEASE go somewhere else because plenty of people love what we’ve created for them and they’ll be back tomorrow and I thank them every damn time I seem them because they’re awesome.

    I’m going to go out of my way to frequent this Filter and not only am I going to pay $5.50 of what sounds like a tasty and amazing beverage afterwards I’ll drop a buck or two for a tip, say “please & thank you” and do it all the while with a smile on my face because that’s how I fucking roll.

    • aaaaaa

      good lord man, i think it’s reasonable to say “although i don’t want to open my own pizza place/drug store/etc, i think that this particular pizza place/drug store/etc should change because of x.”

      people can disagree about “x” and argue about it, but it makes no sense to respond with “WELL GO OPEN YOUR OWN PLACE!” that doesn’t actually respond to what folks are saying so it’s pretty unpersuasive.

  • U St Neighbor

    I like this a lot. There are coffee shop I go to for coffe and study, and there ones that I like to go to for coffee with friends. This will be great for the latter!

  • Bibliobella

    I was, and still am very interested in Filter. Not only because they use Ceremony Roasters (the roaster wins Brewers Cup awards, and is in Maryland), but they add interesting roasts to their product line. For instance, I recently tried Colombia Cerro Azul Geisha, and it was delightful!

    I was reading last Friday in the upper floor space. Similar to how I view many cafes opened during the work week only, this place is a stopping place and restarting place e.g., a great place to split the workday or end the work week, and start the weekend. I consider it a place of rejuventation before I go on my way making headlines in my own mind.

    Good luck to them: they have a loyal fan base to start :)

  • Novatnik

    All it takes is one arrogant lawyer to go ballistic because he can’t open his laptop and do whatever. And, knowing the group dynamics in this city, he won’t get shouted down and hooted out by the other customers, they’ll just bury their nose in their books and pretend it’s not happening.


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