In the world of Mad Men the local watering hole was a place of business; men in suits would talk shop, make deals and do business over a Scotch on the rocks. That still happens, to be sure, but today you are more likely to find business meetings at Starbucks, over a non-fat iced latte. Is "meet me for coffee" the way of business in Georgetown?
At Saxbys Coffee you can find college students sipping lattes, tapping away at their laptops and chatting with friends. A barista at the Georgetown Saxbys said the prime retail at the corner of 35th and O streets makes the coffee shop an easy meeting spot. Students come in throughout the day to hold group meetings or to meet with professors. Saxby's offering of sandwiches and snacks makes it a casual alternative to a lunch meeting.
A few blocks away, Peet's Cafe at Marvelous Market caters to local business owners and tourists alike. Lee Greenberg, the general manager, says for many local businesses or residents with flexible work schedules, the coffee shop is part of their routine. Shop owners stop through between 9 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. before opening their stores at 1o:00 a.m., Greenberg explained. Then there are the real estate agents or other locals who work from home, Greenberg said these customers usually stop through ofter a workout, grabbing breakfast and taking advantage of the free wi-fi for a while. "Why stay at home?" Greenberg asked.
Alex Shinko at Baked and Wired on Thomas Jefferson Street said her weekday customers are almost entirely local business people, holding meetings or fueling up during the workday. She has one company that opened a standing account with the shop; they were regulars to begin with, the account just sealed the deal.
Then there's the Starbucks on Wisconsin. The crowd here is definitely more touristy, until you wander upstairs that is. A Starbucks barista said the locals, including students from both Georgetown and George Washington universities, come for the wireless and constant stream of coffee.
I should mention I have a slight bias in reporting this trend—I work from Georgetown coffee shops every day. Maybe I will see you around; we could get coffee and talk business.