Saturday, September 30, 2006

Wi-fi Watering Holes: Interactive Cafe

This cafe (where I am sitting as I post this) is one of the most stylish and attractive wi-fi watering holes I've seen. On Broadway in Santa Monica, a block from the Third Street Promenade and a couple blocks from the beach, this former art gallery features an alfresco patio, round tables with chairs adorned with wrought iron grapes, some large half-oval pleather booths, cases of baked goods and ice cream, a row of pc kiosks in the back, and lots of art -- including an architectual-looking installation on the black ceiling, a gigantic tiffany-style vase, and a Pollack-looking painting that seems to stretch 20 feet across the west wall.

You'd expect haute cuisine in such a setting; but the fare consists of simple sandwiches, salads and soups (plus the expected coffee and espresso bar). There are also shelves of international magazines and greeting cards, which leads me to think this is primarily aimed at tourists and travelers. (It's around the corner from one major hotel, and within walking distance of others.)

Something else this WFWH offers that few do: printers. Two of the PC kiosks offer printer access, for a fee (something like $1.00 for each 10 minutes). There are two printers.

One disadvantage is the lack of (evident) electrical outlets around the tables and booths (although there was an extension cord at the seats near the computer kiosks, with multiple plugs). Otherwise, it's a nice location to grab a sandwich and some high-caffeine drink while getting some work done.

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