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Spending Twenty Minutes at the Dupont Circle Starbucks

D.C. is filled with architecturally interesting public spaces. To get an idea of how people are using these spaces, Curbed writers are spending twenty minutes in a given location and taking note. Want to nominate a place for this series? Hit up our tipline. In fact, today's spot comes from a tipline recommendation. Here's what happened between 5:20-5:40 p.m. today at the Dupont Circle Starbucks.

5:21 p.m. - People are actually sitting outside. Five of them in fact. They're all close to the window and the umbrellas are down, but I wonder how many months it's been since anyone willingly sat outside.
5:23 p.m. - While looking up at the large overhang over the 19th Street doorway, I feel a crunch under my feet. It's not a used Starbucks cup (although there's one of those at an outdoor table with ice still inside). Rather, it appears to be a flattened, dirty and empty gallon container. Nice.

5:24 p.m. - There is always at least one loud person in a Starbucks at any given time. At this one, it's the two women conversing by the 19th street window very loudly in a language I can't identify. Not even the gentlemen on phone calls are as loud.
5:25 p.m. - There's an enclave filled with tables and chairs that from the outside, looks like it juts out from the rest of the building. All the seats in that enclave are full minus the one next to me with a handicapped sign on the table. I consider sitting down.
5:26 p.m. - Someone immediately slides behind me and takes that open seat. Never mind, then.
5:27 p.m. - Most people appear to be on laptops and one young man in a polo shirt at a table just stares straight ahead at the bar for no discernible reason. He has a drink. However, the most intriguing people are the middle aged couple who have not looked at each other yet since I walked in. Both are very absorbed in their phones.
5:28 p.m. - The guy behind the bar hums along cheerily to the downtempo whiny adult contemporary pop. So basically, I'm in a Starbucks.
5:29 p.m. - Everything in here looks dark. The stairways are a combination of wooden beams and dark beams. The panels are all made of dark wood and so are the shelves holding proprietary coffee cups. Most of the photos above the bar are black and white (there's one shot that has red berries) but all are either of the first Starbucks or of parts of the coffee growing process.

5:30 p.m. - Upstairs it's calmer and less crowded. There are more people with laptops up here but also more open space. Along the 19th Street side, the window is lined with a cushioned bench. Whereas there were mostly black and white photos of coffee making process or the first Starbucks, up here there are photos of Dupont Circle. I can see soldiers at the fountain, the street name and an aerial view of the neighborhood. It's not terribly clear how old these photos are. They could well be from 2006.
5:34 p.m. - I sit down on the cushioned bench next to the woman who gives me the less intense eye contact when it becomes clear that I'd like to sit down. There's easily an arm length between the two of us.
5:37 p.m. - A lot is visible from up here. The orange neon ShopHouse sign shines through the window and the flames at Cafe Dupont burn behind me on their patio. There's a steady stream of cars on the circle.
5:39 p.m. - A gentleman with a bike helmet on walks out holding his drink. Does he have a cupholder on his bike?
5:40 p.m. - I'm suddenly hungry. While there are a few people at the long table by the stairs without drinks and a guy in a red armchair with solely a book, everyone else on computers is nursing a beverage and the woman next to me has a sandwich. Then again, that may be the point.