GW Study Break: Busboys & Poets

In the heart of D.C.’s historic U Street corridor lies a progressive study break – a coffee shop, bookstore and eatery known as Busboys and Poets. Located on the corner of 14th and V streets, Busboys boasts of its mission to bring together a diverse local crowd to foster social justice and peace.

The shop’s name comes from a story about Langston Hughes, who lived in D.C. during the 1920s while working as a busboy at a local hotel. Nicholas Vachel Lindsay discovered Hughes as the “Negro busboy poet” when Hughes placed some of his pieces on Lindsay’s dinner table.


The shop has a modern flavor with colorful paintings and sculptures surrounding the customers. Because Busboys is meant to ignite social change, it might be hard to get lost in your notes while studying there. The bookstore even has a running count on the lives lost and money spent in the war in Iraq.

How well you’ll study:

There’s plenty of room to stretch your legs and open your mind by the lounge area, where there are a handful of loveseats. Busboys gets busiest around 6 p.m. so for a secluded study session try hunkering down in the afternoon.

Lighting shouldn’t be a problem, thanks to the ceiling-high windows and the chandelier lamps that keep the place bright and ripe for a textbook with small font.

Busboys might not be the destination point for a student looking for silence – easy listening music blares through the speakers throughout the shop and most of the customers are chatty and social. Take along your iPod to keep your focus, or maybe, leave your heavy studying at home when you visit Busboys.

What the studiers have to say:

Terry Lepper, 26, said that he works only a few blocks away from Busboys so the shop is a convenient stop.

“I like to come here after work and read the paper and maybe catch up on some e-mails,” Lepper said. “Sometimes I grab dinner, but usually I just like to have a cup of coffee and relax. The atmosphere puts me at peace.”


Wi-Fi is free and available throughout the restaurant all day, though the connection can be unreliable. It can also be difficult to find an outlet to charge your laptop, so make sure to ask the hostess for a laptop-friendly table before being seated.


Getting there can be tough. Busboys is two blocks from the U Street Metro stop off of the Green line, which means the ride can take up to 30 minutes, depending on the time of day. Busboys’ late night hours mean you don’t have to worry about being kicked out and help to make the long trip worthwhile.

Busboys and Poets is located at 2021 14th St., N.W. and is open Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to midnight, Fridays 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays 9 a.m. to midnight.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.