A little over a month ago, a Southern-American dinner menu was all workweek visitors found at Washington-based Mulebone, artist and Busboys & Poets owner Anas "Andy" Shallal's latest endeavor. Now, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., patrons will find a communal workspace known as Share Space D.C.
Patrick Bonisteel, co-director of marketing and events for Busboys & Poets, Mulebone and Share Space, sat down with me at the second story bar to explain the efforts behind the new space.
He said that the idea for Share Space — as in, a co-working space — has always been there. It was set aside temporarily as they focused on establishing Mulebone.
"Just recently, about a month ago, we realized we wanted to sort of rethink [shared spaces]," said Bonisteel. "So we sat down . . . and decided that there are a lot of collaborative workspaces, but a lot of them charge a monthly fee."
Co-working spaces in D.C., such as D.C. Workspaces, WeWork locations, or even an average art studio often require a hefty rental fee (charged per hour), or an even heftier monthly rent.
"We wanted to provide a space where [individuals] . . . can sit in this beautiful, already-established restaurant, with all of this art, beautiful sunlight coming in from the street, and overall giving them the opportunity to not have to worry about finding a place to go and work," Bonisteel said.
There are three main reasons to visit the space, Bonisteel said.
The first is the ambiance.
"The high ceilings, the sunlight; it's not completely overcrowded, you have the opportunity to sit at a communal table with people you don't know," Bonisteel said.
Second, there is the incredible menu. Bonisteel credits Lisa Kemp, Busboys & Poets' chef, who he familiarly referred to as Chef Lisa.
"She really brought to life the flavors and the in-depth meaning of what food can provide," said Bonisteel. "Food isn't just for hunger. There's a calmness to food. Plus, you don't get many co-working spaces that have good food, along with beverages."
You could even order craft beer while you work!
The third factor is the restaurant's concept. As a co-working space, there are many opportunities to not only get your own work done, but to meet other entrepreneurs who are working toward their own goals, as well. Other perks to consider? Free Wi-Fi is definitely something worth noting. As is the unlimited amount of time you are permitted to stay and accomplish your work.
"There is no timeline; we don't pressure people to leave," Bonisteel said. "We want to give them the opportunity to do their work willingly. We provide games and things to do when you need to take a break from what you're doing."
There are many things in the works for the continual development of the space.
"We're trying to do programming, different events, whether it's pertaining to small business, entrepreneurship, helping businesses have a space to collaborate with other small businesses," Bonisteel said.
The restaurant also incorporated televisions across the space to use for virtual connection in the future.
"Eventually we want to incorporate some digital interaction with the guests in the restaurant," Bonisteel said. "People can check in, and it'll have a list of the people in the restaurant, and then you can meet up with them at a certain area so that there's continual interaction."
Whether it is to trade business cards with a local start-up, grab a quick bite with colleagues over paperwork, or to get a bit of work done in a calming environment (with one of the best playlists, might I add), stop in to Share Space D.C. Grab a coffee, snag a table and stay as long as you please.