Best Place to Feel Like Part of a Community While Interfacing Via Computer - 2000
Chat Café, a fairly new addition to the Castro, bills itself as "part of a great neighborhood." And indeed, it breaks the lone-wolf stereotypes normally associated with Internet cafes. Owners Tom and Michael have gone to great lengths to promote neighborly behavior at their splashy, dog-friendly, techno-quaint establishment. The décor is cheery and bright -- mix-and-match furniture in the colors of iMacs, to complement the ones offering Internet access in the back (free with purchase of food or beverage). A mural-tribute to city landmarks like the Castro Theater, Dolores Park, and Twin Peaks, titled A Great Neighborhood covers the walls and ceiling. And unlike most cybercafes, Chat lets you plug your laptop into its super-speedy Ethernet line so you can "talk with friends from the neighborhood, or around the world." Still, not everyone's happy with the cafe's virtual community -- a large sign posted in the window of the house across the street reads: "No Chat Café."