Online Coffee Company logs off, closing Capitol Hill and downtown locations

One chapter of Capitol Hill’s coffee history is coming to an end Tuesday as word spreads that Online Coffee Company will be closing its three Seattle locations including its two shops on Capitol Hill.

 According to employees who asked not to be named, the downtown store is already shuttered and the Pine at 14th shop in the Braeburn and the East Olive Way location will also be closing.


Owner Ken Fox has not responded to e-mail, phone calls and a few visits from CHS. Our coffees were delicious, by the way.

“We appreciate all the support from the Capitol Hill community,” one employee told CHS after she confirmed the closures.

Online Coffee shops have been in business since 1999 and were part of the early wave of melding Internet access with coffee culture. Today, the offer of a free 30 minutes of Internet access with your latte seems quaint and a little behind the times. But, in the beginning, online access was an innovation and part of the coffee culture wave.

We’ll continue to try to reach Fox to find out more about his decision to shut down. The Braeburn’s retail management company would not comment on the situation and referred our questions to Fox.

We don’t know how many employees worked across the two shops but if you’re hiring baristas, you might want to stop by and say hello.

Inside the 14th Ave Online Coffee

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35 thoughts on “Online Coffee Company logs off, closing Capitol Hill and downtown locations

  1. I love this place and the baristas here are so friendly. This is really sad. I hope the employees all find jobs. :(

  2. i’ve lived 2 blocks away from the 14th ave location for almost four years and it seems to always be fairly busy, has great tables, and stays open late. what a bummer. all the more reason to spend more time and money at porchlight i suppose.

  3. Oh, just grand. Where are those of us who can’t afford laptops going to go to search Craigslist for jobs? The library?

  4. They literally just offered 2 or 3 daily deal “groupon” type offers. There’s no way he didn’t know he was shutting down when he agreed to run those over the last couple of weeks. Fishy.

  5. Joe, that is pretty fishy. I’m at the coffee shop right now and Annie is saying she’s really sad. I didn’t want to ask her about it because I’m sure there are a 100 customers asking questions about the closing. I am really curious about what happened though.

    And the computers were used by people regularly whom I think might not have had the means to buy their own.

    Oh yeah, she said they’re closing at 5 today. That’s really early. Something’s up. :(

  6. while I’m sad when any local business doesn’t work out, I have to say I’d stopped going to the Online due to spotty and inconsistent service. so it’s not completely surprising to me that they’re closing. maybe a really awesome cafe will go in its place!

  7. Both the Olive Way and 14th locations appeared to be popular business meeting spots for the self-employed and work-from-home folks.

    Is there a standard dollar amount we should all aim for to spend per hour of seat time at these meeting-friendly spots to help keep them open?

  8. Instead of trying to turn the cafe into your office, try checking out one of your local coworking spots instead. :) I’m biased as I own one, but there are several around the city. You can take a look at coworkingseattle.org.

  9. I agree. It’s always a little discouraging when a local bis has to shut down.
    But, let’s hope an even nicer and cool little cafe opens up in it’s place….
    With a better logo too. Let’s at least hope.
    I mean look at their logo; who combines words like that….

    O n l i n e
    C c O o M f P f A e N e Y

    … that is a designers nightmare…..

  10. My apologies. I checked and the deals I was referring to were for Hotwire Online Coffee, which is a different business than Online Coffee Company, and has 1 location in West Seattle. Just got the names confused. I’m so sorry to see a local business shut it’s doors. Best of luck to Ken in his future endeavors!

  11. I live within a couple of blocks of the Olive cafe and admit to frequenting the place for it’s free wireless for laptops. Their coffee stinks, but it never stopped me from buying a cup or two. Sometimes you simply need a caffeine delivery system when intently surfing for stuff on Craigslist. The owners sure weren’t buying any villas in Tuscany off of me, but I tipped well. Maybe we can get another Starbucks there… for the ironies and such.

  12. I’m really, really gonna miss this place. I’m just by nature an antsy guy so I love to get out, this was my own personal hangout, where I could comfortably do what I wanted on my laptop in my own privacy, without worrying about my friends, coworkers or anyone else bugging me, I loved the anonymity of it and never once in all the many hours I killed there was I made to feel like I wasn’t wanted around which brings me to the main thing I’ll miss, those sweet young girls with sweet personalities, oh they don’t even know how much better they’d make my day just by smiling.

  13. Just trying to make a friendly suggestion. Coworking certainly isn’t for everyone. I too am sad to see OCC go, and am generally confused by it – each time I stopped by they were always packed full.

  14. @ nomadicq I agree with you when it is a habit and frequent. And we can all spot those folks, right?
    It can be annoying to OH the random pitches, business planning, job interviews, and negotiations when all I want is a change of view, wifi, and to help keep a local business open by spending a few dollars and hanging out for an hour or two. But it all comes as a package. Just not sure what the right amount is for the priviledge of hanging out for 90 minutes. One beverage? One beverage and a snack? A beverage every hour?

  15. I buy a drink at least once an hour and tip $1 per drink. That works out to about $200 a month since I spend 2-3 hours per workday in coffee shops. I guess I could spend that on a co-working membership but I have a quiet apartment to work in.

    Check out Porchlight at 14th/Pike if you seek a replacement for Online. The music is good and Zach is a great guy. They’ll play any record in their collection if you ask.

    Also Tougo on 18th/Union is another great alternative in that area.

  16. Until today I didn’t know those two Capitol Hill locations were the same company! I never used one of their rickety old computers, but I did frequent them both quite a bit… Always full when I stopped by. Seems like they were both doing well. sad.

  17. This is so sad. When I moved to Seattle in 2000 OCC (on Olive) was the first place I went to/explored as I walked around my new neighborhood. I probably went there every day for a few weeks to use the computers, search for jobs, etc. I still go there from time to time to just hang out on the outside porch…such a fantastic place to sit in the sun and people watch. I’ll miss that (the starbuck’s porch down the street just isn’t the same)

  18. Where can you go on the Hill that’s open til one?

    This sucks. I’ve been going there for years. Who cares how crappy the computers are? A couple times my laptop died on me so I jumped on one of their PCs to Google a way to reset it. Sometimes it’s nice if you’re walking around to jump on a computer to check your email.

    Baristas are normal nice, not fake nice. Coffee better than Starbucks. Prices better than Vivace, and lighting better than Vivace’s bliding glare lighting and couches and chairs lived in and comfortable. Great porch for people watching on warm days and nights.

    Coffee til one on the Hill now? Where?

  19. Bauhaus is still open till one.

    I loved online coffee, and to me it was the best Americano in town! I loved the taste of their coffee and looked forward to it every weekend.

  20. it is a very said day to loose another indie coffee place to give people a safe place. Remember before rushing to judge people, or make nasty web comments there are things that happen to people that may not be for public consumption. There are situations where people may think they are going to be alive one minute, and die the next. As a small business owner I have to defend this business tooth and nail even though i don’t know them personally.

    If anyone wants to kick them now that they are down, try doing something nice for ourselves and be thankful for the time they were there for us to sit, use the internet, and have that latte. Even if it was good, or not so good, we more than likely did not ask the barista to remake it. So please spare the negative banter and think to yourself…..would you want every single person to know all of your personal business? Sometimes life throws you, no life always throws curve balls and stuff happens.

    Say something nice that you remember about the shop and it’s staff, or say nothing at all. Please show some respect and please remember we all go through some stuff. Hugs are better than kicks

  21. I was so sad to arrive at Online this afternoon and find it closed, forever! This is horrible for me, as one of my jobs requires me to edit reports on a PC, not on my Mac, and I’ve loved spending time at Online to do this.
    I do very much appreciate how Online was there for me, and will miss it.
    Does anyone know of any other internet cafe in Seattle? The libraries’ computers don’t allow me the downloads I need for my work.

  22. what an incredibly nice comment, thank you. whatever your business i am sure your employees love working for you and your customers are loyal

  23. The libraries are usually full up, and have much more limited hours. Uncle Elizabeth on Pike gives 20 minutes free computer time with a drink, but they don’t have many machines. Lugging my laptop around all the time is a pain, and I enjoyed the accessibility of Online….I’ll miss it/them.

  24. very friendly staff, the owner is an amazing man. I am sorry someone came in and abused the computer system thereby shutting down a excellent business and livihood for the staff and owners. You are missed