The Story of 1995's Hippest Internet Cafe

Anna Green

Back in 1995, the world wide web was still in its infancy: Dial-up internet was excruciatingly slow, few major companies had websites, and only 14 percent of Americans were online. But that didn’t stop Glenn McGinnis from launching @ Cafe, one of New York City’s first dedicated internet cafes.

In the short Vox video above, McGinnis reflects on his time at @ Cafe, which opened in 1995 and closed by 1996, in part because it paid a shocking $9000 a month for its comparatively high-speed internet. McGinnis explains that he opened the cafe because he wanted to introduce the world to the internet, but notes that few of his customers, let alone reporters and employees, knew much about computers. “It was called @ Cafe, and they didn’t know what the '@' symbol was,” he explains. “I was actually bitter that I named it @ Cafe. I had to explain it to everybody: every reporter, every human, even people who came to work there.”

Banner Image Credit: Vox, YouTube