West and Grand

What's Better than Internet? Turning Off WiFi in Favor of Human Engagement

“What’s the wifi password?”

That may be the most commonly asked question at Oxford Exchange. The answer? We don’t have any.

Although Oxford Exchange is one of the top ten most Instagrammed restaurants in the United States, it doesn’t encourage internet use. Unless you’re in the Commerce Club — a private business and event space — there’s no wifi access available.

When brother and sister team, Allison Adams and Blake Casper, created Oxford Exchange, they dreamed of a place where people would put down their phones and have meaningful conversations, surrounded by the inspirational touches of design and worldly influence that the space emulated.

The internet is surely invaluable, but occasionally unplugging and reconnecting with the non-digital world is vital.  And Oxford Exchange is intended to provide that escape.

One of the most stunning features of Oxford Exchange is the sheer variety of people that it houses. Between The Restaurant, coffee and tea bars, The Shop and Bookstore, there are dozens of languages and experiences that waltz through the door every day.

We have professors from California camping out in The Bookstore to talk about Hemingway; we have backpackers sitting down at the Buddy Brew coffee bar to share stories about adventuring in Budapest and Istanbul. Whether you’re there to meet up with an old friend or watch other groups trooping through the atrium, the lack of internet only encourages the fascinating events that occur within its century old walls.

Setting our devices aside makes it that much easier for meetings and chance encounters to provoke lasting connections, or to simply absorb the elegant atmosphere. Whether it’s through people-watching, wandering, or studying, the worldly nature of Oxford Exchange inspires a taste of other places right here in Tampa.

And that’s so much better than the internet.


Grace Smith

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