The following photo comes from an article on London coffeehouses and shows the communal discussions that were provoked and expected.
Since everyone has smartphone or an e-book nowadays, what would a modern coffee-space look like?
A table with a display in it showing news by default? With some way for people to display various documents? Could you make it durable enough so that it wouldn't matter whether beer or coffee was spilled?
Or is this idea dead, and all our brains are online preferentially, with caffeine pit stops just barely tolerated?