But the humble surroundings did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of these supporters of the "Run Warren Run" effort, which included members of a trio of liberal groups (Ready for Warren, MoveOn.org and Democracy for America), from making big plans for the next few months. In fact, this gathering was one of more than 200 held by the Warren faithful around the country last weekend -- mostly small groups in living rooms or around a kitchen table.
Those who gathered in Washington included college students, veterans of Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns and people who said it was their first political meeting ever. Some described themselves as big Elizabeth Warren fans, others as “outraged citizens,” and a few who said they were seeking an alternative to Clinton.
"Most of the people there were attending a Warren event for the first time, which is a testament to how quickly this organic movement is spreading," organizer Luísa Abbott Galvão told ABC News in an email message after the event. "There were people there of all ages and all walks of life and it was really empowering to see what a vast web we are part of. Now it's just a matter of activating it."
Warren's office has said previously that she does not support this effort and is not running for president in 2016. But group members say "drafting" her into a campaign just might work. They cite as evidence a passage in Warren's book, "A Fighting Chance."
Warren writes that “in my heart of hearts -- I really didn’t want to run” for Senate in 2012. She describes an interaction with a woman who walked two miles to a meeting to talk to Warren and share her struggle to find a job. The woman asked her to fight and Warren said that was the moment she committed to run for Senate.
Galvão, one of the event organizers, argued that the amount of press attention on Warren shows that she is already being treated like a candidate. As part of MoveOn's effort to make this official, the campaign has set up offices in Iowa and New Hampshire, held kickoff events, and encouraged local chapters like the one in D.C. to spread the word.
One of the most vocal attendees at the D.C. meeting was Jim McBride, a communications specialist who worked on Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign in D.C. and Virginia and is still active in progressive politics.
“I really want to get a discussion going about what kind of party we want to be,” he said in an interview after the event.
Most of the almost two-and-a-half hour meeting was cordial. The one noticeable moment of tension was when members of the group disagreed on whether their efforts should try to contrast Warren from Clinton, who some even described as "Republican light."
McBride cautioned against anything that might alienate Democrats, such as going negative toward Clinton or the president.
MoveOn and the local chapters of Run Warren Run are planning recruitment efforts and events leading up to President’s Day weekend. MoveOn and its individual members donated more than $450,000 to Warren’s campaign committee from 2011-2014, the second highest amount behind EMILY’s list, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
“We want to make a lot of noise between now and June,” Galvão said.