After a year of living in D.C., it’s only the last couple of months that I began to explore. It feels lame to admit that, but the reality of living in the Maryland suburbs is that while you’re so close to D.C., the places of real interest (to me at least) feel so far away. Coupled with single motherhood, and a limited work schedule, finding the time to escape for solo adventures isn’t always easy. All excuses, in one way, but a clue into my introvert tendencies, and love for discovering things alone.
One thing that I did manage to do, though not as often as I would’ve liked, was discover a few favorite coffee shops in D.C. Those living the freelance, work from home lifestyle, are no strangers to consuming copious amounts of caffeine and free WiFi. All in a days’ work, right? I always feel awkward about overstaying my welcome at cafes. I justify it in a way by tipping generously, and obeying the rules about where to use my laptop. This is a particular sticking point for me. You know, those rule breakers that ignore every sign posted, and set up shop at a table instead of the laptop bar, which is what they have at The Den at Politics & Prose.
For that reason, Tryst became a regular place for a few weeks. I like the vibe in Adams-Morgan, the neighborhood where Tryst is located. A bit funky, and a little reminiscent of Brooklyn. A few doors down is a great used bookstore, and a few doors down from that is Songbyrd, a coffee/music/record cafe (plus they had some killer soups this winter). The beautiful thing about Tryst is that it covers all the bases for me—good coffee, good food, reliable WiFi, and they encourage you to linger. I could settle in after dropping the kids at school, and get cozy for a few solid hours of work, and enjoy a hot breakfast and lunch, too.
Teaism in Dupont Circle is a lovely retreat, and a good place to hunker down for some writing. There’s no WiFi, and while I could theoretically turn my phone into a hotspot, I’d usually go there to just focus on writing without distractions. It’s a popular place for business meetings, so sometimes I’d have to tune out loud talkers, but the homemade chai and hot, crisp waffles served with orange butter and maple syrup are well worth it. Although I’d pop in here mainly to work, I would definitely suggest it as a meeting place to catch up with friends. Lovely vibe, and some tasty vegetarian and vegan options to boot.
The Den at Politics & Prose and Compass Coffee offer a solid cup of Joe and WiFi, but the acoustics and seating (read: hard wooden benches) aren’t meant for long term stays (at least for me). I actually love that the majority of people at The Den are not on a laptops. It’s friends meeting for coffee, moms with little ones in tow, and folks curling up with coffee to write in their journals.
Last stop on this coffee tour is Coffee Nature. I found these guys only very recently, like a few days ago. I was on my way to The Pretzel Bakery with Virginia for a mommy & me breakfast, but traffic was insane (welcome to D.C.). After 25 minutes of driving, I pulled aside, did a quick check on Yelp, and was reminded about Coffee Nature. Either you love or hate Yelp. It’s introduced me to some real gems (hello, Diego’s in Kingston, NY!). Coffee Nature is very no frills, deli-fare. What brought me here was the awesome latte art, as seen above. Yes, I’m 4-years-old at heart, but the coffee was excellent, too.
Oh, and one last thing before I run off to (hopefully) get the last of these boxes packed. LeAnne, from big taste TINY SPACE put her own unique spin on my No-Churn Ice Cream. Holy heavens, Batman. Go visit her to see her recipe for No-Churn Blackberry Cornbread Ice Cream. My knees are kind of weak just thinking about it.
Favorite Coffee Shops in D.C.
1535 7th Street, NW
4224 Fessenden St. NW
5015 Connecticut Ave. NW
2009 R Street NW
2459 18th St. NW