Best Coffee Shops for Writing in DC?
June 20, 2013 4:50 AM   Subscribe

I'm a writer and I like to write in coffee shops. I'm looking for a coffee shop in DC. I live in Logan Circle and work downtown, but don't mind taking the Metro or a bus anywhere. I'm looking for something a little more low-key than Tryst. Any suggestions? I'd like free wi-fi and a graduate student vibe. No need for anything fancy. This is where I used to go when I lived in Philadelphia and I'd like to find something similar. Thank you!
posted by melodykramer to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I love The Coffee Bar at 12th and S. Quiet during the week, great coffee, comfy, lots of people there just doing their work. Walkable from most places in Logan.
posted by deeparch at 5:15 AM on June 20, 2013

Teaism in Penn Quarter used to be pretty quiet during the week off meal times.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:24 AM on June 20, 2013

I feel like wi-fi connectivity in DC coffee shops is always a crap shoot. Some options that I like when working are SoHo in DuPont, Chinatown Coffee (though it is tiny), and if you don't mind then distance, Misha's in Alexandria. All of these have friendly atmosphere, good to great coffee, and adequate table space for you to work.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 5:50 AM on June 20, 2013

Have you checked out Caribou at 14th and P?
posted by juliplease at 6:02 AM on June 20, 2013

Try Qualia in Petworth, specifically the upstairs room.
posted by ActionPopulated at 6:32 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

What about Point Chaud Cafe? Their specialty is crepes but they have good coffee, a few locations, and there's usually a place to sit in the ones I've seen, especially if you're not there at lunch- or dinner-time. There are two near Logan Circle, one closer to U Street on 14th and another near K St. For some reason, the one near Metro Center is not on the website but there's another location at near 11th and H Sts NW.

As a Ledroit Park resident, I feel semi-obligated to mention Big Bear Cafe and the cafe next to Bistro Bohem. Big Bear is usually crowded but that makes it so much more exciting when I find a table and Bistro Bohem is funky, a little off the beaten path but still relatively convenient.

What about Busboys and Poets? It's usually pretty loud but I still like it a lot. The one on 5th and K St is probably my preference but I also frequent the one on 14th St near U St. Have you tried Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle? I haven't been there in a while and that may meet your needs.

Also, I encourage you to check out the courtyard cafe in the Portrait Gallery. It's a lovely space, definitely a hidden gem.
posted by kat518 at 6:52 AM on June 20, 2013

I don't know about the wifi situation at Ebenezer's (near Union) or Bourbon (West End) but either is pretty good for staying a while. Politics & Prose (Chevy Chase) is also great, but limited seating, and they turn the wifi off when it's crowded.
posted by eponym at 6:54 AM on June 20, 2013

If you're willing to go out of the city, Northside Social ( is my favorite coffee shop in the area. Late hours, amazing coffee and pastries, and a wine bar upstairs. Outdoor seating in the summer is amazing. It can be tricky to find a spot in the busy hours but usually something will free up if you wait a few minutes. It's also Metro accessible (Clarendon).
posted by sparringnarwhal at 7:57 AM on June 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Columbia Heights Coffee on 11th is my favorite non-pretentious coffee shop. It's really low-key and not very hipsterfied. Qualia, as mentioned above, is great, but they do have restrictions on computer usage during the weekends. There's Peregrine on 14th, but that's a little high volume. SoHo and Chinatown Coffee are also great.
posted by quadrilaterals at 8:12 AM on June 20, 2013

Ebenezer's has wifi and seems to attract many students (Georgetown Law and Gallaudet are both pretty close).
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:15 AM on June 20, 2013

Nthing Busboys and Poets. I found it quieter than Tryst. Open City at Calvert and Shoreham is nice in non-brunch hours.
posted by Beardman at 8:43 AM on June 20, 2013

I come from Portland and have been having a lot of trouble adjusting to DC coffeeshops. Most of them, even ones warmly recommended by people whose taste I generally share, feel sterile bordering on hostile. So that may color my advice, but: Sidamo is the standout for me. I end up going there almost every weekend. The coffee is outstanding.

For something more mainstream-US-coffee-experience-y, try TCB or Filter, and I’ll second Big Bear and Peregrine on 14th (which backs onto my workplace).
posted by vruba at 9:22 AM on June 20, 2013

Tynan in Columbia Heights has the added benefit of waffle sandwiches if you're into that sort of thing. I've also enjoyed working in Coffy Cafe (also in Columbia Heights on 14th St) and Pound the Hill (on Capital Hill).
posted by forkisbetter at 9:59 AM on June 20, 2013

You may be interested in this question I asked about finding similar places in Alexandria, VA. Killer ESP in Old Town, Alexandria was my Best Answer pick for that question and hasn't let me down yet. I also recommend (mentioned in my linked question) Epicure Cafe in Fairfax.
posted by capricorn at 10:02 AM on June 20, 2013

Seconding Northside Social, Sidamo, and Tynan, and adding Blind Dog Cafe.
posted by sa3z at 10:10 AM on June 20, 2013

Not a coffee shop, but has a coffee shop: the inner gallery at National Portrait Gallery. Beautiful, free wifi - but I don't think there were any power outlets.
posted by Neekee at 10:45 AM on June 20, 2013

God yes, the portrait gallery. I also recommend you check out SiTea: The Spice Boutique (in Takoma, DC side, near the Metro stop).
posted by duffell at 12:22 PM on June 20, 2013

Big Bear Cafe would definitely fit the bill, but if you're looking for a change of pace, Rustik and Boundary Stone are both open for lunch.
posted by evoque at 12:45 PM on June 20, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you all. These are fabulous suggestions. I decided to go to Busboys tonight because it's close to my house but am excited about checking all of these out!
posted by melodykramer at 5:10 PM on June 20, 2013

Seconding Northside Social (ok technically I haven't been there since it was Murky Coffee, but I like the space), Sidamo (seriously amazingly delicious coffee), Peregrine (which I treated as my "working on job applications" office for a long time), Point Chaud, Pound, and Misha's. I also love St. Elmo's in Del Ray (Alexandria), though it's a bit of a hike for you.
posted by naoko at 7:40 PM on June 20, 2013

Teaism in Penn Quarter is relaxing, has a decent supply of outlets, no wifi, a tasty menu, a good amount of table space, and a koi pond. They close at 10 most nights of the week.

SoHo Tea and Coffee has some outlets, wifi, a terrible (food) menu but a decent spread of coffee and drinks, and a fantastic vibe. They are also cooler with you sitting around for ages and are open nearly all the time. Despite their food being bad and expensive (and the portions, so small), the vibe at SoHo might bump it up the list for me.

Busboys is loud and often crowded.

I hear Big Bear is good, but I've never been.
posted by X-Himy at 6:28 AM on June 28, 2013

kat518: "Also, I encourage you to check out the courtyard cafe in the Portrait Gallery. It's a lovely space, definitely a hidden gem."

+1 to this. My favorite place in the city to sneak away and get stuff done.
posted by schmod at 8:49 AM on May 15, 2014

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