News & Politics

Best Coffee Shops in Washington

Spots with good coffee, cool atmosphere, and late hours

Coffee is a great way to end a date, but finding a coffee shop that stays open past dinner can be a challenge. Here are spots with good coffee, some atmosphere, and late hours.

Pound the Hill
621 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-621-6765
Pound the Hill is always busy, but you don’t notice the bustle in the quieter back room, which has a half dozen tables and glass doors that open onto a garden-lined patio. End a date night with Pound’s Nutella lattes, a drink that’s like a dessert. Open Friday and Saturday until 10.

Big Bear Cafe
1700 First St., NW; no phone
Order coffee with cream and sugar at Big Bear Cafe and you’ll get French-press Counter Culture coffee with fresh-from-the-farm milk and natural cane sugar. Try to get one of the candlelit tables on the patio in front, near the organic garden. Open until 9 on Friday and Saturday.

Grape & Bean
118 S. Royal St., Alexandria; 703-664-0214
Coffee at Old Town’s Grape & Bean is made to order in the Clover, a machine that grinds and brews one cup at a time and promises more flavor than traditional brewing. Beans are from all over the world—Africa to South America. Open until 10 Wednesday through Saturday

2459 18th St., NW; 202-232-5500
Finding a seat at Tryst can be hard on a Friday or Saturday night. But get one and you’re rewarded with good people-watching—from college students fueling up for a night out to workaholics tapping on laptops. A menu of spiked drinks includes bourbon-laced black tea and vanilla chai with rum. Open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday, till 2 am Thursday, till 3 am Friday and Saturday.

St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub
2300 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-739-9268
The eclectic music at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub is one of the draws. Jazz quartets, alt-country bands, and folksingers take the stage Wednesday through Saturday night. Check the calendar before going—kid-focused performers sometimes are on the bill. Open until 10 Monday through Saturday.

This article appears in the July 2011 issue of The Washingtonian. 

Subscribe to Washingtonian
Follow Washingtonian on Twitter