Indie Coffee Shops to Perch & Work
There’s something singularly compelling about a great coffee shop—particularly when you’re trying to pound out an overdue novel/screenplay/thesis/PowerPoint something. The presence of other procrastinators, the really good coffee, the ambient buzz of community are inherently appealing. It’s not all that surprising that the number of work-friendly cafés is constantly on the rise, so we’ve updated our guide to reflect the latest and greatest spots in ten major cities, whether you drop in for quick macchiato or set up shop for the afternoon. (We’ve noted when they don’t offer internet, a blessing for those who can’t get off email. You know who you are.)
Killer ESP1012 King St., Alexandria | 703.200.3200
The concept of Killer ESP (which stands for espresso, sorbet, and pie) is random but undeniably great. The coffee is Stumptown, the sorbet is made in-house, and the pie is brought in fresh from local favorite Dangerously Delicious Pies. Don't be fooled by the teal brick façade—the interior is dark, hipster, and perfect for working or studying.
Tryst Coffee2459 18th St. NW, Adams Morgan | 202.232.5500
Tryst is the quintessential neighborhood coffee shop in every sense—the couches and tables are plentiful, none of the silverware matches, and there’s a stack of ancient board games in the corner. The menu includes cocktails as well as coffee, meaning it's equally well suited to studying or meeting up with a friend—and since they stay open until midnight on weekdays, you can stay awhile. The coffee drinks are all solid, and the chai latte is served with animal crackers.
The Potter’s House1658 Columbia Rd. NW, Adams Morgan | 202.232.5483
This bookshop/café hybrid first opened its doors in Adams Morgan in 1960, and it's become somewhat of an institution in the neighborhood. The space holds all types of community events, from traditional book signings to less traditional exercise classes and concerts, but there are also political events here, like a letter writing campaign for political prisoners, or a panel discussion about gender and race in film. The café's Southern-inspired menu and constant soundtrack of jazz music in the background makes it a perfect place for getting work done.
Compass1535 7th St. NW, Logan Circle
The founders behind this Shaw café are former marines who have a refreshingly straightforward approach to coffee—seasonal, single origin roasts in straightforward drip coffee and cold brew (the nitrogen cold brew is definitely the order of choice). They roast the beans in-house, and the industrial space is set up with the gleaming roaster prominently displayed in the back. Plenty of table space for spreading out makes it a great pick for studying, too.
Pleasant Pops1781 Florida Ave. NW, Adams Morgan | 202.347.0938
Pleasant Pops is crazy cheerful: It's bright, airy, and feels energetic without feeling too nuts. Their signature, photogenic popsicles come in a rainbow of flavors that rotate depending on what produce is in season (for fall, it's peach hibiscus, cinnamon vanilla peach, or cranberry apple). And the coffee is reliably great, too. The downtown location is probably the most convenient, but the original Adams Morgan flagship is home to their market, which showcases the best of local DC purveyors: The shelves are lined with maple syrup, honey, pickled vegetables, and more.