If you've had trouble getting out of bed in the morning ever since He Who Must Not Be Named was elected president, just imagine being one of the D.C. millennials who, over the last eight years, have helped make America's capital cool again, now knowing that their city is about to transform once You Know Who moves into the White House. The restaurant and bar scene in D.C. has grown to rival almost any other city in U.S. thanks in part to the surge of young people who have moved to the city over the last decade or so, and let's hope it remains that way.
This city where a whopping 93 percent of the population voted for Hillary Clinton in the general elections is still working off a pretty crippling hangover, but thankfully there is no shortage of excellent coffee shops around D.C. to give the people the boost they need to wake up and convince themselves—and the rest of the country—that everything's going to be OK.
And lucky for you, we've compiled a guide with the best spots around town to get your caffeine fix—from idyllic garden cafes to while away the hours, to sleek coffee shops with liquor licenses, to java joints that have giant cupcakes and gluten-free blondies for you to stress eat while you try to motivate yourself to get through the next four years.
Don't forget to check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Washington, DC for the best places to eat on a budget, grab a coffee, or feel fancy, too.
Big Bear Cafe: If you've been to Bloomingdale, you've either already stopped by Big Bear Cafe or at least looked at it while schlepping yourself to wherever your final destination was. With a large outdoor patio surrounded by herb and vegetable gardens, it's an idyllic place to get a cup of coffee or a bite to eat (and both of those options are excellent). While they hit all of the basic java requirements, such as focusing on well-prepared coffee and espresso drinks made from sourced beans, they also offer a nice selection of herbal teas, including holistic blends from Apothekary DC. Big Bear is also transparent about where their food is sourced from, and whatever they can't prepare themselves comes from local producers.
Chinatown Coffee Co.: A sleek spot located in Chinatown (as you might have guessed), Chinatown Coffee Company offers country-specific coffee prepared by chemex, pour over, French press, or syphon. It's also one of the few spots that also has a liquor license, so keep an eye out for drink specials and be mindful of the 25 percent off "absinthe happy hour" every Friday.
baked&wired: A Georgetown spot equally known for their baked goods and coffee (as the name suggests), baked & wired is a neighborhood favorite. Drinks skew heavily toward espresso made with beans from roasters such as Stumptown and Intelligentsia, while their bakery turns out everything from (gigantic) cupcakes to freshly-baked bread. Gluten-free diners will also be happy to find options suitable for their needs, including a cupcake, blondie, pop tart, and the "Fo Reel?" ice cream sammie, which features salty caramel ice cream with a dulce de leche swirl, sandwiched between chocolate cookies.
Peregrine Espresso: Between DC's two large indoor market halls, Union Market has a lot more buzz than Eastern Market, which for years was (and still is) a significant destination for both locals and visitors. Both places have a lot going for them though, and this includes Peregrine Espresso, which also has a spot on 14th street. With a focus on small-batch coffee, Peregrine keeps sustainability in mind with their short menu, which emphasizes—you guessed it—espresso.
Pineapple and Pearls: There's a bit of an air of mystery to the restaurant that chef/owner Aaron Silverman fondly refers to as "P&P." During the day the Barracks Row restaurant (which is located directly next to sister spot Rose's Luxury) operates as a coffee shop serving a variety of espresso-based drinks, sticky rolls, and sandwiches. Come nightfall, the scene transforms dramatically into one of the most immersive and wonderful fine dining experiences the city has to offer. While it carries a heavy price tag of $250 per person, this is for a full package of 13 courses, drinks, tax, and gratuity, and the fact that payment is made by purchasing a ticket online means that all you need to do is show up, have a wonderful time, and leave. Despite being open for barely a moment it's already stunning the diners with its playful and inventive cuisine, which could hesitatingly be put under the catch-all label of "New American," and its wonderful drinks program and caring service help to make it a destination in a city filled with wonderful restaurants.
For our full list of recommendations of D.C.'s coolest coffee shops, continue reading on the MUNCHIES Guide to Washington, DC.