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September 27, 2022

Part I: Clean Commutes to DC-Based Cafés and Coffee Shops

by Korrea Johnston

As many of you are probably aware, Washington, DC loves a good café! Whether you’re a DC commuter, resident, or visitor, nothing quite gets a day in the District started like a soothing cup of joe. In our opinion, coffee is part of the DC culture, so goDCgo is shining a spotlight on some of the city’s very own local cafés and coffee shops. Since there is such a long list of popular spots, we’re creating an alphabetical series, so there will be even more to come! For now, let’s jump into the first few. Be on the lookout for your favorite, and keep following us for the best ways to get there using alternative transportation for a true DC experience!

Big Bear Café

Despite its name, this is much more than a café. Big Bear has day and evening menus featuring specialty coffee, breakfast, wood-fire pizzas, seasonal cocktails, and more. Their grapevine-covered patio and indoor dining area are also available for private celebrations like holiday parties, group dinners, wedding ceremonies, receptions, and business events.

Address: 1700 1st Street NW

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • Florida Ave & R St NW
    • North Capitol & R St NE
    • 1st St & Rhode Ave NW
  • Metrobus: 90 or 92 to Florida Ave & 1st St NW

Busboys and Poets

First established in 2005, Busboys and Poets has become quite the DC staple. It’s a full-service restaurant, bar, bookstore, coffee shop, community gathering place, and cultural hub with several locations throughout the DMV — five are located in the District, including its flagship store. 

Flagship Store Address: 2021 14th Street NW

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • 14th & V St NW
    • 15th & W St NW
    • 13th & U St NW
  • DC Circulator: Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square to 14th & U St NW
  • Metrobus:
    • 52, 54, 59, or DC98 to 14th & U St NW
    • 90, 92, or 96 to 14th & U St NW
  • Metrorail: Green/Yellow Line to U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo

Café Unido

Although Café Unido is based in Panama, they launched their first stateside coffee shop at La Cosecha, bringing their responsible sourcing and focus on community and environment here to DC. They use beans from the best farms in Panama, including Panama Geisha – the highest priced coffee variety in the world – and other specialty Panamanian beans. Corporate responsibility is in the DNA of Café Unido; they dedicate a percentage of sales to social and environmental projects in Panama’s coffee-growing areas in an effort to create shared value between customers and local suppliers.

Address: 1280 4th Street NE (inside La Cosecha)

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • 4th St & Florida Ave NE
    • Union Market
  • Metrobus: 90 or 92 to Florida Ave & 5th St NE
  • Metrorail: Red Line to NoMa-Gallaudet

Cameo

Recently opened in 2020, this specialty coffee shop offers thoughtfully-curated coffees and teas, while prioritizing seasonality, sustainability, and social responsibility. The menu features a hyper-seasonal list of coffee shop classics with a few twists – something for every palate.

Address: 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (inside La Coop)

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • Potomac & Pennsylvania Ave SE
  • Metrobus:
    • 32, 36, B2, M6, or V4 to Potomac & Pennsylvania Ave SE
    • V4 to Potomac Ave & 14th St SE
  • Metrorail: Blue/Orange/Silver Line to Potomac Ave

Compass Coffee

The slogan says it all — “Real Good Coffee – Made in DC.” With a number of locations in DC and Virginia, these beloved coffee shops always use ethically-sourced, expertly-blended, and peak-roasted coffee beans for maximum flavor. They love the craft and are committed to quality in everything they do — even building the furniture that goes into the cafés! Their flagship location in the historic Shaw neighborhood also has an active roasting facility.

Flagship Store Address: 1535 7th Street NW

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • 7th & R St NW / Shaw Library
    • 8th & O St NW
  • Metrobus:
    • 70 to 7th & P St NW
    • 70, 79, or G8 to 7th St & Rhode Island Ave NW
  • Metrorail: Green/Yellow Line to Shaw-Howard U

Culture Coffee Too

Opened in 2017, Culture Coffee Too has established itself as the Riggs Park neighborhood destination for culture, coffee, and community. As a diverse coffee shop, art gallery, live performance venue, and event space, they offer delicious made-to-order brewed coffee, breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, and an in-store selection of products from local vendors. They also host local and regional events centered around music, art, entertainment, cuisine, entrepreneurship, and business networking.

Address: 300 Riggs Road NE

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • 3rd St & Riggs Rd NE
  • Metrobus:
    • 60, 64, E4, K2, K6, R1, or R2 to 1st Pl & Ingraham St NE
    • E4, R1, or R2 to Riggs Rd & South Dakota Ave NE
  • Metrorail: Red/Green/Yellow Line to Fort Totten

Dolcezza

Dolcezza serves daily-made gelato and expertly crafted coffee drinks in several shops and downtown farmers’ markets. While they have six locations across the DMV, they have two primary brick-and-mortar shops in DC, along with an expansive Gelato Factory & Coffee Lab near Union Market. They specialize in Hunapu espresso, which is grown in Antigua, Guatemala and offer at least four single origin coffees and one decaf coffee made from two different brewing methods.

CityCenter Address: 904 Palmer Alley NW

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • 8th & H St NW
    • 10th & G St NW
  • DC Circulator: Georgetown-Union Station to 9th St & New York Ave NW
  • Metrobus: 80, P6, X2, or X9 to 9th & H St NW
  • Metrorail:
    • Red/Green/Yellow Line to Gallery Place-Chinatown
    • Red/Blue/Orange/Silver Line to Metro Center

Dupont Circle Address: 1704 Connecticut Ave NW

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • Connecticut Ave & R St NW
    • 18th & R St NW
    • 20th St & Florida Ave NW
  • DC Circulator: Dupont Circle-Georgetown-Rosslyn to 19th & N St NW
  •  Metrobus:
    • 42 to Connecticut Ave & 20th St NW
    • 42, 43, or L2 to Connecticut Ave & S St NW
  • Metrorail: Red Line to Dupont Circle

Doubles DC

This cozy Park View neighborhood café, bar, and community space also “doubles” as a ping-pong club. Open for indoor and outdoor patio seating with free Wi-Fi, this spot serves espresso, drip coffee, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and pastries.

Address: 3118 Georgia Avenue NW

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • Columbia Rd & Georgia Ave NW
    • Georgia Ave & Morton St NW
  • Metrobus: 70 or 79 to Georgia Ave & Irving St NW
  • Metrorail: Green/Yellow Line to Georgia Ave-Petworth

Dua DC Coffee

This woman-owned coffee shop is also the first to serve Indonesian specialty coffee-based drinks here in DC. Their single origin coffee beans originate from a farm that practices ecologically sustainable coffee production and are handcrafted into signature beverages from recipes created by their very own “Dua DC Family” baristas.

Address: 923 15th Street NW

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • 15th & K St NW
    • 15th & L St NW
    • Vermont Ave & I St NW
  • DC Circulator: Georgetown-Union Station to 14th & K St NW
  • Metrobus:
    • 16Y, 3Y, or D6 to 15th & K St NW
    • 16Y, 3Y, 80, D6, DCWE, or S2 to 14th & K St NW
  • Metrorail: Blue/Orange/Silver Line to McPherson Square

Emissary

This is an independent coffeehouse, bar, and café that believes in community, diversity, and equality. In addition to coffee, they offer vegetarian and vegan-friendly foods including a wide selection of baked goods, artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, and small plates. They also serve local craft beer, wine, and cocktails. Best of all, all their menu items use carefully-sourced and organic ingredients. Stop by one of their Dupont Circle locations during the day or for an evening happy hour!

Address: 2032 P Street NW

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • 20th & O St NW / Dupont South
    • 22nd & P St NW
    • Massachusetts Ave & Dupont Circle NW
  • DC Circulator: Dupont Circle-Georgetown-Rosslyn to 19th & N St NW
  • Metrobus:
    • 42 to Connecticut Ave & Q St NW or Connecticut Ave & Dupont Circle NW (South)
    • G2 to 21st & P St NW
    • D2 to Connecticut Ave & Q St NW
    • D2 or D6 to 22nd & Q St NW
    • D6, N2, N4, or N6 to Massachusetts Ave & 20th St NW
  • Metrorail: Red Line to Dupont Circle

Address: 1726 20th Street NW

  • Capital Bikeshare:
    • Connecticut Ave & R St NW
    • 18th & R St NW
    • 20th St & Florida Ave NW
  • DC Circulator: Dupont Circle-Georgetown-Rosslyn to 19th & N St NW
  • Metrobus:
    • 42 to Connecticut Ave & 20th St NW
    • 42, 43, or L2 to Connecticut Ave & S St NW
  • Metrorail: Red Line to Dupont Circle


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