Lifestyle & Culture

It’s Not Even Lunch: 10 Spots for a Coffee Break

February 25, 2014


A hot spot for coffee: Leopold’s Kafe Konditorei in Georgetown / photo by Joe Elbert

A hot spot for coffee: Leopold’s Kafe Konditorei in Georgetown / photo by Joe Elbert

There was a time when feeling overworked and/or stressed and needing some girl chat, we would call a pal and say, “Let’s have lunch.” But just try finding a date that would suit both of us! Now we’ve changed tactics, and venues. And it’s so much easier to succeed when we say, Let’s meet for a cup of coffee. And since all the Starbucks stores in the world are, shall we say oversubscribed, we’ve found a few different spots.

Here are the ones that the My Little Bird team gravitates to when we want to recharge a connection with our buddies.

Bean & Bite
1152 15th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
6:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

A few doors down from The Washington Post, journalists hurry in for their morning coffee fix in an industrial ambience of concrete floors and reclaimed wood. Self-serve espresso drink machines dispense cappuccinos and lattes with a choice of milk on the left-hand side of the store, while brewed coffees from brands including Intelligentsia and MadCap Coffee are offered on the right-hand side. Pick up a berry muffin, chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies (gluten-free available), cinnamon scones or a cupcake. Although designed as a pick-up-and-go-type place, you can also get your food and snag a table.

Bread & Chocolate
5542 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20015
7 a.m.- 7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Is that Chris and Kathleen Matthews having a bite at the counter on a Saturday afternoon in November? Yes, but the crowd, mostly local, pays no mind. They also don’t mind the dated decor. Service is gracious; you don’t even have to ask for water. Tables are spaced far enough apart so a private conversation stays that way.

Buzz Bakery
818 N. Quincy Street (enter on Wilson Blvd)
Arlington, VA 22203
8 a.m.- 9 p.m. Sunday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday

The mix of cozy and contemporary decor, Ceremony coffee, Devi and Damman Freres tea and Tiffany MacIsaac, executive pastry chef at Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the power behind the baked goods, makes Buzz a friendly stop in the high-rise-dominated Ballston area. Dog lovers will appreciate the free pet-treats samples and on sale at the check-out counter.

Cafe Sorriso
2311 Calvert Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
10:30 a.m.-9:30 Tuesday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Homesick for la dolce vita? Come Saturday morning late breakfast and you’re likely to find the owner glued to TV watching soccer at the next table while you’re chatting and imbibing heart-stopping espresso Toscana from Counter Culture coffee. This friendly, sunny place, aptly named sorriso, which means smile, serves up Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread) toast and homemade focaccia.

1 Wisconsin Circle
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
8 a.m.- 7 p.m.  Monday – Friday, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday

Bring in your little niece or grandchild  (after 11 a.m.) for one of the toothsome delights on the too-long-to-list cupcake menu while you savor the Illy coffee and espresso offerings or top-notch teas from Dammann Freres.  Come with a few of your friends and snag the convivial round table in the window at the front of the store for an expanded coffee klatsch over freshly baked coffee cake, muffins, biscotti and scones. “It can get loud in here,” says co-owner Michelle Snow, so choose a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday when the din dies down.

Tout de Sweet Pastry Shop
7831 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
8 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

Delightfully decorated in turquoise and chocolate, this iPad-size spot with two small high tables for two serves up perfectly frothed cappuccino with its croissants, pain au chocolat and macarons in more than a dozen flavors, among other decadent desserts, produced by French pastry maven Jerome Colin, who shares shop ownership with wife Sofia.

Leopold’s Kafe Konditorei
3315 Cady’s Alley NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
8 a.m.- 10 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday, 8 a.m.-midnight Thursday-Saturday

What better way to begin a spring or any other day than sitting on Kafe Leopold’s fountain-adorned patio protected by a canopy of umbrellas. But an inside table at this minimalist yet somehow cozy cafe is also a desirable location to launch or assess the purchases from a Georgetown shopping expedition. Meet friends for a morning espresso and delectable almond croissant or schmooze over a Sacher torte and cappuccino late afternoon.

Patisserie Poupon
1645 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5:30 Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Tucked in among the art galleries and interior design and antiques shops on upper Wisconsin, Patisserie Poupon’s French-press coffee and chocolat chaud from the espresso bar and fresh orange juice beckon in the a.m.; the petits fours, including mini eclairs and lemon, apricot or berry tarts in the afternoon. If you have lots to confer about, stay for lunch and dig into a crusty baguette filled with prosciutto and brie, topped with a grainy mustard.

Shops at Sumner Place
4611 Sangamore Road
Bethesda, MD 20816
8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for bakery.

A location in a off-the-beaten track shopping center somehow makes an afternoon get-together at this French bakery/bistro seem like an escape. Cozy up to a table by the fireplace downstairs to while away a couple of hours over a decadent hot chocolate and a flaky palmier.

Society Fair
277 South Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

A foodie’s paradise, Society Fair is a combination of market, butcher, wine bar, bakery and demo kitchen. For an instant pick-me-up, try their house espresso, Destroyer from Annapolis’s Ceremony Coffee, paired with a pecan roll or bacon biscuit. Sit inside and or out under an umbrella in a quiet patch of Old Town. Entertain yourself watching the bakery making bread and cakes. Take home the delectable coconut cake or Friday’s date-night take-out dinner all ready to pop into the oven.

Do you have a favorite spot for a tea or coffee break? Write and tell us where you like to sip and snack.



One thought on “It’s Not Even Lunch: 10 Spots for a Coffee Break

  1. jackie trescott says:

    I’m going down this list; some I have happily visited.

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