Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday Five: My five favorite coffee shops in Columbia Heights

I'm starting a new series here at the blog called Friday Five, where I talk about my five favorites right now. I'm going to start it with coffee shops, and future installments will be bars, stores, brunches, parks, and so on. So here goes, in no particular order! And let me know in the comments what you think, if I missed any, and so on.

Heat da Spot, 3213 Georgia Ave NW

Heat da Spot is a thoroughly unpretentious little spot on Georgia run by a nice Ethiopian family. They have a surprisingly huge menu, with breakfast sandwiches, an awesome waffle covered with scrambled eggs and bacon and Ethiopian pastries like fry bread, plus a big lunch menu of tasty sandwiches. They also have Ethiopian food on the weekends, plus to-go samosas and such all the time. It's a relaxed, homey atmosphere inside and the coffee is tasty too. Worth a visit.

Le Caprice, 3460 14th Street NW

Le Caprice is a French bakery and coffee shop and one of my main go-tos. They have a big patio and some seats inside, but it can be crowded on nice days. The coffee is good, and they have a huge selection of French pastries (it's owned by a French baker.) They also have really tasty breakfast sandwiches on delicious buns or croissants, lots of lunch options and to-go Middle Eastern dishes. But don't take up two tables like this guy.

Qualia Coffee, 3917 14th Street NW

Qualia is a coffee snob's coffee shop, but even non-snobs can enjoy it. With an on-premise roaster, they do their own beans and have a wide and ever-changing variety available, plus a bit of food like quiche, bagels, scones and such. It's not big and can get crowded, but I really like the front or back patio. They play great music too. Qualia is also a funny place to hear recent college grads who just moved to the city pontificate: recently some guy was haranguing a friend about how influential David Bowie was and how expensive DC real estate is as if he were the first person to think that. It sounds annoying but is actually kind of adorable. And the coffee and food makes up for it anyway.

Colony Club, 3118 Georgia Ave NW

The newest coffee shop in town, Colony Club is a sleek and modern coffee fan's dream which also turns into a bar at night. There's often a lot of laptop users there, so it can be hard to find a spot, but the coffee and pastries are tasty. There's also a neat lounge area with couches and coffee table books. The music can be a little loud at times, but the rear patio is fantastic. I've never actually been there for bar hours (after 5) but I hear it's a good spot.

Highlands Cafe, 4706 14th Street NW

Highlands is technically in Brightwood, and is much farther than the rest of these places, but it's not a bad bike ride. It's a nice little cafe with nice tables and a bar seating area along the window, and a good selection of traditional breakfast food. You also get an mix of people there, as it's right across from a fire station and Metrobus garage. A bit of a hike but worth the visit.

Other options: Coffy Cafe, Tynan's, the Coupe, Harrar Roasters, Room 11 in the mornings, Love n' Faith, Flying Fish in Mt. Pleasant.

This list also makes me think we need more coffee shops in the southern end of Columbia Heights! There really aren't a ton south Tynan at 14th and Irving, aside from Dunkin Donuts and Love n' Faith. I feel like Sherman Ave or Georgia Ave near Howard would be a good spot for one -- Blind Dog on Florida was a good one, but closed. And 14th and Spring could use one too.

Photo by Mr. T in DC


  1. Highlands Cafe is in 16th Street Heights, not Brightwood. And there is no fire station there, just the Metrobus garage. Were you really there?

  2. Harrar on Ga ave and Harvard is really great!

  3. Anon #1, many times. I guess there is no fire station, but I've seen firefighters in there, and the garage looks like a fire station. As for neighborhoods, that's not my jurisdiction so I'm not familiar with those areas. Google says you're right. More to the point of the blog post, did you like any of these coffee shops?

  4. Good list. Qualia is my favorite, but I second Anon's vote for Harrar, especially now that they are at the Petworth Farmers Market.

  5. I've aired my views on Colony Club in the past, but everyone else seems to like it, so whatevs. All that I'll say about their bar offerings is that if you're looking to eat a meal with your booze; good luck with that, they've got a meat/cheese platter and canned meats (both overpriced) but you're better off going to Morgan's Seafood, NuVegan, or Bravo (which is a better bar to begin with in my opinion).

    That being said, Agree with Anon#2 that Harrar should be on there, but I guess that's why top 5's are made; to foster debate.

    That being said #2: Coffy Cafe is so very VERY underrated....

  6. Good point, Harrar is a good one. Will add that one to the other list.

  7. Qualia lost my business awhile ago. It's just too damn small and not enough quality food options. Southern Petworth could really use another quality coffee shop like Compass Coffee or Baked & Wired.

  8. If you want a decent espresso drink, the only place worth going in CoHi is Room 11 or Colony Club. Coffy Cafe uses one of those Nespresso type machines to make their lattes and they are terrible, unfortunately, but I like everything else they've got going on! And glad to see Flying Fish get some recognition! They are tiny but unpretentious and they open early.

  9. I think one of the truly hidden gems is Lia Cafe at 3103 Mt. Pleasant St - Her latte is great and the Brazilian snacks are nothing short of delicious. Ramona tries so hard to please her customers and it shows in the friendly, helpful service.

  10. Heat da Spot is a great...just like you said, homey and unpretentious but a good menu and great coffee.


Please don't advertise in the comments, and please enter some kind of name when you comment instead of being anonymous.

If the post is more than 28 days old, your comment must be approved first.