Dear PoP


I’m not sure if you’ve posted on this in the past, but I’d love to read a posting talking about coffee shops in the neighborhood. I’m moving to Columbia Heights in late June and I’d like to know where the best cafes are.


Well, I’m glad you asked the question. Back in September I did a post titled Columbia Heights Coffee – Best Place to Work or Study? Unfortunately for some reason when the site migrated to its current location all the comments for that post were lost. So I’ll tell you my favorites and we’ll see if I’m missing any. In Columbia Heights you are blessed with many cafes. Of course, I obviously love Columbia Heights Coffee located on 11th Street between Park and Monroe. It is a bit small but has plans to expand in the coming months. The relatively new Mayorga Lounge located in the Tivoli at 14th and Park is also a pleasant study spot. It is a bit bigger and features a full bar upstairs as well. I should say both have very fast free internet. Of course, there is the traditional route of a Starbucks located on 14th Street between Kenyon and Irving. We recently learned that a Mocha Hut will be opening on Irving Street just west of 14th Street. As for other cafes outside of Columbia Heights, Domku located on the 800 block of Upshur is a favorite for many including myself. You will also find an interesting menu to chose from. A bit further away in Mt. Pleasant is Dos Gringos and Marx Cafe both located on Mt. Pleasant Street. In Adams Morgan on 18th Street, you have the supremely popular Tryst. But perhaps the best cafe in the city is located in the neighborhood of Bloomingdale on the Corner of 1st and R, I’m speaking of course of the Big Bear Cafe. God willing all of our neighborhoods will have a Big Bear quality coffee shop one day.

So did I miss any? Which one is your favorite and why?

21 Comment

  • All,

    Jae, the friendly owner of Mayorga, also reports to he is actively seeking a star Asian chef, so the menu at Mayorga is about to become premier, and his earlier pricing structure means it may not be long before we all meet-and-greet while waiting in line!

    And Domku is fabulous, if a little pricey.

  • is there a reason sticky fingers is consistently left out of POP coffee conversations?
    somebody not like soy milk??

  • Personally, I do not get the appeal of Domku. Tiny portions, high prices, and slow service for what I consider food that’s just okay.

  • Peace to real milk!

  • Love Domku, great food, reasonably priced, great atmosphere.

  • Yes! Sticky Fingers is amazing! Even the omnivores and vegetarians that I know love the place.

  • sticky fingers is good, but it is probably not the best place to work and/or study. not a lot of chairs, almost always crowded.. just an fyi.

  • I think that Mocha Hut has really great food. However, I think that neither their drip coffee nor espresso drinks are good. Also, the service, at least now @ the U st shop, is painfully slow.

  • We over here at Big Bear are honored to be featured in this list! Thanks for all the love! Oh, and the Bloomingdale Farmers’ Market — in the street right outside of the cafe at 1st and R NW — starts next Sunday, from 10-2.


  • Big Bear is so overrated. There. I said it.

    It’s cool and all, and I’m glad it’s in the neighborhood. But I don’t see the big deal. I haven’t been blown away by their coffee or espresso (which I had this morning). I will say that the service is now at a competant level, which I praise the lord every day for.

  • Sticky Fingers serves great Intelligentsia Coffee and their sticky buns are fantastic!

  • I believe it was the great Lewis Black who once said, “There’s no such thing soy milk, it’s soy juice! But you can’t sell soy juice because anytime you say soy juice, you sorta start to gag!”


  • Lana – you read our blog, please open a second Big Bear in Petworth…I’ll be there every day I promise! You are the best coffee shop in the city!

  • Lily’s Cafe on Colorado at Kennedy is an Italian cafe I enjoy. It serves espresso drinks, paninis, and the best tiramisu I have found in DC. Free wi-fi and prices at about half one pays around U Street.

  • I am another Petworth fan of Big Bear…I bike by it on my way home from work in Union Station. Let me second Otis Gal, would LOVE to see Big Bear 2 in our area. I have a fantasy that you will buy Dudley Beauty Supply at the corner of 8th & Upshur. Great corner location with giant sidewalks, now occupied by a store that seems to be open about 2 hours per month.

  • Yay for Lily’s…it’s def low-key and quiet….if that’s what you’re looking for. They have outdoor seating too so that’s a plus.

  • I hate to say it but I just do not understand why everyone loves Columbia Heights Coffee so much. In my experience they have horrible service and subpar food/coffee. I guess the atmosphere is nice…

  • Lily’s Cafe is a nice, friendly little neighborhood joint. I would classify it as Eritrean rather than Italian though. They just happen to carry some items that could be classified as Italian.

    I used to be a big fan of the Mocha Hut at 14th and Buchanan. Unfortunately they closed for renovations like two years ago and never re-opened and have never done anything with the space. I am very disappointed in the Mocha Hut.

    And Domku is great. The service can be slow, and the prices may be on the higher side, but it is a great little place.

  • “Jae, the friendly owner of Mayorga, also reports to he is actively seeking a star Asian chef”

    Again, Mayorga is doing everything but being a coffee shop. It may be one hell of a lounge, who knows, but its a pretty miserable attempt at a coffee shop of late. They glossed over the windows, put Bud signs on the wall, its certainly more lounge than coffee shop. Its a shame, because it was pretty sweet. I won’t go there anymore.

  • One more thing about Mayorga: they are turning off the wi-fi by 7pm. They are doing this because the owners don’t like people hanging out on their computers until 11 and not buying anything. Plus they are working with lame promoters who try to turn the place into a club at night. If they left the laptop people alone, they might actually have people at the crappy parties they throw.

  • Edgar Danewood: I described it as ‘Italian’ because Lily told me that was the idea behind her cafe, thus, the espresso drinks, paninis, etc. She does serve Ethiopian food, though, to her compatriots. She is away from work at the moment, because she just gave birth (a healthy boy!), but she’ll be back soon.

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