Dear PoP – Friday Question of the Day – The Definitive Best Place To Work/Study During the Day

DSCN5718, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“Dear PoP,

I’m currently working full time and am a grad student and I’m looking for a coffee shop to go and get some work done on the evenings and weekends. (it’s really hard to study and write papers with a boyfriend and two cats in the house). I’m looking for some place that has comfy seating, good coffee, hopefully serves some simple food, and will be a great place to go for a few hours and work.”

We once tackled this question before but I was hoping we could have a definitive list that I could refer folks to in the future. This reader is specifically looking for spots near Petworth. I’d of course recommend Domku (800 block of Upshur) or a bit further south Columbia Heights Coffee (11th between Park and Monroe). But as we know lots of development is coming to town. So it’ll be interesting to check out Fresh Off the Roast Coffee that is slated to come to Georgia Ave (near Randolph, set to open in the next few weeks). Tynan Coffee is set to open on Irving Street near the Columbia Heights metro in the next few months. And who knows what other spots will be filled in the vacant Columbia Heights and Petworth commercial areas.

If possible I was hoping to draw up a list of the best spots to study in all of the neighborhoods in PoPville. So if you have a favorite place to work/study during the day, in addition to the name please leave some cross streets so people can find the spot. So where’s your favorite spot to work/study during the day – Big Bear (1st and R), Tryst (18th Street in Adams Morgan) one of the many Starbucks around town, Busboys & Poets (14th and V), Sticky Fingers (Park Road east of 14th Street) the library…?

24 Comment

  • Busboys is definitely my spot for working, but it isn’t in any way quiet. All the background commotion works as a white noise for me.

    I think I am abnormal though, its objectively not the greatest place for studying etc.

  • Becasue nothing helps eliminate the distractions of a boyfriend and two cats like a room full of strangers coming in and out to buy coffe and coffe machines making all kinds of noises.

    Why not just go to the library if your bf and cats are so loud.
    Since when is it a necessity that you are able to purchase refreshments at any moment? Libraries have Wifi and are meant for studying.

  • I love CH Coffee… mmm, and get more work done at any coffee shop in general. I actually focus better with white noise. It gives me something to tune out. But free wi-fi is a must.

  • I do like CH Coffee but they can get packed (could of expanded but we know how that ended up). The Petworth library is not a bad option and on weekends, between the lunch and dinner crowd Domku is good and although they don’t serve food they’ll let you stay and work.

  • I’d make a plug for Azi’s Cafe on 9th and O. She’s very busy during the morning (until 9ish) but you will definitely get a seat and it is very peaceful during the day. Good munchies too; the cranberry scones are the best in DC. free wifi, etc.

  • I second Otis Gal on Domku between lunch and dinner (and while you can’t get food, you can still get beer…which admittedly is not conducive to studying, but is nonetheless a bonus). However, apparently the wi-fi access doesn’t work well with macs. I’ve always had trouble getting on and when I spoke with a staff member, she said that they don’t know why but they’ve found that common among their mac customers.

  • I also vote for Domku. I like Sticky Fingers, too, but they can get crowded and close so darn early. Same with CH Coffee, I’m pretty sure (on the closing early front). Busboys is yumlicious, but soooo noisy and often crowded enough that I feel guilty hogging a seat for too long.

  • I’m in agreement with Grumpy.

    In all my schooling I never got much of anything done in coffee houses.

  • For those on the Hill – Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday until 9:30 the Library of Congress has reading rooms open with free wi-fi. Very quiet but no coffee.

  • I had success studying for the bar on occasion at the CH Starbucks. I agree that the constant chatter and barista noises blend into a perfect white noise for me, but understand if that isn’t your thing. Note to future bar takers: study someplace that is noisy. It is inevitable that there will be distracting noises all around you throughout the exam. Prepare thyself.

    The Mt. P library began as a nice place to study. Then fifty elementary school kids came in, walked downstairs (quietly and orderly I must say), and proceeding to engage in a sing-along that was led by an actual band. Who ok’ed that one? I cant focus with lyrics. White noise this was not.

    Some places I liked that are not in our hood:

    Firehook in Cleveland Park. Walk in, order a coffee of your liking, head out the back door and pick one of the many tables in their outdoor courtyard shaded by grape vines. Honestly, the first time I found that place I heard angles sing. Obviously a no-go in bad weather, but a great way to enjoy fresh air during study sessions without all the typical outdoor distractions. Plenty of tables, but WiFi is hit or miss.

    Sips Coffee on Conn Ave in Van Ness. Off the beaten path a little, but nice for studying. Small place, not many tables, but most customers are in and out, so it is likely you can grab one. Good WiFi. Good coffee. Bring your dry cleaning and drop it at Zips next door.

  • I’ve done a lot of work at the Tangier Lounge in Adams Morgan. Nothing beats getting a hookah and some mint tea and sitting in the back with a book or my laptop (free wifi). I know the owner from back when I used to go to Cafe Azela a lot. Don’t go to study on weekend nights, certainly, but its usually empty during the week and during the day on the weekends. Oh, and killer food.

    Corner of 18th and Cali.

  • I like SOVA on H Street (between 13th and 14th St on H St NE). It has wifi, a wine bar, comfy couches, good coffee, but is a bit expensive and no real food. Mocha Hut on U Street (at 13th St) has food, wifi, some comfortable seating, and is reasonably priced. There is also a new Busboys and Poets on 5th St and K NW, good if you are near the Convention Center.

  • I love Open City in Woodley Park. It’s not really PoP territory, but you can sit for hours, and they have wi-fi and a nice coffee & tea selection.

  • What about 14U Cafe, guys? Anyone missing that little gem on 14th and U Streets? A soul was never in there and I basically got through my master’s coursework on their couch. R.I.P. 14U Cafe… or will you rise again?

  • One more vote for the library! Librarians will help you find information if you need it and keep the environment conducive to study.

  • I’m surprised that Tryst and its sister restaurant Open City have been mentioned as great places to study. Tryst is extremely crowded a good portion of the time, and both places are loud.

  • I’d mention Cafe Sureia in Brookland, but it doesn’t have the best hours (closed at 3 Monday, Saturday and Sunday; closed at 4 Tuesday through Friday) and doesn’t have much seating. It is quiet, though.

  • Tryst is only good for hipsters writing missed connections to each other.

  • Tryst is only good for hipsters writing missed connections to each other.

    Pretty much!

    It was one of the first restaurants/cafes I checked out when I moved to the DC area. I met a few nice people there. It’s just not a place to sit and study at.

  • Tryst is totally about poseurs *looking* like they’re studying. But too crowded to be of any actual value.

    People that use coffee shops as their office can sometimes be a menace. This guide to coffee shop etiquette is important.

  • Alas both Sips and Mocha Hut are victims of the current economic downturn.

    I’ll sometimes drive all the way to the Arlington Central Library to do work. I’ve never found anyplace as good in the District.

  • This practice, studying for long hours at establishments, may actually hurt some small businesses. Some who study don’t even bother to purchase, but use electricity and worse take spaces away from potentially paying customers. This is especially true if the shop serves meals which require sitting to comfortably eat. When a place looks too crowded some customers will pass by. Most restaurant type businesses require turn over and depend on high margin items moving. We may be killing the spaces we love.

  • Qualia Coffee. check it

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