Why a coffee-date and not an actual full-on date? Well, there could be a number of reasons: hectic schedules, uncertainty on either side, or trying to figure out whether you’ve been friend-zoned. But regardless, I enjoy coffee-dates. It forces people to talk, sober and without the pressure of an expensive meal and the instinct to impress. And it’s for these reasons that a good coffee-date can actually indicate a promising future. Keep in mind, though, coffee-dates are only applicable for the first three dates. No more. After that, you’re two people who are dating and having coffee together.
And for a perfect coffee-date spot, I look for these things:
First, warm and/or comfortable seating/atmosphere. In the immortal words of Van Wilder, “First dates are interviews,” and you don’t need help from rigid, cold seating to remind you of that.
Second, a balance between quiet and busy. The place should offer equal ambient noise and privacy. If the music is too loud, you’re intimate conversations will start to sound like a caffeine-fueled rant. But you also don’t want the place to be so quiet and intimate that you feel like the PhD student behind you working on her dissertation is, in fact, live-Tweeting your first date.
Third, and maybe the most important, is good coffee. The smell of coffee and pastries makes people at ease and is, potentially, a turn-on. So, why not make sure that they’re good when they’re in your mouth (pun, sort of intended). And also, what idiot would prefer to have a date over a nice cup of gas station coffee anyway?
So, with these and other factors in mind, here’s a list of my favorite coffee-date spots in DC.
Sova. I first found this place on an OKCupid date. It’s got two levels, and the upstairs offers plenty of comfortable seating. They have really good coffee to top it off. However, it’s on H St., and you know what us Washingtonians say about H St.
Coffy Cafe. This coffee house/creperie in Columbia Heights has a throwback theme, inspired by 70’s blaxploitation film stars such as Pam Grier. This place also has two levels and awesome crepes. The neighborhood also has many other options, if you decide to make this coffee-date into a happy hour and dinner.
Ebenezers. I found this place by accident one day, on my way to a date. Only a couple of blocks from Union Station, it has a somewhat sophisticated, yet, relaxed atmosphere. They also regularly hold literature and live-music events, so if you or your date are into book readings and acoustic music, this might just be the perfect spot.
Cafe Collage. Just around the corner from Saint-Ex on 1346 T Street NW, Cafe Collage offers the most privacy out of all the coffee shops I mention in this post. The basement level is very quiet and is perfect for a nice, long chat. If you’re fan of Chai, try theirs, they’re famous for it.
These places just fell short of being one of the best coffee-date spots in my book. A little about them:
Tryst – Great date spot, but the place often has loud live music and it can be very difficult, sometimes, to find comfortable seating.
Tynan Coffee-Columbia Heights – Good coffee, but they play their music loud, and you also sit very close to other patrons.
Soho Tea & Coffee – It gets crowded on a regular basis, but the coffee and other drinks are fantastic. Also, they’re open late
Teaism-Dupont – Not a coffee shop, but if you prefer tea, it’s a great place. Try the Hojicha; it tastes like my childhood in Japan.
Starbucks on north Dupont – They don’t need my endorsement. Good spot to people-watch, not necessarily a good thing nor a bad thing for a date.
- Eric Wang