The Best Coffee Shops and Other Spots to Work Remotely in DC
It’s time for a change of scenery.
It’s fair to say that working from home has managed to crossover from being a temporary trend to the new default for many one-time office workers. But because most of us don’t have a home that is quite as expansive as your old office building (alas, it did have its perks), it has become increasingly important to find new places to call a temporary home—at least during working hours. Of course, the ideal abode is chock full of caffeine, delicious snacks, and yes, Wi-Fi; otherwise known as your favorite coffee shop.
There are a lot of things that can make or break your local coffee shop—the seating options, the lighting, the menu, and the noise level are just a few factors to take into consideration. And despite what we might tell ourselves, a full workday is just too high stakes to throw away if you land at the wrong place. Luckily the options here are curated and ready to go for every type of work from “home” situation, because yes, in 2021 and beyond, you’re going to need to call a lot of places home.
Located in the Assembly, a new food hall in Rosslyn, Big Day Coffee offers everything from simple drip coffees to a full service espresso bar. This modern coffee shop allows you to place orders (including fresh pastries and fruit parfaits) via your phone so you can focus on getting work done in any one of Assembly’s bright and sophisticated work spaces designed by Wow and Flutter or on the outdoor terrace.
If you need a sugar rush to power through the rest of your workday, head over to Mah-Ze-Dahr, an intimate space where pastries are calling. This NYC-born bakery recently expanded with two DMV area locations, bringing cult favorite cinnamon rolls, brioche doughnuts, and, of course, plenty of La Colombe coffee. The bakery space is a bit small, so get there early to spread out with your work and a sweet or savory pastry.
For the past decade, Bayou has been attracting folks from Arlington and across the river thanks to its casual New Orleans vibe. Monday through Friday, you can dependably get your work done through classic coffees, the whipped coffee that took over TikTok months ago, or spicy sips of the cajun latte, just be forewarned, it does feature bourbon alongside cayenne and cinnamon. Chef, owner, and New Orleans native David Guas also offers a food menu of bites that work for breakfast or lunch, and there’s also beer, frozen daiquiris, and other boozy beverages for when work is done (or dragging on too long).
This affordable, all-day cafe has a menu that spans breakfast, lunch, and coffee shop fare. Most menu items are under $10, so Big Bear Cafe’s Bloomingdale outpost makes a great place to spend the day working on free Wi-Fi (available during weekdays). The recently expanded menu takes advantage of a wood-burning oven, and the coffee and tea are always freshly and lovingly brewed. Inside, the exposed brick, warm wood features, and laid back atmosphere create a homey vibe. But when you walk out onto the gorgeous vine-entangled patio you’ll quickly realize that this relaxed spot could easily be gussied up for a wedding, so spending a workday here is a real treat.
If you’re looking for an elegant place to channel chief executive vibes during the work day, there’s no better place to do so than the effortlessly elegant, spacious Cafe Riggs. There’s free Wi-Fi, excellent brasserie-inspired food, and a beautiful espresso bar to get you through the day in style. It’s the perfect spot to answer emails over breakfast or meet up for a business lunch.
Dupont Circle and CityCenter
Dolcezza has a number of locations in the DMV, but the Dupont Circle and CityCenter locations are by far the best for your workday. With free WiFi, Italian-inspired coffee, and most importantly, gelato, there’s really no reason to ever leave this workspace.
You won’t be alone pulling out your laptop and settling down to a stool at Doubles (previously named Colony Club). If you’re regimented enough to stay inside on the first floor, you’ll find the minimalist decor provides an ideal backdrop for getting work done. But when you’re ready to reward yourself for meeting your latest deadline or just want to call your work day a wash, Doubles has the perfect setup for that, too. The outdoor patio has picnic tables for soaking up the sun and pretending to work, and there’s an old-school Ping-Pong table upstairs to really entertain yourself. You can also wander next door to sister restaurant/bar No Kisses and Sonny’s Pizza for a break, not to mention some of the best pizza in the city. Be warned, however, Doubles is closed Monday and Tuesday, which works out just fine—after all, too much fun in the first half of the week may spell trouble for the back half.
Cafes this cute don’t usually come with room to roam. But this cafe-by-day, restaurant-by-night stretches further back than you’d think and has plenty of nooks and crannies to perch at for the day. Elle doesn’t have Wi-Fi for guests (so make sure your hotspot is charged) and the cafe closes at 4pm so staff can switch gears for dinner service. But you’ll quickly forgive them after sipping your expertly made latte or digging into breakfast and lunch options that include a perfect buttery biscuit, lovely scones, and lots of other rotating pastries, plus sandwiches and pizza once mid-day rolls around.
This spot is equal parts people Instagramming their avocado toast and K Street lobbyists sipping coffee in their best suit, which makes it an impossibly perfect find in the heart of Dupont Circle. The front of the subterranean coffee shop offers natural light ready for photos and light-hearted meetings while the two rooms in the back have a cozier, more private feel. You can linger well into the evening but once the lights are dimmed and the candles appear on every table, you’ll have to stay in the front room for free Wi-Fi while patrons in the back enjoy a more traditional bar vibe stocked with beer, wine, and cocktails. And yes, there’s a happy hour that runs from 4 pm to 7 pm.
Whether you have to head off to your 9-to-5 or just want to get an early start, First Bake at Farmers Fishers Bakers is the place to be. The waterfront restaurant opens its doors at 8 am Monday through Friday to serve cheap breakfast staples like cinnamon rolls, breakfast tacos, and glazed doughnuts for just a dollar. Plus, the large dining room remains relatively quiet for spreading out with your laptop, hopping on the Wi-Fi, and getting some real work done.
Sometimes you just need to plop down and not log off the free Wi-Fi at your temporary desk all day. For that, you have Grace Street Coffee. Get there early if you want a good seat because you won’t be the only one in town with this idea. But if you find a stool or bench at this three-in-one fancy food court, you can comfortably stay all day fueled by coffee and pastries from Grace Street Coffee, a sandwich (one of the best in America!) for lunch from Sundevich, and an acai bowl from South Block as an afternoon snack.
Connecting the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard is easily one of the best spots to hunker down in the city. You get natural light courtesy of an elegant, undulating glass canopy overhead that brightens up the space even on dreary days. Plus, you’ll feel like you’re outside among trees, shrubs, and shallow pools of water. The high ceilings and wide-open space absorb the sound so, even with the space is packed with people (and it will be), the courtyard feels quiet with plenty of space to set up at a table or stretch out on an oversized marble bench in the 28,000-square-foot courtyard. There’s a cafe with coffee, snacks, and other refreshments, but you don’t have to buy anything to turn this free museum with Wi-Fi into your office for the day. Keep in mind, however, that the hours of the museums have shifted a bit; you can only take advantage of the space from Wednesday to Sunday from 11:30 am to 7 pm.
Connect to the public Wi-Fi at La Cosecha and grab a seat outside for some of the best people watching and tacos in DC. The Latin American food hall has both street-level and rooftop seating options for you to move around throughout the day, and when happy hour rolls around, be sure to grab one of the brilliant cocktails that Las Gemelas and Serenata are offering up.
You’ve seen it on Instagram. The dreamy pillows on the front steps. The tilted mirror positioned with selfies in mind. The dramatic chandelier made from an organ that occupied the space when it served as a church. But the gorgeous digs in this trendy hotel lobby also happen to be a great place to post up for meetings or work with a quiet buzz bouncing off the vaulted ceilings. For those working alone, there are long shared tables reminiscent of a chic library and, if you’re with a group, you can brainstorm on minimalist couches winding around the middle of the space. Order food and drink (including coffee in the morning) from No Goodbyes—a new addition to the hotel—where an all-day wood-burning grill will keep you well fed.
H Street Corridor
Maketto contains multitudes: a 60-seat Cambodian and Taiwanese restaurant by Erik Brunner-Yang, a retail store featuring brands from Adidas to Comme des Garçonnes, a dreamy tropical rooftop lounge with plants galore and wicker accents, and a minimalist patio cafe with plenty of space to sprawl all work day long. Plus, early opening hours (7 am for you morning folks) makes this an ideal place to post up before the crowds arrive.
Carve out a nook in this effortlessly cool Latin spot and snack on empanadas, arepas, and fries with a side of Peruvian yellow chile mayo. The Royal is one of the few coffee shops in town slinging both quality coffee and top-notch cocktails while housing plenty of seats for working on the free Wi-Fi. Plus, an early happy hour that starts at 3 pm and goes until 6 pm is an excellent way to celebrate the end (or middle) of your workday.
This 16-year-old coffee shop has become a de facto living room for the hip freelancer set in DC. While it’s located on the main drag in Adams Morgan, the eclectic furniture and cavernous vibe make the spot feel hidden but you'll quickly realize why it’s become such an institution. Tryst has varied seating options and Wi-Fi all day during the week. All of the beverages come adorned with an animal cracker or two, but if you want something heartier, the cafe has a full menu of pastries and breakfast, lunch, and snacking staples.