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Buzzed: Coffee Shops with Good Beer

Bars have been serving coffee cocktails for ages, so it’s no surprise that lately coffee shops have begun serving beer as well. Though it’s still a fairly new concept, it’s one that’s begun to be seen more ubiquitously as of late. Here is a list of some of your best bets for finding a brew with your coffee in the DC area.

Coffeehouses and cafés have much in common with bars and pubs, when it comes down to it. All are community gathering places, somewhere people of a neighborhood can go, alone or with others, to enjoy a beverage—and sometimes food—prepared for them and served to them. They go there to consort with friends, to people-watch, to people-meet, or simply to enjoy a few solitary minutes to themselves away from home, without needing an excuse. The steaming mug or frosty glass in front of them is their reason to be there.

Bars have been serving coffee cocktails for ages, so it’s no surprise that lately coffee shops have begun serving beer as well. Though it’s still a fairly new concept, it’s one that’s begun to be seen more ubiquitously as of late. Below is a list of some of your best bets for finding a brew with your coffee in the DC area.

Tryst (Adams Morgan)- Tucked below the Madam’s bosom on the side of Madam’s Organ, Tryst is a popular place, sometimes to the effect of being pretty packed on weekends. It’s not for nothing, though; with seven beers on tap (including a creative hybrid drink of Guinness and espresso they dub “Dufrain”) and nine in bottles and cans (about evenly split between the Heinekin and Miller Lite ilk and more interesting selections like Rogue Brutal Bitter and Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout), Tryst is a great place to grab a brew along with your couch or bar stool. They also offer cocktails, wine, and of course, coffee and tea. A pretty extensive food menu—spanning brunch, small plates, appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and sweets—is also available, along with pairing suggestions on the menu for each beverage category.
Tryst– 2459 18th St, NW

Chinatown Coffee Co. (Chinatown)- It’s almost easy to miss this spot in an unassuming rowhousewith a smallvertical banner announcing its identity. But it’s one worth squinting for: on the chalk boards adorning the one orange wall among exposed bricks you’ll find not only coffee, but beer, wine, and absinthe selections. There are no taps at Chinatown Coffee, but the 10 bottles range from Lagunitas IPA to North Coast Old Rasputin and Brother Thelonious to several selections from Great Lakes Brewery. Less crowded than Tryst, but still consistently populated, it’s a good place to set up a laptop, relax with a book, or snag a table with friends and stay awhile.
Chinatown Coffee Co.– 475 H St, NW

Locolat Café (U Street Corridor)- Locolat Café is less a “coffee house” in the American tradition and more a “café” in the European tradition. You can order at the counter and take your selection to go, or you can sit down (in or outdoors) with a menu and let your waiter serve you table-side. As in a café, the focus is just as much on the craft of their pastires, candies, cakes, waffles, and paninis as on their coffee, hot chocolates, and beer. The selections of each are extensive and have a hand-crafted feel, and the formidable beer list is exclusively Belgian (with one offering, the XX Bitter Belgian Golden Ale, denoted as having the same town of origin as the Piferoen family who opened and maintain Locolat). It’s this Old World atmosphere that really makes Locolat; care and attentiveness is apparent in the preparation, the thoughtfully sourced beer selection, the friendliness of the servers, even the glass-walled kitchen, into which you can gaze and see Master Chef Geert Piferoen unwrapping various ingredients.
Locolat Café– 1781 Florida Ave, NW

Northside Social (Clarendon/Arlington)- In the location that used to be Murky Coffee—and before that, Common Ground—the Northside Social building has a long history of coffeehouse incarnations. Its most current one is the first to offer beer and wine along with their beans. Though they only have three beers on tap—Duckrabbit Stout,Bear Racer IPA, and an unidentified hard cider at last visit—they have a fridge stocked with interesting craft bottles as well. With additional upstairs space, and tempting baked goods, salads, sandwiches, wine, and freshly-baked loaves of bread available along with beer and coffee, Northside Social is a good bet for beer in a coffee setting outside the District proper.
Northside Social– 3211 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA

Teaism (Penn Quarter)- Though more a “tea house” than a “coffee house,” Teaism is a gathering place (similar to a coffee house) whose primary focus is on brewing and serving  a wide variety of a particular non-alcoholic beverage—in this case, tea. But along with their extensive selection of oolongs, tisanes, and white, green, and black teas, Teaism’s Penn Quarter location also offers beers. Though the selection is limited to five bottled varieties, the selection—Sapporo, Jever Pilsener, Smuttynose Porter, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, and Victory Hop Devil IPA—is interesting enough to be included in a list of go-to establishments to get a craft beer along with your pot of coffee (or tea).  Additionally, Teaism serves a variety of Asian-inspired small and large plates along with breakfast items and sweets.
Teaism Penn Quarter– 400 8th St, NW

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