Beignets, Brunch, and Breaking the Bubble

By: Nikita Shah

Photos by: Sam K Lee

It’s easy to get caught up in the busy rush of college life on the hilltop. Between class, work, internships, meetings, meals, and sleep (hopefully), it can be hard to escape your go-to work spots on campus. Here are four cute and quirky cafes that can help banish your mid-week slump or provide a change of scenery for a lazy weekend afternoon.


Location: 2459 18th St NW, Washington DC

This Adams Morgan coffeehouse is definitely worth the hike! Tryst not only has all-day brunch with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, but it also has ample seating from comfy couches to traditional wooden tables and chairs. The funky wall art gives the café a unique vibe and its music playlist features a fun blend of R&B and pop throwbacks to enjoy as you sip your coffee from a wide-rimmed, ceramic mug. Tryst is about a 20 minute walk from the Dupont Circle GUTS bus stop or a short Uber ride. One quick warning: if you’re going to get some work done, avoid this spot on weekends because the café gets pretty packed for brunch and the Wi-Fi is only turned on for the weekdays.

Bayou Bakery

Location: 1515 N Courthouse Road, Arlington, VA

For those of you that spent your childhoods in the suburbs, you may be missing a cozy, neighborhood coffee spot in the big city. With its quirky New Orleans-themed décor and small-town vibe, Bayou Bakery could be exactly what you are looking for. This café is completely different from the sometimes impersonal study spots you might find in the city. The friendly staff call your order out with a fun, New Orleans-themed name, and you can count on refills in adorably mismatched mugs. Bayou Bakery always has Wi-Fi and offers tables and chairs as well as comfy couches around a communal table. Best of all, their freshly-made beignets (read: hot, fried dough heavily sprinkled with powdered sugar, a New Orleans staple) won’t break your snack budget!

Soho Tea and Coffee

Location: 2150 P St NW, Washington DC

If you’re craving homemade soup or breakfast for dinner, check out Soho Tea and Coffee. With its eclectic décor and handwritten menus, it’s definitely a nice change from your local Starbucks. Plus there is plenty of seating and outlets along with Wi-Fi. The menu boasts drinks like “Chai on Crack” (chai with a shot of espresso), “Betty Boop” (white or dark chocolate, coffee, tons of whipped cream in a big bowl), and “Bahama Mama” (banana and coconut syrups, steamed half & half, espresso, topped with whipped cream). In addition to their one-of-a-kind drinks, this café is proudly woman owned and offers a 10% discount for students! This charming, homey café is a short, five minute walk from the Dupont Circle GUTS bus stop.

Songbyrd Music House and Record Café

Location: 2475 18th St NW, Washington DC

Songbyrd is another Adams Morgan coffeehouse well-worth the 20 minute walk or short Uber ride from the Dupont Circle GUTS bus stop. I promise you will not find another place like this. In one venue, you can browse Songbyrd’s vinyl collection, work on that paper you probably haven’t started yet, and even attend a concert in the café’s restaurant/bar section in the evening. Not only does Songbyrd have many choices for coffee and tea drinkers alike (their spiced chai is a homemade blend), it also has all day breakfast (do you sense a recurring theme) and many vegetarian and vegan options. Fun fact: Khalid performed here last year, along with two other Grammy-nominated artists!

So the next time you need a coffee-fueled study sesh, ditch Midnight Mug and opt for one of DC’s many quirky cafes!

NIKITA SHAH is a freshman in the College studying Biology. When she’s not binge-watching Netflix’s latest political drama, you might find her sprinting to the nearest coffee shop or trying to magically expand her closet to fit more shoes.

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