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Great Coffee Shop Hunt: Reiter’s Books

September 21, 2011

An ‘only in DC’ moment: walking downtown last night after work, I cut across Lafayette Square in front of the White House when I heard shouts. Turning toward the noise, I saw a man climb the White House fence, jump down and begin sprinting across the lawn as police yelled and police cars — sirens blaring — appeared out of nowhere. The whole thing was over in a matter of seconds — the runner made it nearly to the building before armed police got him to the ground — but my heart was racing. Of course, my first thought was ‘I need to get this on Twitter!’ But… only in DC!

Can you name DC’s oldest independent bookstore? Politics & Prose and Kramerbooks may have more name recognition but Reiter’s Books is actually Washington’s oldest, dating back to 1936.

Reiter’s specializes in scientific and technical books — surprise, surprise, I’d never been there before! — but every time I walk by, the cafe is filled with people, especially during warm summer months when the patio is packed. So as part of the Great Coffee Shop Hunt, it seemed natural to check it out. Books + coffee = perfection. Have to do my ‘research,’ obviously!

The books may not have been up my alley but I love these DC (and other city) neighborhood maps from Ork.

Love these but on to the coffee…

The cafe is actually part cafe, part Ethiopian restaurant, randomly. I stuck to a simple cafe au lait.

The good: really friendly staff, cheap prices.

The bad: cash only. It was only after ordering that I noticed the sign — thankfully the very kind barista let me take my drink, then go to a nearby ATM. Thanks to ATM fees, this medium cafe au lait went from $2.00 from $4.50, sadly. Cash only? #fail

Also, the coffee honestly wasn’t very good. Maybe it was stale, made in the morning and served in the middle of the day. I don’t know. It was drinkable but not worth going back to for another cup in the future.

If tech-y books are your thing, check out Reiter’s and support an independent bookstore. For a cup of coffee though, you’re better off going elsewhere.

What’s your ‘only in my city’ moment?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. emgusk permalink
    September 21, 2011 11:25 am

    I just bought that poster from Reiter’s last week! (Two of them actually…One is for me and the other is a housewarming present for a friend who moved out of town.) Is the photo of the one you took actually green, or is that just the camera setting? I got the black on white one, but think it’s boring.

    • September 21, 2011 3:38 pm

      It’s green — they had a few different colors (blue and red too, I think). I want to get one!

  2. Life's a Bowl permalink
    September 22, 2011 6:14 am

    Oh my- I didn’t see anything about the fence jumper on the news… Oh how I love where we live 😛 Too bad about the so-so cup of joe, guess I won’t be going to Reiter’s anytime soon…

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