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Great Coffee Shop Hunt: Big Bear Cafe

October 19, 2011

Last week, I said I needed to make more of an effort to visit coffee shops in different neighborhoods and not in Northwest. Well, I’m still in NW Washington this week but a different neighborhood and oh-so close to the NE dividing line — just one block! This week, the Great Coffee Shop Hunt comes to Bloomingdale’s Big Bear Cafe.

(Side note: do any readers live in Bloomingdale? It’s one of those neighborhoods I know little about but seems like a great place to live!)

When I asked friends to recommend a great coffee shop, Big Bear came up constantly. And Washingtonian agrees: the magazine gave Big Bear the distinction of ‘Best Farm-to-Table Charm’:

Order coffee with cream and sugar at Big Bear Cafe and you’ll get French-press Counter Culture coffee with fresh-from-the-farm milk and natural cane sugar. Try to get one of the candlelit tables on the patio in front, near the organic garden.

Now let’s be honest: Big Bear is a hipsters’ paradise. There were plenty of guys in skinny jeans and oversized, black glasses — and girls wearing the same hipster uniform. But there was also an old man whom the barista greeted by name, and a group of college students studying together, and a couple clearly on a first date. It has a true neighborhood vibe, which I immediately fell in love with.

As for the coffee — from Counter Culture beans — I branched out and tried a new-to-me drink, a cortado (2 shots of espresso plus a small amount of warm milk to curb acidity).

It’s hard to tell from the photo but the glass is small, about the size of a double shot glass. This was the perfect choice for slow sipping and I’m always happy to branch out for something new.

For reading, for socializing, for studying, for people-watching — oh yea, there’s a great patio, too — Big Bear Cafe is a good choice. This is going to be a hard one to beat but you know I’ll try…

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2011 12:23 pm

    That coffee shop looks totally amazing – I love anywhere with good coffee, friendly atmosphere and an outside garden!! Swoon.

    • October 19, 2011 4:18 pm

      Yes, definitely have to take advantage of outdoor patios when the weather is nice!

  2. October 19, 2011 3:42 pm

    I love hipster coffe shops-they’re the best:) And I am not a hipster but you can’t deny the atmosphere!

    • October 19, 2011 4:18 pm

      At least hipsters like good coffee and run a great soundtrack. 😉

  3. October 20, 2011 12:54 pm

    I live in Bloomingdale and absolutely LOVE it! Check out the farmers market on Sundays (10am-2pm) located right outside of big bear! First and R streets NW.

    • October 20, 2011 12:59 pm

      p.s. it runs until november 20th!

    • October 20, 2011 1:45 pm

      Thanks for the tip — another friend mentioned the great market so I’ll have to stop by. Thanks also for sharing your love of living in Bloomingdale. It’s a neighborhood I know little about but maybe it’s worth checking out next year when I move again. 🙂


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