The Coffee Bar to Open in DC

[zilla_alert style="red"]Update: It appears The Coffee Bar is still pending final inspection. The Wednesday, Dec. 12, opening has been pushed back. An exact open date has not yet been determined. [/zilla_alert]

Quick note: I covered the opening in a recent column for, which you can read here. Rather than repost elements of that story, I’m using this space to dive a little deeper into some of the coffee aspects. Reading both articles will provide a pretty comprehensive look at The Coffee Bar. 

The Coffee Bar, DC’s newest addition to the specialty coffee scene, opened on December 5, will open on December 10, is planning to open on Wednesday, December 12 (delays and hiccups are just part of the process, right?) at 1201 S Street, NW. The cafe is owned by veteran barista and DC native, Cait Lowry, who’s worked in the DC coffee scene for years, including stops at Buzz Bakery, Baked & Wired, Pound the Hill and Yola.

“Two words: life happens,” said Lowry. “There are so many moving parts and separate parties involved. Some things are just out of your control, but we are so close and couldn’t be more excited!”

The Coffee Bar is serving up coffee from Annapolis-based Ceremony Coffee Roasters, LA’s Handsome Roasters and Batdorf & Bronson of Seattle. While Ceremony continues to grow its presence as a somewhat local brand, Handsome has popped up in only one location (Dolcezza Gelato) thus far, and Batdorf & Bronson has heretofore been unavailable in the area.

[zilla_toggle title="Ceremony Coffee found in DC" state="closed"] Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso (2 loc.)
Modern Times Coffee House
La Mano Coffeehouse (opening soon)
Baked & Wired
Pleasant Pops Farmhouse Market
Society Fair
Room 11
The Coffee Bar [/zilla_toggle]

The Coffee Bar will use Ceremony’s Mass Appeal as its house espresso. As described on Ceremony’s website, Mass Appeal “shows dense body with both milk and dark chocolate notes and a sweet almond presence in both the aroma and in the demitasse. The finish is clean and leaves a mellow, lingering sweetness.” It’ll be used to craft the standard array of espresso-based drinks, along with a decaf espresso and one rotating guest espresso that may alternate among the three roasters.

This is all being pulled on a La Marzocco GB5 three-group espresso machine, coated in sea foam green. That sounds a little wild, but I had a sneak peak of the shop and it works well with the vibe and decor of The Coffee Bar. The GB5 will work in harmony with a set of Compak grinders on the bar.

For non-espresso drinks, The Coffee Bar features a separate slow bar area. This section of the shop allows for customers to belly up to the bar and interact with their barista as they brew pour over coffees. The pour over options will include coffees from all three roasters. They’ll be brewed to order using Hario V60 brewers. When I spoke with Lowry, she emphasized that the cafe will not be paying lip service to pour overs, but that they’ll be an integral aspect of the beverage menu.

The Coffee Bar is designed as a neighborhood cafe, meaning the interior design and service approach caters to folks who may stay a while. Including the slow bar, The Coffee Bar will have seating for approximately 25 patrons in its lounge area, communal table and other bistro-style seating. It’s a mere 1,000 square feet, but the interior is open, making it feel a bit roomier. Some outdoor seating is planned for spring 2013.

“We want to create a social atmosphere that caters to both the coffee enthusiast and your average joe,” said Lowry. “Our goal is simple – serve the best coffee we can, and have a good time doing it.”

Teas will be available from Steve Smith Teamaker, and an assortment of bagels, cookies, pastries and grab-and-go items will be available from local suppliers. Shop hours are 7 a.m to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Coffee Bar is also the latest addition to the District Bean neighborhood guides.

The Coffee Bar
1201 S Street, NW
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Full disclosure statement

As some readers know, I spent roughly one year as a barista at Yola before it closed in September 2012. During that time I met and worked under Cait Lowry, and alongside other staff members of The Coffee Bar. Beginning this December, I’ll also be covering a weekend shift at The Coffee Bar. It’s important for me to address what may be seen as a conflict of interests here on the site. First, District Bean is not a “news outlet” and I am not a “reporter;” rather, I’m an advocate for specialty coffee and this site is intended to inform, educate and build community. Secondly, this is a strictly non-commercial website, and there is no business interest between District Bean and any of the operations the sight may cover. That said, I’m incredibly pleased to get behind the bar again and work as a barista. If you have any questions, shoot me an e-mail anytime, or drop a comment below.


  1. says

    Hey Michael – though The Coffee Bar’s plans had changed recently (updated to 12/12 for opening), as is the nature of opening any business, there may be delays. Not sure if they’ll be ready tomorrow, but I hope you’ll not be discouraged.

  2. Johnny says

    And it’s in my neighborhood! Woot! We need this because I feel that all the good spots for aficionados locally are saturated, seating wise. It’s disappointing to bring a book, iPad, etc and then to end up turning away because of no where to sit.

  3. Ken says

    I’m looking forward to this opening, I’ve seen the building walking around and thought it would be an awesome location for a coffee shop.

    For anyone who doesn’t know, there’s a sign on the door saying a soft launch will be held tomorrow 12/16/2012 at 12pm I believe.

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