Best Local Coffee Shops + Cafes for Breakups in the DMV
March 14, 2023 @ 12:00pm
Most relationships don’t make it. That’s OK! Here’s where to amicably end it.
A month after Valentine’s Day, some pairs are going strong while others might be ready to throw in the heart-shaped towel. Plenty of ink has been spilled about the most romantic locations for first dates, special dinners, and proposal spots. But what about the perfect place… to break up? It’s not fun to think about, but when a need arises, you’ll be glad to have some options in your back pocket. And given how often breakups happen unexpectedly and/or by phone, we’re including the oft-dreaded (but hopefully cathartic!) post-breakup post-mortem conversation in this category. While some might prefer the total privacy of their homes, others may need a more neutral location.
An ideal breakup spot has to work on several levels. Nothing with reservations (someone already has serious reservations about the relationship, let’s not make it harder), plenty of seating (to avoid awkward waiting), ability to hear one another comfortably (shouting “it’s not you, it’s me” above the din in a trendy bar feels as cringey as it sounds), and minimal interaction with waitstaff (we don’t need to hear today’s catch of the day when we’re finding out that we are not such a catch to Caitlin from Bumble).
Some locally owned coffee shops and cafes fit the bill perfectly – many serve booze as well as coffee (for those in need of some liquid courage – or solace, safely) — while others offer other perks that smooth the sharp edges of uncomfortable and emotional interactions. The ample outdoor seating at a place like Northside Social in Clarendon, for instance, allows for a quick exit after pulling the emotional ripcord. Find post-breakup comfort Call Your Mother’s cacophony of carbs (or… do we even have to say it… by calling your mother).
While we don’t recommend attempting a sensitive conversation with a side of bagels or bacon, a beverage gives you something to hold (helpful) and sip on to fill awkward pauses (very helpful). Save the baked goods for after you go your separate ways, literally and figuratively.
A Baked Joint
One of the largest venues on this list, the café’s big windows and high ceilings give a bright aesthetic which may make it a good fit for some daters, or less desirable depending on personal preference. Coffee and light breakfast/lunch/brunch fare is in abundance here, including cupcakes from its sister café, Baked & Wired. 430 K St. NW, DC; abakedjoint.com // @abakedjoint
Call Your Mother
It’s hard to miss the meteoric surge of local “Jew-ish” deli Call Your Mother which now has eight locations across the District and Bethesda (with their first outside the D.C. area expected to open in Denver this year). Known for fresh bagels and stacked bagel sandwiches, CYM also serves a variety of coffee beverages, juice and soft drinks (including Yoo-Hoo at most locations, making for a uniquely nostalgic dose of comfort).
Not every split is brutal – if both people involved in the breakup feel comfortable breaking bread at the same time, bagels are a handy to-go food that can easily be toted to a nearby park with plenty of outdoor seating (and then tell the rest of us how you pulled off such a calm separation).
If it’s post-breakup optimism (or perhaps for a little good luck to rub off) you’re seeking, the West End location recently had a wedding (!). See website for multiple addresses; callyourmotherdeli.com // @callyourmotherdeli
Indoor space at the main P street location can get competitive on the weekends, so may require a little buffer time to stake out a spot. It’s also helpful that if you need a Plan B, it is on a block with a variety of eateries and a short walk from benches around the Dupont Circle fountain. Emissary’s beverage menu includes a broad range of coffee and tea, cocktails (including coffee cocktails, for the indecisive visitor), wine, and beer. 2032 P St. NW, DC; emissarydc.com // @emissary_dc
Kaldi’s Social House
Both locations offer spacious indoor seating, a laid-back atmosphere, and impressive array of coffee, wine, and beer. Just don’t head to the Silver Spring location for a late afternoon or evening summit – it closes mid-afternoon every day. 3100 10th St. N Arlington, VA; 918 Silver Spring Ave. Silver Spring, MD; kaldissocial.com // @kaldissocialhouse
Similar to Emissary, this spot can get quite busy on weekends in particular so plan ahead to scope out seating, which includes Tryst’s infamous mismatched couches as well as indoor bar seating and a few small outdoor tables. It’s on the main drag of Adams Morgan, so nearby spots like The Diner (next door!) and Sharbat can work as potential backups. If you do end up ending a tryst at Tryst (sorry, we couldn’t resist), you can fill awkward pauses by sipping on a long list of coffees, teas, cocktails, wine or beer. 2459 18th St. NW, DC; trystdc.com // @trystdc