Tucked into an end rowhouse in Shaw is Darnell’s, just north of the 9:30 Club on Florida avenue. It doesn’t exactly look like the sort of place that would be a coffeeshop. At least, not until you’re inside. Then it’s the most natural thing in the world. The long tall bar that greets you as you walk in is dotted with all of the accoutrements of a great coffeeshop: chemex pourovers, house made syrups, an espresso deck, and great coffee. Noah and Jonas have partnered with Black Strap Bakery to create a pop-up coffeehouse at Darnell’s called Blind Dog Café at Darnell’s.
The space is open and homey (and yes, Alex Priest, there will be WiFi) and the southern exposure and open facades make for a warm and comfortable space. The side room is the main bar at Darnell’s, and it stretches to the side brick patio that will be just amazing come spring. Add in a sidewalk garden with seating, and springtime can get here as soon as possible.
Blind Dog is technically a “pop-up”, so look for a lot of unique and changing options from Noah and Jonas, but one thing should be constant: they’ll be pouring PT’s coffee for pour-overs and espresso. When I was in on Thursday this past week, they had varietals from Colombia and Ethiopia, and my cup from the Colombian blend was nothing short of spectacular. Add in house-made flaky croissants or chocolate muffins, or a small frittata from the kitchen and you’ve got just about the best breakfast option of any of DC’s coffee shops.
Blind Dog is open in the mornings, and for lunch, and closes down about 4 or so for the switch into being Darnell’s in the evening. Their big opening is Sunday afternoon at 2pm, ahead of a morning opening on Monday, but I imagine that if you’re around on Saturday, their soft opening will be continuing.
Blind Dog Cafe
944 Florida Ave NW
Washington DC 20001
Metro: U Street (Green)