After six straight years of fueling up locals on pour-overs and specialty iced coffees, San Francisco-based Philz Coffee officially exits D.C.’s crowded caffeine market next month.
The Adams Morgan location, open since 2016, was Philz’s first outside of California—and is the only area store left. Its last day of service is scheduled for Sunday, February 12, an employee told Eater by phone, noting his Adams Morgan team was informed about the upcoming closure in a meeting last week.
Responding to Eat DC on Twitter, a Philz rep blamed “business conditions” for the mass market exodus. At its peak, Philz operated five stores in the region.
As we look to the future, we have made the difficult decision to exit the DC Metro market. We loved serving this community, but business conditions and our desire to provide the best possible experience to our customers led to our decision. Thank you all for the years of support.— Philz Coffee (@PhilzCoffee) January 24, 2023
Philz’s vice president of marketing Christy Smith sent Eater a similar statement via email this week.
“We opened our first store in D.C. six years ago with the intent to establish a long-lasting relationship with the D.C. community,” wrote Smith. “We’ve had many successes over the years but changing business conditions led to our decision to exit the market.”
Philz’s fast-moving D.C. expansion was fueled by a $15 million investment in 2015. Philz started shrinking its local portfolio in 2022, starting with the spring closure of its Dupont address. A Ballston outpost—its first in Virginia—shuttered at the end of the year, followed by the closure of its longtime Navy Yard store on Friday, January 20.
Philz, which brews one cup of coffee at time from over 20 customized bean blends, was founded by Phil Jaber in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1978. The cult coffee chain with a devoted following currently maintains dozens of stores across its Bay Area home base. California is also home to clusters of Philz locations in San Diego, Orange County, and LA. Outside of the Golden State, Philz now has six shops scattered across Chicago as part of an expansion that kicked off there in 2019.
“Stores remain an important part of the Philz Coffee experience,” adds Smith. “We will continue to optimize and expand our store presence in key markets.”
A GoFundMe page was set up to help its soon-to-be unemployed Adams Morgan staff, who say they’re getting a “small” severance package from the company. Team members are eligible for “rehire” in other Philz markets, notes Smith.
“We are deeply saddened to lose this special space that has felt like our own special community corner,” notes its GoFundMe page. “We hope to see as many of you as possible over the next few weeks. Buy all the beans you need, tip generously and let us know if you know anywhere that’s hiring.”
—Evan Caplan contributed to this report