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The 12 Best Covert Coffee Spots in D.C.

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The first 100 days of any new job can be a real eye-opener. Learning the ropes, establishing trust, plotting strategy — it’s a lot to handle, particularly if personal priorities have shifted or the work environment doesn't match expectations.

But getting out is never easy, even when it’s clear to everyone involved that brighter opportunities might be available elsewhere. How does one slyly change into a suit within a business casual office setting, and then claim a “doctor’s appointment?” Or how many informational interview “coffees” can someone book before running out of clandestine spots to meet?

Fear not, opportunity seekers. Eater’s compiled a list of local coffee shops that are perfect for under the radar rendezvous. Whether huddling with the competition or leaking classified documents to a reporter, here are a dozen hiding spots for getting down to business away from prying eyes.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Maketto

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1351 H St NE
Washington, D.C.
(202) 838-9972
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The cafe section of Maketto has a small back room, perfect for quiet meetings — though H Street NE is far enough off the beaten path that any coffee option might be clandestine enough.

2. Ebenezers Coffeehouse

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201 F St NE
Washington, D.C.
(202) 585-6900
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The challenges faced by overworked and ambitious Hill staff are legion in this town. For House staffers seeking a quiet place on the other side of the Capitol, or Senate staffers looking for an escape from Cups & Company, Ebenezers is a go-to. Tucked behind Union Station, it’s far enough from the Capitol buildings to evade colleagues, but close enough to make it back within 10-15 minutes of a boss’ call.

3. Irish Channel Restaurant & Pub

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500 H St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 216-0046
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Irish Channel may be known for its on-tap brews, but the restaurant serves coffee too. Regulars claim that no one “political” goes there — except, of course, for the occasional cameo by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on karaoke night.

4. Courtyard Cafe at the National Portrait Gallery

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800-898 G St. NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 633-1000
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In 2008, this was the go-to spot for members of the Obama/Biden transition teams. There is a lovely cafe where one can meet, eat, and likely not see (or be seen by) anyone.

5. Teaism Penn Quarter

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400 8th St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 638-6010
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Find a spot in the basement and talk for hours. The main level is where the ordering takes place, and the Penn Quarter location makes it an ideal spot for pedestrian tourist traffic.

[Teaism]

6. The Coupe

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3415 11th St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 290-3342
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This coffee shop, restaurant, and bar all rolled into one opens at 7 a.m. and is only a few blocks from the Columbia Heights metro.

7. The Coffee Bar

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1201 S St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 733-1049
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Big comfy sofas and ample outdoor seating give the coffee shop more of a “bar” feel than a traditional coffee shop. The mixed-use vibe could provide some cover for straight-laced folks who might otherwise not frequent such an establishment.

8. Starbucks at the JW Marriott

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1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 393-2000
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This spot has long been the go-to for D.C. officials who want to talk politics outside of the Wilson building. The Starbucks is located off the second floor lobby, where one is more likely to encounter tourists than a coworker stopping by for a latte on the way into the office.

9. Firehook Bakery

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912 17th St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 429-2253
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There is plenty of seating at Firehook. But if arranging a clandestine meeting, opt for a spot in the back which is visually separated from the entrance and ordering area by displays and pillars.

10. Un Je Ne Sais Quoi

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1361 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 721-0099
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The year-old bakery may have eye-catching pastries, but the relative newness of the location makes this an ideal spot for those seeking an anonymous coffee meetup in otherwise bustling Dupont Circle.

11. Tryst at the Phillips

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1600 21st St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 232-5500
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This cafe tucked into an art museum has a variety of seating options with spotty cell service (think: less likely to be interrupted). It opens at 10 a.m., so no power breakfasting. And don’t schedule anything on a Monday (it’s closed then).

12. Bread Furst

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4434 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 966-1300
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Skip the communal table and head to one of the two-tops at this no-laptops-allowed bakery. The lack of working space gives this establishment more of a neighborhood feel.

1. Maketto

1351 H St NE, Washington, D.C.

The cafe section of Maketto has a small back room, perfect for quiet meetings — though H Street NE is far enough off the beaten path that any coffee option might be clandestine enough.

1351 H St NE
Washington, D.C.

2. Ebenezers Coffeehouse

201 F St NE, Washington, D.C.

The challenges faced by overworked and ambitious Hill staff are legion in this town. For House staffers seeking a quiet place on the other side of the Capitol, or Senate staffers looking for an escape from Cups & Company, Ebenezers is a go-to. Tucked behind Union Station, it’s far enough from the Capitol buildings to evade colleagues, but close enough to make it back within 10-15 minutes of a boss’ call.

201 F St NE
Washington, D.C.

3. Irish Channel Restaurant & Pub

500 H St NW, Washington, D.C.

Irish Channel may be known for its on-tap brews, but the restaurant serves coffee too. Regulars claim that no one “political” goes there — except, of course, for the occasional cameo by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on karaoke night.

500 H St NW
Washington, D.C.

4. Courtyard Cafe at the National Portrait Gallery

800-898 G St. NW, Washington, D.C.

In 2008, this was the go-to spot for members of the Obama/Biden transition teams. There is a lovely cafe where one can meet, eat, and likely not see (or be seen by) anyone.

800-898 G St. NW
Washington, D.C.

5. Teaism Penn Quarter

400 8th St NW, Washington, D.C.
[Teaism]

Find a spot in the basement and talk for hours. The main level is where the ordering takes place, and the Penn Quarter location makes it an ideal spot for pedestrian tourist traffic.

400 8th St NW
Washington, D.C.

6. The Coupe

3415 11th St NW, Washington, D.C.

This coffee shop, restaurant, and bar all rolled into one opens at 7 a.m. and is only a few blocks from the Columbia Heights metro.

3415 11th St NW
Washington, D.C.

7. The Coffee Bar

1201 S St NW, Washington, D.C.

Big comfy sofas and ample outdoor seating give the coffee shop more of a “bar” feel than a traditional coffee shop. The mixed-use vibe could provide some cover for straight-laced folks who might otherwise not frequent such an establishment.

1201 S St NW
Washington, D.C.

8. Starbucks at the JW Marriott

1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.

This spot has long been the go-to for D.C. officials who want to talk politics outside of the Wilson building. The Starbucks is located off the second floor lobby, where one is more likely to encounter tourists than a coworker stopping by for a latte on the way into the office.

1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.

9. Firehook Bakery

912 17th St NW, Washington, D.C.

There is plenty of seating at Firehook. But if arranging a clandestine meeting, opt for a spot in the back which is visually separated from the entrance and ordering area by displays and pillars.

912 17th St NW
Washington, D.C.

10. Un Je Ne Sais Quoi

1361 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

The year-old bakery may have eye-catching pastries, but the relative newness of the location makes this an ideal spot for those seeking an anonymous coffee meetup in otherwise bustling Dupont Circle.

1361 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C.

11. Tryst at the Phillips

1600 21st St NW, Washington, D.C.

This cafe tucked into an art museum has a variety of seating options with spotty cell service (think: less likely to be interrupted). It opens at 10 a.m., so no power breakfasting. And don’t schedule anything on a Monday (it’s closed then).

1600 21st St NW
Washington, D.C.

12. Bread Furst

4434 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

Skip the communal table and head to one of the two-tops at this no-laptops-allowed bakery. The lack of working space gives this establishment more of a neighborhood feel.

4434 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C.

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