Photo: Trent Johnson

Behind the Bar: July 2017

In a city full of coworking options, we picked some of our favorite spots to grab coffee, a cocktail or a little bit of both while collaborating or working independently. Trust us – every now and then, a spiked coffee can boost your creativity.

The Coupe (Photo - Trent Johnson)

Aaron Herencia
Bartender and Floor Manager, The Coupe

On Tap: How would you describe The Coupe’s environment?
Aaron Herencia: We strive to have something for everyone, so if you want to come have dinner or drinks with friends, or sit on your laptop and work, you can definitely do that. There’s a true sense of community.

OT: Is there a similar sense of community at the bar? What’s the vibe?
AH: It’s not going to be high volume, but at the same time, we like to have fun with the music. It’s very eclectic. You can be listening to Queen and then you’re listening to Biggie. Honestly, we just kind of go with the flow. Depending on how the night goes, we might crank it up and make it a little more fun.

OT: How do you choose your beers?
AH: We try to stay local. Breweries in the DMV area are thriving right now. We have 16 beers on tap, so we try to stay seasonal too.

OT: What’s a popular drink on your menu that combines coffee and spirits?
AH: The most popular one is the Irish coffee. It’s a very simple cocktail: coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey and heavy cream. Whenever you take a sip, you’re going to get that warm spiked coffee and a little bit of that chilled heavy cream.

OT: What’s your most interesting coffee drink?
AH: We have a very good lavender coffee soda. It’s an espresso drink with lavender syrup, a little bit of lime juice and soda. It makes it refreshing – a bit bitter, a bit tart – and perfect for summer.

The Coupe 3 (Photo - Trent Johnson)

Aaron’s Pick
Chocolate City Toddy
Pig’s Nose Scotch
City black tea
Demerara syrup
Heavy cream
Cacao powder

The Coupe: 3415 11th St. NW, DC;

SlipStream 1 (Photo - Trent Johnson)

Coleene Rosenbach
Beverage Manager, Slipstream

On Tap: Slipstream just opened a second location in Cap Riverfront. What was the motivation behind that decision?
Coleene Rosenbach: We wanted to create a little bit more of a spatial difference between the coffee and the bar side.

OT: How did you land on this spot on I Street, and what was the design process like?
CR: We are really fortunate that we got in right as this building was being built, which was how we managed to snag this amazing corner location. You can’t miss it. Everything inside here was built to our specifications, and we had a big say as to where we wanted things.

OT: Do a lot of non-coffee drinkers come in?
CR: Oh yeah, sure. As we get toward the end of the week, when people find it a little more okay to have a few more drinks at the end of their work day, our happy hour really kicks off.

OT: Any spiked coffee concoctions on the menu that are customer favorites?
CR: Our staple Simply Irish, which is our take on an Irish coffee. We do Jameson with a touch of sugar with one of our coffees, hot or iced.

OT: Why do you think people like coming to Slipstream?
CR: I think we’re inviting friendly people who want to go somewhere where they are treated like human beings and not like, “Ugh, what do you want?” sort of a thing. They can grab something fast or spend hours in the back; it really doesn’t matter. We can afford that kind of space where there’s a spot for everyone.

SlipStream 3 (Photo - Trent Johnson)

Coleene’s Pick
The One With The Flashback
Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
Nitro iced coffee

Slipstream: 1333 14th St. NW, DC and 82 I St. SE, DC;

The Royal 1 (Photo - Trent Johnson)

Andrew Larsen
Bar Director, The Royal

On Tap: How does the Royal differ from other spots offering a place to work, but also to enjoy coffee, cocktails and food?
Andrew Larsen: We really try to tie everything together as much as we can. In our cocktail program, I try to incorporate the coffee and tea, and the cooking area and cooking techniques. We try to be an all-day coffee shop/restaurant/bar. You can get any service, and it’s high quality.

OT: How do you keep your cocktail menu fresh?
AL: I try to have a spectrum of as much as I possibly can. I try to have something citrusy, something boozy. We’re always trying to modify and improve our classic cocktails as well. We do actual menu changes about every two months.

OT: Do you offer coffee-based cocktails? 
AL: I’m trying to incorporate them into the menu, because I think it’s fun. One we have on the menu right now is The Monks Made Me Do It, and it’s such a complex cocktail. It’s easy to crush, but you don’t want to, because there are so many intricacies. For our next menu, we’ll do a cold brew negroni that is delicious.

OT: What kind of patrons do you bring in, and does that change dramatically after 5 p.m.?
AL: We try to be very neighborhood-friendly with the menu and the pricing. We’re trying to be your first stop on the way to Shaw, and your last stop on the way back. As we get more accolades, we’re seeing more people come from farther away. It’s definitely nice having that. After 5 p.m., I don’t want to say it gets rowdy in here, but it’s pretty packed.

OT: What regular events do you host?  
AL: Every second Monday of the month, we have a big event called Royal Nights. We bring in guest bartenders and they come up with four cocktails, and I come up with four cocktails, and basically go head to head. The cocktails are cheap too; they’re $8.

The Royal 3 (Photo - Trent Johnson)

Andrew’s Pick
Cold brew concentrates
Cocchi di torino
Smoked with cherrywood

The Royal: 501 Florida Ave. NW, DC;