Things you see when you step into Big Bear Cafe in Bloomingdale:

– tall windows and ceiling fans, giving the space a bright airy vibe
– a woman behind the counter with a giant Obama tattoo on her left breast
– wooden chairs filled with locals enjoying their coffee and the paper
– a friendly barista in Buddy Holly glasses taking everyone’s order and finding a minute to chat with customers
– glass bottle milk used in lattes from Trickling Springs Creamery (the only dairy options are whole milk or soy, for you calorie counters)

You will have time to notice these things because Big Bear Cafe is crowded. And while the baristas were busting through orders as quickly as they could, the wait for my iced latte was long. Long enough for me to notice the $.60 price difference between an (already pricey at $4.20) iced latte and regular latte and get annoyed by it. Long enough to see a seemingly endless stream of customers pop in and and run into a friend or acquaintance, including Mr Buddy Holly Barista who seemed to know everyone.

I’m not slamming Big Bear. It was a gorgeous Sunday in the summer with the farmers’ market in full swing. Who wouldn’t want to pop in for a quick caffeine fix before loading up on local produce? Especially if you had a coffeehouse that served as a community gathering spot like this one. Mike and I had long intended to visit Big Bear but were finally inspired to action by two key factors:

1) sps from An Omnivore’s Notebook recommending a visit in response to our Coffeehouses of DC write up.
2) one of the farmer’s at the Bloomingdale market, which takes place right in front of Big Bear, offering 25 lbs of tomatoes for $12.

Clearly the stars were aligned on this one. The verdict? Solid. Good coffee, nice atmosphere, friendly service. The prices seemed a little high but not too over the top. I don’t anticipate making Big Bear Cafe a destination coffeehouse (Sova, Teaism, and Northside Social are at the top of destination-worthy list), but it absolutely adds to the neighborhood and it’s clear that neighbors love it right back. What more can you want?

Big Bear Cafe
1700 1st St NW
Washington, DC 20001
Big Bear Cafe on Urbanspoon