Big Bear Cafe: The Place to Be Seen


When I walked into Big Bear Cafe this past weekend, I had high expectations; my good friend used to work there and raved about it frequently.

I found a parking spot on the immediate-most side street which put a huge smile on my face, and enjoyed the farmers market on the other street facing the cafe. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and lots of hustle and bustle surrounded Big Bear…

There’s an outdoor patio with lots of nice wooden tables, and a large interior with high ceilings. From the line and general movement inside, I could tell this place was what my mom would call, “hopping.” It was a very busy Sunday morning. Baristas were calling out the names of coffee-runners and moving quickly to keep the line moving.  The line did move fast, and I was up front before I knew it.  The barista recommended the vanilla latte. I also ordered the homemade granola and yogurt with berries to start my day. The baristas continued, hurried, but friendly. There were a lot of patrons waiting, but the bartistas at Big Bear kept it so no one would feel unanswered.

The dining area, or main coffee drinking area is spacious – there is bench seating along the side wall, along with wooden tables filling a large rectangle space. I like the long and skinny windows; there was a cottage or lodge-like feel to the interior. Something sort of French about the place. I think it was the wooden shutters.

I was given a number to display on my table and even though I waited slightly longer than desired for my latte, it was within reason, and when the coffee-runner brought it to me, the presentation was phenomenal.

Judging from the picture, I hope that you can assess the incredible quality of latte and breakfast, here. The latte art was beautiful; I can’t resist latte art in a heart, and the strawberries were very fresh. The yogurt was deliciously smooth and melted into my mouth. With the crunchy granola and strawberries, I was very impressed with the food. Fresh and delicious “real” food, to nod to Michael Pollen, is exactly what I love to find at a coffee shop.

The vanilla latte was exceptional as well; the milk was very creamy and smooth, and the vanilla taste came more as a subtle addition rather than an overpowering aftertaste.  The latte goes on my list as one of the best I’ve had in DC.

The crowd was extremely varied. Defining a Big Bear Cafe patron type didn’t seem plausible; just when I thought I had it figured out, another unique patron sat down.  Big Bear is very eclectic in that sense, and welcoming.

Though the atmosphere was loud, with children laughing, loud music playing, and a lot of hustle and bustle, I felt great reading and writing at Big Bear.  I would recommend going there, as the title indicates, to see, and be seen. One’s eyes won’t tire from people watching. It’s a great place to go to feel like you’re a part of something.

Was this a cupsoul?

Big Bear, given its name, is a big and loud place, literally, like a black bear. A black bear is beautiful, sometimes loud and strong, and you wouldn’t have it another way. That’s how I feel about Big Bear Cafe; it’s a bit louder than what I could have a cupsoul in, but it’s perfect to spend time there, enjoying the movement and delicious coffee.

Would I put Big Bear Cafe’s business card in the time cupsoul?

Yes! And I would sneak in some of that fantastic strawberry-granola-yogurt!

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