Coffeeneuring 7: Sex and the City and Cappuccino

Illy Caffe
Illy at the Renaissance Dupont Hotel in Washington, DC.

Coffeeneuring 7: Illy
Date: November 16, 2014
Distance: 6 miles

It was chilly on the last day of coffeeneuring (where you bike to seven different coffee shops over seven weeks).

Coffeeneuring is always a learning experience for me. You learn things about yourself – like how I don’t have the patience for hipster coffee. And about biking in the city, like how much design matters when it comes to safe cycletracks.

For my final coffeeneuring experience, I went to Illy in Washington, DC. I was on my “real bike” too – my Specialized Sirrus. It was a gray-skied day and I planned on going on a long ride.

Me bike, Meiwah
Me bike, Meiwah.

But a cold wind blew right through my fleece. I was chilled so cut my trip short. Coffeeneuring lesson learned: when it’s cold, you always need one more layer.

I’m a fan of Illy because it’s about as non-hipster as it comes. Located in the lobby of a downtown hotel, Illy is a chain out of Italy. They make a beautiful cappuccino with a minimum of fuss for just $3.15. It’s the best deal in the city. And it’s made quickly, by sweet West African women without a weird beard or nose piercing in sight.

Cappuccino for grand #coffeeneuring finale
A perfect cappuccino.

There was a line of people who had come in to get out of the chilly day. But, within just a couple of minutes, I had my cappuccino and was ensconced in the early-2000s era lobby of the Renaissance Hotel.

With its mod furniture and piped-in lounge music, the Renaissance is an attempt at cool from another era. There are no distressed menu boards. Nothing is made out of hemp. You don’t have a table salvaged from a demolished building. Instead, the slick surfaces and high-tech feel of the lobby make it look like a set from Sex and the City. Lean back and you can imagine Samantha drinking Cosmos and talking dot-coms.

No fixie-riding hipster with a Civil War-era beard would be caught dead in such an establishment; it would be like going for drinks with your mom’s friends.

It’s the antithesis of hipster; I love it.

But don’t tell anyone, OK?

Author: Joe Flood

Joe Flood is a writer, photographer and web person from Washington, DC. The author of several novels, Joe won the City Paper Fiction Competition in 2020. In his free time, he enjoys wandering about the city taking photos.

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