An early construction photo of Northside Social reveals many places for sitting as well as a countertop that I've grown to enjoy.
In my lifelong quest for finding places where I can blog, I gave Murky Coffee in Clarendon a try and found it to be the perfect stereotypical coffee spot: kind of divey, free WiFi, and always overcrowded due to it’s perfect environment for studying or looking like a hipster.
When Murky became defunct last year, I was not so interested about a bakery opening up in it’s place, but when the plan evolved into a new coffee shop run by the folks at Liberty Tavern– I was more than excited to find another place to write my blog posts.
The new coffee shop, Northside Social, opened up this week and I was more than excited to walk down the street and give it a try.
Visit One: Tuesday April 6th
I walked into the old Murky space and saw that it was anything but. Fresh coats of off-white paint; metal buckets used as lighting fixtures; and green and white accents give the place a country/farmhouse look. The handwritten menu completes the feel that I’ve walked out of Arlington and into a place hundreds of miles further.
The place was busy but not crowded; it was only the second day of business for the shop and it helped that I walked in well after most 9-5ers were in the office. I took a brief walk around the place and saw that the back room was still there, however the furniture looked less like it was acquired from Goodwill. Upstairs I found a bar and additional tables. I decided to pull up a stool at the long counter-top and pull out my netbook. I was excited about the fresh new look and was eager top write about it. However I was disappointed to see that neither of the store’s two WiFi networks were functioning. I overheard an employee say that the WiFi, “was still evolving.”
Still I grabbed an ice coffee and pulled out some papers on my reading list. While I was there I met Marianne Tolosa, Northside’s director of coffee, who gave me more insight on the new space. During the day Northside hopes to be a premiere coffee stop during the day, and at night open up the upstairs bar and serve wine at night.
Visit Two: April 10th
I decided to give Northside another go after my first experience, I walked over on Saturday morning and grabbed another spot on the counter. I was happy to see that one of the two WiFi networks were working and I was soon busy typing away on my keyboard.
The crowd has certainly grown- a quick look at their Facebook page reveals a lot of buzz from the media and locals.
I started to write this post but my phone rang and I had to suddenly leave. A return visit on Sunday was a possibility- perhaps a necessity to finish this write-up.
Visit Two: April 11th
Something I learned about Sundays: forget about hitting up a coffee shop- the DC brunch crowd makes it impossible to find an open seat.
I decided to take the risk and walk down to see what the crowd would be like on Northside’s first Sunday in business. Just as I expected a line spilled out the door and the outdoor patio was well stocked with Arlingtonians. I peeked inside and saw that the counter, my new home at Northside, was completely open. I guess people didn’t want to sit next to the long line of customers but I’m not picky. In fact I’d welcome anybody that wants to read this write-up over my shoulder.
Clearly Northside Social is enjoying a fantastic opening crowd, and for good reason. A great location, refreshing new look, and the people of the Liberty Tavern restaurant group all come together to form a new coffeehouse that will be a complete success.
Despite some growing pains, I will enjoy the place much more after they get their WiFi up and running at full strength and perhaps the music is a tad on the loud side, there’s nothing wrong with Northside Social and from the long line behind me as I type this- I’m not the only one that thinks so.
3211 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, Virginia 22201