Northside Social, the relatively new occupant of the old Murky Coffee Shop in Clarendon, is fast becoming one of my favorite coffee houses. Full disclosure: I don’t actually like coffee. I do, however, love freshly brewed teas. Fuller disclosure: I hated Murky and its antics. Murky was dirty, its staff annoyingly pretentious, and the food selections almost nill. Northside, owned by the same folks as Liberty Tavern and Lyon Hall, has remedied these issues, with ample bar, table, and couch seating, as well as an extensive soup and sandwich menu. And perhaps best of all, offers some wonderful desserts. The upstairs transforms into a wine bar nightly after 5pm with the exception of Sunday.
The overall vibe of the new place is a vast improvement. The walls are adorned with a rotating display local art for sale and the music is usually a half mellow/half hipster upbeat backdrop which works well for catching up with friends, or in Eating Around DC's case, blogging. Northside Social is the only place I have blogged about while actually sitting in the space!
When you take everything together Northside Social is a solid overall value with some decent (the savories) to fantastic (the desserts) food.
This chicken salad sandwich is flavorful with tarragon and bits of apricot, if a bit dry, and a tad pricey (but remember you get the atmosphere and free Internet for things like this post!). And the iced tea in the background, peach nectar, is the perfect antidote to a summer day.
It is the desserts though, which are the stars. I had a baseball sized black forest brownie the other day: a rich chocolate ganache on top of a moist cake, offset by the cherries contained within. Their homemade soft-serve ice cream has some interesting and ever-changing flavors, including a Graham Cracker which B thoroughly enjoyed. And this being a coffee house, I have heard the coffee is excellent too.
I feel like in many ways I am not hip enough to be a coffee house person, but at Northside Social most of the servers, lack the typical I-am-so-much-hipper-than-you barista attitude. Soups are $5, sandwiches served with a small green salad, potato salad, or chips are $7-8, Desserts and the ample beverage menu start at $2.