Are you looking for a place to go when the weather gets colder? As a new parent, do you need to get out of the house and look at something besides the same four walls. Meeting other new parents, catching up with old friends or enjoying the company of your baby while enjoying a cup of coffee isn’t always easy when you’re breastfeeding, with or without a toddler in tow! These local coffee shops make it a bit easier. Here’s the (coffee) scoop!
I visited Bethesda coffee shops with a postpartum doula's eye for what new moms need. These local places all have free WiFi, serve a variety of food or snacks and can prepare decaf coffee in multiple ways. But their vibe is all their own. Which one is the right fit for you?
Ok, so this technically isn’t in Bethesda but Spring Valley is pretty close. If you don’t find yourself already in the neighborhood, it’s worth the short trip.
Vibe: Mellow, contemporary music, soft enough to have a conversation. A mom spoon-feeding her toddler, babies in strollers, American University students, an older couple checking their phones, people on computers or reading a book. Super friendly staff. Cafe Manager Alex, says we are “accommodating as we can be to special requests.”
What makes them special: There is a free standing fireplace with cozy chairs and a sofa surrounding it. They offer a tasty decaf nitro cold brew. They use a dedicated decaf coffee grinder and a French press to prepare their decaf coffees.
Kid-space: Alex says, “We get a lot of kids of all ages coming through here on the weekends, so much so that there's even a dedicated kids area with educational books and games.” There is also a kid-size wall, home to a wooden tic-tac-toe game.
Parking: Compass offers a 30-minute validation when you use the parking lot directly behind the store. There is metered street parking in front. Also, there is 2-hour free street parking in the adjacent neighborhood, a block away.
Seating: Large enough space to have different seating areas. Cushioned benches at tables, comfy chairs with arms, tables and chairs, sofas, as well as a variety of stools at tables or counters.
Bathroom/diaper changing station: All gender bathrooms with a baby changing station in the larger one.
If you plan to go, make sure it’s not on a Monday. They’re closed!
Vibe: Soft contemporary music. Two breastfeeding moms at a table, a business meeting in one corner and two older adults catching up. I talked to the nursing women who said that it was their first visit to Clove and Cedar and as experienced moms, they didn’t miss or need arms on the chairs. One felt she actually had more flexibility to maneuver.
What makes them special: Abhi, Director of Operations, waited on customers and was warm and friendly. She greeted a customer with “Do you want the usual?” He replied, “Yup. The usz.” He was out the door in less than 60 seconds with a coffee, yogurt and pastry.
Kid-space: This cozy shop doesn’t have the space for a dedicated kid area. But it does have a couple of books for kids (and adults) to borrow while there.
Parking: There is metered street parking in front, parking garages across the street and around the neighborhood.
Seating: Chairs at tables, stools at high tables and counters. No plush or cushioned seating.
Bathroom/Diaper-changing table: All gender bathroom with a baby changing table.
Vibe: Mellow rap and upbeat contemporary music heard over the din of the AC and refrigerators. Mom with a stroller, people on computers, high school students chatting, a work meeting. Friendly staff.
What makes them special: With each customer, the barista says “Take a sip. Make sure you love it.” They are happy to make changes after your first taste.
KId-space: Kid-size table in front of a chalk wall, a few books for kids.
Parking: There is metered street parking and several parking garages in the immediate area.
Seating: Tables with benches and chairs, plush couches and chairs with arms, bar stools at high tables.
Bathroom/Diaper-changing station: All gender bathroom has a changing station.
This shop isn’t in Bethesda but it’s a close neighbor!
Vibe: Upbeat contemporary music heard over the din of the AC. A large wall-mounted TV with the sound off and captions on (Judge Judy was playing during my visit). A smaller tv with no sound or captions in a smaller nook (Hallmark channel). Three sets of students working in booths. A trio of older adults convening business. People on laptops.
What makes them special: There is a drive-thru car wash immediately next door. You can grab a coffee and get your car washed in one stop.
Kid-space: Several books, for kids and adults, scattered around the shop window sills. Spied a small wooden tic-tac-toe board. There are wooden highchairs for toddlers. No dedicated kid-friendly play space.
Parking: Free parking in a lot just outside its doors.
Seating: Booths with cushioned benches. In one corner, plush sofas with plush or cushioned chairs. In another corner, more sofas and plush chairs. Long table, seats 14. Many tables for up to two or four people. Bar stools with high counter at a window.
Bathroom/Diaper-changing station: Gender specific bathrooms with a changing station in the women’s room.
Do you have a favorite coffee shop? Let me know where I should visit next!