Commercial activity along Park View’s main artery, Georgia Avenue, has ebbed and flowed over the decades, and Colony Club is tucked in amongst numerous redevelopment projects at 3118 Georgia Ave.
“We hope that Colony Club can be a neighborhood cafe and bar that serves the community,” says Ben Heller, a five-year barista and manager at Joe Coffee, who helped launch the shop along with co-founder Max Zuckerman, a real estate expert. “We don’t want to alienate anyone or create barriers. Our goal is to make it a comfortable, welcoming spot that serves really amazing coffee, beer, wine, spirits and food. We want to geek out with people about our products and what we are doing, but if someone wants to come in and grab a quick coffee or beer and not think about it, that is totally fine and awesome.”
Colony Club is currently serving coffees from venerable Annapolis, Md.-based roaster Ceremony Coffee, and Heller says some guest roasters may eventually be folded into the espresso and brew bars. “Ceremony is so passionate about finding great coffee and making it approachable,” Heller told Daily Coffee News just prior to the shop’s opening. “Everything we’ve tried has been delicious and unique. We’ve been very happy with their coffee and support team.”
The coffee program includes an approachable espresso drinks menu composed of espresso, macchiato, cortado, cappuccino and latte. There’s also drip filter coffee and a manual brew bar with Aeropress, Chemex and Kalita brewers available. The biggest drink size is 12 ounces.
Receiving equal attention to coffee is a specialty drinks program that includes four rotating craft beers on tap; a small but creative selection of bottled and canned beers; a selection of eight red, white, rose and sparkling wines; and a separate selection of lambics, ales, weisses and gueuzes that fall under the “cellar” menu.
Oh, yes, and there is ping pong — free of charge, occupying the upper level of the shop. Says Heller, “It’s the real deal.”
In a space formerly occupied by the restaurant Mama’s Southern Cuisine, Colony Club required a fairly extensive buildout. “The space had to be completely gutted,” says Heller. “The construction process took about seven months.” The first guests to the shop were greeted last week by factory-style windows in the front of the shop, custom millwork, skylights in the back of the shop, and exposed and painted brick.
Heller says the CC team is thrilled to be part of the D.C. coffee community, at large, citing Peregrine Espresso, The Coffee Bar and others for helping pave the way for great coffee in the city. But he says they’re equally excited to bring new coffee experiences to a neighborhood that has, to this point, not had many coffee options.
“There are definitely some neighborhoods that cafes gravitate toward because of the density of people and apartment buildings,” Heller says. “We like being in a neighborhood where we can build relationships with our regulars and be there for them.”