After almost 100 years in the D.C. area, this coffee house has established itself as a local institution. The beans, roasted in Alexandria, are served every day at the mahogany and chrome counter of the shop that has the same deco feel as it did in the ?20s. It has the refreshing feel of a place you want to like as soon as you walk in, but it?s the quality of the coffee that?s attracted a dedicated base of customers with long lines in the morning and steady traffic throughout the day. Swing?s supporters swear by it. Maybe it?s because unlike the chain places around every corner, their idea of a latte isn?t a sugar shot with a dram of caffeine. Like a great steak, the espresso is the sensory heart of the latte, and, if you want it, a hint of hazelnut is a spice that complements the natural, distinctive taste of the beans instead of overpowering it.
It's become a brand built on authenticity. But with it's limited bar seating and tall coffee tables, it' s not a permanent destination, just a place to pass through. Like the promise once provided by older airport terminals upon entering a new city, invigorated by the first sight of your surroundings. The experience itself is terminal, as was the Swinging age M.E.'s invokes. That's why you'll want to start your day rediscovering it--well, that, and because it's chemically addictive.
Pros: A veritable movable feast compared to its competitors
Cons: Not for the laptop flopper