Five DC Cafes Taking Hot Chocolate To The Next Level

David Hatef

The comfort and warmth that a mug of hot chocolate brings simply outmatches what coffee or tea provides. It is the go-to drink after playing in the snow, cuddling up by the fire on a lazy afternoon, or staying in on a frigid winter night. Instant mix just won’t do, which is why the District has plenty of bakeries, coffee shops, and yes, even bars, ready to pull out all the stops and level up for the official winter beverage. Here is a list of the coolest places to warm up with a cup of the sweet stuff this season.


2459 18th St NW
You’ve never had hot chocolate like this before! At this eclectic coffeehouse they like to experiment with different flavors, so don’t be afraid to ask about their house-made syrups. The lavender hot chocolate is sure to warm your senses. If you’re not feeling particularly daring, they offer an equally delicious and rich classic version.

Le Diplomate
1601 14th St NW
Two words: homemade marshmallows. This versatile café embodies the French culture through decadent food, gorgeous décor, and an atmosphere reminiscent of a Parisian brasserie. The chocolat chaud is an artful blend of Valrhona chocolate and cream. Enjoy it topped with the house-made marshmallows and spiked with Chartreuse.

Buttercream Bakeshop
1250 9th St NW
With a name like Buttercream Bakeshop it should be no surprise that they know a thing or two about sweets. They offer dark chocolate and mint hot chocolate versions of the warm beverage or for those that need a little pick-me-up, you can add a shot of espresso. The array of cookies and other confections pair perfectly with whatever version of hot chocolate you choose. That is, if you’re able to choose!

Fare Well
406 H St NE
Those who are lactose intolerant or vegan don’t need to miss out on winter’s simplest pleasures. This vegan diner offers Santa’s Little Helper, a house made hot chocolate beverage with a coconut or soy base, crushed candy canes, marshmallows, and Kahlua. Alcohol-free is also available. This delicious warm drink is served in a mason jar and big enough to share (but why would you?).

Café Chocolat
1423 H St NW
It would be silly of us to put a list like this together and not include a local shop entirely dedicated to all things chocolate. Three versions of hot chocolate are on the menu: classic milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. You’re going to have to come several times during the winter because it’s nearly impossible to choose.

Have a favorite place to grab a cup of hot chocolate? Do you like to mix it up with flavors or do you prefer classic milk chocolate? Let us know in the comments below!


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