I hate humidity. I really do. Places with higher temperatures can usually sustain a livable habitat if it’s a “dry heat,” like California (or even Arizona), but since we live in freakin’ swamp town, the summer can be unbearable at times. Besides doing a number on everyone’s hair, summer humidity has forced us inside and away from the summer joy of outdoor brunch. As luck would have it, we’ve devised a list of cozy, indoor brunch joints with enough ambiance to make up for the lethal combination of moisture and heat outside recently. Go inside and brunch in peace.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO ALSO READ:
- BYT BEST BRUNCH GUIDE – in the off chance the weather drops 20 degrees and we have 0% humidity this weekend. Hey, you never know.
- BREAKFAST GUIDE – if you wake up early enough to beat the heat.
Located about a hop and a skip away from the Howard Theatre, Mockingbird Hill’s ambiance has always been impeccably intimate when visited for brunch. Hanging incandescent light fixtures and a minimal aesthetic in design and color, this weekend brunch spot was serving the newly hip nitro coffee way ahead of the trend’s development. Sitting at the counter, ordering coffee and American cured meats on a weekend at Mockingbird Hill has an incredibly casual but lively atmosphere. This spot is a perfect pick for a homey retreat out of the humidity.
As the name would belie, Mom & Pop feels like a friendly, warm neighborhood restaurant, and not just because of its granite and hardwood minimalist design or because your meal comes out on a cutting-board sized planks. Mom & Pop specializes in artisanal small bites, serving gelato from Dolcezza, pastries from Bluebird Cafe and Room 11, and a number of other high-end comfort food. It’s the perfect place for an afternoon bite, plus the cafe’s first floor setting combined with tall windows keeps the atmosphere accessible, well-lit, and most importantly, cozy. It’s just like your home kitchen if you were really good at making awesome snacks.
While outside this well-furnished restaurant may be characterized by a downtown business vibe, the inside of Kapnos is a comfortable and far more accessible scene. Located five blocks from the Ballston metro stop, this affordable yet chic Greek spot has a thriving brunch selection. Salads and flatbreads are the real deal at Kapnos, utilizing lots of vegetables (namely eggplant and chickpeas) in conjunction with classic Mediterranean flavors from yogurt and tahini. Hanging laurels and open air seating perfect this restaurant’s already homey vibe.
What Songbyrd lacks in specific brunch options (the morning fare is a bit on the heavier side) it makes up for in decor and concept. We’ve covered Songbyrd’s developments throughout the last few months, starting as just a cafe and its recent addition of a restaurant and bar next door, and that’s because they’ve nailed the concept of musical cafe, selling new and used vinyl, having listening stations, and a booth where one can press a short recording of their voice onto vinyl (still a work in progress). Cute decorations, awesome concept and good food make Songbyrd a great retreat out of the moisture.
While this 14th Street French powerhouse does feature a considerable amount of outdoor seating (albeit on a shaded patio), in terms of coziness, it would be a crime to not include Le Diplomate. The interior of this popular bistro is as Parisian as you can get this side of the Atlantic, featuring an open air yet well-designed interior accessorized by perfectly vintage decor and high sitting window boxes. The highly rated menu and French-American fare, which features a wide breadth of options in seafood and cheese selections, make this a default for cozy indoor brunching.