mini review: Bluestone Lane

update 8/9/2021: Georgetown location now closed; five other outlets open in DC

see my Georgetown field report

Just below the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, Georgetown’s commercial ground zero, you’ll find a handsome spot serving delicious coffee.  This old brick building, originally a firehouse, is the home of the Georgetown outlet of Bluestone Lane, a New York coffee roaster and cafe operator which seeks to replicate the coffee culture of Melbourne, Australia.  Bluestone Lane can be found in New York, Philadelphia, California, and DC.

Bluestone Lane has two types of retail outlets: coffee shops, like the Georgetown outlet, featuring counter service, limited seating, and a very limited menu; and cafes, like their location in DC’s West End , which feature sit-down waiter service and a more expansive food menu.  I’ve been to the West End location, both for lunch and coffee to go, and highly recommend it.

The Georgetown location is actually a shop within a shop, carved out of a shoe and apparel store. The coffee shop is cleverly designed, with a separate entrance, a drop ceiling, and high (if not full) wall dividers giving the impression you are in a stand-alone building.  The layout manages to feel open and large despite being in a relatively small space.

There’s a bar at the window with four very comfortable stools.  Design elements are wood, brick, black painted paneled walls, and blue-green tiles.  It feels warm, as if it’s been there forever, and would not be out of place in London.  There’s also a couple of sidewalk bistro tables, though I imagine that wouldn’t be a charming spot to linger on a nice day given the entrance to a commercial garage next door and heavy traffic.

Your drink is made on a La Marzocco Linea, using Bluestone Lane’s own beans. On this visit, I found the espresso fared better on its own.  Some of the subtlety and complexity of the coffee was lost in the milk of my macchiato – still very good, mind you, but I followed it with a single espresso and preferred the naked shot. I paid for the caffeine load the rest of the afternoon, but it was worth it.

I didn’t try any of the food on offer, but was very happy to see that you can get a lamington to have with your cuppa. Now if they could only make a vanilla slice, then you could feel a bit more like you’re transported to Melbourne, mate.

Bluestone Lane
1066 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

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