"We're known as the community gathering place," said Willis, the GM, who referred to the original meaning of the word "pub." Turns out, it has nothing to do with alcohol and everything to do with fostering a creative and welcoming environment.For 16 years, St. Elmo's Coffee Pub has been a staple of the Del Rey neighborhood of Alexandria. There's a reason for that. "We're like the coffee shop on Friends, but a lot more eclectic," said Willis Nichols, the café's general manager, who knows his regular customers by name. When I visited one weekday afternoon last week, not only did I sip on some of the best coffee in town (roasted weekly and delivered fresh by the Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company), but I got a taste of what makes this place so special—the people and the environment. Several strangers came up to me and my camera to say hello. After I said hello back I ventured over to a homey corner of the café, where a neighbor had recently dropped off a vintage atlas for the leave-a-book, take-a-book shelf. "We're known as the community gathering place," said Willis, who referred to the original meaning of the word "pub." Turns out, it has nothing to do with alcohol and everything to do with fostering a creative and welcoming environment. Maybe that's why St. Elmo's music nights, which run Wednesday through Saturday, have begun to grow more popular. I'll definitely be back.
Coffee averages about $2
Muffins (18 different varieties!), $2.50
Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.