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Northside Social Coffee and Wine in Arlington, VA (Murky Coffee)

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This place is now open for business. I have noticed it for the last couple of weeks. We just got a cappuccino and a mocha with two pastries. I have to say I hate coffee culture and cafe culture, walking into Murky coffee used to irk the crap out of me. However, I tolerated it due to a) the best cafe mocha I have ever had b) the only place where the coffee making guy actually did the work and put a design in to every single foamy head whether for here or to go. This slowed him down, yes, but that always impressed that hell out of me.

At Northside both the mocha and the cappuccino were extremely bitter. I would go to Starbucks over Northside if I had another cappuccino craving. And not a single foamy design in sight. ;(

Northside does have a couple interesting looking sandwiches that I may give a try. Crisp pork belly something or another. Has anyone tried it yet? I also did not go upstairs to the wine bar. I was told it is closed until "four or something". Wine and pork belly may be the way to go here. We'll see.

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  1. There is potential there. Though the place will be overrun with yuppies for eternity. The grilled cheese (a cheddar, mozzarella, and gruyere combo) was rich but good. It would've benefited with like a tomato in it or something else juicy and a little acidic (grilled cheese with tomato is underrated). I've heard very good things about the breakfast sandwiches.

    1. We ordered 2 capuccinos and we found them way too wet but the next time we will just ask for them a little dry.

      On the dessert I ordered the Passion Fruit Mini Bundt and though it needed more texture and maybe some sort of glaze the flavor of passio fruit was written all over it.

      I respect that they make their own goods, I still prefer the coffee over Java Shack!

      2 Replies
      1. re: helenahimm

        I'm curious -- what does "too wet" mean and what makes a cappuccino "dry"? Or are you making a martini joke?

        1. re: Teddybear

          Wet == more milk, less foam. Dry == less milk, more foam.

      2. I am wincing every time I sip this cappuccino. It is soooo bitter!!!

        Breakfast sandwiches are a good idea. I miss my Manhattan greasy kaiser with bacon, egg and cheese.

        8 Replies
        1. re: sekelmaan

          The breakfast sandwich on Texas toast at Mario's is spot on. Enough bacon for a couple of breakfasts. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

          1. re: Steve

            Where is Marios? (BTW, I wanted to tell you we went to Myanmar this weekend. It was outstanding.)

            1. re: sekelmaan

              I assume he's talking about Mario's pizza, down the road on Wilson.

              1. re: jaydreb

                You assume right!

              2. re: sekelmaan

                Where is Marios??? Heck, that's been in the same place for about 50 years. On Wilson Boulevard just west of Clarendon, between Jackson and Kenmore streets.

                More apropos to this thread, where is this Northside place, not that it sounds like I'll be trying it soon. But it's a good idea to give an approximate location when talking about a place that's new, or new to the forum discussions (sorry if I missed an anticipated opening discussion).

                1. re: MikeR

                  http://northsidesocialarlington.com/

                  1. re: sekelmaan

                    Ah! So this is the mysterious and long awaited new resident of the former Murky Coffee shop? I didn't realize why you put Murky Coffee in parentheses in your original post. Thought you might have been comparing the two, which I guess you sort of did.

                2. re: sekelmaan

                  Ohh I tried Mario's twice mostly because everyone said it is a tradition in the area, but i would rather have a KFC Double Down that their pizza ever again =( it was really really bad, eventhough the Pizza Makers are really nice and seem to put their heart into it, you would be happier with a frozen pizza from Digiornos =(

            2. potential, for sure.

              the atmosphere seems spot on with plenty of seating and a clean look with interesting art around--and the food looks tempting. i only had coffee and it was BITTER BEYOND BELIEF. my teeth still hurt from it and i can't get this awful flavor out of my mouth. i want want want to like it, i want to like a non-chain (is this a non-chain?) coffee house like a common ground was, but the coffee, man... i can't bear it. please do something about it!

              1 Reply
              1. re: sstratmann

                It's a non-chain or at the most a mini-chain -- it's owned by the Liberty Tavern people, along with Lyon Hall which opened last night.

                -----
                The Liberty Tavern
                3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

              2. Seems so strange that the coffee is so different from before since Nick Cho was training everyone and they are still using counter culture beans... You would think it would be as tasty as before.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ktmoomau

                  Just proves that proper technique is just as important as equipment and coffee. The Italians call it the "5 M's."

                  Mano - Hand of the operator
                  Macchina - Espresso machine
                  Miscela - the blend
                  Macinadosatore - Grinder/doser
                  Manutenzione - maintenance of the equipment

                  If any of these elements is neglected, the espresso will suffer.

                  1. re: Beto_pan

                    This reminds me of a recent visit to Filter, the new coffee place near Dupont. It took us around 20 minutes to get one of our cappuccinos (with nobody else ahead of us in line), because the barista announced that he "wouldn't send out a coffee that wasn't perfect", and thus felt compelled to toss the first five espressos he pulled for the drink while those of us w/ pour-over drinks stood around as our coffees got cold. I understand the importance of "mano", but if a particular mano is so shaky that it can't pull an acceptable shot in five tries, you kind of have to wonder if it should be behind the bar in the first place...

                    -----
                    Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar
                    1726 20th St NW, Dupont Circle, DC 20009

                2. Went back today to give this place a second try. I had an excellent Cafe Mocha which a) was not bitter at all and b) had a lovely design in the froth. I will be giving them a third try soon.

                  Also had a nice sandwich that was just a pick up at the counter, ciobatta with mortadella or something along those lines. It was nice, but eight bucks. Still wanna try the pork belly.

                  1. Does anyone know if Northside Social has air-conditioning on the first floor now? I went a couple months ago and it was stifling to the point of having to leave after an hour. They were leaving all the doors and windows open but the air was not circulating. The second floor, which had a/c, was not much better because the heat came up from the first floor. I'd like to go back, but only if it will be bearable inside.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: tokyochocho

                      There was AC downstairs when I went a couple weeks ago, although we sat outside with the dog.

                      1. re: tokyochocho

                        You had to leave after an hour? How long does it take for you to drink a cup of coffee? I barely spend an hour at a sit-down restaurant for a full dinner. Or did you go there for the "Social" part or plan on getting your homework done over a computer?

                        But, yeah, on the dog days, if I step into a place for lunch and it's not cool, I'll go elsewhere.