October 8, 2013 | 10:40am EDT
Problem: You’re burnt out from your D.C. lifestyle. It’s too structured, too fast-paced, too impersonal. You need a wake-up call. Solution: Take the Metrobus toward Georgetown. Get off between 30th and 31st streets. Walk to 1052 Thomas Jefferson Street NW past the C&O Canal. Where are you? The place looks like a hole in the wall at its back alley location. Step inside, though, and you’ve found an indie Mecca. Welcome to Baked & Wired. This popular coffee shop and bakery is as youthfully electric as its name implies. Artsy, quirky, even borderline offensive at times: this place is fun. You’ll probably find yourself clicking your heels three times and repeating, “I’m not a hipster. I’m not a hipster. I’m not a hipster.” But don’t worry, they won’t kick you out if you’re not donning a patterned sweater and Ray Bans. This place is frequented by characters who break the mold in the best way. There’s a metaphorical place for everyone here. Literal space is lacking, however, in the morning and on weekends. It also helps to know your way around. After you enter, on the right side there is a doorway to the magical caffeination station. The left side houses the baked treats. Farther back, past the store part is the very limited seating area. There are a few prime people watching seats outside as well. The shop is overrun by tourists, college students, and office workers. You won’t see anyone on the Internet, though. There’s no wi-fi. So bring your friends, written homework, and a big appetite. Speaking of, there are two well-known reasons to visit B&W: artisan coffee and “cakecups”. The joy dealers of caffeine and sugar are more than qualified to keep you awake. Not to mention the sure laughs you’ll get from the baked good names: “Elvis Impersonator”, “chocolate cupcake of doom”, and “unicorns and rainbows” to name a few. Just wait until you see the ridiculous marker drawings that decorate the labels. The experience makes the slightly above-average prices worth it. High vibes amp up the little shop. It has none of the stifling D.C. seriousness. It’s unpredictable. Hand-drawn art covers the walls, the food labels, their famous napkin wall, the windows— everywhere. Miscellany from song lyrics, to philosophical quotes, to storybook pages, to silly questions with sillier answers are lovingly drawn all over. The B&W staff is constantly changing the drawings as well so you never know what you’re going to get. It’s a great place to inspire your creative side. They often host events to keep with the modern mood as well. AmLit recently held a hugely successful Open Mic Night there, and invited a local band to rock the casbah. You never know what fun shenanigans this place will be up for. It’s worth a trip to find out.