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Serving the GW Community since 1904

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Study Break: Murky Coffee Clarendon

When the workload is heavy and the library is packed, a frantic student might panic for the nearest Starbucks, but the smart ones know that Murky Coffee in Arlington, Va., is a practical alternative.

Originally located in a tiny walk-up window in Georgetown, the new Arlington Murky Coffee is bigger, better and booming. With a secluded upstairs that is less crowded than the bustling main floor, Murky provides an escape from the Gloomy Gelman or Stressful Starbucks.


Owner Nick Cho said that Murky has already been discovered as a study hotspot by lots of students, especially those from George Mason, Georgetown and GW. It is not unusual for a customer to sit and do work all day, he said.

“It all comes from the core idea of the love for the people and bringing them together,” Cho said. “It’s not really about the actual coffee; in fact I don’t even love coffee. I just use it as a tool to bring people together.”

Cho – a college dropout who attended GW for a short period to study music- — said that he thinks of Murky’s atmosphere as “communal solitude.”

How well you’ll study

Murky has a cozy ambiance and with an abundance of tables, sofas and chairs, there is plenty of space to delve deep into those textbooks that have been collecting dust. An outdoor seating area is also available for students looking for a pleasant afternoon with some fresh air.

The music is soothing and not too loud, but headphones could be just the fix if you’re into doing your own thing.

What the studiers have to say

Jessica Rafferty, a George Mason law student, said she has been coming to Murky for a couple of years to get for some serious studying sessions.

“The weekends can get crowded so usually I come during the week and sit upstairs because it’s quieter,” she said.

Barry Reicherter, a 42-year-old marketing consultant who comes to Murky with his laptop once or twice a week, said he loves the coffee shop for its environment and friendly staff.

When comparing Murky to Starbucks, he said that sometimes the types and amount of people in Starbucks can be distracting – whereas at Murky the atmosphere is more mature.

“The background noise is part of the whole feeling,” he said. “You feel like you’re isolated but around people.”

Reiherter said that he thinks Murky customers looking to get work done return to the coffee shop because it provides the right environment.

“There’s not much noise so it allows you to tune everything out,” he said. “It’s a good place to collaborate also because nobody’s really listening – everyone’s kind of involved in their own thing.”


Murky comes equipped with free high-speed Wi-Fi and has several accessible power outlets for customer use.


Easy to get to and a total of seven minutes from the Foggy Bottom Metro station, Murky Coffee is a short walk from the Clarendon Metro stop on the orange line. n

Murky Coffee is located at 3211 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, Va., and is open Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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