Brad Byrne / The Fourth Estate

Foundation Coffee Roasters in Fairfax


This might be the most hidden place in all of Fairfax. Located in Fair City Mall, you have to be in the know of the area to find this place. Foundation Coffee Roasters is a new and unique addition to the east portion of the City of Fairfax, having opened last year in 2021. 

To get to this Hidden Hangout, go to Fair City Mall and enter by Potbelly’s, go left and walk back behind the shopping center until you come across the gem that is Foundation Coffee Roasters. While the coffee is important, the design of the coffee shop creates the ambiance that keeps me and other regulars coming back.

The coffee shop itself was converted from an abandoned warehouse and has a sleek modern design by its owner, Hae Kim. The interior is like an arena theatre, with the baristas in the middle serving as the performers, creating peculiar drinks of perfection. The seating is also unique, there are typical seats like you would see at a coffee shop, but there are also raised stadium seats on the right side of the cafe that looks down at the barista bar, plus some seats right in front of the bar. You can get a show while you study or catch up with friends.

In terms of ambiance, this coffee shop is not going to be super loud, like De Clieu might be. It caters more to studiers, as you will see numerous customers on their laptops and enjoying a latte or snack. However, there is still chatter it’s not quite the silent floors of Fenwick.

The coffee here gives you a pep in your step, it definitely helps me stay awake and ready to have a productive day in my life.  All of the beans are roasted in-house, and you can tell the difference between this and your normal Starbucks coffee. I typically get a latte, and their espresso is rich, bold, and full of flavor. They also have plentiful other drinks that aren’t coffee-related, like chai tea lattes, green tea lattes and an assortment of iced teas.

For those with a sweet tooth, look no further, because you might want to order just about everything. The pastries are Asian-inspired, which means that it includes morsels of perfection like milk toast, matcha cake, and egg or fruit tarts. It’s simply impossible for me not to get something to snack on while knocking out a paper, and some of my favorites to get include their matcha cake or almond croissant. 

So, if you’re a student at Mason and looking for a change in your study scene or a cute idea for a date, Foundation Coffee Roasters is the Hidden Hangout for you.