Welcome to part 2 of our DC series! This time, we’re focusing on one of the most time-honored traditions in our nation’s capital: the art of drinking. Whether you want to drown your sorrows over the recent election, or regroup post-protesting said election, we’ve got all the spots for you. Below is a list of all the best watering holes in DC—note, we include members-only clubs alongside dive bars. This is what Democracy looks like. Go forth and imbibe.
PUT ‘EM BACK
Columbia Room // 124 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001
If you're feeling more upscale—and willing to wait—check out the award-winning cocktail program at Columbia Room in Blagden Alley. It was just named the best Cocktail Bar in America.
Two Birds One Stone // 1800 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Check out this secret, underground bar in DC. Don’t be fooled by the deceptively casual-looking door, step in and enjoy some cocktails in this dimly lit setting—perfect spot to start (or end) your night.
Hill Prince // 1337 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
This cozy bar is the perfect spot to sip a delicious cocktail or get your dance party on. Either way, enjoy a nice night on the back patio. The drinks are A+.
Jack Rose // 2007 18 St NW, Washington, DC 20009
If you love whiskey (and honestly, who doesn’t), then be sure to check out Jack Rose, where the walls are lined with bottles of bourbon. This bar boasts one of the widest selections in the United States, and if you visit on a nice day, we recommend indulging outside on the open-air terrace. Another tip? Order the chicken skins—the perfect complement to your double whiskey neat.
Bluejacket // 300 Tingey St SE, Washington, DC 20003
This brewery right by Nat's stadium has great beers, and great food. Go to this awesome spot to pregame the game (which is the most important part of the game, anyway).
Sotto // 1610 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Ideal location—going up to order a cocktail, you feel like you’re in a speakeasy. So, you get the best of Prohibition-era ambiance sans the potential arrest.
Ivey and Coney // 1537 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
We highly recommend this Chicago-themed bar in Shaw for a drink (or three). Pretend you’re in Cubs country.
El Rey // 919 U St NW, Washington, DC 20001
This spot is the perfect jump-off for you to start your night, and then continue to explore all the bars located right next to it on U Street.
IF YOU CAN GET IN
Chevy Chase Club // 6100 Connecticut Ave, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Members-only golf/country club in Chevy Chase where every Supreme Court justice automatically gains entry to upon confirmation by the Senate. Read about it in Gore Vidal’s book, Hollywood, based on the real/fictional characters of Washington D.C. in the 1920s. According to Vidal, the Chevy Chase Club is where FDR publicly ended his affair Lucy Mercer. So, it’s a great spot for break-ups as well.
The Cosmos Club // 2121 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
This private social club on Embassy Row is a who's who of the power players in Washington politics. Its members count three U.S. presidents, a dozen supreme court justices, and 36 Nobel Prize winners.
The Alfalfa Club //
Vernon Jordan, civil rights leader and Clinton confidante, heads this exclusive club. They host a single event every year, the President is known to always makes an appearance. If you get an invite, expect to be seated next to the likes of Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon. Fun Fact: Donald Trump declined his invitation last year.
The Washington Correspondent's Dinner Vanity Fair After Party
This is the best event in Washington D.C. every year. TBD on whether it will ever be as popular/even exist while Trump is still President, but it's worth noting as the best party in the district.
Black Cat // 1811 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Check out which show is playing at the multi-level Black Cat on U Street—it’s typically not too hard to get good, cheap seats before a night out on the U Street Bars. The same holds true for 9:30 club, though it’s less of a local secret.
Colony Club // 3118 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20010
This hip cafe that transitions into a fun, hipster-ish bar when the sun goes down, be there to watch that happen.
Solly’s // 1942 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
This dive bar is a cult favorite. Go there for the Buckhead console in the corner, and relish the ambiance with the sticky floors and all-around laid-back vibe.
The Bottom Line // 1716 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006
The bottom line is, if you’re downtown and sick of looking at the monuments, check out The Bottom Line, located in the business district that is Farragut.
Red Derby // 3718 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
Get back in the college spirit: this bar in northern Columbia Heights only sells its drinks in cans. Warning: though it has other charms, this place does not have good food (much like your alma mater).
Wonderland Ballroom // 1101 Kenyon St NW, Washington, DC 20010
This very fratty scene in Columbia Heights has a great late night, and—for those known to never leave the party, ever—it also hosts a surprisingly affordable, no-frills brunch.
Atlantic Plumbing // 807 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001
This brand-new indie movie theater offers good food and wine (for the cinephile who likes to imbibe while watching a movie). Located in a cool neighborhood right off U street, it’s the perfect activity to kick off the evening’s festivities.
Wunder Garten // 1101 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002
This beer garden is wunderful. Pardon the pun, we couldn’t resist.
9:30 Club // 815 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Don’t be fooled by the name—anytime is the right time to hit up this iconic DC concert venue. Intimate, super fun, and right off U Street, which is perfect for your plans to hit up the neighboring bars later.
W Hotel // 515 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
For the last two recommendations, we’re going for a few tourist traps that are nevertheless super fun and (more importantly) very classic DC experiences. Check out the rooftop bar of the W Hotel across the street from the Treasury to order a few drinks while you simultaneously drink in the spectacular view of the monuments and the White House.
Hay Adams // 800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006
The bar in the basement of the Hay Adams is another classic for a DC nerd—and, when in DC, you may as well indulge your nerdy tendencies. To quote Hamilton, you’re in the room (city) where it happens. Cheers!
Special thanks to Dane Evans, Cara Manket, Meredith Murphy, Biff Parker-Magyar, and Aidan Pongrace for the insider tips!