A friend wrote me in late December asking for some tips for some friends visiting D.C. Since a lot of my favorite spots are better in summer, here’s a list of some winter recommendations I sent over.
Overall for food/drinks I’d recommend going to these neighborhoods: 14th St./Logan Circle, U Street and Shaw. 14th/U is really the hub of dining and nightlife so you can walk along til you find a place that has something you like. Shaw is a tad less corridor-like; you need to have more of a destination, but it’s where a lot of the new hotspots are opening. Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan are still good food and drinks spots. I wouldn’t recommend Gtown these days, except for a few spots or for shopping during the day.
A few of my favorite bars are:
- Churchkey: beer galore (we got drinks here when you were in town a while back)
- Bar Pilar: cozy & classic bar on 14th
- McClellan’s Retreat: a good one for history nerds, this bar is Civil War themed
- Board Room: board game-themed bar, good for holing up on cold nights
- Vegas Lounge: live band turns this place into a Motown/Pop dance party
- Wok and Roll: drunk latenight (or not so latenight) karaoke
Some restaurants to look at:
- Tail Up Goat: small plates and yummy craft cocktails
- Compass Rose: awesome menu of street food small plates from around the world
- Le Diplomate: French bistro that’s a standby on 14th street
- Lupo Verde: my favorite Italian restaurant
- Pineapple and Pearls or Roses Luxury: two of the foodiest spots in DC
- American Indian Museum: if you’re doing the Mall/Museums, this Smithsonian has a great food court, with native foods from all over the Americas
Local Booze: there are a ton of great local beers to try/breweries (3 Stars, Atlas, DC Brau, Right Proper, Port City), but other local booze is also buzzy, like the ANXO Cidery and District Distilling Co.
Quintessential “DC” spots:
- The rooftop bar at the W Hotel is probably one of the best views in DC, overlooking WH/Mall
- Off the Record in the Hay Adams hotel has fun political cartoon coasters you can steal
- The Watergate Hotel opened and I think it’s overdone but if it happens to be warm there’s a great new rooftop bar overlooking Gtown
Other things to do:
- I’d say good luck getting tickets to the new African American museum … they’re booked til April, though there are some daily giveaways I think.
- The East Wing of the National Gallery of Art just reopened and is cool
- The Renwick Gallery is really fun for some Instagram action
- One of my favorite lesser known spots on the Mall is the US Botanical Garden – in winter it’s a nice tropical jungle to escape into.
If they’re Hamilton fans, then this guide might be of interest 🙂