Bars

Your guide to the best bars and drinking in DC, whether you’re looking for a cocktail, a craft beer bar, or a wine bar

Bars

The best pick-up bars in Washington, DC

Hooking up is hard to do—unless you know where to go. Read on for the city’s best pick-up bars.

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Bars

The best bars in DC

Our guide to the best bars in DC will help you choose your poison and preferred setting, from old-school political hangout to swanky cocktail parlor

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Bars

The best rooftop bars in Washington, DC

Elevate your drinking game at these rooftop bars with sweeping city views and warm-weather cocktails

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Bars

The best craft beer bars in Washington, DC

From biergartens to brewpubs, here’s where to find the tastiest craft beer selections and pints in the city

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Where to go for cocktails

Barmini

For local foodies, José Andrés’s Minibar is the Moby Dick of DC dining reservations: available to those truly dedicated diners who pursue it for months. For the rest of us, there’s Barmini, the adjacent “cocktail lab” that lets you try Andrés’s creations without half a year’s lead time. Reservations aren’t required—on a recent Wednesday night visit we were seated immediately—but on weekend nights they're a good precaution. Press a button outside, which causes a light to flash over the door inside, and a hostess leads you into a space where the drinks are as surreal as the decor. The novel-thick, silver-covered drink menus are divided by spirits; options include classic cocktails as well as Wonka-esque creations served with beakers of vapor or puffs of cotton candy. The food comes in small but powerfully flavored portions; think crispy, melty, truffle-laced grilled cheese and a mini lobster roll covered in buttery foam. As you might imagine, a night here isn’t cheap—but for cocktail lovers and seekers of imaginative dining experiences, this is a must-visit.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Bars

Copycat Co.

Cocktails. Dumplings. Repeat. That’s pretty much the game plan at this H Street newcomer run by Minibar veteran Devin Gong. The kitchen serves Chinese street food (steamed bao, potstickers and meat skewers), while the upstairs bar delivers artful concoctions borrowed from mixologists Gong has met and liked (hence the name). Can’t find something you like? Consult the blackboard of flavor combinations and build your own cocktail from scratch.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars

Hank’s Oyster Bar

A recent addition to the neighborhood, this stylish, all-white Capitol Hill outpost of the Dupont Circle and Alexandria seafood chain boasts ownership of the Eddy Bar, a long stretch of marble offering house-made sodas in flavors such as "citrus sage" and punny cocktails (the Oh Rickey You’re So Fine features bourbon, Gewürtzraminer, and lemongrass). The beer menu is esoteric, consisting mostly of brews you’ve never heard of, from the 21st Amendment Dub Step IPA on draft to the local Port City Tartan. Come for happy hour (Monday to Friday, 5–7pm), stay for the cocktails and bowls of Goldfish crackers.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars

Mockingbird Hill

Part of cocktail guru Derek Brown’s trio of Shaw bars—including the adjacent Southern Efficiency and nearby Eat the Rich—this dimly lit spot is a paean to the particular pleasures of ham and sherry. Inspired by Brown’s teenage fascination with the Clash (it takes its name from a line in the song “Spanish Bombs”), the bar marries an upscale menu with a punk-rock sensibility. In addition to the most impressive sherry menu in the area, you’ll find cocktails ranging from the playful Fino garlic back (sherry with a side of pickled garlic juice) to the High Kirk, with Manzanilla and Glenfarclas 12-year single-malt Scotch, to an on-tap gin and tonic with Green Hat gin. Vegetarians needn’t despair; the variety of hams shares menu space with dishes such as Manchego with honey and cocoa-dusted corn nuts and classic pan con tomate. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars

The best wine bars in Washington, DC

Sip, swirl and learn a thing or two about top-notch reds, whites and more at they city’s best wine bars

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Bars

The best dive bars in DC

Head to one of our favorite dive bars for a laid-back night of cheap drinks in an appealingly bare-bones setting

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Best bars in Washington, DC

A&D

DC has no shortage of places trying for a "neighborhood" feel, but Daniel O'Brien and Ali Bagheri's quirky A&D comes pretty close to nailing it. The narrow front room is dominated by a bar at which you can order well-crafted cocktails, many made with local spirits including Green Hat Gin and Catoctin Creek rye; the larger back room offers tables and waiter service. There's no real food menu to speak of, save snacks such as nuts or caramel popcorn and movie theater–style candy, but those with more of an appetite can bring in sandwiches from Sundevich around the corner, owned by the same duo. While drinks are perhaps pricier than the neighborhood vibe would suggest (many are more than $10), weekday happy hour from 5 to 7 offers $4 tallboys and $5 drafts and glasses of wine. If you're looking for a tasty drink in a laid-back atmosphere, this is a solid bet.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars

All Souls Bar

This no-nonsense drinking den in Shaw is modestly decorated and frequently cramped. Much like the mood lighting, cocktail prices are low. Here you’ll find arguably the city’s best Negroni, along with a Manhattan, Old Fashioned and French 75, each under $10. Owner David Batista, the former bar manager at Zaytinya and Jaleo, also offers a handful of wines and beers by the bottle. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars

Argonaut

Gentrified H Street has gone from sketchy to super-cool over the last few years, boasting a fleet of hipster bars offering cut-price cans of PBR and adult entertainment (no, not that kind—think arcade games and pinball). Perched on the end of the H Street strip, the Argonaut is one of its better bar options, with a pretty, spacious terrace outside and regular themed nights (trivia’s on Wednesday, live bluegrass on Thursday). There are 12 draft beers on tap, including the excellent DC Brau, and sample flights of four are available. Thanks to its Metro-unfriendly location, the bar also tends to get less crowded and raucous than other H Street nightlife spots.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Bar Pilar

The younger and less popular sister of Café Saint-Ex, Bar Pilar is affectionately referred to as a dive bar, dressed up. The vibe is intimate, with just 38 seats, and the low-key attractions include bacon bloody marys at brunch (sort of a liquefied BLT, hold the lettuce) and a kitschy photo booth.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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