Daikaya (upstairs izakaya)

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The metal exterior of this Japanese spot behind the Gallery Place movie theater is carved with designs that resemble the symbol for wi-fi signals. If that doesn't clue you in that the place you're about to walk into is not your usual bar, one look at the menu of the upstairs izakaya should do the trick. Drinks are inventive and surprising—especially the take on a sake bomb, with spherified sake floating in a glass of Sapporo—and the small plates include ingredients not often found on Japanese menus, such as burrata salad and Old Bay seasoning. More traditional dishes make an appearance, too, including pork-filled onigiri and sashimi, but chef Daisuke Utagawa's training with José Andrés means even the familiar has unexpected elements. Reservations are available online, and they're a good idea; the sultry lighting and cool decor (red-backed bar shelves, manga wallpaper) encourage lingering at a table over another glass of sake or sochu.

Hours and prices are for upstairs izakaya only; ramen bar hours are different.

Venue name: Daikaya (upstairs izakaya)
Contact:
Address: 705 6th St NW
Washington, DC

Cross street: between G and H Sts
Opening hours: Mon 11am–2pm, 5–10pm; Tue–Thu 11am–2pm, 5–11pm; Fri 11am–2pm, 5pm–1am; Sat 5pm–1am, Sun 11am–3pm
Transport: Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro
Price: Small plates $2.75–$12
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