Georgetown neighborhood guide

Your guide to Georgetown in DC including the best local restaurants and bars, arts and entertainment and things to do

Photograph: Susana Raab
Georgetown accessories boutique Phoenix

Today's Georgetown is unlike the rest of the city, with tranquil residential streets lined with historical homes and haughty boutiques. Its physical division from the rest of the District by Rock Creek—and lack of Metro coverage—enhances its insularity. At night Georgetown jumps with dozens of bars and restaurants filled with suburban twentysomethings and international glitterati.

Restaurants and bars in Georgetown

Bourbon Steak

If you’re looking for a decadent splurge and a high probability of a celebrity sighting, head to this modern restaurant inside Georgetown’s Four Seasons hotel, where steaks are poached in butter and movie stars and power players rub shoulders. California-based chef Michael Mina opened a branch of his contemporary steakhouse as part of a very posh makeover of the Four Seasons. Steakhouse classics such as an aged porterhouse, creamed spinach and wagyu beef are joined by locally sourced fare such as Virginia swordfish, plus a shellfish and caviar selection. The complimentary fries that land on the table are crisped in duck fat and very addictive. The swank bar is a regular hangout for VIP guests and, true to its name, offers a nice selection of rare bourbons and Scotches.

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Birreria Paradiso

Pizza paradise above, beer heaven below, what more could you want? Birreria Paradiso is in the basement of the hugely popular Pizzeria Paradiso and the English-style hand pumps behind the bar serve up cask-conditioned ales that will soon produce heavenly visions in imbibers. The brews on offer include Britain’s Old Speckled Hen, Belgium’s Chimay Cinq Cents and a blood-colored Flemish beer named the Duchesse de Bourgogne. There are three- and four-taste flights ($9 and $11), so sensation seekers can sample a cross-section of Birreria’s extensive offerings—culled from a six-page menu.

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Pâtisserie Poupon

Light and airy in a modern European sort of way, Pâtisserie Poupon gets points for presentation and attitude. The tarts and cakes are just like you’d find in Paris, and the menu is short but oh-so-French: salade niçoise, crudités, quiches, baguettes and brioche sandwiches. All coffee drinks are made in the back at the espresso bar and delivered by the barista himself.

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Music and nightlife in Georgetown

Birreria Paradiso

Pizza paradise above, beer heaven below, what more could you want? Birreria Paradiso is in the basement of the hugely popular Pizzeria Paradiso and the English-style hand pumps behind the bar serve up cask-conditioned ales that will soon produce heavenly visions in imbibers. The brews on offer include Britain’s Old Speckled Hen, Belgium’s Chimay Cinq Cents and a blood-colored Flemish beer named the Duchesse de Bourgogne. There are three- and four-taste flights ($9 and $11), so sensation seekers can sample a cross-section of Birreria’s extensive offerings—culled from a six-page menu.

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Blues Alley

Some patrons consider the cover charges here outrageously high, especially as there is also a two-drink minimum per person for each set, which usually lasts just under an hour. Others are just so thankful that they have a small space where first-rate acts such as Mose Allison or Pieces of a Dream will perform that money is not an object. Acoustics are as top-notch as the talent on the stage. Recent acts include Earl Klugh, Karrin Allyson and Afro Bop Alliance.

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Shopping in Georgetown

Phoenix

Critics' pick

This family-owned Georgetown institution offers affordable designer jewelry and comfortable clothes for women, as well as sought-after Mexican imports—Day of the Dead figurines, alebrijes (colorful, fanciful animals) and antique silver. There is a wide selection of separates from the likes of Eileen Fisher, Cut Loose and White + Warren. Semi-precious-bead necklaces and earrings dominate the numerous trinket cases, culled from the collections of local and international jewelry artists. Latico, Ellington and Carla Mancini bags and versatile knit dresses round out the wardrobe offerings.

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Hugh & Crye

"Shirts that fit" is the motto of Hugh & Crye, which designs shirts in 12 sizes to fit every man from the short and skinny to the tall and broad. Primarily an online company, Hugh & Crye now runs a showroom in the heart of Georgetown, where customers can try on their shirts in person before buying

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Hotels in Georgetown

Graham Georgetown

In the property that was the old Monticello, the new Graham is a sophisticated take on a boutique hotel. The look is restrained, with lots of taupes, browns and marble in the public areas. Rooms and suites—all with CD players/radios—use grays, with carefully chosen splashes of color, and checks and patterns that blend well and are never loud. The expansive rooftop bar, the Observatory, has great views and is set to be a major asset.

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Georgetown Suites

This hotel is located between Georgetown University and George Washington University in the historic Georgetown neighborhood of Washington D.C. It features a gym and spacious suites with a flat-screen cable TV.Each one of the Georgetown Suites is individually designed and decorated with elegant, contemporary furnishings. A seating area and separate dining area are included. Each suite also has a desk and safety deposit box. Select rooms offer a fully equipped kitchen.Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast that includes muffins, bagels and fruit. They can also use the business center. Laundry facilities are available to make Georgetown an ideal home away from home.Georgetown Suites is within walking distance of Georgetown Waterfront Park and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It is 2 miles from Washington National Monument and Arlington National Cemetery.

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Four Seasons

One of DC’s most comfortable hotels, the Four Seasons has long attracted VIP guests. The health spa is both serious and sybaritic, and good art is displayed throughout. Even if you’re not lucky enough to be staying here, you can at least treat yourself to afternoon tea on the Garden Terrace. If you can stump up the money for a reservation, ask to stay in the east wing, where a $40-million renovation a few years ago enlarged the rooms and updated the decor.

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