Enter Washington, D.C.’s vibrant nightlife, where bars act as dynamic hubs of social and cultural exchange. D.C.’s bar scene offers a wide range of experiences, from hip rooftop lounges with panoramic views to historic watering holes steeped in political intrigue. The capital city’s bars, which draw a varied mix of residents, decision-makers, and visitors, are a reflection of its rich history. Discover the revolution in mixology at craft cocktail bars, indulge in global cuisine at unique places, and catch the energy of the city at bustling sports bars. Whether you’re looking for understated charm or refined elegance, Washington, D.C. Bars welcome you to sample mixed drinks and learn about the distinct tastes of the nation’s social and political center.
barmini by José Andrés
One of the best bars in Washington DC, you should consider checking out is barmini by José Andrés, located in the heart of the Penn Quarter neighborhood, within walking distance from Ford’s Theatre. This upscale, swanky destination has stylish decor that enhances its atmosphere. Their menu offers over 100 libations, creative snacks, and cocktail flights with a modern twist. I like ordering their Leatherette or Old Fashioned with grilled cheese or a savory mini waffle.
If you don’t know where to get a drink in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, Jack Rose Dining Saloon is one bar you shouldn’t miss during your visit to DC. This casual bar has several places for enjoying a drink, including an outdoor terrace. This bar offers a wide selection of cocktails, beer, wine, and whiskey to pair with tasty bar bites. I love stopping by during their happy hour for a Single Barrel Smash with shrimp deviled eggs.
Nestled within the Willard InterContinental Hotel, Round Robin Bar is one the best places to go out closest to The White House. It has a historic, upscale, cozy vibe, emphasized by its oak walls and leather seating. Their bar menu serves quality beer, cocktails, wine, and spirits to enjoy with flavorful appetizers and entrees. I sampled their Mint Julep with a cheese plate during my last visit. Don’t miss out on their scotch or whisky flights when enjoying a night with friends.
If you’re looking for the best beer in the Navy Yard neighborhood, look no further than Bluejacket. Its laid-back, industrial atmosphere is perfect for unwinding after a long day of visiting DC’s hottest attractions. Their bar offers 20 rotating ales and lagers on tap for guests to sample. I recommend sampling their Stars & Stripes, a crisp pilsner, or Glee, an English-style blonde ale. Consider pairing these beers with a sandwich, fries, or tater tots for a flavorful experience.
You can find O.K.P.B. in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, about two miles east of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. This laid-back, hip speakeasy is the perfect place to sample the finest cocktails in the neighborhood, prepared by mixologists who know their craft. Their cocktail selections rotate daily, so consider stopping by often. They host happy hour every weekday from 5 PM to 7 PM, offering half-price martinis, Manhattans, mules, and Fitzgeralds to all patrons.
Copycat Co. is one of the best bars in Washington DC, offering a hip ambiance. You can find it in the H Street Corridor neighborhood. This cocktail bar offers outdoor seating on its covered patio for anyone who prefers enjoying the city’s fresh air. Their best cocktails are Bourbon Smash, Kon-Tiki Mai Tai, and Hot Hummingbird, which taste great when paired with pot stickers or fried rice. You can take your cocktails to go if you don’t have time to stay.
Service Bar DC is one of the top fun places to get drinks in DC’s Pleasant Plains neighborhood, located a few minutes from Howard University. Its intimate and subdued atmosphere makes it a favorite among DC residents. They have live music and a heated covered patio. Don’t forget to stop by during their weekday happy hour from 5 PM to 7 PM. I recommend trying their Al Pastor Margarita or Spicy Paloma with mozzarella balls or buffalo chicken dip.
If you’re in Washington DC’s Downtown area, consider stopping by for a drink with your friends at Off the Record, a luxurious upscale bar located inside The Hay-Adams Hotel. Its red walls and velvet seating enhance the venue’s classy vibe. Indulge in upscale bar bites and a creative list of cocktails, wine brands, beer, and spirits after a long day. I prefer ordering their Pear Martini or Smoking Mirrors with an artisanal cheese platter or OTR sliders.
Silver Lyan, located inside the Riggs Washington DC Hotel, is an upscale bar worth visiting after exploring the Penn Quarter neighborhood. It has an intimate, sophisticated atmosphere. The venue’s mood lighting and stylish decor emphasize its charisma to anyone looking for a great time. Like many of the best bars in Washington DC, Silver Lyan’s menu features wine by the glass and creative cocktails. The best drinks to pair with their bagel bites are their Salmon Cannon and Perkin’s Purple Punch.
Despite its small size, Jane Jane remains one of the top fun places to go out near the Logan Circle neighborhood. I enjoy this bar’s laid-back and hip vibe. Its friendly staff provides fast, efficient service to ensure an excellent night. Their drink menu offers plenty of cocktails infused with refreshing spirits, from gin to whiskey. You can’t go wrong pairing their Rum Old Fashioned, Mezcal 75, or Lion’s Tail with an onion dip or pickled okra.
Don’t know where to find bars in the Downtown area with an immersive, intimate setting? Stop by ChurchKey if you crave quality beer and cocktails. The candlelit tables and bar area make this destination stand out from others in the neighborhood. I love visiting this bar to treat my friends to a weekend drink. Their menu offers tasty snacks, sandwiches, and pizza to enjoy with your drinks. I love ordering their Espresso Martini with truffle cheese fries or a cheese pizza.
Another one of the best bars in the Adams Morgan neighborhood is The Green Zone. This casual bar is great for hanging out with friends if you crave the neighborhood’s best libations. They have live Arabic and Middle Eastern DJs every Friday and international DJs on Saturdays. The bar offers outdoor seating overlooking the city streets. Many of their cocktails and bar bites incorporate traditional Middle Eastern flavors. Consider sampling their Ottoman Times or Jun Blossom with hummus or seasoned wings during your next visit.
Don’t know where to enjoy a drink in the Shaw neighborhood? All Souls Bar is a casual, low-key bar that’s a nice change of pace to many of the city’s high-energy destinations. Its indoor area has a jukebox, while the outdoor patio has excellent outdoor seating for larger parties, perfect for late night outings. Their extensive drink menu offers beer, wine, and cocktails. I enjoy ordering a Sapporo Lager or The All Souls. Besides serving snacks like olives and almonds, they let guests bring outside food.
One of the best bars in Washington DC, offering a stylish yet casual setting with dim lighting, is Allegory, located inside the Eaton DC Hotel in the eastern section of Downtown DC. The Alice in Wonderland-themed wall art enhances the bar’s atmosphere. If you want to try something different when visiting this bar, consider ordering their Widow’s Kiss, Crow from Tobago, or Jabberwocky Parte Dos. I prefer pairing these drinks with hamachi tartare or deviled eggs.
Nestled within the heart of the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood stands Morris American Bar. The bar’s artistic interior amplifies its laid-back, warm atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy cocktails with friends or have a date night. This bar offers outdoor seating. I like stopping by on Wednesdays and Thursdays for happy hour specials from 5 PM to 7 PM, like wine and bourbon discounts and half-price snacks. Try their Nutty Bird or Cotillion with deviled eggs or a flatbread pizza.
DAIKAYA is a two-level Penn Quarter bar with a casual atmosphere and funky decor. It’s within walking distance from the National Portrait Gallery and the National Building Museum. This bar’s colorful surroundings make the space extra immersive after a day of sightseeing. Guests can enjoy their favorite sake with ramen on DAIKAYA’s first floor or Japanese comfort food on the second floor. I love ordering their Miyozakura Junmai and Shogun Daiquiri with tako wasabi or fried shishito peppers.
Calico is another one of the best bars in Washington DC, you can find near the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood. Its interior incorporates a country-chic aesthetic that stands out from other popular bars. Calico offers outdoor seating on its patio. They host bingo nights on Sundays and trivia nights on Tuesdays. Don’t miss out on their Draft Du Jour or Paws-MO. They offer $2 discounts off select drinks during their happy hour from 4 PM to 6 PM every Tuesday through Friday.
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 5 reputable blogs and websites, including eater.com, timeout.com, cntraveler.com, secretdc.com, and thrillist.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.