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The Best Bars in Washington, D.C.

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Happy hour is a beloved D.C. institution, and there are storied bars like Jack Rose as well as newer hot spots where you can raise a (discounted) glass with locals. As with restaurants, the nightlife scene has gotten better and more varied in recent years. Head to trendy areas like the U Street Corridor and 14th Street for creative cocktails, sleek wine bars, and craft beer. For live music, try a jazz club in Georgetown or eclectic favorite venues in Adams Morgan.
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800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
Discreetly tucked downstairs at the Hay-Adams Hotel just a little more than a stone’s-throw from the White House, this aptly named bar invites customers to muse about the deals that must have been made within these scarlet walls. The...
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501 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
José Andrés’s futuristic Willy Wonka cocktail factory, Barmini, is a playground for the adult imagination and taste buds. Liquid nitrogen wafts from beakers as mixologists deliver hits of scented smoke to customers along the...
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515 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
For decades, this rooftop terrace bar situated at the W Hotel (formerly the Hotel Washington, circa 1918) has provided some of the most stellar views of the White House, monuments, memorials, and beyond. P.O.V. is open year-round, unlike many...
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1337 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Folks are here for the beer at ChurchKey, the city's preeminent destination serving more than 550 variations (50 drafts, 500 bottles) from 30 countries, along with rare international and English-style ales. If you're overwhelmed by the...
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600 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
This 37,000-square-foot bar packs in crowds for regular live music shows. And it slakes their thirst with mint juleps, draft beers, a large selection of wines, and cocktails like the Rickey, named in honor of Colonel Joe Rickey, an influential...
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1940 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
At this contemporary wine bar with an outdoor patio and bocce ball court, patrons can enjoy more than 100 wines from all over the world, along with a full menu devoted to locally sourced produce and ingredients. Vinoteca hosts a weekly live...
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116 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Since 2011, this pub has been a go-to spot for residents of D.C.'s Bloomingdale neighborhood. The name is a historical nod to the formation of D.C. as America's capital city (40 boundary stones were placed to demarcate the city's original borders...
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1500 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Attached to the Dupont Circle Hotel, Bar Dupont is a sleek lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows and a patio that enable you to observe the hustle of the neighborhood from a refined vantage point. Bartenders concoct both cocktail classics and their...
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2007 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Located on the edge of the Adams-Morgan neighborhood, this saloon features library-style shelves of over 1,400 varieties of whiskey from floor to ceiling. Single Malt and Blended Scotch, Irish, Canadian, Belgian, Japanese, Indian, Welsh, and...
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2007 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Our favorite D.C. cocktail is the rye-based Maiden Voyage at the Dram & Grain. At first, it drinks like a Sazerac. As the ice melts, the bitters emerge and it’s like a whole new drink. —Sarah Baird

This appeared in the March/April...
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1421 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
Owned and operated by college pals Thomas Boisvert and Kathleen Davis, this inviting H Street spot pairs an eclectic global list of more than 30 wines by the glass (including a few on tap) with well-chosen nibbles like hearty bruschettas and...
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2461 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
For a night of music, soul food, and raucous fun, head to Madam’s Organ, a local landmark in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. It's not hard to find this place; look for the large mural of “Madam” on the side of the building and an...
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900 U St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

D.C.'s first gay sports bar attracts a lively mixed crowd, all mingling easily while tuning into their favorite teams. But there's plenty of friendly competition going on at Nellie's itself during poker, karaoke, and "smart ass trivia" nights. The...

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1073 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
Blues Alley is a Washington, D.C., landmark. Music lovers of all types will be hooked by this gem of a jazz club. The venue gets its name from its location: an alley off Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. You'll probably need to look for the sign...
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1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Located inside the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel, the Round Robin and Scotch Bar has been a lively meeting place for influential movers and shakers such as Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and Henry Clay. It was here in the...
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1622 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Whether it's brunch, happy hour, or date night, Barcelona Wine Bar’s shared-plate dining and drinking experience is a D.C. socialite staple. Mingle over pitchers of red wine sangria with a rotation of farm-to-table tapas, including a light...
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901 U St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
A loud mix of hipsters, college students, and professionals enjoy three floors of entertainment and fun at this traditional-themed British pub. Nosh on favorites like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and the "Brixton Burger" with bacon and fried...
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1212 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Once the home of Teddy Roosevelt, this two-story lounge has featured local and world-renowned DJs spinning house, electronic, and trip-hop since 1995, as well as live bands playing jazz, hip-hop, reggae, funk, samba, and Latin. Along with the...
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1337 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20036, USA
No signs designate this speakeasy-style bar located near Dupont Circle, but rather a green light and a relief of Senator Morris Sheppard, namesake and architect behind the Sheppard Bone-Dry Act of 1917 banning booze in DC. Upon seeing the green...
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3400 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA
Meridian Pint is a friendly gastropub located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of D.C. Emphasis is on American craft beers; if you’re into European brews, you’re out of luck here. At any one time, they have about 25 beers on tap...