Not much is expected in terms of food at dive bars. Anything fried and greasy will usually do the trick. But in order to applaud any and all effort taken to keep drinkers happy, Eater DC's pulled together a quick list of go-to dishes from favorite local watering holes. The options are listed in order of degree of difficulty, from fried burgers to bags of barbecue potato chips.
Tune Inn, 331 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003
The folks at Tune Inn really know their way around a deep fryer. Fries, tator tots, deep-fried pickles, fried macaroni and cheese wedges, the list goes on and on. Meanwhile, the patty melt has a huge following, but Guy Fieri went for a beer-battered burger and Joe's West Virginia roast beef sandwich when he visited for his show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.
Galaxy Hut, 2711 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
Clarendon's Galaxy Hut is a little fancy for a dive bar, so it makes sense that they go all out with their grilled cheese. While the bar used to be vegan, they now offer some meat entrees too. So whether diners want vegan seitan "turkey" or just plain turkey on their grilled cheese, Galaxy Hut can make it happen, with a side of tots.
Quarry House, 8401 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Here's another place whose tots have won over the hearts of many. The Quarryhouse tots can be topped with Old Bay, or bacon and cheese or chili and cheese.
The Bottom Line, 1716 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006
The Bottom Line's menu is fairly ambitious, for better or worse — Seafood! Mexican! Deli! Eggs! Wraps! Tacos and tots might be a foolproof way to go.
Solly's, 1942 11th St NW Washington, DC 20009
Got to call out Solly's for attempting poutine. The U Street dive bar started serving food in 2012, and their version of poutine includes hand-cut french fries, cheese curds, brown gravy and optional pulled pork.
Vienna Inn, 120 Maple Ave E, Vienna, VA 22180
Vienna Inn calls their $2.25 chili cheese dogs "world famous." And Eater DC writer and Burger Days founder Jody Fellows says that not only are the hot dogs delicious, there's something about them that really make the Vienna Inn a quintessential dive bar experience. "Last time I went, we were drinking at the bar and the server just came up and just literally handed us our chili dogs (like, not on the bar– she actually put them in our hands) right there. No plate, just one of those little paper hot dog holder things. It was just perfect," Fellows told Eater DC.
The Raven Grill, 3125 Mt Pleasant St NW, Washington, DC 20010
The only food served at The Raven is chips from individually-sized bags. But hey, there's a whole wall to choose from, with everything from Utz Cheese Curls to Wheat Thins.