September is the time of year when restaurants start to recover from a summer slump. That means longer waits at the bar—or out the door—while a table becomes available. (Keep in mind popular restaurants with buzzed-about fare tend to command wait times year round, as evidenced by a recent spot check of restaurant wait times in notoriously-slow August.)
For this latest September spot check edition, Eater strolled down 14th Street to find out how long a walk-in party of two would have to wait on a temperate Friday evening.
Starting just before 7 p.m., many restaurants appeared to still have tables available for walk-ins, while perennial favorites and newcomers had long waits. Walking back up 14th Street later that evening, it seemed that many diners were waiting around until 8 p.m. to start their dinners.
Plan accordingly, as restaurant season could heat up this fall; one hostess indicated September continues to be a slow month and restaurants become busier in October.
6:48 Kapnos - No wait.
6:54 Tico - No wait.
6:58 Compass Rose - No wait, but typically around that time can be up to 40 minutes.
7:00 Masa 14 - No wait.
7:01 El Centro D.F. - No wait.
7:03 Garden District - First-come, first-served seating was completely full, but the bold and super hungry could possibly squeeze in at one of the communal tables.
7:05 Doi Moi - According to the hostess, it was "not a really long wait" and there seemed to be seating available both indoors and outdoors.
7:06 Ted's Bulletin - No wait.
7:20 Cork Wine Bar - No wait with a few tables available outside.
7:26 Barcelona Wine Bar - An hour and a half with very little room to wait near the bar.
7:28 Pearl Dive Oyster Palace - It's first-come, first-served seating, but there were plenty of open couches and a two-top open.
7:31 Le Diplomate - 45 minutes to an hour.
7:33 Etto - 45 minutes.
7:37 Estadio - Immediate seating at a communal table, 30 minutes for a non-communal table.
7:42 Birch & Barley - No wait.
7:45 District Distilling Company - The new 14th and U Street hot spot had a one hour and 15 minutes wait, but there was room at the bar.