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A meaty dinner at Bresca.
Rey Lopez/Under a Bushel Photography

Where to Eat and Drink Along 14th Street NW

The must-try restaurants and bars along D.C.’s ever-evolving dining thoroughfare

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A meaty dinner at Bresca.
| Rey Lopez/Under a Bushel Photography

Few of D.C.’s dining neighborhoods feature the variety and notoriety of the trendy 14th Street corridor. Highlights along this stretch of restaurants include khachapuri at Compass Rose, daiquiris at Colada Shop, and hundreds of rare brews at Churchkey.

Tables in this heavily trafficked corridor continue to be among the most sought after in the District (Think: Le Diplomate). But buzz does not always translate to a winning dish or memorable cocktail. Knowing where to look and what to avoid is key, especially when reservations are scarce and wait times keep getting longer.

The best of this bustling stretch of hospitality-packed real estate includes dive bars, avant-garde dining rooms, and everything in between. Here are over a dozen 14th Street restaurants and bars to try right now.

Note: The following bars and restaurants are not ranked. The map is arranged geographically from north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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This bustling cantina from restaurateur Michael Schlow is known for its margaritas on draft, assorted ceviches, and Latin American-style tapas. Tacos are a good bet, too, especially on Tuesdays when a sampler order (two tacos ) runs just $7.

Assorted tacos at Tico.
Tico/Facebook

Bresca executive chef co-founder and Ryan Ratino is combining local ingredients, international accents, and personal flair at his first solo restaurant. Dishes feature seasonal ingredients and innovative flavor combinations, including a wildly popular uni pasta dish, and a Bee’s Knee’s cocktail made with gin and truffle honey.

A lamb dish at Bresca.
Bresca/Instagram

Colada Shop (Multiple locations)

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This all-day café stands just steps off 14th Street NW. The menu includes classic Cuban sandwiches (or go for the vegetarian version), as well as meat, cheese, and vegetable-filled croquetas or empanadas. Rum shines in the featured cocktails; try the classic daiquiri or the aged rum cascara Old Fashioned. Coffee is available as well, including the signature and shareable colada.

A tropical cocktail at Cuban-themed Colada Shop.
Colada Shop/Instagram

Lupo Verde

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Customers visit this Southern Italian eatery for its well-made appetizers, pastas, and pizzas. Dig into a comforting plate of cheesy, peppery noodles, or slice into a pizza studded with capers, stracciatella cheese, prosciutto, and arugula. The food is accompanied by refreshing cocktails, many of which feature aromatic and bitter liqueurs.

Pasta carbonara at Lupo Verde.
Lupo Verde/Facebook

Compass Rose

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This dimly-lit rowhouse whisks diners on a culinary journey through its menu of shareable plates and cocktails from around the world. Each dish is a story on a plate, whether it be Caribbean-style curried lamb or cured steelhead trout from Denmark. Reservations aren’t accepted, so be prepared to wait a while to eat, especially with larger groups. Parties of six to eight can book the festive Bedouin Tent, which offers an all-you-can-eat, family-style feast.

Grilled short ribs with spicy Napa cabbage at Compass Rose.
Compass Rose/Facebook

Bar Pilar

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Named after Ernest Hemingway’s fishing boat, Bar Pilar is a 14th Street standby for festive drinks, cold beer and gastropub fare. The menu ranges from smaller bites, such as fried artichokes or grilled bone marrow, to larger entrees like Sichuan pork shank or grilled rockfish. It’s also a good bet for weekend brunch or happy hour after work on Tuesday through Friday evenings.

Brunch cocktails at Bar Pilar.
Bar Pilar/Facebook

2 Birds 1 Stone

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Duck underground for a round of drinks at this cozy cocktail bar, where drinks are served in mismatched vintage glassware. The menu changes frequently and includes something for all tastes, including a “punch du jour” and many creative liquor infusions.

A cocktail served in a very patriotic-looking glass at 2 Birds 1 Stone
J E./Yelp

Cork Wine Bar & Market

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The recently relocated (and expanded) Cork maintains its commitment to Old World wines and complementary food pairings. There are tons of by-the-glass pours from France, Spain, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe. Cork’s kitchen turns out hot and cold small plates, each designed to enhance specific wines. The attached market sells grab-and-go items, wines, and groceries.

Assorted wines at Cork.
Cork/Facebook

Left Door

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Grab a spot in this snug speakeasy and enjoy specialty cocktails from the current list of house recipes. Those who take it straight can opt for a dram of liquor from the bar’s attractive selection, which includes rare and unusual spirits.

A twist on an Old Fashioned at Left Door.
Left Door/Facebook

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

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Platters of freshly shucked oysters and bowls of gumbo grace the tables at this lively seafood restaurant from restaurateur Jeff Black. The Louisiana vibe stretches throughout the experience. Start by sipping on a Vieux Carré sour or Sazerac and cap off the meal with a slice of key lime or pecan pie. The small front patio is a prime location for enjoying an Abita and people watching on a warm afternoon.

Raw oysters and drinks at Pearl Dive.
Pearl Dive/Facebook

Le Diplomate

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Tables at Stephen Starr’s French bistro are still among the toughest reservations in the city. The impressive decor, from the Garden Room to the grand zinc bar with its bistro chairs, is meant to invoke the bustling restaurants of Paris. Start with an elaborate seafood plateau before moving on to classic fare like duck leg confit, trout amandine, or the juicy burger.

Moules frites at Le Diplomate.
Le Diplomate/Facebook

This homegrown Italian eatery deals in meaty snacks and Neapolitan-style pizzas. A section of the menu is dedicated to tasty anchovies and “little fishes,” while the bar pours Italian and American beers, wines, and cocktails. It also serves Capitoline Vermouth, which Etto makes in collaboration with local producer New Columbia Distillers.

Pizza at Etto.
T B./Yelp

Estadio

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Estadio specializes in Spanish tapas with a rustic feel. The roasted chorizos with potato crisps is a crowd pleaser, as is the simple sauté of pea shoots. Or, build a meal from the lengthy selection of cheeses, cured meats, and other small bites. Be sure to ask about the bar’s current “slushito” recipe, too; the frozen cocktails pack a punch at any time of the year.

Pork belly with Brussels sprouts and pureed squash at Estadio.
Tony Y./Yelp

Churchkey

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Years before D.C.’s brewing renaissance, Churchkey debuted on 14th Street NW in 2009 as beer nerd heaven. It’s still one of the go-to spots in Washington for exploring the world of specialty lagers and ales. The bar counts an inventory of 50 draft lines, five casks, and more than 500 bottles. There’s worthwhile food too, including crispy tater tots, hot wings, and the mushroom flatbread.

Draft beers at Churchkey.
Churchkey/Facebook

Hando Medo

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Area newcomer Hando Medo, which produces made-to-order hand rolls gently placed in front of every customer, serves its food a la carte or in a progression of from three to six servings. “We try to balance things out: something sweet, something spicy, something crunchy…” a manager tells Eater of the sequencing involved. Current favorites include sweet blue crab (evergreen) and a daily special combining cured cod roe, salmon belly, and fried wontons into a zesty, buttery, crunchy treat.

A seafood-filled hand roll at Hando Medo.
Amanda M./Yelp

Tico

Assorted tacos at Tico.
Tico/Facebook

This bustling cantina from restaurateur Michael Schlow is known for its margaritas on draft, assorted ceviches, and Latin American-style tapas. Tacos are a good bet, too, especially on Tuesdays when a sampler order (two tacos ) runs just $7.

Assorted tacos at Tico.
Tico/Facebook

Bresca

A lamb dish at Bresca.
Bresca/Instagram

Bresca executive chef co-founder and Ryan Ratino is combining local ingredients, international accents, and personal flair at his first solo restaurant. Dishes feature seasonal ingredients and innovative flavor combinations, including a wildly popular uni pasta dish, and a Bee’s Knee’s cocktail made with gin and truffle honey.

A lamb dish at Bresca.
Bresca/Instagram

Colada Shop (Multiple locations)

A tropical cocktail at Cuban-themed Colada Shop.
Colada Shop/Instagram

This all-day café stands just steps off 14th Street NW. The menu includes classic Cuban sandwiches (or go for the vegetarian version), as well as meat, cheese, and vegetable-filled croquetas or empanadas. Rum shines in the featured cocktails; try the classic daiquiri or the aged rum cascara Old Fashioned. Coffee is available as well, including the signature and shareable colada.

A tropical cocktail at Cuban-themed Colada Shop.
Colada Shop/Instagram

Lupo Verde

Pasta carbonara at Lupo Verde.
Lupo Verde/Facebook

Customers visit this Southern Italian eatery for its well-made appetizers, pastas, and pizzas. Dig into a comforting plate of cheesy, peppery noodles, or slice into a pizza studded with capers, stracciatella cheese, prosciutto, and arugula. The food is accompanied by refreshing cocktails, many of which feature aromatic and bitter liqueurs.

Pasta carbonara at Lupo Verde.
Lupo Verde/Facebook

Compass Rose

Grilled short ribs with spicy Napa cabbage at Compass Rose.
Compass Rose/Facebook

This dimly-lit rowhouse whisks diners on a culinary journey through its menu of shareable plates and cocktails from around the world. Each dish is a story on a plate, whether it be Caribbean-style curried lamb or cured steelhead trout from Denmark. Reservations aren’t accepted, so be prepared to wait a while to eat, especially with larger groups. Parties of six to eight can book the festive Bedouin Tent, which offers an all-you-can-eat, family-style feast.

Grilled short ribs with spicy Napa cabbage at Compass Rose.
Compass Rose/Facebook

Bar Pilar

Brunch cocktails at Bar Pilar.
Bar Pilar/Facebook

Named after Ernest Hemingway’s fishing boat, Bar Pilar is a 14th Street standby for festive drinks, cold beer and gastropub fare. The menu ranges from smaller bites, such as fried artichokes or grilled bone marrow, to larger entrees like Sichuan pork shank or grilled rockfish. It’s also a good bet for weekend brunch or happy hour after work on Tuesday through Friday evenings.

Brunch cocktails at Bar Pilar.
Bar Pilar/Facebook

2 Birds 1 Stone

A cocktail served in a very patriotic-looking glass at 2 Birds 1 Stone
J E./Yelp

Duck underground for a round of drinks at this cozy cocktail bar, where drinks are served in mismatched vintage glassware. The menu changes frequently and includes something for all tastes, including a “punch du jour” and many creative liquor infusions.

A cocktail served in a very patriotic-looking glass at 2 Birds 1 Stone
J E./Yelp

Cork Wine Bar & Market

Assorted wines at Cork.
Cork/Facebook

The recently relocated (and expanded) Cork maintains its commitment to Old World wines and complementary food pairings. There are tons of by-the-glass pours from France, Spain, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe. Cork’s kitchen turns out hot and cold small plates, each designed to enhance specific wines. The attached market sells grab-and-go items, wines, and groceries.

Assorted wines at Cork.
Cork/Facebook

Left Door

A twist on an Old Fashioned at Left Door.
Left Door/Facebook

Grab a spot in this snug speakeasy and enjoy specialty cocktails from the current list of house recipes. Those who take it straight can opt for a dram of liquor from the bar’s attractive selection, which includes rare and unusual spirits.

A twist on an Old Fashioned at Left Door.
Left Door/Facebook

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

Raw oysters and drinks at Pearl Dive.
Pearl Dive/Facebook

Platters of freshly shucked oysters and bowls of gumbo grace the tables at this lively seafood restaurant from restaurateur Jeff Black. The Louisiana vibe stretches throughout the experience. Start by sipping on a Vieux Carré sour or Sazerac and cap off the meal with a slice of key lime or pecan pie. The small front patio is a prime location for enjoying an Abita and people watching on a warm afternoon.

Raw oysters and drinks at Pearl Dive.
Pearl Dive/Facebook

Le Diplomate

Moules frites at Le Diplomate.
Le Diplomate/Facebook

Tables at Stephen Starr’s French bistro are still among the toughest reservations in the city. The impressive decor, from the Garden Room to the grand zinc bar with its bistro chairs, is meant to invoke the bustling restaurants of Paris. Start with an elaborate seafood plateau before moving on to classic fare like duck leg confit, trout amandine, or the juicy burger.

Moules frites at Le Diplomate.
Le Diplomate/Facebook

Etto

Pizza at Etto.
T B./Yelp

This homegrown Italian eatery deals in meaty snacks and Neapolitan-style pizzas. A section of the menu is dedicated to tasty anchovies and “little fishes,” while the bar pours Italian and American beers, wines, and cocktails. It also serves Capitoline Vermouth, which Etto makes in collaboration with local producer New Columbia Distillers.

Pizza at Etto.
T B./Yelp

Estadio