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Champagne service in the VIP lounge at Alias.
Laura Chase de Formigny for Alias

15 Picks for a Celebratory Night Out in D.C.

It’s time to go all out with bubbles, sparklers, caviar, and more

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Champagne service in the VIP lounge at Alias.
| Laura Chase de Formigny for Alias

Finding time for a night out with friends, whether it be a quiet dinner or dancing the night away at a club, can be tricky. Once a date is selected that works for everyone’s hectic schedules, the next challenge is finding a location to match the desired vibe of the evening. Luckily, D.C. is home to plenty of places for every party size, palate, appetite, and mood.

Ahead are 15 suitable spots for a proper night out, from upscale hotels to rooftop clubs to swanky speakeasies and more.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Service Bar DC

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This newly-crowned World’s 50 Best bar in Shaw pours out an assortment of beverages from happy hour until late, along with flavorful takes on fried chicken until midnight. Liquid standouts from the U Street NW mainstay include pisco punch, al pastor margarita, and for anyone struggling to stay up, a frothy espresso martini.

Alias on 14th

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In the depths of Dolce Vita resides Alias — a “secret social club” accessible via an unmarked hot pink door next to the Mediterranean hotspot (or down a secret stairwell in the back). Dolce Vita’s meze menu is still available for snacking, but as the night rolls on guests can look forward to a live DJ, VIP lounge area, and fruity drinks like the “Bubble-icious,” (vodka, raspberry, lemon) and “Fizzed,” a lavender rose-infused gin with lemon and sparkling wine.

Donahue

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Crowds craving Champagne (by the flute, bottle, or crowd-pleasing “Chambong”), plus caviar, seafood towers, and foie gras, have found a home at Georgetown’s scene-y Donahue lounge. The namesake Donahue, made with vodka infused with roses, elderflower, and rose vermouth, echos its chic and stylish interior. Its espresso martini is also not to miss. Mocktails are $10 and cocktails start at $16.

The Greenhouse

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One of Washington’s most extravagant hotels recently swapped its formerly Michelin-rated Plume in favor of The Greenhouse. Chef Fabio Salvatore’s menu suits those interested in splurging on a memorable meal as opposed to overpriced bottle service. Find Chesapeake Orchard oysters, king salmon tartare, burrata and a spring green salad with Asian pear (all $21) on the appetizer menu, and on the entrees side there’s a spring risotto ($41) and a $64 filet mignon.

Morris American Bar

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Mere steps from the convention center sits Morris American Bar, a pastel paradise that draws inspiration from Wes Anderson’s 2014 picture The Grand Budapest Hotel. Diners can enjoy shareables like deviled eggs and cheese pizza while sipping on beers, summertime tiki drinks served in colorful glassware, and spirit-free choices.

The Mirror

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True to its name, an unmarked mirrored door leads the way to this dimly-lit, subterranean speakeasy off K Street NW. The Mirror has the allure of a Prohibition-era hideaway, making it a popular attraction for Washingtonians serious about keeping their plans a mystery. Recognizable libations like a Moscow mule and daiquiris join lesser-seen classics like a Hotel Nacional (rum, pineapple juice, apricot liqueur, lime) and New York Sour (rye, lemon, sugar, red wine). The team also runs year-old Never Looked Better in Blagden Alley, a futuristic basement bar dressed with zippy neon lights and dreamy white flowers.

Allegory

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Find this whimsical, no-reservations cocktail lair behind a wall of books off Eaton hotel’s lobby. A glossy booklet dubbed “Down the Rabbit Hole” is full of thoughtful cocktails themed after immersive murals with a message. The exhibit retells Alice in Wonderland through the eyes of Ruby Bridges — the first Black child to desegregate an elementary school in Louisiana. The bar has lots of tricks up its sleeve, from clarified cocktails featuring floating bubbles to birthday shots served with sparklers. Allegory was ahead of the caviar curve with its ever-popular “Caviback” offering with vodka and a single Pringle.

Whether it’s for happy hour or a more formal soiree at the chef’s table, dLeña satisfies cravings for sizzling meats and Mexican cuisine. Keep the night going at Roja, its surprise drinking den downstairs. The stylish tequila cave looks straight out of Tulum, with 100-plus types of Mexican spirits and a leather-topped bar. A paloma gains even more personality thanks to mezcal in favor of tequila and tamarind puree.

Off the Record

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Hotel bars aren’t always relegated to inexpensive wine poured in paper cups. At Off the Record, monochromatic red walls serve as a sultry backdrop for a quiet catch-up over martinis and bar snacks in silver saucers across from the White House. Coasters of political caricatures double as popular souvenirs for D.C. regulars and Hay-Adams guests alike.

La Bise

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Channel Parisian vibes at this fancy downtown fixture that mimics the upscale restaurants spread across the French capital. The dinner menu showcases classics like beef tartare, a refreshing summer salad, chef Michael Fusano’s rendition of Parisian gnocchi, steak au poivre, and salmon poached in olive oil with a creamy mousseline sauce.

L'Ardente

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Chef David Deshaies’s “glam Italian” restaurant pairs its 13-layer chocolate cake and bread pudding with a popular party trick. Since opening last October, L’Ardente has blown through well over 5,000 sparkling dessert toppers. Part of the Instagrammable magic is how tall and long the celebratory light show lasts (nearly a full minute). The complimentary offering, available per request, commemorates all kinds of special occasions customers may be there for.

L’Ardente has lit up thousands of sparklers since opening last fall.
L’Ardente

Vue Rooftop

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Soak up rare monumental views, including a close-up vista of the White House, atop Hotel Washington (formerly the W). The D.C. staple just unveiled brand new food and drink menus, which includes a rooftop riff on an Old Fashioned and a beverage that pays homage to First Ladies of past and present.

Ambar (Multiple locations)

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A full night out would be incomplete without dinner, so why not begin with the Balkan experience at Ambar’s Capitol Hill or Clarendon locations. The $45 prix-fixe spread promises unlimited plates of meze, seafood, slow-cooked meats and more. Unlimited drinks and dessert can be added for $25 and $8, respectively.

TKYO SPEAKS BAR

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Capitol Hill got a nightlife edge last year with the arrival of TKYO, a Japanese speakeasy only accessible past a hidden door. After feasting on ramen upstairs, a neon-lit backdrop below boasts an assortment of sake and cocktails with spirits sourced from Japan to keep the party going.

TKYO Speaks bar neon lights
Kaiju Ramen’s bar is an underground, Tokyo-lit wonderland. 
Kaiju Ramen

12 Stories

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The modern cocktail lounge offers vantage points of the Potomac River and beyond. With 3,500 square feet of space, there’s plenty of room to accommodate parties of any size. The location is prime, situated atop the Intercontinental Hotel at the Wharf and near countless other spots for a more fulfilling meal.

Service Bar DC

This newly-crowned World’s 50 Best bar in Shaw pours out an assortment of beverages from happy hour until late, along with flavorful takes on fried chicken until midnight. Liquid standouts from the U Street NW mainstay include pisco punch, al pastor margarita, and for anyone struggling to stay up, a frothy espresso martini.

Alias on 14th

In the depths of Dolce Vita resides Alias — a “secret social club” accessible via an unmarked hot pink door next to the Mediterranean hotspot (or down a secret stairwell in the back). Dolce Vita’s meze menu is still available for snacking, but as the night rolls on guests can look forward to a live DJ, VIP lounge area, and fruity drinks like the “Bubble-icious,” (vodka, raspberry, lemon) and “Fizzed,” a lavender rose-infused gin with lemon and sparkling wine.

Donahue

Crowds craving Champagne (by the flute, bottle, or crowd-pleasing “Chambong”), plus caviar, seafood towers, and foie gras, have found a home at Georgetown’s scene-y Donahue lounge. The namesake Donahue, made with vodka infused with roses, elderflower, and rose vermouth, echos its chic and stylish interior. Its espresso martini is also not to miss. Mocktails are $10 and cocktails start at $16.

The Greenhouse

One of Washington’s most extravagant hotels recently swapped its formerly Michelin-rated Plume in favor of The Greenhouse. Chef Fabio Salvatore’s menu suits those interested in splurging on a memorable meal as opposed to overpriced bottle service. Find Chesapeake Orchard oysters, king salmon tartare, burrata and a spring green salad with Asian pear (all $21) on the appetizer menu, and on the entrees side there’s a spring risotto ($41) and a $64 filet mignon.

Morris American Bar

Mere steps from the convention center sits Morris American Bar, a pastel paradise that draws inspiration from Wes Anderson’s 2014 picture The Grand Budapest Hotel. Diners can enjoy shareables like deviled eggs and cheese pizza while sipping on beers, summertime tiki drinks served in colorful glassware, and spirit-free choices.

The Mirror

True to its name, an unmarked mirrored door leads the way to this dimly-lit, subterranean speakeasy off K Street NW. The Mirror has the allure of a Prohibition-era hideaway, making it a popular attraction for Washingtonians serious about keeping their plans a mystery. Recognizable libations like a Moscow mule and daiquiris join lesser-seen classics like a Hotel Nacional (rum, pineapple juice, apricot liqueur, lime) and New York Sour (rye, lemon, sugar, red wine). The team also runs year-old Never Looked Better in Blagden Alley, a futuristic basement bar dressed with zippy neon lights and dreamy white flowers.

Allegory

Find this whimsical, no-reservations cocktail lair behind a wall of books off Eaton hotel’s lobby. A glossy booklet dubbed “Down the Rabbit Hole” is full of thoughtful cocktails themed after immersive murals with a message. The exhibit retells Alice in Wonderland through the eyes of Ruby Bridges — the first Black child to desegregate an elementary school in Louisiana. The bar has lots of tricks up its sleeve, from clarified cocktails featuring floating bubbles to birthday shots served with sparklers. Allegory was ahead of the caviar curve with its ever-popular “Caviback” offering with vodka and a single Pringle.

dLeña

Whether it’s for happy hour or a more formal soiree at the chef’s table, dLeña satisfies cravings for sizzling meats and Mexican cuisine. Keep the night going at Roja, its surprise drinking den downstairs. The stylish tequila cave looks straight out of Tulum, with 100-plus types of Mexican spirits and a leather-topped bar. A paloma gains even more personality thanks to mezcal in favor of tequila and tamarind puree.

Off the Record

Hotel bars aren’t always relegated to inexpensive wine poured in paper cups. At Off the Record, monochromatic red walls serve as a sultry backdrop for a quiet catch-up over martinis and bar snacks in silver saucers across from the White House. Coasters of political caricatures double as popular souvenirs for D.C. regulars and Hay-Adams guests alike.

La Bise

Channel Parisian vibes at this fancy downtown fixture that mimics the upscale restaurants spread across the French capital. The dinner menu showcases classics like beef tartare, a refreshing summer salad, chef Michael Fusano’s rendition of Parisian gnocchi, steak au poivre, and salmon poached in olive oil with a creamy mousseline sauce.

L'Ardente

L’Ardente has lit up thousands of sparklers since opening last fall.
L’Ardente

Chef David Deshaies’s “glam Italian” restaurant pairs its 13-layer chocolate cake and bread pudding with a popular party trick. Since opening last October, L’Ardente has blown through well over 5,000 sparkling dessert toppers. Part of the Instagrammable magic is how tall and long the celebratory light show lasts (nearly a full minute). The complimentary offering, available per request, commemorates all kinds of special occasions customers may be there for.

L’Ardente has lit up thousands of sparklers since opening last fall.
L’Ardente

Vue Rooftop

Soak up rare monumental views, including a close-up vista of the White House, atop Hotel Washington (formerly the W). The D.C. staple just unveiled brand new food and drink menus, which includes a rooftop riff on an Old Fashioned and a beverage that pays homage to First Ladies of past and present.

Ambar (Multiple locations)

A full night out would be incomplete without dinner, so why not begin with the Balkan experience at Ambar’s Capitol Hill or Clarendon locations. The $45 prix-fixe spread promises unlimited plates of meze, seafood, slow-cooked meats and more. Unlimited drinks and dessert can be added for $25 and $8, respectively.

TKYO SPEAKS BAR

TKYO Speaks bar neon lights
Kaiju Ramen’s bar is an underground, Tokyo-lit wonderland. 
Kaiju Ramen

Capitol Hill got a nightlife edge last year with the arrival of TKYO, a Japanese speakeasy only accessible past a hidden door. After feasting on ramen upstairs, a neon-lit backdrop below boasts an assortment of sake and cocktails with spirits sourced from Japan to keep the party going.

TKYO Speaks bar neon lights
Kaiju Ramen’s bar is an underground, Tokyo-lit wonderland. 
Kaiju Ramen

12 Stories

The modern cocktail lounge offers vantage points of the Potomac River and beyond. With 3,500 square feet of space, there’s plenty of room to accommodate parties of any size. The location is prime, situated atop the Intercontinental Hotel at the Wharf and near countless other spots for a more fulfilling meal.

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