Sometimes drinking requires a good scene to accompany the drink. Around Washington, D.C. there are a variety of environments, some with views and others with style, that can set the mood for a cocktail or two. Here now is a round-up of some of the best bars where the mood matches the quality of the drinks.Read More
Bars Where the Vibe Lives Up to the Drinks
These bars have a mood that is as important as the cocktails.
2 Birds 1 Stone
This is one of the better basement bars in D.C. Adam Bernbach and crew put a lot of effort into designing the menu each week (the menus themselves are playfully designed by Adam) and so are the drinks.
Head to the basement of Barrel. The Elixir Bar is a speakeasy without all the rules and reservations, and the drinks rotate week-to-week.
Take a sip and stare into the eyes of Mike & Ike, two very large taxidermied Bison that are mounted to the back bar at Beuchert's. The bar is going for a 1920s era theme, and many of the cocktails, like the Bee’s Knee, harken back to the Prohibition-era.
Head up the stairs and grab a stool at Copycat Co. The bar’s cocktail menu changes weekly. It’s extensive but also approachable for first-timers.
Clearly, attention to detail was a priority when crafting this Japanese-style izakaya. The moody bar features sketches of Japanese food comic Oishinbo, one of many little touches that help create Daikaya's vibe.
Dram and Grain
It may take some patience, but Dram & Grain, the reservation-only, basement bar beneath Jack Rose is worth the wait. Ask the hostess to add you to the list, and head there on a Tuesday night when Lukas Smith tends bar. He serves a menu of creative cocktails that changes each week.
At night, the first floor bar area of Maketto turns into a see-and-be-seen hotspot. It’s the perfect perch to sip on a cocktail, before or after dinner.
The outdoor lounge and bar area of Masseria has a West Coast coolness factor. The restaurant serves up small bar bites and has an extensive cocktail menu that doesn’t require a trip around the tasting menu.
Off the Record
The cocktail menu leans old-time, classic at Off The Record. This is the basement bar beneath the Hay-Adams Hotel. Expect impeccable service, well-made drinks and a lounge setting with a political insider or two.
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
The indoor/outdoor bar at Pearl Dive is probably the best perch to people-watch on 14th Street. Order up the Pearl Cup, a playful take on a Pimm’s Cup.
Todd Thrasher knows a thing or two about a good, boozy drink. Before going, grab a reservation online. After all, this is a limited seating, speakeasy-style bar.
Quill is tucked into the Jefferson Hotel and one of the ultimate cocktail getaways. The drinks that bartender, Rachel Kling, serves up are some of the best in the city, and the saloon style setting is accompanied by live piano.
The Red Hen
Pasta may be the main draw here, but take a seat at the cool, centrally-located bar and order a cocktail before dinner. The menu is priced at $10 a drink, and the wood-burning grill, which is nearby, will keep you toasty as the temperature dips.
The Round Robin Bar
The Round Robin Bar at the Willard Hotel has a special place in D.C. history. This is the bar where Senator Henry Clay ordered up the first mint julep in D.C. The bar still makes this classic cocktail on request, and has a real D.C. feel to it.
Wicked Bloom Social Club
Wicked Bloom seems like a secret that only the neighborhood knows about. The bar only recently opened and serves cocktails with names like the, Teach Me How to Dougie — a mix of rye, housemade vermouth, and bitters. The feel is sort of a library/lounge vibe.