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An espresso martini made on a metal bar
Service Bar’s complex espresso martini stars coconut, chocolate, and Don Ciccio’s coffee liqueur.
Service Bar

16 Espresso Martinis to Try in D.C. Right Now

Demand for the caffeine-packed cocktail continues to surge

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Service Bar’s complex espresso martini stars coconut, chocolate, and Don Ciccio’s coffee liqueur.
| Service Bar

With restaurants and bars back in full swing, espresso martinis are having a major moment. Eater sister site Punch Drink just did a deep dive on the timeless cocktail’s nationwide revival, noting its popular versatility at brunch, before dinner, or for dessert to stay alert through last call.

Around D.C., bartenders tinker with recipes that go beyond the traditional combo of vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup. Modernized versions loop in fresh chocolate shavings, frothy Italian liqueurs, and more on-trend ingredients. Mr. Black, an intensely flavored Australian cold brew coffee liqueur, is the caffeine component of choice at several local bars.

“It’s a cocktail that naturally has that ‘sizzling fajita effect’ in appearance,” NYC bar director Brian Evans tells Punch. “Once one goes out, many more will inevitably follow.”

Here are 16 spots to slurp a superior espresso martini in D.C.

Don’t see a personal favorite on the list? Sound off in the comments or shoot us an email (dc@eater.com).

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Seven Reasons

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2208 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 417-8563
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The trendy Latin American restaurant on 14th Street NW makes two after-dinner espresso cocktails behind the leafy 12-seat bar. The “A Sip Above It All” ($15) blends rums with coffee-infused martini bitters, creme de cacao, and madeira.

An espresso martini on a wood table
The after-dinner cocktail at Seven Reasons
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

2. The Imperial

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2001 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 299-0334
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Adams Morgan’s polished bar makes its espresso martini with a hint of fresh mint. There’s also Tito’s vodka, Mr. Black coffee liqueur, homemade nutmeg chicory tincture, gomme, and fresh espresso. The $16 drink is $5 less during its twice-a-day weekday happy hour, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight.

A glass coupe filled with espresso and vodka
The Imperial’s elegant espresso martini
The Imperial

3. Service Bar DC

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926-928 U St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 462-7232
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The mixologists at Shaw’s revered cocktail bar go with vodka, 95-percent bittersweet chocolate, double brew nitro coffee, coconut, and Don Ciccio Concerto coffee liqueur ($14).

An espresso martini made on a metal bar
Service Bar’s espresso martini
Service Bar

4. Lulu’s Wine Garden

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1940 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 332-9463
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Saddle up to one of Lulu’s lush garden patios to sip an espresso martini with a Southwest twist ($13). Tequila and Xocolatl mole bitters unite with Mr. Black coffee liqueur, Amaro Montenegro, and simple syrup.

An espresso martini surrounded by cacti
Lulu’s Wine Garden’s new espresso martini loops in mole bitters and tequila
Lulu’s Wine Garden

5. Quattro Osteria

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600 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 481-4044
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Shaw’s stylish osteria whips up a delicate, caffeinated coupe of coffee liqueur, homemade black pepper cinnamon infusion, Italian espresso, coffee, and vodka ($14).

A delicate coupe in front of a tree trunk
Quattro Osteria’s glamorous espresso martini is topped with an edible flower
Quattro Osteria

6. The Royal

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501 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 332-7777
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The breezy cafe’s espresso martini showcases the team’s coffee-making skills. Freshly-pulled Counter Culture espresso joins forces with vodka, Borghetti Cafe liqueur, and sugar ($14).

An espresso martini in front of leafy plants
The Royal’s all-day espresso martini
The Royal

7. The Red Hen

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1822 1st St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 525-3021
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Bloomingdale’s treasured Italian restaurant makes a mean espresso martini with D.C.’s Civic vodka, cold brew, Mr. Black coffee liqueur, caffe amaro, and simple syrup ($14).

A frothy espresso martini
Red Hen’s frothy espresso martini
Red Hen

8. Conservatory at Gravitas

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1401 Okie St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 763-7942
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Walk up to the glass-enclosed bar atop Ivy City’s Michelin-starred restaurant to splurge on a caffeinated concoction made with Maggie’s Farm spiced rum, Hamilton’s pimento dram, falernum, oat milk, and cinnamon vanilla ($20). Pro tip: sip the same cocktail — sans rooftop views — for $16 at chef Matt Baker’s lobby-level sister spot Michele’s in downtown’s Eaton hotel.

A glass-enclosed rooftop bar
The dreamy rooftop bar at Gravitas
Leading DC/Gravitas

9. Nina May

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1337 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 518-3609
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The list of “comfort drinks” at Shaw’s seasonal American eatery includes an espresso martini made with zesty orange essence, fresh espresso, vodka, and cane syrup ($14).

A frothy espresso martini
Nina May’s espresso martini
Nina May

10. Residents Cafe & Bar

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1306 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 733-7143
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The Bib Gourmand-designated cafe in Dupont Circle credits the espresso martini with putting it on the map when it opened in 2019. The stylish spot’s consistent best seller ($16) starts with local beans from Bump ‘n Grind brewed in its snazzy Slayer espresso machine. Vodka, vanilla, and chocolate join Borsci, Galliano, and organic ghee for a silky-smooth texture, finished with a generous amount of chocolate shavings. A Mexican Coffee variety loops in cold brew, tequila, mezcal, and cream.

11. Never Looked Better

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130 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001

The “Vodka Has Never Looked Better” menu at Blagden Alley’s fluorescent, irreverent speakeasy features a must-have espresso martini. Beverage director Jeff Coles picked Australia’s cold brew coffee liqueur Mr. Black over a dozen options to create “a silky pick-me-up.” The $16 drink is $2 off during its daily happy hour (5 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and noon to 4 p.m. on weekends).

12. Shōtō

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1100 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 796-0011
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It should come as no surprise that downtown’s new show-stopping Japanese izakaya makes its espresso martini with top-shelf tequila. The “Express” martini (Don Julio 1942, shiso umeshu, Kahlua, Frangelico, honey, espresso) sets back diners $22.

An espresso martini on a wooden table
Shōtō’s “Express” martini employs Don Julio 1942.
Rey Lopez for Shōtō

13. Bar Chinois

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455 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 838-9633
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Mt. Vernon Triangle’s industrial-chic hotspot for drinks and dumplings has an off-menu espresso martini made with Lavazza espresso, angostura bitters, simple, and vodka of choice ($13-$15).

An artistic espresso martini
Bar Chinois sends out an off-menu espresso martini
Bar Chinois

14. L'Ardente

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200 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

Capital Crossing’s dreamy Italian restaurant by chef David Deshaies constructs an eye-popping espresso martini with Grey Goose vodka, Galliano Ristretto, and espresso, joined by an airy foam topper made from Godiva white chocolate liqueur and coconut milk. A delicate tuile cookie garnish and dark cocoa powder rounds out the decadent dessert drink ($20). L’Ardente opens at 5 p.m. daily, and its bar is first come, first served.

A lush espresso martini on a table
L’Ardente’s indulgent espresso martini is part of its “dessert drinks” menu.
Rey Lopez for L’Ardente

15. Caruso's Grocery

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1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20003
(000) 000-0000

Capitol Hill’s throwback red sauce joint celebrates the old-school cocktail with a $10 coupe of homemade espresso-rum liqueur, vanilla bean-infused vodka, and fresh espresso.

16. Anchovy Social

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221 Tingey St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 249-6274
Visit Website

Restaurant magnate Danny Meyer’s hip rooftop hangout in Navy Yard perks up alfresco diners with a martini ($14) full of vodka, espresso, Mr. Black coffee liqueur, and Madagascar vanilla.

The main bar at Anchovy Social
The main bar at Anchovy Social
Union Square Hospitality Group

1. Seven Reasons

2208 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
An espresso martini on a wood table
The after-dinner cocktail at Seven Reasons
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

The trendy Latin American restaurant on 14th Street NW makes two after-dinner espresso cocktails behind the leafy 12-seat bar. The “A Sip Above It All” ($15) blends rums with coffee-infused martini bitters, creme de cacao, and madeira.

2208 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

2. The Imperial

2001 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
A glass coupe filled with espresso and vodka
The Imperial’s elegant espresso martini
The Imperial

Adams Morgan’s polished bar makes its espresso martini with a hint of fresh mint. There’s also Tito’s vodka, Mr. Black coffee liqueur, homemade nutmeg chicory tincture, gomme, and fresh espresso. The $16 drink is $5 less during its twice-a-day weekday happy hour, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight.

2001 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

3. Service Bar DC

926-928 U St NW, Washington, DC 20001
An espresso martini made on a metal bar
Service Bar’s espresso martini
Service Bar

The mixologists at Shaw’s revered cocktail bar go with vodka, 95-percent bittersweet chocolate, double brew nitro coffee, coconut, and Don Ciccio Concerto coffee liqueur ($14).

926-928 U St NW
Washington, DC 20001

4. Lulu’s Wine Garden

1940 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
An espresso martini surrounded by cacti
Lulu’s Wine Garden’s new espresso martini loops in mole bitters and tequila
Lulu’s Wine Garden

Saddle up to one of Lulu’s lush garden patios to sip an espresso martini with a Southwest twist ($13). Tequila and Xocolatl mole bitters unite with Mr. Black coffee liqueur, Amaro Montenegro, and simple syrup.

1940 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. Quattro Osteria

600 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
A delicate coupe in front of a tree trunk
Quattro Osteria’s glamorous espresso martini is topped with an edible flower
Quattro Osteria

Shaw’s stylish osteria whips up a delicate, caffeinated coupe of coffee liqueur, homemade black pepper cinnamon infusion, Italian espresso, coffee, and vodka ($14).

600 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

6. The Royal

501 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
An espresso martini in front of leafy plants
The Royal’s all-day espresso martini
The Royal

The breezy cafe’s espresso martini showcases the team’s coffee-making skills. Freshly-pulled Counter Culture espresso joins forces with vodka, Borghetti Cafe liqueur, and sugar ($14).

501 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

7. The Red Hen

1822 1st St NW, Washington, DC 20001
A frothy espresso martini
Red Hen’s frothy espresso martini
Red Hen

Bloomingdale’s treasured Italian restaurant makes a mean espresso martini with D.C.’s Civic vodka, cold brew, Mr. Black coffee liqueur, caffe amaro, and simple syrup ($14).

1822 1st St NW
Washington, DC 20001

8. Conservatory at Gravitas

1401 Okie St NE, Washington, DC 20002
A glass-enclosed rooftop bar
The dreamy rooftop bar at Gravitas
Leading DC/Gravitas

Walk up to the glass-enclosed bar atop Ivy City’s Michelin-starred restaurant to splurge on a caffeinated concoction made with Maggie’s Farm spiced rum, Hamilton’s pimento dram, falernum, oat milk, and cinnamon vanilla ($20). Pro tip: sip the same cocktail — sans rooftop views — for $16 at chef Matt Baker’s lobby-level sister spot Michele’s in downtown’s Eaton hotel.

1401 Okie St NE
Washington, DC 20002

9. Nina May

1337 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
A frothy espresso martini
Nina May’s espresso martini
Nina May

The list of “comfort drinks” at Shaw’s seasonal American eatery includes an espresso martini made with zesty orange essence, fresh espresso, vodka, and cane syrup ($14).

1337 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

10. Residents Cafe & Bar

1306 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20036

The Bib Gourmand-designated cafe in Dupont Circle credits the espresso martini with putting it on the map when it opened in 2019. The stylish spot’s consistent best seller ($16) starts with local beans from Bump ‘n Grind brewed in its snazzy Slayer espresso machine. Vodka, vanilla, and chocolate join Borsci, Galliano, and organic ghee for a silky-smooth texture, finished with a generous amount of chocolate shavings. A Mexican Coffee variety loops in cold brew, tequila, mezcal, and cream.

1306 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

11. Never Looked Better

130 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001

The “Vodka Has Never Looked Better” menu at Blagden Alley’s fluorescent, irreverent speakeasy features a must-have espresso martini. Beverage director Jeff Coles picked Australia’s cold brew coffee liqueur Mr. Black over a dozen options to create “a silky pick-me-up.” The $16 drink is $2 off during its daily happy hour (5 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and noon to 4 p.m. on weekends).

130 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001

12. Shōtō

1100 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
An espresso martini on a wooden table
Shōtō’s “Express” martini employs Don Julio 1942.
Rey Lopez for Shōtō

It should come as no surprise that downtown’s new show-stopping Japanese izakaya makes its espresso martini with top-shelf tequila. The “Express” martini (Don Julio 1942, shiso umeshu, Kahlua, Frangelico, honey, espresso) sets back diners $22.

1100 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

13. Bar Chinois

455 I St NW, Washington, DC 20001
An artistic espresso martini
Bar Chinois sends out an off-menu espresso martini
Bar Chinois

Mt. Vernon Triangle’s industrial-chic hotspot for drinks and dumplings has an off-menu espresso martini made with Lavazza espresso, angostura bitters, simple, and vodka of choice ($13-$15).

455 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001

14. L'Ardente

200 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
A lush espresso martini on a table
L’Ardente’s indulgent espresso martini is part of its “dessert drinks” menu.
Rey Lopez for L’Ardente

Capital Crossing’s dreamy Italian restaurant by chef David Deshaies constructs an eye-popping espresso martini with Grey Goose vodka, Galliano Ristretto, and espresso, joined by an airy foam topper made from Godiva white chocolate liqueur and coconut milk. A delicate tuile cookie garnish and dark cocoa powder rounds out the decadent dessert drink ($20). L’Ardente opens at 5 p.m. daily, and its bar is first come, first served.

200 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

15. Caruso's Grocery

1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003

Capitol Hill’s throwback red sauce joint celebrates the old-school cocktail with a $10 coupe of homemade espresso-rum liqueur, vanilla bean-infused vodka, and fresh espresso.

1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20003

Related Maps

16. Anchovy Social

221 Tingey St SE, Washington, DC 20003
The main bar at Anchovy Social
The main bar at Anchovy Social
Union Square Hospitality Group

Restaurant magnate Danny Meyer’s hip rooftop hangout in Navy Yard perks up alfresco diners with a martini ($14) full of vodka, espresso, Mr. Black coffee liqueur, and Madagascar vanilla.

221 Tingey St SE
Washington, DC 20003

Related Maps