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Australia’s cold brew coffee liqueur Mr. Black beat out over a dozen options for Never Looked Better’s espresso martini (“a silky pick-me-up”).
An espresso martini from new Blagden Alley bar Never Looked Better
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

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

The caffeine-packed cocktail is simultaneously timeless and on-trend

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An espresso martini from new Blagden Alley bar Never Looked Better
| Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Espresso martinis are having a major moment. With bars and restaurants reopening and returning to pre-pandemic hours, a hit of caffeine helps customers stay alert all the way through last call. Around D.C., bartenders are tinkering with recipes for the after-dinner drink that go beyond the traditional recipe of vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup. Modernized versions loop in fresh chocolate shavings, Italian liqueurs, and more on-trend ingredients. Mr. Blacks, an intensely flavored Australian coffee liqueur, is showing up in several spots. Here are 14 spots to slurp a superior espresso martini.

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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.

Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

2. Lupo Pizzeria

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1908 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Logan Circle’s colorful new pizzeria features a cool glass of vodka, Irish cream, coffee amaro, and espresso ($15).

Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

3. 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 rooftop bar atop this Michelin-starred restaurant in Ivy City to splurge on a $20 concoction made with Kopper Kettle vodka, espresso syrup, and cinnamon vanilla cream.

Leading DC/Gravitas

4. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

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1612 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 319-1612
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Regulars flock to Logan Circle’s long-running raw bar for its espresso martini made with Stateside vodka, Frangelico liqueur, Baileys, Kahlua, and cold brew coffee ($13).

5. Doyle

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1500 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 448-4301
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Freshly brewed Lavazza espresso, Tito’s vodka, simple syrup, and J.Rieger & Co. Caffe Amaro join forces for a frothy martini ($17) served at the chic midcentury lobby bar inside the Dupont Circle hotel.

Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

6. Swingers

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1330 19th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 968-1080
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The London-based crazy golf bar recently introduced a massive Dupont Circle complex that serves a solid espresso martini. It’s made with Ketel One Vodka, Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao, Caffè Borghetti, and espresso, all topped with coffee beans.

Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

7. 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.

8. 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 new fluorescent, irreverent speakeasy features a mean 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).

9. Fitzgerald’s and 1789 Restaurant & Bar

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1226 36th St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 965-1789
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Georgetown’s fine-dining fixture 1789 and new next-door cocktail bar Fitzgerald’s sell a chilled espresso martini from head bartender Jessie Kohout that mixes Stoli Vanilla, Van Gogh Espresso Vodka, Baileys, and Kahlua. The drink, garnished with a pair of chocolate ribbons, is a best-seller before and after dinner. 

10. Mercy Me

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1143 New Hampshire Ave NW Ground Floor
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 828-7762
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Angel’s Envy bourbon, rum, espresso, coconut tik tak, and salted panela collide in an espresso martini served at West End’s “Sorta South American” cafe and restaurant. Cocktail creator Micah Wilder calls the $14 drink “robust, velvety, and eye-opening.”

11. Nicoletta Italian Kitchen

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901 4th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 697-6888
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The  all-day cafe and restaurant from the New York-based group behind Osteria Morini builds its espresso martini with Skyy vodka, espresso, and St. George Spirits’s NOLA Coffee Liqueur.

12. Urban Roast

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916 G St. NW Suite C-1
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 393-1111
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The buzzy all-day cafe in Penn Quarter that opened during the pandemic just rolled out espresso martini “tasting” service, presented in a trio of tiny martini glasses. The flight features three flavors: raspberry white chocolate, coconut, and toasted almond mocha ($26).

13. Caruso's Grocery

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

Capitol HIll’s new 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.

14. Anchovy Social

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221 Tingey St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 249-6274
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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 Union Square Hospitality Group [official]

1. Seven Reasons

2208 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
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. Lupo Pizzeria

1908 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

Logan Circle’s colorful new pizzeria features a cool glass of vodka, Irish cream, coffee amaro, and espresso ($15).

1908 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

3. Gravitas

1401 Okie St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Leading DC/Gravitas

Walk up to the glass-enclosed rooftop bar atop this Michelin-starred restaurant in Ivy City to splurge on a $20 concoction made with Kopper Kettle vodka, espresso syrup, and cinnamon vanilla cream.

1401 Okie St NE
Washington, DC 20002

4. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

1612 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Regulars flock to Logan Circle’s long-running raw bar for its espresso martini made with Stateside vodka, Frangelico liqueur, Baileys, Kahlua, and cold brew coffee ($13).

1612 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

5. Doyle

1500 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

Freshly brewed Lavazza espresso, Tito’s vodka, simple syrup, and J.Rieger & Co. Caffe Amaro join forces for a frothy martini ($17) served at the chic midcentury lobby bar inside the Dupont Circle hotel.

1500 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

6. Swingers

1330 19th St NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

The London-based crazy golf bar recently introduced a massive Dupont Circle complex that serves a solid espresso martini. It’s made with Ketel One Vodka, Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao, Caffè Borghetti, and espresso, all topped with coffee beans.

1330 19th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

7. 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.

1306 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

8. Never Looked Better

130 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001

The “Vodka Has Never Looked Better” menu at Blagden Alley’s new fluorescent, irreverent speakeasy features a mean 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

9. Fitzgerald’s and 1789 Restaurant & Bar

1226 36th St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Georgetown’s fine-dining fixture 1789 and new next-door cocktail bar Fitzgerald’s sell a chilled espresso martini from head bartender Jessie Kohout that mixes Stoli Vanilla, Van Gogh Espresso Vodka, Baileys, and Kahlua. The drink, garnished with a pair of chocolate ribbons, is a best-seller before and after dinner. 

1226 36th St NW
Washington, DC 20007

10. Mercy Me

1143 New Hampshire Ave NW Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20037

Angel’s Envy bourbon, rum, espresso, coconut tik tak, and salted panela collide in an espresso martini served at West End’s “Sorta South American” cafe and restaurant. Cocktail creator Micah Wilder calls the $14 drink “robust, velvety, and eye-opening.”

1143 New Hampshire Ave NW Ground Floor
Washington, DC 20037

11. Nicoletta Italian Kitchen

901 4th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

The  all-day cafe and restaurant from the New York-based group behind Osteria Morini builds its espresso martini with Skyy vodka, espresso, and St. George Spirits’s NOLA Coffee Liqueur.

901 4th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

12. Urban Roast

916 G St. NW Suite C-1, Washington, DC 20001

The buzzy all-day cafe in Penn Quarter that opened during the pandemic just rolled out espresso martini “tasting” service, presented in a trio of tiny martini glasses. The flight features three flavors: raspberry white chocolate, coconut, and toasted almond mocha ($26).

916 G St. NW Suite C-1
Washington, DC 20001

13. Caruso's Grocery

1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003

Capitol HIll’s new 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

14. Anchovy Social

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

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

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