New bars continue to open and invigorate the District’s drinking scene with snazzy views, solid happy hours, and light bites. This map includes 9 bars that have opened since July. For a list of essential bars, go here.Read More
The Hottest New Bars Around D.C. Right Now
Fresh destinations for local beers, live music, waterfront cocktails, and more
The owners of Shaw’s LGBTQ+ bar Dirty Goose doubled down on the Northwest neighborhood with the late July opening of a bigger bar called Shakers. Popular dive Whitlow’s DC, which relocated a block away in June, supplies a short food menu full of fried chicken tenders, smash burgers, smoked wings, fried pickles, and Reubens. Owners Justin Parker and Daniel Honeycutt envision Shakers to be a “nightlife hotspot on weekends and a neighborhood community space” during the week, with happy hour on the back patio and a stage hosting drag shows and competitions. Shakers makes use of the bar’s extensive draft system to pour beers and cocktails on tap. A red contraption making a section of “shaker” drinks helped inspire the name.
Vagabond Bar and Kitchen
The owners of Shaw Tavern, 801, and Prost DC expand to Dupont Circle last fall with a tropical getaway that taps into the team’s shared love for surfing, travel destinations around the world, and late actor Patrick Swayze. Vagabond quietly grew upwards this month with the addition of a stylish rooftop bar slinging a familiar list of mezcal, tequila, and rum cocktails. The airy new drinking perch overlooking 18th Street NW joins a bright white bar and dining room on the first floor and dimly-lit downstairs speakeasy called Swayze’s.
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Death & Co. D.C.
The pioneering cocktail group with bars in NYC, Denver, and LA, made its long-awaited D.C. debut in late July, breathing fresh life into the high-profile address that previously housed equally accomplished drinking institution Columbia Room. The fourth U.S. location for the renowned beverage brand is the first with an outdoor patio. Cocktail highlights, like an umami-forward martini and apple brandy Pan-American Blues, are listed among categories like “Elegant & Timeless,” “Boozy & Honest,” and “Rich & Comforting.” Curtains and booth coverings are made of luxe, jewel-toned velvet, with room for 69 inside.
Nice & Easy
Nestled in an industrial alleyway, Noma’s newest dive gives the Northeast neighborhood an edge with a no-frills list of beers, wines, spirits, pool tables, wild vintage decor, and one epic backstory behind the name. (As legend has it, a Hell’s Angel named Buzz robbed the U.S. Mint in the 1960s and drove down I-95 to Florida to open a biker bar called Nice and Easy as a front for his money.) Opening cocktails, priced $10 during 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. during happy hour, include a “Bike Week” daiquiri, bourbon Buzz’s Rush, and Daytona Paloma. Ongoing entertainment includes comedy nights and live music on weekends.
1908 Lounge at Union Station
Named after the year Union Station opened its big Beaux-Arts doors, the brand-new 1908 Lounge pays homage to the iconic D.C. transit hub’s rich history. The seasonal pop-up bar, open now through December 28 in the Main Hall, offers walk-up cocktails like an Old Fashioned, espresso martini, and Side Car. Union Station’s architect Daniel Burnham, who famously said “make no small plans,” gets his own namesake Manhattan. Operated by Design Cuisine, 1908 Lounge hours are Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. Buyouts are also available, with room for 55.
Fast-growing nightlife group B Social Hospitality brought Clarendon a Miami-chic bar in August. The team’s year-old live music venue B Live occupies the front half, and Coco B’s fills out the balance of the iconic address that formerly housed Whitlow’s. The 4,000-square-foot addition doubles the size of the indoor party, and a reactivated rooftop bar sends out frozen drinks under a thatched hut. Coconut plays a natural role across Coco B’s menu, with starters served in carved-out coconuts, coconut shrimp, and a namesake daiquiri topped with a pillowy coconut foam and freshly grated lime zest from acclaimed mixologist and Left Door alum Mick Perrigo.
The Filling Station
Ballston’s colorful taco-and-tequila bar El Rey expanded in August with the addition of an adjacent performance venue and beer hall from D.C. restaurateurs Ian and Eric Hilton. The rustic, cover charge-free hangout framed with retro album-covered walls dedicates its stage to a rotating schedule of musicians, bands, and comedians. Filling Station’s menu comes straight from El Rey’s kitchen. There’s quesadillas, nachos, torta sandwiches, fries, tots, and wings, plus a bar with 17 rotating beers on tap, draft cocktails, and concert-friendly rail liquors.
A sandy, cabana-covered hangout pulled up to the banks of the Anacostia River in September, reactivating the prized waterfront patch where Bardo Brewing once stood. The all-outdoor oasis features yard games, scenic lounge seating, bungalows, hookah service, a dedicated snack hut serving naan tacos, and multiple bars slinging beers, wine, and cocktails. With 40,000 square feet to play with, there’s ample room for multiple sections to get their own name and identity — starting with a waterfront Beach Club welcoming guests upon entry. The nucleus of the operation is a soaring DJ pavilion decked out with Tulum-styled greenery, woven basket lights, and live-edge tables. Arlington nightlife group B Social Hospitality teamed up with former NFL-turned-TV star Vernon Davis on the playful project.
Astro Beer Hall
The Village at Shirlington’s month-old beer, doughnut, and fried chicken mecca is a collaboration between Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken owners Elliot Spaisman and Jeff Halpern and Tin Shop’s Geoff Dawson and Peter Bayne. Find similar cosmic decor, over-the-top sandwiches and doughnuts, and local beer offerings found at the downtown D.C. original. The 14,000-square-foot Arlington edition brews Compass all day at its full-service coffee counter alongside made-to-order doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches. The kitchen offers breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner, with an expanded menu of Astro’s beloved fried chicken and bar bites like deviled eggs, fried pickles, loaded tots, and more. A 140-seat patio claims to be the largest in Shirlington.