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Hill Country's Boot Bar
Hill Country's Boot Bar
Eater.com

The Anti Patio Map: 30 Bars Where The Sun Don't Shine

Who needs al fresco drinking?

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Hill Country's Boot Bar
| Eater.com

Rooftops, decks, patios, courtyards and backyards are great when the weather is perfect: not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, not too sunny. But let's remember that this is D.C., people. Weather is, to be kind, unpredictable.

Plus, the sun-hating vampires among us need a place to drink, too, right? Enter this map. These are subterranean bars ideal for the patio-phobic, those who want to enjoy a drink without wearing shades. Choose from dives ideal for interns, a secret whiskey-centric speakeasy, a cocktail destination off of 14th Street and some of the usual suspects. Patio fans should head elsewhere (like, for example, to these new patios).

Have another favorite basement bar? Share in the comments.

—Ross Perkins and Missy Frederick

Editor's Note: Quarry House is on this list, but the bar is temporarily closed due to fire damage.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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2 Birds 1 Stone

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2 Birds 1 Stone is the definition of a basement bar, reachable from a barely marked staircase on the side of sister restaurant Doi Moi. The front door could be mistaken for the front door of an English basement apartment, but behind the door awaits a treasure trove of carefully crafted cocktails from mixologist wizard Adam Bernbach.

Atomic Billiards

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Go here for billiards, booze and a divey atmosphere.

Yeah, upstairs there is a bar, but downstairs there is another bar. Well, more of a lounge. But in the subterranean space is a collection of Belgian beers and B Too's famous pots of mussels. With plenty of elbow room, it's a great space for groups that don't want to be mobbed.

Bier Baron Tavern

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How many beers is too many beers? With 600 beers on its menu, the former legendary Brickseller is trying to find out.

Bottom Line

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Farragut West's Bottom Line bar isn't going to hit anyone's bottom line with its $3.50 rail drinks and baskets of tater tots during happy hour.

Breadsoda

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From Jack Rose's owner Bill Thomas, the Glover Park basement bar has both the beer and billiards on hand. And if drinkers don't want to play pool, there are darts, shuffleboard and Wii. On Tuesday nights, have several pints and play some ping pong.

Buffalo Billiards

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Walk south of Dupont Circle and look right on 19th Street. And then look down. This popular watering hole and happy hour hot spot attracts visitors and neighbors alike for rounds of pool and beer. Just be sure to know where to look. It's down.

Cafe Saint-Ex

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There's the bar upstairs and then there's the one downstairs where all the memories (and regrets) happen. One of the earlier Logan Circle joints on ever more crowded 14th Street, Saint-Ex continues to draw the masses like a moth to a lamp. Whatever the reason, the night may begin upstairs, but it really gets going once patrons go down below.

Dino's Grotto

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Dino's Grotto decamped from Cleveland Park to its new home in Shaw. The restaurant has a main level upstairs but downstairs is where the bar action is serious. Grab a spot at the counter for a craft cocktail and the famous wild boar 'cinghiale'. There's also a late-night menu for night owls.

Dito's Bar

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This basement bar below Floriana restaurant is a reader favorite.

Dram and Grain

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This speakeasy is in a basement lair in the back of Jack Rose (it now accepts walk-ins in addition to those who make a reservation). The cocktails are always the center of attention as mixologists Trevor Frye and Lukas Smith craft them by hand.

Hill Country Barbecue Market

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Hill Country's basement space is the place for live music, karaoke and more.

Iron Horse Tap Room

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With an ever changing selection of drafts, beer is one reason to come here. The other is space. Located in Chinatown, the bar may look small from the onset, but it's downstairs where there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the many brews on draft.

Ivy and Coney

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Close to Dacha and home to many of Dacha's bootlegged boots, Ivy and Coney is a Chicago-influenced bar in Shaw from the minds behind Columbia Heights' Kangaroo Boxing Club. To get inside the bar, look for the oddly-painted door.

Jackpot

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The dark basement bar Jackpot is a straightforward place for beer and hanging.

Laughing Man Tavern

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This sports haven becomes a lot more spacious when the basement is considered.

Meridian Pint

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There's the upstairs (aka the first floor), the patio and the large downstairs. Below ground, there are booths with taps at the table ready to roll. It's great for watching a sports game or seeing friends, but not so good for catching the sunset.

Off the Record

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Go through the Hay Adams Hotel (across from the White House) or use the side entrance to find this gem, one of the city's classy institutions, and a favorite of journalists. Because of its premier location, drinkers never know if a VIP or mover-and-shaker is also having a cold one at the bar.

Pizzeria Paradiso

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In Georgetown, Pizzeria Paradiso has a spot downstairs ideal for noshing and drinking. With 16 beers on tap and many, many more bottled, there should be no reason to stop after one. The basement bar was a pioneer in the city's early craft beer scene.

Quarry House Tavern

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Though temporarily closed due to fire damage, Quarry House is beloved for its whiskey, tater tots, and graffiti-covered bathrooms.

Recessions

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With a name like "Recessions", no one should expect a glamorous rooftop or a beautiful patio. It's a pretty basic space to fulfill basic needs: get a bite to eat, have a beer and make bad decisions. Karaoke gets crazy.

Sidecar

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This isn't really about P.J. Clarke's, but about its underground bar called Sidecar. It's an intimate space downstairs from P.J. Clarke's main solarium. These guys accept reservations so it's easy to plan ahead.

Smoke & Barrel

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The space that used to house asylum now is a place for beer, bourbon and barbecue.

Inspired by Cotton Club-era D.C., this basement bar took some design efforts to not appear too dark. Find food like homemade sausages at this bar from Mindful Restaurants (Ghibellina et al).

St. Arnold's on Jefferson

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Both locations of Saint Arnold's have basement-level bars for mussels and Belgian beer

Stan's Restaurant & Lounge

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Located downtown, this classic old school haunt has been operating for nearly 40 years. Just follow the stairs down to a DC classic.

The Black Squirrel

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An Adams Morgan bar crawl on 18th Street isn't complete without the requisite lower-level bar, an addition to the original. Find the bar's impressive beer selection on either level (they're a great place for theme nights and tap takeovers).

The Codmother

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The signs along U Street are hard to miss. Sometimes with expletives but always creative, The Codmother keeps it real at its basement bar. The place encourages patrons to "eat, drink and be merry."

The Tombs

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Check out the late-night menu at this appropriately-named underground Georgetown spot (featured in St. Elmo's Fire). There are plenty of bar-friendly foods (tater tots) starting at 10 p.m. this is an affordable place to eat in the neighborhood. And the happy hour is not to be missed because The Tombs does $3 Tomb Ale from Williamsburg, Virginia. Warning: expect college kids.

Vidalia

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Vidalia may be below ground, but it's definitely not a dive. Find a terrific happy hour, well-made martinis and classy bar snacks here.

2 Birds 1 Stone

2 Birds 1 Stone is the definition of a basement bar, reachable from a barely marked staircase on the side of sister restaurant Doi Moi. The front door could be mistaken for the front door of an English basement apartment, but behind the door awaits a treasure trove of carefully crafted cocktails from mixologist wizard Adam Bernbach.

Atomic Billiards

Go here for billiards, booze and a divey atmosphere.

B Too

Yeah, upstairs there is a bar, but downstairs there is another bar. Well, more of a lounge. But in the subterranean space is a collection of Belgian beers and B Too's famous pots of mussels. With plenty of elbow room, it's a great space for groups that don't want to be mobbed.

Bier Baron Tavern

How many beers is too many beers? With 600 beers on its menu, the former legendary Brickseller is trying to find out.

Bottom Line