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The Gin Joint
The Gin Joint
Photo: Facebook

Hidden Gems Where Bartenders Like to Drink

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The Gin Joint
| Photo: Facebook

Eater convinced 10 bartenders in the city to disclose their go-to gems when sitting on the other side of the bar. These are the places that sometimes don't get much press, and yet, impress some of the prime pourers around town. Their picks might surprise you; Minibar's Juan Coronado gives Showtime the Coolest Wallpaper Award, while The Passenger's Alexandra Bookless loves Rappahannock Oyster Bar for its champagne, caviar and people watching.
—Tierney Plumb


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Pug

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1234 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 388-8554
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“It's a small, laid-back, dark, no-frill, straight-forward beer and shot kind of bar with friendly bartenders and locals alike. Just the way I like my bar after a busy night at The Source. They also feature authentic tacos from Impala on Tuesdays. Ask for my girl, Kate." – Woong Chang, The Source

2. Showtime Lounge

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113 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, DC
“They have the best wallpaper in a bar. No drama. You better walk [up] to the bartender knowing what you want and having cash and ID in your hand.” – Juan Coronado, Minibar

3. Art and Soul

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415 New Jersey Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 393-7777
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"I really like Art & Soul. They do excellent craft cocktails and their bartenders are really friendly. One of the bartenders in particular, Ronnie, makes a great old-fashioned. He does it the traditional way and it's not too sweet, which is right up my alley."— Phil Anova, Mandu

4. Ted's Bulletin

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505 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 544-8337
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"While Ted's Bulletin on 14th has received a lot of attention lately, I still return to the original on Barrack's Row. Not just for the breakfast served all day (anyone in the restaurant business knows how great this is) and not exclusively for the 'adult milkshakes' (although they are damn good) but I keep going back for their creative and well-executed cocktail list." – Jamie MacBain, Bourbon Steak

5. Rappahanock Oyster Bar

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1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 544-4702
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“My hidden bar gem is not physically hidden, in fact it's in the middle of a market, but they have more than great food there. I love Rappahannock Oyster Bar first of all for the champagne and caviar – I mean, a girl's got to eat – but also for the on-point cocktails and great people watching.” – Alexandra Bookless, The Passenger

6. Lincoln

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1110 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 386-9200
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“Adorned with original paintings of Honest Abe, a grand copper-pennied mosaic floor and old Mason jars displayed as lighting, Lincoln is my favorite go-to place for a refreshing cocktail. My favorite is their Moscow Mule, a vodka based classic with fresh lime and ginger beer served in an antique style copper cup that keeps it nice and cold.” – Shiloh Corcel, The Graham Georgetown

7. Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits, and Bistro

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11011 Baltimore Ave
Beltsville, MD 20705
(240) 297-9796
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“I stay true to my roots and still live in Prince George's County. I tend to spend all my free time at Old Line liquors for their wide selection of rare small batch spirits. When I realize I've spent the greater part of my day there, I usually [go] to the restaurant and bar on site for a quick bite and a selection of craft and local beers on tap.” – Sean MacPherson, Room 11

8. 2 Birds 1 Stone

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1800 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
“My reason for loving 2 Birds 1 Stone is the underground atmosphere, modern decor, great bartenders, and innovative drinks. They will happily make things off the menu if you give them some direction.” – Jamie Hess, (soon-to-open) Ivy And Coney

9. The Gin Joint

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2317 Calvert St NW
Washington, DC 20008
“As a gin fan, it has over 50 different choices – the best selection in the city. The bartenders there are knowledgeable about gin and really friendly, so it makes trying new things fun. Nobody seems to know much about it...the bar always has a seat open!” — Adam Fry, Kangaroo Boxing Club

10. Bar Pilar

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1833 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 265-1751
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“Something about fall weather and I just want to live inside Pilar. The cozy in-your-living-room atmosphere coupled by the Earnest Hemingway theme...I could sit at Pilar on a rainy Sunday with a deck of cards and a good group of friends for hours. Great cocktails and the food is always creative and spot-on.” – Kirsten Dobson, Dacha Beer Garden

1. The Pug

1234 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
“It's a small, laid-back, dark, no-frill, straight-forward beer and shot kind of bar with friendly bartenders and locals alike. Just the way I like my bar after a busy night at The Source. They also feature authentic tacos from Impala on Tuesdays. Ask for my girl, Kate." – Woong Chang, The Source
1234 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

2. Showtime Lounge

113 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC
“They have the best wallpaper in a bar. No drama. You better walk [up] to the bartender knowing what you want and having cash and ID in your hand.” – Juan Coronado, Minibar
113 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, DC

3. Art and Soul

415 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
"I really like Art & Soul. They do excellent craft cocktails and their bartenders are really friendly. One of the bartenders in particular, Ronnie, makes a great old-fashioned. He does it the traditional way and it's not too sweet, which is right up my alley."— Phil Anova, Mandu
415 New Jersey Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

4. Ted's Bulletin

505 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
"While Ted's Bulletin on 14th has received a lot of attention lately, I still return to the original on Barrack's Row. Not just for the breakfast served all day (anyone in the restaurant business knows how great this is) and not exclusively for the 'adult milkshakes' (although they are damn good) but I keep going back for their creative and well-executed cocktail list." – Jamie MacBain, Bourbon Steak
505 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

5. Rappahanock Oyster Bar

1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
“My hidden bar gem is not physically hidden, in fact it's in the middle of a market, but they have more than great food there. I love Rappahannock Oyster Bar first of all for the champagne and caviar – I mean, a girl's got to eat – but also for the on-point cocktails and great people watching.” – Alexandra Bookless, The Passenger
1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

6. Lincoln

1110 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
“Adorned with original paintings of Honest Abe, a grand copper-pennied mosaic floor and old Mason jars displayed as lighting, Lincoln is my favorite go-to place for a refreshing cocktail. My favorite is their Moscow Mule, a vodka based classic with fresh lime and ginger beer served in an antique style copper cup that keeps it nice and cold.” – Shiloh Corcel, The Graham Georgetown
1110 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

7. Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits, and Bistro

11011 Baltimore Ave, Beltsville, MD 20705
“I stay true to my roots and still live in Prince George's County. I tend to spend all my free time at Old Line liquors for their wide selection of rare small batch spirits. When I realize I've spent the greater part of my day there, I usually [go] to the restaurant and bar on site for a quick bite and a selection of craft and local beers on tap.” – Sean MacPherson, Room 11
11011 Baltimore Ave
Beltsville, MD 20705

8. 2 Birds 1 Stone

1800 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
“My reason for loving 2 Birds 1 Stone is the underground atmosphere, modern decor, great bartenders, and innovative drinks. They will happily make things off the menu if you give them some direction.” – Jamie Hess, (soon-to-open) Ivy And Coney
1800 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

9. The Gin Joint

2317 Calvert St NW, Washington, DC 20008
“As a gin fan, it has over 50 different choices – the best selection in the city. The bartenders there are knowledgeable about gin and really friendly, so it makes trying new things fun. Nobody seems to know much about it...the bar always has a seat open!” — Adam Fry, Kangaroo Boxing Club
2317 Calvert St NW
Washington, DC 20008

10. Bar Pilar

1833 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
“Something about fall weather and I just want to live inside Pilar. The cozy in-your-living-room atmosphere coupled by the Earnest Hemingway theme...I could sit at Pilar on a rainy Sunday with a deck of cards and a good group of friends for hours. Great cocktails and the food is always creative and spot-on.” – Kirsten Dobson, Dacha Beer Garden
1833 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

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