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

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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. Though it's been an unusually nice summer so far, sometimes the bugs are out, the sweat is dripping down people's backs and it's just not a great day to force the al fresco thing. 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.

Have another favorite basement bar? Share in the comments.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 2 Birds 1 Stone

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1800 14th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009
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. Right now, the theme there is tiki.

2. B Too

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1324 14th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20005
(202) 627-2800
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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 without being mobbed.

3. Bier Baron Tavern

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1523 22nd St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20037
(202) 293-1885
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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.

4. The Black Squirrel

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2427 18th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009
(202) 232-1011
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The Adams Morgan bar crawl on 18th Street isn't without the requisite lower-level bar, an addition to the original. Find the bar's impressive beer selection on either level.

5. Bottom Line

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1716 I St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20006
(202) 298-8488
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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 its Thursday happy hours.

6. Breadsoda

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2233 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007
(202) 333-7445
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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.

7. Buffalo Billiards

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1330 19th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20036
(202) 331-7665
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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.

8. Cafe Saint-Ex

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1847 14th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009
(202) 265-7839
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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.

9. The Codmother

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1334 U St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009
(202) 265-0709
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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."

10. Dino's Grotto

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1914 9th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20001
(202) 686-2966
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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.

11. Dram and Grain

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2007 18th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009
This speakeasy is in a basement lair in the back of Jack Rose. It's not easy to get to and certainly requires a reservation to get seated in this well-hidden whiskey haven. The cocktails are always the center of attention as mixologists Trevor Frye and Nick Lowe craft each one by hand. And no one should leave here without the visually-impressive and smoky Ode to Omaha.

12. Iron Horse Tap Room

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507 7th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20004
(202) 347-7665
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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.

13. Ivy and Coney

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1523 7th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20001
(202) 670-9489
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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.

14. Meridian Pint

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3400 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 588-1075
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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.

15. Off the Record

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800 16th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20006
(202) 942-7599
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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.

16. Pizzeria Paradiso

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3282 M St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007
(202) 337-1245
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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.

17. Quarry House Tavern

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8401 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 587-8350
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In Silver Spring, not everything is new and shiny. Down stone stairs (hence, quarry) awaits a bar where the website calls food "grub" and has a "whiskey & whatnot" menu. And you know a bar is divey when Yelp pics feature the bar's legendary bathroom graffiti.

18. Recessions

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1823 L St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20036
(202) 296-6686
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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.

19. Sidecar

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1600 K St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20006
(202) 463-6610
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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.

20. Stan's Restaurant & Lounge

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1029 Vermont Ave NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20005
(202) 347-4488
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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.

21. The Tombs

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1226 36th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007
(202) 337-6668
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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.

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1. 2 Birds 1 Stone

1800 14th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20009
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. Right now, the theme there is tiki.
1800 14th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009

2. B Too

1324 14th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20005
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 without being mobbed.
1324 14th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20005

3. Bier Baron Tavern

1523 22nd St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20037
How many beers is too many beers? With 600 beers on its menu, the former legendary Brickseller is trying to find out.
1523 22nd St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20037

4. The Black Squirrel

2427 18th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20009
The Adams Morgan bar crawl on 18th Street isn't without the requisite lower-level bar, an addition to the original. Find the bar's impressive beer selection on either level.
2427 18th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009

5. Bottom Line

1716 I St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20006
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 its Thursday happy hours.
1716 I St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20006

6. Breadsoda

2233 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20007
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.
2233 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007

7. Buffalo Billiards

1330 19th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20036
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.
1330 19th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20036

8. Cafe Saint-Ex

1847 14th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20009
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.
1847 14th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009

9. The Codmother

1334 U St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20009
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."
1334 U St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009

10. Dino's Grotto

1914 9th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20001
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.
1914 9th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20001

11. Dram and Grain

2007 18th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20009
This speakeasy is in a basement lair in the back of Jack Rose. It's not easy to get to and certainly requires a reservation to get seated in this well-hidden whiskey haven. The cocktails are always the center of attention as mixologists Trevor Frye and Nick Lowe craft each one by hand. And no one should leave here without the visually-impressive and smoky Ode to Omaha.
2007 18th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009

12. Iron Horse Tap Room

507 7th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20004
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.
507 7th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20004

13. Ivy and Coney

1523 7th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20001
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.
1523 7th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20001

14. Meridian Pint

3400 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
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.
3400 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

15. Off the Record

800 16th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20006
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.
800 16th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20006

Related Maps

16. Pizzeria Paradiso

3282 M St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20007
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.
3282 M St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007

17. Quarry House Tavern

8401 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910
In Silver Spring, not everything is new and shiny. Down stone stairs (hence, quarry) awaits a bar where the website calls food "grub" and has a "whiskey & whatnot" menu. And you know a bar is divey when Yelp pics feature the bar's legendary bathroom graffiti.
8401 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910

18. Recessions

1823 L St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20036
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.
1823 L St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20036

19. Sidecar

1600 K St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20006
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.
1600 K St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20006

20. Stan's Restaurant & Lounge

1029 Vermont Ave NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20005
Located downtown, this classic old school haunt has been operating for nearly 40 years. Just follow the stairs down to a DC classic.
1029 Vermont Ave NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20005

21. The Tombs

1226 36th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20007
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.
1226 36th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007

Related Maps