Drink Up and Have Fun at These Delightful D.C. Bars
By Gina Gallucci White
Washington Local Expert
What do you enjoy the most about going out to a bar? Is it the camaraderie you find when watching a sports game? Do you like perusing a drink menu trying to find the perfect beverage? What about talking with friends and making new ones? There are plenty of reasons to love going to a bar and Washington, D.C. has a thriving late-night scene that will keep you coming back for more.
When it comes to beer, ChurchKey is a great venue to find cold ones you've never heard of but will not be able to forget once you have sampled them. With a jaw-dropping 555 beers available, this place is a beer-lover's paradise. If you love hard liquor drinks, then Barrell is the spot for you. Their impressive 'Brown Water' menu will have you wanting to sample many items. Sauf Haus Bier Hall will have you thinking Oktoberfest all year round with their selection of German beers.
Those looking to throw back some drinks while also having a good time should hit up Lyman's Tavern for pinball machine fun or The Boardroom featuring over 30 games like Jenga, Monopoly and Don't Break the Ice to dig into while hanging out with friends.
So bring some extra cash, be sure to tip your bartender and line up that designated driver while you check out these top D.C. bars.
Named for the riots started after U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton tried to tax domestically produced distilled spirits, Rebellion harks back to the early days of America with its décor and love of history. The venue has more than 50 types of bourbon and whiskey, an intriguing cocktail drink menu, a number of craft beers and a bevy of vinos selected by their personal wine consultant. Check out their food offerings including entrees like drunken ribeye, jambalaya, shrimp grits and rack of ribs. If you are just looking for a quick bite to go with your libation, try starters like frickle chips, candied bacon or triple dip. (202-299-0399)
9 Bracket Room
Fairly new to the Metro-area bar scene, this sports lounge and eatery is a popular spot on game day. Co-owned by 'Bachelor' alum Chris Bukowski, the 2,800 square-foot venue fuses a stylish environment with an innovative menu. They claim to have the world's best tater tots on their late night menu so you will have to be the judge of that. Other favorites include boardwalk fries, spinach dip and colossal Maryland crab cakes. Watch the game on one of 35 infinity-edge televisions while sitting on custom built bar stools. Once the weekend rolls around, check out how the bar changes into a lounge to host music and DJs spinning the latest hits. Metro: Claredon (703-307-9600)
8 The Boardroom
Remember when playing games with friends did not involve phones and technology? You actually had to physically participate? The Boardroom aims to bring you back to this forgotten era of friendly competition with more than 30 games to rent. Try your hand at Jenga, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Monopoly, Battleship or Yahtzee while hanging out with your friends. The bar has 21 draft lines including familiar favorites and lesser known winners. Beer is also offered by the bottle or can. Peruse the wine selection or go straight to the handcrafted cocktails section of the beverage menu featuring adult cherry cola, the boardroom Manhattan and the icebreaker. (202-518-7666)
7 Cantina Marina
There's just something very enjoyable about being able to stand outside by a body of water and drink a cold drink on a warm day. Located by the Washington Channel, this brightly colored dockside restaurant and bar is a must-visit for those who love the water. Their beverage menu includes beers, wines, tequilas and margaritas. Specialty cocktails are definitely worth a try including blueberry lemonade, alligator-aid, cantina crush and painkiller. Every day they offer a different drink special. Their food menu is heavy on seafood choices and that's a good thing because you will want to scarf down their fried baskets and wharf platters. (202-554-8396)
6 Sauf Haus Bier Hall
You don't have to wait until an Oktoberfest celebration to get delicious, quality German beverages in a fun biergarten atmosphere thanks to this D.C. destination. Opening in 2014, the venue features two indoor bars and a rooftop beer garden. There are 16 German drafts on tap every day but they do rotate different brands. Be sure to try one of their Bavarian soft pretzels but be extra hungry if you order the large one. It weighs two pounds! Check out their music open mic nights or come in to see an international soccer match on one of their many flat-screen televisions. METRO: Farragut North (202-466-3355)
5 Lyman's Tavern
Pinball machines. Do I really need to say more? Not only does this D.C. bar offer great drinks, it also has a fun atmosphere featuring a number of pinball machines to both frustrate and entertain guests. They even host their own pinball league so sign up if you have mastered the game. If the gaming wears you out, the menu includes some tasty sliders including sweet and spicy BBQ and pork. For fans of the AMC show 'The Walking Dead,' the bar hosts viewing parties so you will have company holding your breathe as a favorite character is put into a life threatening situation. (202-723-0502)
4 Red Light
Decadent desserts and craft cocktails are the focus of this Northwest bar which opened in April 2014. The name and design scheme are a wink to the area's colorful past as a red light district. Sip on sinfully delicious cocktails like Irish goodbye, the dude and empty promise while sampling melt in your mouth desserts such as goat's cheese custard, Mexican chocolate tart and drunken drumstick. Racey bubbles drinks are available as well. Your personal trainer may be angry at you for indulging your sweet tooth here, but it's totally worth it. Metro: U Street (202-234-0400)
For those who love bourbon, this is the place to come. Just one look at their 'Brown Water' menu and you will know why. An impressive collection of bourbons are just waiting on the menu to be ordered -- not to mention multiple different types of whiskey including rye, reserve, blended scotch, Canadian, Irish, American and Tennessee. If hard liquor isn't your favorite drink, grab a beer or settle on a cocktail at the Elixir Bar like the diamondback, godfather or pink slip. Be sure to check out their food menu which goes great with one of their libations. METRO: Eastern Market (202-543-3622)
2 Dram & Grain
Bars are usually a place where anyone can walk in and you are scrunched together with strangers. That's not the case at Dram and Grain where it's reservation-only seating on certain nights and only 20 guests can be there for a given amount of time. Located in the basement of Jack Rose, this charming cocktail bar opened in February 2014 and has been bringing in the customers ever since. Mixologists Trevor Frye and Nick Lowe serve up their own versions of creative concoctions which are rotated. It's a treat to watch the two of them work their magic. METRO: Dupont Circle (202-607-1572)
A beer-lover's paradise awaits at the northwest-based ChurchKey. A jaw-dropping 555 beers -- five cask ales, 50 draft beers and 500 bottles -- are just waiting to be drunk by those craving variety when it comes to their sudsy cold ones. Employing it's own beer director, the bar even has 17 different glasses so each beer can be drunk from the proper vessel for ultimate flavor, aroma and satisfaction. While it may be tempting to sample as many beers as possible, save room for their food offerings including tater tots, brat burger and mac and cheese sticks. METRO: McPherson Square ((202) 567-2576)
About Gina Gallucci White
Gina Gallucci White is an award winning freelance writer with articles appearing in such regional publications as Frederick Magazine, The Daily Record, Montgomery Magazine and The Gazette. She writes about a wide variety of subjects and holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from West Virginia University. Gina has two kids, can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi in a blind taste test and admits to knowing all the songs from Frozen.
Read more about Gina Gallucci White here.