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Democrat and Republican: They're Not the Only Parties in the District



Filibusters, bills and political squabbles may get all the headlines out of Washington, D.C. but the nightlife scene is truly newsworthy when you see how much the district has to offer visitors and residents alike. There really is something for everyone to enjoy. If you want to see some of the most popular names in music then head on over to Nightclub 9:30 or check out The Black Cat to see up and coming performers in the indie rock genre. Both offer patrons the opportunity to see great music in an intimate setting.

Sometimes people just want to watch their favorite sports teams play. Whether they are celebrating a victory or commiserating in defeat, Ventnor Sports Cafe offers multiple televisions, great food, trivia on Tuesdays and a home for fantasy football. In need of a good laugh? DC Improv is one of the best comedy clubs in the nation offering big names and even larger laughs.

But, let's be honest. When we get all dressed up for a night on the town, we want to dance. The nation's capital has a number of dance clubs like The 18th Street Lounge. Living Room, and Heist to keep your hips moving until they announce last call. Whatever your choice, the district offers so much to choose from after dark.


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Ventnor's Sports Cafe
Photo courtesy of Ventnor's Sports Cafe


Located in the heart of Adams Morgan, this caf�s a great place to watch games especially if you are a UNC, Philadelphia Flyer, Michigan, Syracuse or Stanford fan. Games aren't the only event you will find on their televisions. D.C. is a political town so you can catch presidential debates and primary voting results here too. Check out their weekly trivia Tuesday event if you are feeling knowledgeable. The venue offers quality traditional bar food like wings, burgers and sandwiches but be sure to check out their house specialties boom boom shrimp and fish tacos. Food is served until 11 p.m. METRO: Adams Morgan

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Whether you want to cheer on the Washington Capitals to their next Stanley Cup or catch some highlight reels, this sports spot can't be missed.

Gina's expert tip: UNC fans take note. You can watch your beloved university face off in games while drinking from blue cups. Check before coming for availability.

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Kabin Lounge
Photo courtesy of Kabin


Playing the hottest Top 40, hip hop and house music, Kabin Lounge aims to provide guests with a premium clubbing experience. The 3,200 square foot space resembles a posh Aspen mountain cabin and includes 14 VIP Tables with bottle service. The venue does not have a strict dress code but patrons should aim to be trendy or fashionable. Be sure to leave the athletic sneakers, baggy jeans, athletic gear, ripped T-shirts and Timberland boots and hats at home as they will get you turned away at the door. METRO: Dupont Circle

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: A premium clubbing experience is waiting to be had at this posh venue.

Gina's expert tip: The venue does not have a cover charge for weekly events every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

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DC Improv


Everyone needs a good laugh and what better way to tickle your funny bone than to come to DC Improv, one of the top comedy clubs in the nation. A 'Who's who' of comedians have performed here including Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Chappelle, Lewis Black and Jerry Seinfeld and they continue to bring in tour headliners and local celebrities. The venue features a restaurant with a daily and late-night menu for those who work up an appetite while laughing. Beer, wine and liquor are also available for purchase. Their comedy school offers participants the opportunity to learn how to do improv and standup. Metro: Farragut North

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: They say that laughter can release stress and tension from your body. This place will have you howling.

Gina's expert tip: All shows require a two item minimum per person purchase. You may buy any combination of food, drink, coffee or dessert.

Read more about DC Improv →


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Walk through the doors of this Georgetown gem and you will be transported back to the supper clubs of the 1920s and 1930s. Founded in 1965, many well-known artists have played here including Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis. While taking in a performance, treat yourself to their scrumptious menu with entrees named after jazz greats like Tony Bennett's shrimp and artichoke hearts and Jerry 'The Iceman' Butler baked salmon. This venue is known as a listening club so be respectful during performances. Once you purchase tickets, make sure you can attend because sales are final and non-refundable. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis so get there early. METRO: Foggy Bottom

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Celebrating 50 years of brining jazz to the masses, this club is a must-visit for jazz lovers.

Gina's expert tip: There is a $12 food or beverage minimum per person per show.

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Named for the Adams Morgan neighborhood the venue calls home, Madam's Organ features live entertainment seven days a week and bills itself as the place "where the beautiful people go to get ugly." While known for showcasing jazz and blues bands, they also have rock, R&B and salsa performers. Featuring five bars throughout its five levels, the club offers free pool on the second level and more than a dozen appetizers to wash down its tasty assortment of beers and spirits. Their signs say "Sorry, We're open," but they have nothing to apologize for since many are sad when they close for the night. METRO: Woodley Park/Zoo

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: How could you not love a place that offers Drunkeoke every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday?

Gina's expert tip: The fourth and final level of the club offers a starlit roof deck and tiki bar but it's only open on select nights.

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U Street

Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Radiohead and The Strokes are just some of the bands that have played The Black Cat. Since 1993, the club has been bringing patrons the best in live independent music. The 7,000 square foot main concert room hosts the big acts while the backstage suite offers a more intimate experience with indie, punk and garage rock bands, solo artists, DJs dance nights and independent film screenings. The club is heavy on rock music, they also host DJs, comedy shows, karaoke, and Muggle Mondays â€" a featured wizard movie and drink specials. Butterbeer anyone? METRO: U Street/Cardozo.

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Living Room
Photo courtesy of Living Room

With quirky decor, large couches and curtains throughout, this event space does live up to its name even though its probably unlike most living rooms you have been in. Located in Logan Circle, this club and event space offers a place for District residents to forget their troubles and worries for a night in a relaxing yet stylish setting with only the best dance music. If you are coming with a group, you might want to book table reservations early. Also, they have an event space with more than 5,000 square feet so let them host your birthday or bachelorette party. METRO: McPherson Square

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Nightclub 9:30
Photo courtesy of gatzy


The official title is Nightclub 9:30 but most know the venue as the 9:30 Club. Some of the most popular names and bands in music perform at this intimate venue. Just scroll through the upcoming shows list and you will be amazed by the talent. While you are enjoying some incredible music, order a tasty dish off their menu which includes vegetarian and vegan friendly items or stop by one of four bars for beer, spirits or non-alcoholic beverages. They even have a coffee bar for those who may want a caffeine boost to take in their favorite performers. Metro: U Street

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Open since 1980, the successful club is older than some members of Congress.

Gina's expert tip: If you want to stand up front for a show, get there before doors open to wait in line or head to their Backbar which opens one hour early.

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Heist
Photo courtesy of Heist


Promising 'grandeur, fun and light-hearted delinquency,' Heist will steal you in to a world of 'sleek, sophistication and cool.' This place really starts to come alive after midnight so be ready to dance when the DJ starts playing Top 40, electronic dance and hip hop hits. You must be 21 to enter and acceptable dress is considered smart and stylish. Gold is the color palette and take note of how many different places you will find it. Check out their drink menu including specialty cocktails like Pretty Boy Floyd, Stopwatch Gang and Parker. Beers, liquors and wines by the glass are also available. METRO: Dupont Circle

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: With nods to the great thieves of the world, this nightlife destination will have you stealing good times.

Gina's expert tip: Be sure to make reservations for bottle service. Just fill out a form on their web page.

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Co-owner Farid Nouri wanted to establish a nightlife spot that he would want to go to himself. "Enough energy for a party but a place where people can socialize in an intimate environment." Known as "The Lounge," the club has five areas to mingle including a jazz and deck bar. While DJs lay down the hottest tracks in one room another may feature live music ranging from traditional jazz to reggae to Latin music. Located in Dupont Circle, the club may be hard to find if it's your first time because there are no signs to let you know you have arrived but it does make you feel like you are 'in the know' on a private secret when you find the door. Metro: Dupont Circle

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The venue aims to bring in regional and world-class DJ talent and they succeed.

Gina's expert tip: Proper attire is required so don't wear athletic attire or accessories if you plan to go here.

Read more about 18th Street Lounge →


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Meet 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...  More About Gina

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