Let's toast to Frank Underwood in style at one of these House of Cards-inspired spots in Washington, D.C. These 10 bars are not only filled with politicians, they're also the perfect place to go if you want to feel like one. You may even overhear a classified conversation or two while casually sipping your cocktail. Underwood would be proud.
Old Ebbitt Grill has a beautiful Victorian interior dating back to 1856 — Photo courtesy of Old Ebbitt Grill
Old Ebbitt Grill
When Old Ebbitt Grill first opened on Chinatown's outskirts in 1856, it was a favorite among presidents like Grant, Cleveland, Harding, and Roosevelt. These days, a mixed crowd of politicians and journalists still swing by the Beaux-Arts building, indulging in the saloon food, oysters, and Clyde's Classic Cocktails, all just steps away from the White House.
Tune Inn is a popular dive bar with great diner food — Photo courtesy of Flickr/Maria Helena Carey
A favorite on Capital Hill for the past 60 years, Tune Inn draws a motley crew of regulars as well as high-profile senators to the dive bar deemed one of the "Best Bars in America" by Esquire magazine. This is the place you'd find someone like Doug Stamper lingering over cheap beer and greasy diner fare while eavesdropping on the nearby political conversations.
The lively rooftop bar scene at the Brixton — Photo courtesy of Brixton
Named after the London neighborhood, the Brixton is a top choice for the after-work crowd coming from Capital Hill. The first floor is a British pub decked out like an English country manor or hunting lodge with plush leather armchairs, dark wood walls, and animal horn chandeliers hanging overhead. Upstairs, the modern beer garden rooftop bar is more where some of the younger politicians from House of Cards would be seen hanging out.
Don't miss out on speakeasy The Gibson in the U-Street neighborhood — Photo courtesy of The Gibson
There's plenty of trendy bars in the U-Street neighborhood, but one that's often overlooked is the tucked away speakeasy, The Gibson. Downstairs, the long bar and cozy booths are perfect for hiding away with one of the spot's superb craft cocktails. Frank Underwood could easily fit in here seducing a much-younger journalist over Old Fashioned's at the intimate upstairs bar.
Join the party at the National Democratic Club's bar — Photo courtesy of National Democratic Club
The National Democratic Club
While you wouldn't catch Frank Underwood and his party here, the National Democratic Club has been a popular meeting place since it opened 60 years ago. Just a few blocks from the Capitol, the membership-based club requires Democrats are either a member or come along with one, but it shouldn’t be too hard to become someone's plus one and gain access to the bar and restaurant.
Round Robin is set inside the historic Willard hotel — Photo courtesy of InterContinental
Round Robin & Scotch Bar at The Willard
Located just a few blocks from the White House, the Round Robin Bar at The Willard has been the spot where political deals go down since Abraham Lincoln's time. Still drawing a well-heeled crowd, this famous watering hole is known for its classic cocktails and small Scotch Bar, featuring over 130 different Scotches.
Head downstairs to members-only Sidecar at P.J. Clarke's — Photo courtesy of P.J. Clarke's
PJ Clarke's Sidecar
Take the stairs from the wrought-iron solarium down to the members-only basement bar at P.J. Clarke's to the brick-walled speakeasy, Sidecar. Portraits of U.S. presidents hang on the wall and lamps lighting the tables create a Old World ambiance complemented by white tablecloths and staff members knowing their guests (and their favorite libation) by name.
Off the Record is rated one of the best hotel bars in the world — Photo courtesy of The Leading Hotels of the World
Off the Record at The Hay-Adams Hotel
Like its name suggests, Off the Record downtown is known for attracting a crowd that wants to "be seen and not heard." With this kind of discretion, you're bound to get a gathering of political elite chatting freely over cocktails. Forbes deemed this one of the "World's Best Hotel Bars," and it's also one of the oldest in town, with caricatures of political figures hanging on the red velvet walls.
Choose from a large selection of craft brews and wines at 201 Bar — Photo courtesy of 201 Bar
The 201 Bar
Deemed "Capital Hill's best stocked living room," 201 Bar is right near the Union Station metro stop and does indeed have a fine selection of alcohol, with 30 craft brews, 30 small-batch wines, and a list of hand-crafted cocktails to choose from. Happy hour here attracts quite the crowd thanks to specials like $5 bourbon and half-off Belgian beer.
The speakeasy bar only has three seatings on Saturdays — Photo courtesy of Dram & Grain
Dram & Grain
The only way to snag a reservation at this basement bar with three nightly seatings on Saturdays is via text to an untraceable phone, akin to the kind Frank Underwood and his crew use on House of Cards to make secret arrangements. What makes this place a keeper for those who've made their way in is the on-tap whiskey and selection of modern spins on classic cocktails that won't get old any time soon.