Russia House, web site, Facebook, Twitter, 1800 Connecticut Ave. NW (corner of Connecticut & Florida Ave., near 21st & S), 202-234-9433, opens at 5p everyday, closes at midnight except Fri-Sat (2:30a), est. 2003 [Yelp, WaPo, Tripadvisor, Urbanspoon, Washingtonian]
Way at the top of Dupont Circle neighborhood at the corner of Connecticut and Florida Avenues, this lounge is spread out through several floors and rooms, including a piano bar, all fancily decorated, and apparently is frequently by lots of Russians and other eastern Europeans like Ovie and others Caps players. Kind of a dark spot and sometimes a weird vibe, I actually am somewhat a fan of this spot, though I haven’t been in a couple years. It’s been open to the public since 2003 (was apparently a semi-private club before that since 1995), same owners as another international-themed spot-Biergarten Haus. Seemingly endless selection of vodkas; the Baltika beers (all named with a #, I think #4 and #7 are good, but that’s just a guess) are worth trying out.
Barred in DC Rating: 3/5
ChurchKey, web site, Facebook, Twitter, 1337 14th St. NW (14th & Rhode Island b/t N & P), 202-567-2576, opens at 4p (weekdays) noon (weekends), closes at 1a except Fri-Sat (2a), est. 2009 [Yelp, WaPo, Tripadvisor, Urbanspoon, D.C. Foodies, Frommer’s, Fodor’s]
This is probably the best beer bar and the most popular bar for non-tourist adults (25+) in DC. Massive beer list with ton on draft and some on cask. Always crowded (except when old people go to bed after midnight), fairly narrow, and impossible to get a bar stool or one of their cozy booths during most hours, so I actually don’t go here that often even though it’s only a few blocks away from where I live. Once you get in (always a line between 9pm-midnight on weekends), surprisingly not that hard to get a beer, but I always ask to see the beer list so I can try something new. Solid bar food, and the restaurant downstairs (Birch & Barley) is terrific. Although it doesn’t have a happy hour, lots of special beer events are hosted here and a lot of the beers aren’t as expensive (though some definitely are, so you always want to check the menu before acting fake fancy) as you might think. Opened in late 2009 after what felt like years of anticipation.
Barred in DC Rating: 4.5/5
Madam’s Organ Blues Bar, web site, Facebook, Twitter, 2461 18th St. NW, 202-667-5370, opens at 5p everyday, HH 5-8p everyday, est. 1997 (current location) [Yelp, WaPo, TripAdvisor, Frommer’s, Lonely Planet]
Kind of a neighborhood landmark (look for the topless redhead mural and the other random mystifying murals along the block), this sprawling bar is known for its nightly live music, including regular blues. There’s a stage and a dance/listening floor right when you walk in, along with a couple other floors (one with pool tables) including a tiny fire escapeish front balcony (awesome for checking out the 18th street crowd) along with another roof deck wayyy at the top that feels like a crows nest on a ship that is usually enclosed (it might open up during the summer, never been there when it is has (3/7 Update: Reader says that it opens up in summer). Fun spot with a relatively older crowd in its current location since 1997, though beware that there usually is a cover on weekends due to the live music. One of my friends likes the soul food. Supposedly redheads drink beer for ½ off, but as I am not a redhead, I can’t confirm. The owner is not a fan of Adams Morgan Day.
Barred in DC Rating: 4/5
Bedrock Billiards, web site, Facebook, Twitter, 1841 Columbia Road NW, 202-667-7665, opens at 4p (weekdays) 1p (weekends), HH 4-8p (weekdays), 1-7p (weekends), est. 1992 [Yelp, WaPo]
Opened back in 1992, this basement pool hall/game room bar feels miles from the bedlam of 18th Street a block away. Bedrock, which was the first bar in the mini-chain that now includes Atomic Billiards, Buffalo Billiards, Rocket Bar, and Board Room, is reminiscent of someone’s 1980s somewhat dusty basement. I’ve only been here twice, and not since probably 2009, but I remember lots of pool tables, darts, and board games and a solid divey atmosphere. They have a popular Sunday night trivia that is supposed to be kind of hard. Happy hour goes from 4-8p M-F and 1-7p on the weekends, along with some pool and darts leagues during the week, though I’ve never been.
Barred in DC Rating: 3/5
Greetings – I’m a 30 year old lawyer who lives in DC (hence the name, get it?), I decided to create this blog to hopefully make use of some of the useless knowledge I have stored up-in this case, knowledge about DC bars. After living in DC as a permanent resident for nearly 6 years, and a quasi-resident for the 3 years before that, I have been to my fair share of DC bars (over 200 at last count).
I thought folks might find this helpful/useful and I especially welcome people to share their own experiences and thoughts. Feel free to send me comments/hate mail/suggestions to email@example.com.