“What is a lovely place in D.C. to get a cocktail by yourself?“
An important question posed on Twitter by Rachel Kurzius, a reporter for DCist and WAMU, on November 1st yielded a huge number of responses with over 105 different bars and restaurants. Here’s the Barred in DC attempt to piggyback on someone else’s effort for content by organizing the responses into a blog post. Read the Twitter thread for the other 80 or so spots.
The top 3 choices are walking distance between each other so you can do a solo cocktail crawl (I would recommend starting at Truxton and ending the night at All Souls).
All Souls Bar (Shaw)
2nd Most Mentioned
The Royal (LeDroit Park/Shaw)
Truxton Inn (Bloomingdale)
3rd Most Mentioned
Beuchert’s Saloon (Capitol Hill/Eastern Market)
Left Door (14th St/U)
Copycat (H Street)
4th Most Mentioned
Doyle Bar at the Pembroke Hotel (Dupont)
McClellan’s Retreat (Dupont)
The Gibson (14th St/U)
The Red Hen (Bloomingdale)
5th Most Mentioned
Allegory at the Eaton Hotel (Downtown)
Denson Liquor Bar (PQ/Chinatown)
Mercy Me at Yours Truly Hotel (West End)
Quill at the Jefferson Hotel (Downtown)
Others Mentioned Multiple Times: Cafe St. Ex., Chaplin’s, Columbia Room, Emissary, Etabil, The Green Zone, Iron Gate, The Line Hotel, Maxwell Park, Morris Bar, Off the Record, The Passenger, Round Robin, Service Bar, Tabard Inn, The Pug
Update: On Tuesday, November 16th, DC announced that the indoor mask mandate would end effective Monday, November 22nd, due to data showing that almost no fully vaccinated people have died or have been hospitalized due to breakthrough infections, even since Delta began being the predominant strain.
Masks still will be requiredw
Private businesses who require masks
Public transportation (required by CDC/Federal law)
Inside schools and childcare facilities (consistent with CDC guidance which actually does recommend universal masking indoors in childcare facilities and K-12)
At DC Government facilities where there’s direct interaction between employees and the public
In Federal Executive Branch buildings in DC (based on Federal guidance, not DC law) except when in private office
Unlike in May 2021 when mask mandate was originally removed, DC does not appear to be mandating masks in healthcare settings but it was highly likely that all or nearly all healthcare providers and hospitals will continue to require them.
On July 29th, Mayor Bowser re-instituted a mask mandate in DC effective July 31st which required residents and visitors of DC to follow DC Health guidance mandating masking in indoor public settings, including grocery stores, restaurants/bars, places of worship, gyms, office buildings (except when alone in an enclosed office), libraries, indoor entertainment venues, and common areas of apartment/condo buildings. Because this is a frequent topic of debate on the Barred in DC Twitter feed, and Axios reporter Chelsea Cirruzzo covered local rules, I thought I’d do a quick FAQ of the mask mandate, including what prompted DC to reinstate the indoor aspect of the mask mandate, what’s CDC’s role here, what other states/large cities have mask mandates, and potential metrics. Based on what I’ve been told, I expect DC to announce metrics soon, likely this upcoming week, but it’s still interesting to see what else people have been doing. Note: Mask mandates referred to here aren’t referring to government building mask mandates or K-12 public schools-there are way more places that have those mandates still.
WHY DID DC REIMPOSE MASK MANDATE?
This is an easy one-it’s mentioned in both the Mayor’s order and DC Health guidance: because on July 27th, CDC issued updated guidance recommending that even fully vaccinated people should “wear a mask indoors in public if they are in an area of substantial or high transmision.” This threshold is met either when the county has had 50 or more total new cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days or when test positivity rate is 8% or higher. Because DC has around 700,000 people, the case translates to roughly 50 cases/day, 350 in a 7 day period-and except for 2 weekend days in mid October (due to lack of reporting those 2 days), DC has had been at the level since July 26th, peaking at at a case rate of 269/100,000 on September 18-19th. Right now the rate has leveled off at around 80-90 since October 18th. DC hasn’t really even come close using the alternative positivity rate metric-peaking during that time period at 5% in mid August and currently around 1.3-1.4%.
SO DC IS JUST FOLLOWING THE CDC, RIGHT?
Kind of but not exactly. The July 27th guidance is directed to you and me because CDC wanted to tell people – “hey you still might get a breakthrough infection and it’s more likely when there are more cases so we recommend you mask up indoors.” Less discussed was a complementary guidance released the same day to public health practitioners (as well as schools, businesses, and institutions). In that guidance, the CDC says that when an area meets the community transmission level metric referenced above, “CDC recommends community leaders encourage vaccination and universal masking in indoor public spaces…” There’s nothing in the guidance that recommends that jurisdictions impose mask mandates. But DC, like other places, have generally followed CDC’s recommendations and translated these to become mandates during the pandemic (CDC’s recommendation that fully vaxxed need not mask in May led to the DC mask order being lifted with no restrictions in June), so it was not that suprising for them to keep it. For a more detailed discussion (with links to scientific articles) about why places have a mask mandate, the St. Louis county mask mandate order has a thorough discussion.
WHERE ELSE IS THERE A MASK MANDATE IN THE DC AREA?
Prince George’s County
Montgomery County reimposed a mandate in summer but lifted it recently because they had went under the 50 case rate for 7 days.
WHERE ELSE IS THERE A MASK MANDATE IN THE US?
If you haven’t left DC recently, you might think that aside from rural areas and red states, most of the country still has an indoor mask mandate. You would be wrong.
Only six states (plus DC and Puerto Rico) have them:
Oregon (outdoors too)
Of course that doesn’t tell whole story-cities and counties can issue mask orders too. Still, only roughly 1/3 of the the 50 largest cities (ranked by metro area) in the US are covered by a current indoor mask mandates:
Dallas (sort of-requires biz to have policies requiring masks but doesn’t actually require residents to wear masks directly)
Atlanta, Memphis, and New Orleans recently lifted their mask mandates after cases improved.
Notable omissions: New York City, Detroit, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver.
ARE ALL THE INDOOR MASK MANDATES THE SAME AS DC?
No. Because CDC’s mask guidance to fully vaccinated individuals was pretty basic/simple (mask in indoor public settings when cases/positivity reach a certain threshhold), jurisdictions who imposed mandates have different nuances compared to DC.
Notable differences include:
Philadelphia: no masks required in businesses that have vaccine mandates and have a reasonable procedure for confirming status of staff/customers/others. Exemption doesn’t apply to essential biz like grocery stores, pharmacies, health care providers.
Washington State: no masks required for fully vaccinated staff who work in areas not open to public
SF/Oakland: no mask required for fully vaxxed offices, gyms, and fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, religious gatherings, and indoor college classes or other organized gatherings (fewer than 100 ppl). Still applies to restaurants/bars
Chicago: no masks required for staff working in places not open to public if there’s 6 feet distance between staff and they have static work locations (like cubicles)
Boston: no masks required at businesses not open to general public
DO ALL THE OTHER PLACES HAVE METRICS FOR REMOVING MASK MANDATES?
No, most do not. Those who have announced metrics mostly base it on the CDC threshold where masking is recommended for fully vaxxed and keeping it under that line for 1, 2 (most common), 3, or even 4 weeks. Only the Bay Area factors in vax rate/eligibility timeframes explicitly. Those with metrics include the following:
Nevada: county removed from mandate after 2 consecutive weeks (checked each Tuesday) below 50 case rate/8% positivity. Mandate back on if 2 consecutive weeks above threshhold
Bay Area: 3 consecutive weeks below 50 case rate/8% positivity + low/stable hospitalization + either 80% total population fully vaxxed or early January 2022, 8 weeks after 5-11 vax authorized
Chicago: not formally announced, but suggested 2 consecutive weeks below 50 case rate/8% positivity
Baltimore: not formally announced, but suggested 2 consecutive weeks below 50 case rate/8% positivity
Sacramento: Below 35 case rate for 7 days
Atlanta (just removed): over course of 10 days, city cases average below 75, hospitalizations average below 200, positivity rate under 5%
Charlotte: 7 day average positivity rate below 5% for 7 consecutive days
Columbus: 4 consecutive weeks below 50 case rate/8% positivity
Raleigh: cases under 50 case rate for 7 days
Memphis (just removed): cases under 50 case rate
Montgomery County (just removed): cases under 50 case rate for 7 days. Will be reinstated if cases above 50 case rate for 7 days. Also will end once entire population is 85% fully vaxxed
Federal agencies Government wide guidance: Masks no longer required in area if cases under 50 case rate/8% positivity rate for 2 consecutive weeks.
Earlier this year, Mayor Bowser signed the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget into law. One major aspect of the bill (see page 54-56 here) was a new $40 million Small Business Rent Relief Program. This grant program, tweaked slightly from the original proposal considered by the DC Council, awards grants to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and brick & mortar retail establishments in DC equal to 1/3 of the business’s past-due rent for the 4/1/20 – 3/31/21 time period. The tenant/business owner would be required to pay 1/3 of the past due rent, with the landlord agreeing to forgo 1/3 of the past due rent. A DC government official told me that the program is currently being designed now that the fiscal year is upon us; I hope that details and the application are released soon.
The grant program would be limited to spots:
Operating on leased property
With 2020 revenue of no more than $5 million
In Good Standing with DC Tax/Revenue
Lease that extends to at least the end of 2023
Did not receive the SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) or Shuttered Venue Operators Grants.
That would get current on rent if the grant was awarded.
Priority given to biz who didn’t get PPP loans.
An earlier verison of the bill limited the fund to spots that have been open since December 1, 2019, but the enacted law allows spots that opened and began operating in 2020-2021 to benefit. If the small business was open in 2019 or before, it must show a 50% decrease in revenue during any 3 month period during that April 2020-March 2021 period. If it’s a new business, it just has to incur “significant costs or losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic” as determined by DC.
A separate $40 million fund provides money to hotels in DC.
*Proof of recent negative COVID result also accepted (almost everyone just shows vax card)
Photos on your phone always accepted. For some places under 12 and outdoor space exempt.
Feel free to support the Barred in DC Patreon if this content is helpful, follow @barredindc on Twitter for updated.
Logan Circle/14th St/U Street
Number Nine (bar)*
The Crown & Crow (bar)
Jane Jane (bar)*
Black Cat (bar/music venue)*
The Dirty Goose (bar)*
Nellie’s Sports Bar (bar)*
Franklin Hall (bar)*
9:30 Club (music venue)
Lincoln Theater (music venue)
DC9 (bar/music venue)*
Service Bar (bar)
Qui Qui (restaurant)
Oyster Oyster (restaurant)
Ivy and Coney (bar)*
All Souls (bar)
Lost and Found (bar)*
Free State (bar)*
Sounchek (music venue)*
The Hamilton Live (music venue – shows only)*
Flight Wine Bar (bar)
Adams Morgan/Mt Pleasant/Woodley Park
Tail Up Goat (restaurant)*
Reveler’s Hour (restaurant)*
Bedrock Billiards (bar)*
The Green Zone (bar)*
Suns Cinema (bar/movie theater)
Martha Dear (restaurant)
Madam’s Organ (music venue/bar)
Hill Prince (bar)
The Pug (bar)
Pie Shop (bar/music venue)*
The Public Option (bar)
City Winery (restaurant/bar/music venue)*
Echostage (music venue)*
Atlas Ivy City (brewery/music venue – shows and events only)*
One Eight Distilling (bar/distillery)*
Capitol Hill/Eastern Market
Mr. Henry’s (restaurant/bar/music venue)
The Duck and the Peach (restaurant)
La Collina (restaurant)
The Wells (bar)
Crazy Aunt Helen’s (restaurant)
Navy Yard/The Wharf
Maialino Mare (restaurant)
Anchovy Social (bar)
Union Stage (music venue)*
Pearl Street Warehouse (music venue/bar)*
The Anthem (music venue)
1310 Kitchen (restaurant)
Blues Alley (music venue)*
Cathedral Heights/Tenleytown/Chevy Chase
2 Amy’s (restaurant)
Muchas Gracias (restaurant)
Comet Ping Pong (music venue – concerts only)*
Bier Baron / DC Comedy Loft (bar/music venue))*
Wonderland Ballroom (bar)*
Reliable Tavern (bar)*
St. Vincent (bar)*
Cotton & Reed (distillery/bar) (take out too)
Songbyrd (bar/music venue)*
Theaters: Avalon Theatre (movies), Anacostia Playhouse, Arena Stage, Atlas Performing Arts Center (Mosaic, Scena), Constellation Theatre at the Source, Ford’s Theatre, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Keegan, Shakespeare Theatre, Signature Theatre, Spooky Action Theatre, Studio Theatre, Theater J, The Kennedy Center, Washington Improv, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
This week, the Council of DC introduced a revised Fiscal Year 2022 budget that includes a new $40 million Small Business Rent Relief Program. This program would award grants to restaurants and bars, as well as retail establishments, physically located in the District equal to 1/3 of the business’s past-due rent for the 1 year period of April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021. The business owner would be required to pay 1/3 of the rent, and the landlord would certify that they are forgiving 1/3 of the past due rent. Review text starting on page 360.
As currently written, the plan would be limited to only those spots:
Open since December 1, 2018 (temporarily closed during pandemic still eligible)
For-profit, brick & mortar, with 2020 revenue of no more than $5 million
In good standing with DC Tax/Revenue
50% decrease in revenue for any April 2020-March 2021 3 month period compared to 2019.
With lease extended at least until end of 2023
Did not receive SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants
Can demonstrate that they will pay 1/3 of the past due rent for that one year
Any businesses that did not receive PPP loans would be prioritized first. Because the fiscal year does not start until October 1st, no funds would be awarded until then.
This is similar (though less generous) than a plan put forward by Mark Lee of the D.C. Nightlife Council.
Some thoughts: I think it’s smart to focus on the businesses who didn’t win the RRF lottery that was stupidly crafted by Congress to give all or nothing. I would suggest changing the Dec 1, 2018 open dates and the lease end of 2023 requirements into priority groups as I think there will be funds left over.
Will keep posted as plan goes through review and possible signing into law by Mayor Bowser.
The revised budget also includes a $40 million COVID-19 Hotel Recovery Grant Program that would give $3500-$7000/room to hotels that suffered at least a 40% decrease in occupancy during pandemic.
It’s been five years since the DC Streetcar finally opened and for almost that long, people have been bar hopping using it. If you been following Barred in DC since the beginning, you may recall that an early feature were public transportation bar crawls (90 series bus, 70 bus, 42 bus, DC Circulator were all events attended by friends and family only-though open to all-in 2013-2015). So it’s just natural that we’d finally host another bar hopping event Friday, July 23rd starting at 8pm with the DC Streetcar taking us from each establishment to the next.
8pm: Cafe Fili. No bars are open in Union Station after 7p so this is closest spot with a bar near the beginning of Streetcar. Really good food here so if you want to grab dinner may want to stop here early
8:50p: Walk about 1000 feet to the western terminus of the DC Streetcar on the Hopscotch Bridge. Stairs up to H St off 2nd St NE (around 5 minute walk). Take DC streetcar to next stop.
9:00p: Arrive at The Big Board (adjacent to 5th and H NE stop)
9:55p: Take DC Streetcar from 5th and H NE to 13th and H NE stop
10:00p: Arrive at 13th and H NE stop. Depending on size of crowd, walk to H Street Country Club and/or Hill Prince about 400 feet away.
This event is not officially sanctioned or endorsed by DC Streetcar.
No drinking or eating on the DC Streetcar
Masks are legally required to be worn on the DC Streetcar and by any business if a sign requires it.
None of the bars we are visiting are partnering with Barred in DC, so no specials or anything.
On the verge of summer, frozen drinks at DC’s bars and restaurants will be popular. So I asked Barred in DC’s Twitter followers for their best frozen drinks. Here’s a list of the most popular spots and drinks. Note that usually if a spot has one great frozen drink, they usually have more.
Cotton & Reed (Union Market area)
Cocomotion ($13) – White & Gold rums, Lacto-coco, pina, pandan
Note: This is the best frozen cocktail Barred in DC has ever had anywhere.
DistrictDaiquiri (Bloomingdale, H Street): popup DCity Smokehouse and Sol ($13 16 oz, $22 32 oz, $40 1/2 gallon)
Baan Siam (Mt Vernon Triangle): Frozen Lychee & White Lotus slushees ($12)
Jimmy Valentine’s (H Streetish): Mr. Lethal ($8-10ish, root beer vodka slushie)
Mercy Me (West End): Kick Ass Colada ($14)
The Smith (U St location): French 75 Slushie ($14.50)
Millie’s (Spring Valley): Riptide ($10 or $14)
Others Mentioned: Dirty Habit, La Famosa, Bammy’s, Purple Patch, El Chucho, 600T, Board Room, Chupacabra, Grand Duchess, Chaplin’s, Lost and Found, Estadio, Roofer’s Union, BKK Cookshop, Due South, Carmine’s, Free State, DC9, Takoda, Casta’s, Lulu’s Wine Garden, Breadsoda, Le Diplomate, El Centro DF, Columbia Room, El Rey
The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, aka Euro 2020, was postponed a year due to the pandemic, and arguably the 2nd most popular world soccer competition-at least the 2nd most accessible one-(behind the World Cup) kicks off Friday June 11th, ending Sunday July 11th.
DC, being one of the biggest TV markets for international soccer in the US, will have a fair share of bars that will attract fans for a fun watch experience. Matches are 9a, noon, and 3p DC time most days until Saturday June 19th, and mostly Noon and 3p after that.
It does not appear that any bar in DC will be opening early to show every single match, but there are certain spots that will be great places to watch. Because all matches are ESPN, ESPN2, or ABC, every bar with a TV that is open before 5p can have it on. Fritz Hahn for the Post has another good round-up (and reporting about the challenges)
If you like this content and want more of it, feel free to support Barred in DC’s Patreon.
The Barred in DC 51 is here.Fifty-one of Barred in DC’s Twitter followers’ favorite DC bars are listed belowand at the linked mapcreated by follower and GIS analyst Chelsea Richardson (@ccmakesmaps). Derived through Twitter poll results, including 39 bars from the Barred in DC Bar Madness that took place in March 2020 and more polling in May 2021, this list should be a solid starting place for popular places to check out if you’re new to DC (including those who moved here during the pandemic, several of which inspired me to create this list), particularly if you’re a yuppie/hipster (or both, a “yupster”). I’ve had a drink at all 51 and I agree all of these are worth visiting (though some I definitely wouldn’t count in my favorites). If you find this post worthwhile, feel free to contribute to the Patreon. Not all DC dive bars are listed-you can find the Barred in DC Definitive List here.
Note: This list is not exhaustive or even representative of the DC’s bars and restaurants. Significantly, this list (because the bars were based on popularity from those who follow me on Twitter-undoubtedly mostly White and straight) lacks LGBTQ bars (e.g., Pitchers/ALOHO, TRADE, The Dirty Goose, Uproar), bars that predominately cater to Black patrons (e.g., Stan’s, Georgena’s Player’s Lounge, Park at 14th, Mr. Braxton’s), as well as clubby/loungey spots, and meat markety bars full of people right out of college. There are a ton of great bars in DC so not being included on this list doesn’t mean that a particular bar is not amazing.
The Barred in DC 51
Those spots in bold are particular favorites of Barred in DC and/or top 16 favorite spots of readers. Spots in italics are currently temporarily closed.
#BlagFam neigborhood spot
Classy and/or Trendy
Massive whiskey collection with massive terrace
Squirt bottles/mix your own drinks.
The Green Zone
Classy and/or Trendy
Middle East meets cocktails
Ivy and Coney
Chicago, Detroit, Malort
A corner bar. BiDC’s Favorite
Lost and Found
lower Shaw neighborhood spot
Classy and/or Trendy
THE cocktail bar
Dacha Beer Garden Shaw
German beer garden
Right Proper Shaw
Great located brewery
Classy and/or Trendy
“Urban backyard” and adult juice boxes
14th//U St/Logan Circle
Classy and/or Trendy
Best beer bar in DC
Mr. Solomon’s place
American Ice Co.
swachos and picklebacks
Classy and/or Trendy
cocktails and chill
beer hall/sports bar
cozy beer garden
basement, popcorn, and canned beer
Tony’s joint-Dad/craft beer + whiskey
The Queen Vic
Little Miss Whiskey’s
New Orleans on H with dance parties
H St Country Club
mini-golf, games, tequila
Classy and/or Trendy
Cocktails and skewers
Duffy’s Irish Pub
cozy Irish pub and sports bar
Classy and/or Trendy
cocktails and good vibes
DC’s original hipster dive
11th Street mainstay w/ dancing
Bright & airy brewery
Walters Sports Bar
sports bar and pour your own beer
Atlas Half Street
brewery and streetside beer garden
Bloomingdale’s neighborhood pub
Cash only, great jukebox, low ceilings
The Pub and the People
Neighborhood bar for Bloomingdale/Eckington
Old Ebbitt Grill
Classy and/or Trendy
Tourists and industry collide
Basement, popcorn, and draft beer
Capitol Hill (including Barracks Row & Eastern Market)
Capitol Hill classic since 1947. open early
Hill East neighborhood spot w/ a schoolbus
DC’s Hidden Beer Garden/Sports Bar
Eastern Market’s neighborhood bar
Classy and/or Trendy
Currently Fight Club, Buffalo heads watch
DC’s best Irish pub w/ live music
The Midlands Beer Garden
Park View Beer Garden
Looking Glass Lounge
neighorhoody, vintagey spot
Classy and/or Trendy
northern Dupont cocktail bar
Classy and/or Trendy
classic cocktails and tiki
Duke’s Grocery Dupont
lowkey spot with a highkey burger
lower priced Union Market drinks.
Dew Drop Inn
Throwback spot on the side of the tracks
Cleveland Park neighborhood Irish pub
Other Spots Mentioned by Followers Multiple Times or of Note : The Big Stick, Georgena’s Players Lounge, The Berliner, Brookland Pint, Jimmy Valentine’s, Pitchers/A League of Her Own, The Sovereign, Brookland’s Finest, TikiTNT, Jackie Lee’s, Breadsoda, Duke’s Grocery Foggy Bottom, The Raven Grill, Reliable Tavern, Free State, Union Trust, Le Bar a Vin, Slash Run, Morris, The Big Board, Across the Pond, Biergarten Haus, Red Bear Brewery, DC9, Pop’s Sea Bar, Fox and Hounds, Cleveland Park Bar & Grill, Madam’s Organ, Bar Pilar, The Roost, Archipelago, Stan’s, The Eastern, Cantina Bambina, Granville Moore’s