Washington D.C.'s nightlife is exciting and diverse, but it can be intimidating to a newcomer just getting into the scene. With so many different Washington DC bars to choose from, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices you have when heading out for a night on the town. Even longtime DC residents may overlook some of these hidden gems. Read this article to get the inside scoop on the city's most popular watering holes.
The Capitol City Brewing Company
A great place to start off your night, the Capitol Brewing Company boasts 8 different in-home microbrews on tap at any given time. Some of their signature beers include: Capitol Kolsch, Pale Rider Ale, Amber Waves Ale, and Probhibition Porter. They have seasonal beers as well.
If you're looking to fuel up for a long pub crawl, the Capitol Brewing Company has some tasty appetizers and entrees such as Capitol City nachos, ahi tuna, hummus, Eastern Shore crab dip, chili and spicy chicken wings. You can also find pizza, pasta and salads here, as well as a kids menu.
If you're in a hurry you can sit at the expansive bar. Otherwise, the ample dining room provides a swanky yet cozy atmosphere in which to devour your grub and sample some delicious hand-crafted microbrews.
Locating The Capitol City Brewery
1100 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
The Big Hunt
After dinner, dive into some funky local digs at The Big Hunt, a local's favorite. The Big Hunt runs daily specials on drinks like Pabst Blue Ribbon beers for $2.50 from 4 to 7 pm, $3 rail drinks and a one dollar discount on any other drinks purchased during this generously long happy hour.
The Big Hunt also serves up some tasty tex-mex appetizers like tacos, burritos, nachos and quesadillas courtesy of their on-site taqueria.
Probably the biggest draw for The Big Hunt is its active local music scene. There's a good chance you'll find some live music here on weekend nights. The Big Hunt has four floors and four different bars on-site, making it a great place to mingle with local DC residents.
Getting to the Big Hunt in DC
1345 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
The Buddha Bar
Once you've gotten your fill of excitement, mellow out in the Buddha Bar, a bar and restaurant that took a meditation spa's approach to fine dining and delicious cocktails. The Buddha Bar is a tranquil place that serves asian and fusion cuisine like shrimp potstickers with lobster, fresh sushi and rich desserts including cheese cakes and fresh fruit sorbets.
The mood here is energized yet calm. It's a refreshing place to share an intimate meal with a few friends or to take your sweetheart to for some after-work cocktails. Yes, there really is a giant golden Buddha inside.
When you're in the mood for something different and a cut above the plastic-cup rage fests, check out the Buddha Bar for a rejuvinating dining and drinking experience.
How to Get to The Buddha Bar
455 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Fado - Irish Pub and Restaurant
Fado one of Washington DC's better known Irish Pubs and a place where the "perfect pint" is obsessively pursued. If you're in the mood for a chewy dark stout and some tasty fried food to go along with it, check out Fado.
When that craving for fish and chips hits Fado has you covered. Fado keeps Harp, Smithwicks and Guiness on tap, just to name a few beers. They also have an impressive array of whiskeys like Bushmills 10, 16 and 21 year malts, in addition to Jameson, Midleton, Powers, Red Breast and Tullamore dew. Fado's is certainly whiskey drinker's heaven.
The atmosphere is cheerful and compact and it's a great place to catch your favorite rugby or soccer game. The pub's website proudly boasts that Saturday and Sunday opening hours are determined by sports!
Making Your Way to Fado's Irish Pub
808 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Fast Eddie's Sports Bar
Speaking of games, did you know you can legally place bets at Fast Eddie's Sports Bar & Grill? Nothing compliments a hot chicken club sandwich like laying all your money on the favored horse. If you're not much for gambling you can still have a blast country line dancing at Fast Eddies.
You can also talk your friends into noise pollution charges on Karaoke night if you're feeling devilish. Fast Eddie's Sports Bar has daily specials on food, like $5 burgers on Monday and $5 mile-high nacos on Wednesdays. Eddies offers a wide variety of beers on tap as well as traditional cocktails and liquor.
Perhaps the true pedigree of any good sports bar is the number of televisions it has on hand for watching big games. Fast Eddie's has 27 flat screen TVs throughout the bar, in addition to a monster 150 inch projection high-definition TV for the truly important sporting events like the Super Bowl.
Making Your Way to Fast Eddie's Sports Bar
1520 K St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Cobalt - Gay Bar and Nightclub
One of DC's most popular gay bars and nightclubs for many years, Cobalt was shut down by a fire only to re-open in 2001 as a combination dance club and restaurant. Cobalt offers dining on its first floor and DJ-fueled dance parties on its top level. Cobalt hosts Karaoke nights on Wednesdays and Sundays and a buy-one-get-one-free special for happy hour each day from 4-9pm.
Cobalt's Levelone is a "casual chic" restaurant that serves lunch and dinner and caters to large parties. It offers a large outdoor seating area that's great for spring and summer brunches. Menu items include chicken salad wraps, lamb burger and french onion soups.
Locating Cobalt Gay Bar and Nightclub
1639 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Tips for Having a Safe and Fun Night Out In Washington DC
Never drink and drive - this goes for anywhere, but I can tell you that Washington D.C. has FIVE kinds of police operating within the district at any given time. Just don't risk it. Instead, set aside some cash for taxis if you don't want to walk.
Oftentimes, your best option will be riding the metro. Washington's subway system is cheap and comprehensive.
The metro opens at 5am Monday through Friday and closes at midnight Sunday through Thursday.
It opens at 7am on Saturday and Sunday, but closes at 3am on Friday and Saturday.
Fares are usually $1-4 depending on how far you are going, and you can enjoy free transfers to bus lines within the metropolitan transport zone if you purchase and charge a metro card as opposed to a one-time paper ticket.
Bars close early in this city. This surprises many visitors, seeing as it's the nation's capitol, but we're still dealing with the holdouts of old southern gentry attitudes and ordinances here. Keep this in mind when planning your night out. Most locals start earlier on in order to get their fill. Meet up with your friends for dinner around 6 or 7pm and you'll have plenty of time to soak in the scene and get your time in bar hopping in Washington DC.