Drink in the District: Our Picks for the Best Bars in Washington, D.C.

There’s never been a better time to be thirsty in Washington, D.C., where craft brewing and distilling are booming simultaneously. Here are 12 places to check out the scene.
By: Guest Blogger
By Laura Hayes

There’s never been a better time to be thirsty in Washington, D.C., where craft brewing and distilling are booming simultaneously. The city has an undeniably strong bar scene — not only do hardworking locals like to kick back with a cocktail, but District denizens also consume the most wine per capita in the country. Here are 12 locales that should be a part of any imbibing itinerary, from breweries and a distillery to the trendiest places to order drinks. Cheers!

Check out the full gallery for more places to quench your thirst.

When you walk into this cocktail den on 14th Street, you’re supposed to feel like you’re at a good friend’s house party — if that friend were impossibly cool and had impressive bar skills. Descend the stairs and you’ll notice scenesters on barstools and couples tucked into semi-private nooks perusing Bar Director Adam Bernbach’s hand-drawn weekly menu. There’s always balance between booze-forward heavy drinks and more delicate tropical cocktails or punches. Bananas Is My Business, for example, blends whiskey, amaro, hefeweizen and banana soda. As with sibling restaurants Proof and Estadio, 2 Birds has restroom decor that’s well worth a peek.

Beers served mere hours after sunrise, all-day breakfast, a beer-battered burger and plenty of local history all make the Tune Inn one of the most-beloved dives in the city. Open since 1947, the bar has been run by three generations of the Nardelli family, which helps keep locals and Hill staffers coming back. An appearance on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives may have contributed to the well-deserved hype, but what’s not to love about drinking dirt-cheap cans of beer (paired with shots when necessary) in a low-lit watering hole embellished by taxidermy?

You can hit the beach without even leaving town, thanks to Pop’s SeaBar and its retro sips. This urban beach bar puts twists on beloved, familiar classics, like its Hup Hup Orange Crush, combining vodka, aquavit, Combier, orange juice and lemon. It’s finished with oranges that get charred on the grill, adding an unexpected depth of flavor. Also try the most-Instagrammable drink in the city: an Ice Cream Luge. It’s hard not to want to snap a picture while a server pours amaro down the side of an ice cream sandwich. The bar keeps up the beach theme with fried seafood — an excellent pairing with the canned beers. You can either pay $1 to keep your can cool in a Pop’s SeaBar koozie, or bring in any you kept as a wedding souvenir and they’ll trade you for it.

For more top bars, including our picks for best beer garden, date night and distillery, check out the full gallery. Then tell us: What's your favorite summer drink? 

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