There are many awesome bars in D.C., far too many to list here. However, if you live in DC, or plan to visit, here are five bars I absolutely adore:
In the trendy Logan Circle neighborhood (where I used to live, and still miss!), Black Whiskey is a dark, moody dive bar with just enough sophistication to make it uber approachable (yet very D.C.). There’s a kick ass whisk(e)y selection, for both the brown water novice and seasoned whiskey drinker. I had my first dram there, a blended Scotch called Monkey Shoulder (named after traditional malt men who laboriously turned malted barley by hand, hence dubbed as having “monkey shoulder”) and it remains one of my favorite scotches to date. Order a dram, play some pool, and chat with friends while listening to raucous classic hard rock, throbbing 90s Hip-Hop, or groovy alternative tunes. This is a great, low-frill, everyday whiskey bar.
Columbia Room feels deliciously indulgent. It boasts studded leather chairs, leather bound books (many about cocktails), and incredible cocktails. I had "We Came For Gold" - which features miso-infused Pisco (unaged clear Brandy from Peru/Chile, depending on whom you ask). It was outstanding - as was the service. Whether you imbibe in the leather library room, have punch on the patio, or partake in their special cocktail tasting menu in the Mosaic art-filled private room - you can't go wrong at Columbia Room.
3) Copycat Co
I love this bar! It's a cozy size, has great natural light filtering through carved-wood ensconced window, and a massive chalkboard wall with colorful educational drawings that teach you about your drink (for us cocktail nerds out there). Pie charts quickly explain proportions, and fun illustrations of ingredients whet your appetite. Top it all off with lively bartenders who showcase the rigorous art of cocktail shaking - and you have an experience - not just a visit to a bar.
4) Jack Rose
Swoon! Whisk(e)y Lovers - this is OUR bar. Prepare for a visually stunning room comprised of WALLS of whisk(e)y. Real whisk(e)y. All kinds of whisk(e)y. Did I mention there's whisk(e)y?! So, if you're particular about brands, adventurously searching for next favorite dram, or a design freak (like me) get your butt to Jack Rose. Also visit the downstairs speakeasy "Dram and Grain" where I had a delicious cocktail "Ardbeg for it" featuring peat monster Islay Ardbeg Scotch and citrus notes. Yum!
5) The Dabney
The Dabney is in Blagden Alley - right next to Columbia Room - so there's no excuse not to try this amazing restaurant/bar in conjunction with going to Columbia Room. Upon entering - you are greeted with the light filled bar, which has clean white shelving design. The open concept of the space also treats you to views of the open fire oven in back, and kitchen staff milling about preparing dishes that earned this restaurant a place on Food & Wine's 2016 short list of "Restaurants of the Year". The bartenders are great, also - especially @frankie2pants who made me a New York sour themed gin drink "Sink or swim"- with pousse cafe style layering! Tastes as amazing as it looks. Go here!
In closing - I hope you'll consider these wonderful spots next time you crave a great drink, and even greater experience. Let me know what y'all think!!!! Cheers!
Spirits/Cocktails/Bar enthusiast who celebrates/promotes better side of drinking. I create cocktail recipes at home and take artsy fartsy photographs of my drinks @sip.ponder.repeat on Instagram.