The DC Singles’ Guide

— UNDER HEAVY CONSTRUCTION—

[Just like 18th Street, HA!]

Apparently, my break-down of DC has proven pretty useful to friends and visitors, so I’ve decided to start highlighting them. I will describe the areas I know well, and key in any specific places under the neighborhood heading.

I don’t like how this image cuts off the northern Mount Pleasant and Petworth areas, but it will have to do.

COLUMBIA HEIGHTS/ PETWORTH

I am utterly and unapologetically biased here. My little corner of NW, home of two years and counting, stole my heart from the first visit. Actually two different neighborhoods, but often spoken as one. In addition to the following bars, there are a number of fantastic restaurants. Highly recommend: Red Rocks, Maple, Pho 14, Thaitanic. Full of great dives, kickass people, and genuine atmosphere. Home.

Wonderland Ballroom: Everyone will tell you to go here. Do it. We’re there most nights after work, and always have the corner booth and constant service. It feels like our Industry Clubhouse during the week. Weekends turn into a crazy hipster dance party, so expect to breath in more moisture than oxygen, and to be covered in sweat, beer, and craziness within minutes.

Meridian Pint: Oh, so many beer taps… makes my knees go weak. Then you read the beer list, and full swoons come on. So really, the cute bartenders only have to tap me, and I turn into a puddle of happiness.

Red Derby: I have a serious crush on this bar. All beer’s in cans, but they’ve a whole list written in chalk on the wall. Their drinks are strong, and staff are genuine. On top of damn funny, and willing to serve back whatever you dish out. They have shelving full of board games, including Jenga and Cards Against Humanity. Best attitude, best place.

Kangaroo Boxing Club: great on non-game nights. If you like sports [especially Michigan], knock yourself out. I’m always there with coworkers after our bars close for a chill end to the night. Limited patio space.

Room 11: class and quality in an intimate, enjoyable setting.

The Pinch: Industry favorite.

Looking Glass: When we feel like adventuring a little farther.

Blue Banana: surprisingly great music venue.

DC Reynolds: I love every experience I’ve had here, and am always confused why I don’t go more often.

U STREET

My kind of nightlife. Just blocks south of home and a wide variety of atmospheres, it fits any mood. Far too many restaurants to quickly list, but quick shoutout to Ben’s Chili Bowl/Next Door, Desperados, and [that italian place w autumn?]. U Street has more vibrancy and genuine DC life than most areas full of clubs and drunk yuppies. Home of DC jazz, DJs, gogo, rap, and blues. A long line of hidden gems and proud social landmarks.

Marvin: Not Marvin’s, just Marvin. The Marvin Gaye namesake works to make its idol proud with a great balance between Motown and gogo, and local spin artists.

Black Cat: favorite venue.

Saint-Ex: great vibe, if not overcrowded. Similar to Wonderland, you go for a sweaty hipster dance party in the basement or a fight to win the bartender’s attention on the main floor.

Local 16

U St Music Hall

Republic Gardens

Twins

Solly’s

Vinoteca

Bohemian Caverns/Liv

Nellie’s

Brixton

Velvet Lounge

 

H STREET

The only reason to go to NorthEast. Ever. I wish it were closer, because I profoundly love so much about it. Unfortunately, the distance issue makes my visits less common. It’s more like a pilgrimage. Notable eateries: Dangerously Delicious, Sticky Rice, [that belgian place w clyde?]. Genuinely is worth the transit hassel, given the music, drinks, and clientele. Don’t miss out.

Rock & Roll Hotel

Red Palace

H St Country Club

Little Miss Whiskey’s

ADAMS MORGAN

Insanity, shoved in a liquor bottle, shaken, and poured over lost memories. Always served steamy, on a dance floor. But seriously, it gets crazy. Great food: Mellow Mushroom, Barrel, and ? Bourbon reportedly has stellar brunch. Also has a number of hookah bars; my favorite is Salwa Cafe, but Soussi and Tangier are legit. A lively, fun time during the week; oppressively busy on weekends. Summertime sees street traffic virtually shut down by 11, for all the drunks wandering around. Work hard to find the hidden gems.

Madam’s Organ: local landmark

Jack Rose

Bourbon

Black Squirrel

Grand Central

Brass Monkey

Chief Ike’s

Napoleon

Havana Club

Shenanigans/Leaky Faucet/etc/ terrible decision

Bossa

 

DUPONT CIRCLE

The ever-important social hub for politicos, financiers, lawyers, and anyone else that has the $20+ cover charge and possible table service the area has to offer. Dress code is enforced, so you better shine your shoes and straighten those collars, boys– the only jeans-and-t’s hoping to get in here better be designer.

18th Street Lounge: Hands down my favorite Dupont spot. This DJ-owned-and-managed bar offers a mix of local talent both spinning tracks on the second floor and in live bands on the third.

  • Bartenders make mean drinks, keep the beers cold, and are pretty fast even on packed Saturday nights. In the Dupont tradition, mixed drinks can be stupid expensive, so I recommend beer or on the rocks.
  • It’s a great place to relax for a classy cocktail hour, captivate you with incredible jazz tunes, or dance your shoes apart to eclectic tracks from electro-house to classic rock and the blues. Complete with a large top-floor patio bar.
  • And on the Singles front, it’s typically visited by very good looking clientele of both genders, so grab a drink and ask someone to dance!
  • Note: While there is no enforced dress code I’m aware of, people tend to look nice here. Their cover on weekend nights runs anywhere from $5-$20 after 11pm. I don’t know what determines it, so try to get there earlier. $3 coat check.

Current Sushi: An early favorite of my DC life, since the close group of friends I first made here had one of the group on staff. It’s a sushi place during the day and through the night, with the second floor opening on nights and weekends as a dance club.

  • These bartenders are great, so treat them right! Those girls will make you the exact drink you want better than you can yourself, or suggest something new you never knew you’d always wanted. They know their shit, and provide service with a smile, joke, and likely friendship.
  • It’s a chic art deco place with great sushi, amazing service, and fun house beats upstairs. The Rosebar on the upstairs patio offers a night sky view, fresh air, and hookahs by request. Try the sake!
  • Note: There is a $20 cover after 11pm, and a strictly enforced dress code. Guys are not permitted in wearing baseball caps, jerseys, wifebeaters, Tim’s, and a variety of other mildly subjective items. [Essentially, don’t look like a stupid thug or stoned high schooler, and you should be fine.] Coats are your own problem.

Midtown: In the mood for sensory overload? This is where you go for an absurdly wild night of liquor, dancing, and large crowds.

  • The staff wear lingerie as a form of uniform, and mix weaker drinks at inflated prices. Seriously, please buy beer or on the rocks, because the cocktails aren’t worth it. [Twice I’ve been served a ‘Manhattan’ that had actual grenadine poured into it by the girl behind the bar– I don’t care if you’re female, don’t ever do that to my whiskey.]
  • The atmosphere is what you go here for. It’s a massive crowd of young, attractive, and mostly single 20-somethings looking to meet and throw down. The club is vaguely European/New York-esque with three separate floors, DJs, and music genres. Includes a small patio for smoking/cool air.
  • Note: I’ve never noticed any dress code beyond baseball cap removal, but everyone tends to show in club wear. NO COVER [except on special occasions]. Coat check offered for $5.

Mad Hatter: I have spent many a crazy night here. Wild combo of college-bar-meets-Dupont-club.

  • Love the bartenders here. Mostly cute guys and cool girls, quick to help [especially the sober, friendly customers], and the full bar includes a GREAT beer tap list [for Dupont]. Food’s decent.
  • The DJ I’ve heard spin here on most occasions is the perfect eclectic talent for me that combines Gaga and Lupe Fiasco with Jackson 5 and The Foundations. The guys are attractive, tall, and understand the expectation is to be pulled on the dance floor; they don’t disappoint. I usually only go here with a girlfriend to be single. Big groups of friends are just a hassle.
  • Note: No cover, no enforced dress code, and $2 coat check. Sweet deal.

Lucky Bar: I have had limited experience here. The Happy Hour is great during the week, highly recommend it. Beyond that, I’ve been once and got the distinct impression that it is heavily populated by bros and sorostitutes, and I didn’t like it. I reserve the right to pull a 180 on this, pending further investigation. Contribute your testimonies if you feel I’ve been unfair. No cover from what I’ve seen, and absolutely no dress code [think frat party day-kegger].

Dirty Martini: Sadly, I haven’t been, other than to run in and say hello to a friend working the bar. I liked the decor, and felt a similar vibe to Current. More details to come.

CHINATOWN

Mostly visited for the movie theater, National Portrait Gallery, or the myriad of sports and game bars. Also, pretty choice happy hour deals. I recommend eating at the little Thai place behind Gallery Place, Oatemel, or ?

Rocket Bar

White Horse

Hill Country

 

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