So many options, so little time. Linger at one of the bars below or hit up several for a night of progressive drinking (all are within walking distance of one another — and the Metrorail). Below are eight standout downtown drinking establishments.
1. La Carafe (pictured above)
Believed to be the oldest bars in town (the building was built in 1847), the comfy two-story watering hole features exposed brick, stained glass windows and several old paintings. Two things worth noting before you go: the place has a cash-only policy and a spooky appeal. It’s allegedly haunted.
Heavy pours, numerous beers on tap and a solid jukebox (think Bob Willis and Willie Nelson) have kept people coming to the laid-back joint for decades (it opened in 1978, moving to its current address in 1987). Subdued lighting sets the stage for making a move on your date without stares from your neighbors.
Get your alterations done while you imbibe. Family-owned and operated, the one-stop shop is not only a tailor (Monday-Saturday; 10 AM-6 PM), but a bar (which opens at the same time). The drinks are simple and stiff, and a second-floor balcony overlooks Market Square Park.
The bar cheerfully combines charity (all proceeds go to a different nonprofit or social cause each month), booze and easy eats (from paninis to waffle fries and freshly baked cookies). Partake in a game of shuffleboard at the saloon, housed in a historic building between Market Square and Main.
5. Little Dipper
From the owners of Poison Girl, Antidote and Black Hole, the cozy place has a neighborhood feel and eclectic decor. Choose from a roster of liquors or a focused selection of wine and beer.
6. Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar
The second-floor speakeasy-like space features an upstairs balcony overlooking Main Street, long central wooden bar and music played on vinyl records.
7. The Pastry War (pictured above)
The sibling to Okra Charity Saloon has a drink list with a tequila and mezcal slant. Hide in a corner booth, relax on the patio, play a game of pool in the back room or mingle at the bar while enjoying a classic Mexican cocktail or beer.
8. Clutch City Squire
Cheers to cheap beer and a good time. What’s more, there’s also a pool table, TVs and a small front patio at the low-key space.