It's a great time to go out for drinks in DC, thanks to a fresh crop of bars throughout the city. Along with the long-anticipated return of Tom Brown's beloved cocktail den, The Passenger, now nicely settled into its new Shaw location, there's a bumper crop of new sports bars just in time for March Madness. Here are the 10 hot spots to hit next time you're looking to wet your whistle.
Must-order: Whichever of the 14 locally sourced craft beers on draft strikes your fancy
Insider tip: Check Twitter and Facebook for updates on business hours since it sometimes opens early for midday games and events at the nearby Verizon Center.
Must-order: A glass of the hard-to-find Black Dirt bourbon on the rocks
Insider tip: If you turn up between 7 AM and 2 PM weekdays, you'll find the coffee shop pop-up Small Chop DC serving pastries and coffees made with beans from DC-based Lost Sock Roasters.
Must-order: Beer is the focus here, with 14 drafts ranging from PBR to stout to Belgian farmhouse ales to sours — plus a local mead.
Insider tip: With several screens available for game days, the bar opens 15 minutes before early games during the week, offering coffee and free Wi-Fi for those who need to work while they watch.
Must-order: The Redbeard, a blend of rum, Campari, ginger and lemon
Insider tip: Check the calendar on the website for info on tours and events, like a hands-on screen-printing class (with a cocktail, of course).
Must-order: Baked apple and pear gin and tonic
Insider tip: There’s a small private room in the back that offers two levels of cocktail tastings — a $25 “cocktailery” menu that includes three rounds, and a $75 “tomfoolery” menu that covers five rounds and a few surprises.
Must-order: The Blonde Bullet, a mix of Four Roses Bourbon, Basque cider, lemon juice and ginger foam
Insider tip: It’s first come, first served, which means there might be a list to get in during busy times — but repeat customers sometimes receive a card that gives them head-of-the-line status.
Must-order: Gin-n-Thyme, a blend of gin, thyme-violet honey and iced chamomile tea
Insider tip: Arrive around 6 PM for the best pick of seating, and be sure to bring your sunscreen on hot days: Those sweeping views come with plenty of rays.
Must-order: The deal here is that you tell the seasoned bartenders what you like, and they whip up something based on your taste
Insider tip: For those who can’t handle the willy-nilly ordering, check Facebook to preview a small selection of daily cocktails featured on a chalkboard.
Must-order: Classic NOLA cocktails like the Vieux Carré, Sazerac or Ramos Gin Fizz
Insider tip: Happy hour takes place from 5–7:30 PM daily, when beers and wines are $2 off and cocktails cost $9 instead of the usual $12 (both prices include tax).