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 settled into its new Shaw location, there's a rooftop with killer views, an ode to New Orleans and plenty of offerings for wine lovers. Here are the 10 hot spots to hit next time you're looking to wet your whistle.
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: Vieux Carré, Sazerac, 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).
Must-order: Salers (a traditional French apéritif), a cider from Normandy or one of the four rosés offered by the glass
Insider tip: There’s a special take-out menu for cheese and charcuterie boards, as well as a few sandwiches — all perfect for a light dinner at home.
Must-order: Ricotta Situation, a creamy mix of fig liqueur, ricotta, lemon, raw honey and vanilla
Insider tip: With a gorgeous heated patio and a Peruvian coin-toss game called Sapo, the neighborhood spot is a great place for whiling away the hours. Be sure to check out Radiator's brunch service too, which features everything from duck 'n' waffles to Nutella French toast.
Must-order: A classic Aviation or a S’mores, which blends graham cracker bourbon, burnt marshmallow syrup and chocolate bitters
Insider tip: The menu also offers bites like crispy pork ears and BBQ lettuce wraps, and the best seat in the house is near the bay window when it's too cold to sit on the porch.
Must-order: Little Miss Dangerous, a blend of eight-year rum, Cynar, muscadine vinegar and tonic
Insider tip: Chef Nathan Anda keeps things fresh by highlighting a weekly beer, plus — much to meat eaters' delight — a pork and sausage of the week.