Best Bars for Groups in Washington

These nightspots can accommodate your friends, and everyone will usually get his or her own seat

By: Michael Gaynor

Twentysomethings flock to Spider Kelly's in Clarendon to play billiards, shuffleboard, and arcade games. Photograph by Chris Leaman

Whoever said “The more the merrier” probably never tried getting a table at a Washington bar on a weekend night. We’ve all been there: You stroll into a local watering hole with a group of friends, then walk right back out when you realize the only way to fit is three people to a stool.

These bars can accommodate your crowd, and everyone will usually get his or her own seat.

Mad Fox Brewing Company
444 W. Broad St., Suite 1, Falls Church; 703-942-6840
Mad Fox Brewing Company’s expansive pub room has a 63-foot bar and enough seating for 130 people. Not surprising, considering it needs all that space to house massive 15-barrel beer tanks holding the bar’s delicious house-brewed drafts.

Bourbon
2321 18th St., NW, 202-332-0800; 2348 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-625-7770
Take a group to Bourbon and be treated to a special series of tastings of the eponymous liquor as your own private bartender teaches everyone the fine points of the scotch-versus-rye debate. Call a couple of days in advance to secure a spot.

Spider Kelly’s
3181 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-312-8888
Call ahead to reserve a table at Biergarten Haus, where outdoor picnic-table-style seating can reach a capacity of 250. The spacious patio is meant to be enjoyed with a crowd—German beers come in liters, and Bavarian pretzel rolls arrive in baskets to share. Reservations can be made before 7 on weekends; otherwise, prepare for a wait.

Blackfinn and Rock Bottom in Bethesda
4901 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-951-5681; 900 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-1311
In Maryland, check out Blackfinn, where there’s a bar on each of the three levels, ensuring plenty of breathing room. Also in Bethesda, Rock Bottom has both an upstairs and a downstairs bar, and it hosts monthly tapping parties where its in-house microbrewery releases a new seasonal beer.

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