Now that you’ve eaten, it’s time to stretch your legs. Just a few blocks away is the Black Cat (1811 14th St., NW; 202-667-7960), a popular nightclub and live-music venue of local hipsters. Downstairs, you’ll find the Red Room Bar, a dimly lit spot with a well-stocked bar of microbrews and imports, Belgian beers, bourbon, Scotch, and more. Strike up a conversation with a stranger; or if you’re more bold, challenge someone to a game of pool. You can also play pinball or play DJ for the night on the jukebox.
Adjacent to the bar is the club’s Backstage, a small performance space that hosts lesser-known bands of all stripes, from punk and indie to garage bands as well as soloists. The stage also features spoken-word events, film screenings, and DJ dance nights.
Upstairs is the main concert space, a 7,000-square-foot venue that hosts national touring acts, popular local bands, and monthly DJ dance events. The upstairs bar has a smaller selection than the one downstairs, serving predictable—and high-price—beers and mixed drinks. There are a few tables and chairs in the back for conversation, but most people crowd near the front, where the band plays.
The no-cover Red Room Bar is open from 8 PM to 2 AM during the week and 7 PM to 3 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Doors open for the Backstage at 9, and the act goes on at 9:30. Door times for the Mainstage vary; check the Web site. Tickets for shows on both stages are required and can be purchased from the box office (cash only) starting at 8 PM or through Ticketmaster.com.
12 AM: Midnight Snack
Before calling it a night, there’s one more place in the neighborhood to check out. Ben’s Chili Bowl (1213 U St., NW; 202-667-0909) has been a favorite of Washingtonians since 1958, when legends such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Nat King Cole, and Martin Luther King Jr. frequented the spot. The most famous dish at this diner-style comfort-food joint is the chili half smoke, DC’s signature sausage swimming in Ben’s warm chili. It’s reportedly Bill Cosby’s guilty pleasure.
This busy late-night hotspot is open until 2 AM Monday through Thursday and 4 AM Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, it closes at 8 PM.
Looking for more great things to do? Check out our other itineraries in our Plan a Visit section.