Off the Record
800 16th St., NW
Washington, DC 20006
Nearby Metro Stops: Farragut North, Farragut West
With its walls lined with caricatures of politicos, its charmingly gruff bartenders, and a clubby vibe, this is the quintessential Old Washington bar. Power players abound at the stools and tables, too—the crimson den is hidden in the bottom level of the Hay-Adams hotel, which faces the White House—and the room buzzes with fast-paced wonk talk. We tend to stick to the dark-liquor classics here, such as Manhattans and old fashioneds. If you’re hungry, the crisp Asian-style wings and mini-burgers are the way to go. Insider tip: Don’t want to jockey for a seat? Avoid coming right after work and wait till around 8, when the crowd thins out a bit. Open daily.