Low-key activities like winetasting and pedicure parties are gaining popularity in the Washington, DC, area bachelorette-party scene. (See our article on laid-back bachelorette parties in Washington, DC, here.) But if your best friend wants a traditional night-on-the-town bash, where can you go? Take your pals to some of these places, and the bride just may be toasting you at the wedding.
A (Somewhat) Chill Night
If you want to have fun with your gal pals—but not, you know, dance on top of a bar—try these spots.
Lotus Lounge (1420 K St., NW; 202-289-4222)
With a super-extended happy hour (5:30 to 9) Tuesday through Saturday, you and your girls can enjoy plenty of $5 glasses of wine or half-price martinis in a modern, sort-of-Asian/sort-of-space-age setting of lotus-shaped chandeliers, sleek tables, and colored lights. Slipping in during happy hour also means slipping out of a cover charge. After that, your party could get a lot more pricey: If you want a seat at one of the prime tables, it’s bottle service only—and reservations cost at least $500 per ten guests. But if your guest of honor is happy in the main lounge (we definitely were), your party can dance the night away to house and hip-hop for way less than a guaranteed seat and a bottle of Dom would run.
Madam’s Organ Blues Bar (2461 18th St., NW; 202-667-5370)
This Adams Morgan bar—which scored a spot on Playboy’s 25 Best Bars in America list a few years back—has a 10 PM blues show every Friday and Saturday. The music is loud, the bar is packed (get there early if you want a table), and the crowd is just a whole lot of crazy fun. Play pool for free on the second floor, and head up to the roof deck if the weather is nice. Or even if it’s not—the deck is open year-round. Your ears may be ringing when you leave this place, but it’s worth it.
Tattoo Bar (1413 K St., NW; 202-408-9444)
If you’re looking for a really laid-back night—just a couple of girls and a couple of drinks—this new addition to K Street is the place to go. The biker decor (we’re talking lots of chains and leather) is oddly sexy, and the service is super-friendly. During happy hour (Wednesday through Friday 5:30 to 9), drink $5 beer and wine and $7 Belvedere cocktails—and get there early to claim the first-come, first-served lounge in the back. If anything, this is the perfect spot to hit before the night gets wild.
In the Spotlight
At these bars, it’s easy to draw attention to the bride-to-be.
Peyote Cafe (2319 18th St., NW; 202-265-6665)
There’s nothing better than singing—loudly—in public to get all eyes on your party. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday karaoke at this Adams Morgan basement bar starts between 9 and 9:30 PM. As with all karaoke, ’80s music is the crowd favorite—but who doesn’t want to belt it out to Madonna? Just make sure to put your requests in early because there’s always a line to sing.
Strike Bethesda (5353 Westbard Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-0955)
Bowling? Not as cheesy as it sounds. This trendy alley is also a bar, so trying to knock down all ten pins—okay, even just one—gets a lot more fun as the night goes on. Buy some embarrassing bride-to-be wear for the guest of honor, and guys can’t help but notice her (and the rest of you) when she steps up to bowl. No reservations accepted (unless you book a private party, which gets pricey), but the wait isn’t too bad—for a party of seven, my group got a lane in 45 minutes. And at $36 per lane per hour, it’s a good deal when you have enough friends to split the bill.
Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-469-2244)
Take center stage here the classic way—by shaking your booty. With a huge dance floor on the main level plus a rooftop pavilion, there’s tons of space to dance—and drink—the night away. But if you want to wear that “I’m single” Hanes sleeveless, think twice—the dress code (“dress to impress”) bans hats and tank tops. The ballroom’s typical hours are Thursday and Friday 5 PM to 2 AM, but call first: This place hosts its fair share of private events.
Crazy? We Prefer Adventurous
Here are clubs to put the “blush” in “blushing bride.”
Bar Nun (1326 U St., NW; 202-667-6680)
No promises (we’re not brave enough to check it out), but rumor has it that this U Street spot turns into a swingers bar on Saturday nights. Try the second floor, and good luck.
Hangar Club (6410 Old Branch Ave., Temple Hills; 301-449-6970)
Washington’s a pretty strait-laced town, so this “adult entertainment” club in Prince George’s County may be your only local option for a very traditional bachelorette party. If no one’s up for being designated driver, try a service like KegBus or Chariots for Hire, party-bus and limo services you can rent to take you around DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
More interested in a spa bachelorette party? Search our database of spa reviews here.
If you’re looking to do an out-of-town bachelorette party, check out our travel section for ideas.