6 Washington Bars Included in “Esquire’s” List of Best Bars in America

David Wondrich takes a look at the state of bipartisan boozing.

Esquire’s David Wondrich visited Jack Rose on a recent trip to DC. Photograph courtesy of Jack Rose.

Washington made another prominent appearance in Esquire’s national food and drink rankings. First Roberto Donna claimed a controversial Chef of the Year title in 2012 from the magazine’s food and travel correspondent, John Mariani. Now, six DC watering holes have landed in its Best Bars in America issue, highlighted in a special field report by drinks correspondent David Wondrich.

Wondrich’s picks will likely be less controversial than Mariani’s, though some may disagree with his assessments. The cocktail guru was sent to our nation’s capital, a “once-great drinking town,”* to find out if “DC governing is broken due to some collapse in the art of convivial drinking.” And his answer is . . . maybe? Wondrich likes his first stop, the divey Raven Grill in Mount Pleasant, for its no-frills, anti-Brooklyn swagger, but seems less enamored with Jack Rose (“too spacious, too public”) and the Round Robin Bar (“a little too brightly lit, a little too generically appointed”). On a search for more clandestine drinking spots primed for old-school deals and conspiracies, he prefers the Tabard Inn, Off the Record, and Columbia Room. In terms of the last spot, we’d like to see two elected officials take him up on the final offer:

“In fact, for the month of June, I will personally buy the first round any time two senators or congresspersons of opposite parties drink together here.”

Given that a “round” entails a $69, three-cocktail tasting, the conversation could get pretty heated. Perhaps he should have left a tab open at Recessions.

See the full Esquire report online.

* Though according to the Daily Beast, DC is the ninth drunkest city in America, so there’s that.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.