Food

9 Bars Where You Can Meet Someone Discreetly Without Worrying About Hackers

Take your next Washington tryst offline.
Hide out from the 14th Street crowds at Sotto. Photograph courtesy of Sotto.
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If there’s one thing we can learn from the Ashley Madison hack, it’s that affairs are best conducted in real life (or not at all). Here are nine discreet locations around the city, perfect for an offline tryst.

Captain Gregory’s

804 N. Henry St., Alexandria

The speakeasy inside Alexandria’s Sugar Shack Donuts doesn’t have to be all sweet. The only red flag here is the whiskey banner guests pull to gain access to the bar—after that it’s all sugar and spice.

The Dugout at Martin’s Tavern

1264 Wisconsin Ave., NW

Sure, Martin’s is famous for JFK and Jackie’s “proposal booth,” but it’s also home to the Dugout—a cozy, wood-paneled back room where Marilyns can hide. Order a double from the bar and hole up for awhile.

Jackpot Bar

726 Seventh St., NW

This Penn Quarter bar boasts the royal flush of covert assets: a basement location, dim lighting, and a low-key vibe. The space is borderline divey, but not in an icky way—the digs are too new, and the drinks too nice, making it a good spot to hide for a few hours.

Madam’s Organ

2461 18th St., NW

Adams Morgan’s classic dive is full of dark corners and semi-hidden bars—and we’re not talking about Big Daddy’s Love Lounge & Pick-Up Joint on the second floor (clearly not the most subtle room). Covert couples should head straight to the tiny “back bar” on the first floor, or up to the third level, where saloon-style doors cover yet another barroom that manages to feel discrete, even during the weekend crush.

Muzette

2305 18th St., NW

Private karaoke rooms—not just for belting out “Love Shack” with a drunken chorus of buddies. Small rooms for two go for $25 to $40 per hour. Avoid the kimchi on the Korean menu if you want to move to an even more private room after.

Vidalia

1990 M St., NW

For those looking to canoodle in style, Vidalia’s subterranean lounge area should do the trick—especially the two seats at the far end of the bar obscured by a column. Tight-lipped bartenders pour stiff drinks, especially at happy hour when martinis and Manhattans go for $7.

Recessions

1823 l St., NW

Nothing about this basement bar says ‘romance’—certainly not the name, nor the wall of smudgy mirrors—but no one is judging your behavior at a sometime-karaoke bar that serves tepid beer by the pitcher.

Sotto

1610 14th St., NW

While couples are happily sharing pizzas at Ghibelina upstairs, you can hide out with your secret special someone in the candlelit bar below. Craft cocktails, live jazz, house-made sausages—consider the deal sealed.

The Speak

1413 K St., NW

The name hints at loose lips, but this speakeasy’s unmarked, semi-secret location below K Street says otherwise. If you find it, expect plenty of low seating, dim lighting, and strong drinks that call for loosening ties and inhibitions.

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Anna Spiegel
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.