DC Bars Where You Can Avoid The Inauguration Crowds

Hank's Cocktail Bar in Petworth. Photo by Jeff Elkins

It’s safe to say downtown is going to be crazy over the next couple days. If you want to avoid the mania, here are a few places we’re guessing will be safe for a beer and cocktail in (relative) peace.

The Public Option 

1601 Rhode Island Ave., NE (Langdon)

By far the quaintest little brewpub in DC, the Public Option made headlines when it opened for its no-tipping policy. (Instead, it pays employees $15 an hour.) But beyond that, it’s a welcoming place to kick back a stout or an IPA. Located in a former jazz club and recording studio, the bar feels more like a big living room than your typical brewpub.

Dew Drop Inn

2801 8th St., NE (Brookland)

This Brookland bar, located in the former Chocolate City Beer brewery, is a laid-back destination for a brew and a sandwich. The menu includes a pay-by-the-inch Italian sub and Carolina pulled pork on a potato roll, but also drinking snacks like soft pretzels and a soft cheese platter. Happy hour goes from opening to 8 pm, and DJs are spinning tonight through Saturday.

Crisp Kitchen + Bar

1837 1st St., NW (Bloomingdale)

All you need to know: everyday happy hour. This Bloomingdale bar and restaurant serves $5 beers, wine, and cocktails from 5 to 8 pm, even on weekends. Soak up the booze with Nashville hot chicken or the “ultimate” steak and cheese melt.

Hank’s Cocktail Bar

819 Upshur St., NW (Petworth)

Recently rebranded from Twisted Horn to Hank’s Cocktail Bar, this moody Petworth bar knows how to make a solid cocktail. Drinks come with quirky names like “Is There Any Tea On This Spaceship?” and “Sex With You Is Like Great Britain.” Food is mostly limited to snacks like deviled eggs ($1 each) and stuffed jalapeños. Happy hour extends from 2 to 8 pm on Friday.

Lyman’s Tavern

3720 14th St., NW (Columbia Heights)

Lyman’s Tavern is a low-key spot where you can get beer-and-shot combos, plus free popcorn. A bonus diversion: plenty of pinball machines and arcade games.


1423 Pennsylvania Ave., SE (Hill East)

If you like gin and absinthe, Wisdom is your place. The dimly-lit, under-the-radar cocktail den has one of the city’s most extensive collections. You can’t go wrong with a gin rickey or a sazerac. Happy hour goes until 7:30 pm every day except Saturday.

Where else would you go to avoid the crowds? Tell us in the comments. 

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.