1. The Bird
The team behind pork-centric the Pig has turned its attention to poultry with this new restaurant. The menu includes a dozen-plus preparations of poultry, from fried chicken to duck meatballs. More adventurous? Try the tartare of ostrich, a lean red meat that tastes like beef. A daily “early bird” happy hour features aperitifs with complimentary bites. 1337 11th St., NW; 202-518-3609.
DC’s first distillery pub produces whiskey, gin, rum, and vodka on the first floor, then mixes them into cocktails in the second-floor dining room and bar. The comfort-food menu includes fried-oyster buns among the bar snacks, plus entrées such as crisp-skinned suckling pig. Pick up a bottle in the shop on your way out, or come back for a distillery tour. 1414–1418 U St., NW; 202-629-3787.
The ramen masters responsible for Chinatown’s Daikaya and Bantam King opened their biggest noodle shop yet in the Atlantic Plumbing building. Sapporo-style soups are the focus of the 60-seat restaurant; we’re fans of the spicy miso and hearty vegetarian. In nice weather, a roomy patio is the place to perch for sochu cocktails and small plates such as Japanese deviled eggs topped with trout roe and crab rangoons. 805 V St., NW; 202-299-1000.
The 14th Street strip lacks little in restaurant and cocktail bars. But no-frills spots for a cold brew? That’s a drier story. Hence the popularity of this subterranean bar, which specializes in cans of beer and wine (yes, that’s a thing), free baskets of popcorn, board games, and daily happy hour. Those looking for a little more jazz can try $10 classic cocktails and beer-and-a-shot combos—or just load up the jukebox. 1414 14th St., NW; 202-750-6600.
5. La Jambe
It took a homesick Parisian to bring Shaw this chic French wine bar. The list of about 40 bottles—half available by the glass—features tasting notes and a French geography lesson. French cheese and European charcuterie boards are already curated—just pick the size, or opt for a baguette sandwich. 1550 Seventh St., NW; 202-627-2988.
Tom Brown revived his beloved Shaw bar just blocks from the original, keeping the laid-back crowd, terrific cocktails, live-band karaoke nights, and hearty bar fare and brunch for soaking up the booze—trust us, the pork-cheek nachos work wonders. The new digs offer more space over two floors; a roof deck is planned for later this year. 1539 Seventh St., NW; 202-853-3588.
7. Service Bar
This eclectic cocktail spot has one of the more user-friendly menus around. Drinks are broken down by spirit, with little symbols indicating what’s blended, mostly alcohol, spicy, and more. The bar also pours “hyper-seasonal” cocktails and $7 classics, while the kitchen turns out fried chicken, including tenders in a waffle cone. 928 U St., NW; 202-462-7232.
Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley’s sandwich shop near the convention center is a must for pastrami fans—and sandwich lovers in general. The breakfast/lunch spot does a few things and does them exceptionally well: smoked-and-spiced brisket or chicken (plus portobellos for vegetarians); house-made milk-bread buns; and a variety of fresh slaws, krauts, and sauces for stacking. In the morning, put DC pride aside and grab a New Yorker with pastrami, a fried egg, melty Comté, and hot-pepper jelly. 1239 Ninth St., NW; 202-465-4822.
This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Washingtonian.