The century-old former carriage house (1337 H St., NE) boasts a low-key equestrian feel, and you’ll feel just as comfortable ordering a Miller High Life as a Negroni.
If all goes well: Hit the rear patio for dancing to a DJ on warm nights.
A lot of DC spots talk the tavern talk, but this Capitol Hill place (623 Pennsylvania Ave., SE) feels like the real deal. (Check out the Prohibition-era chandeliers and stuffed bison heads.)
If all goes well: Order a couple of chef Andrew Market’s excellent burgers.
The tiny Columbia Heights corner bar (3234 11th St., NW) pairs an intimate vibe with one of the city’s under-sung cocktail lists.
If all goes well: Share a charcuterie plate with house-made duck pastrami.
Tell your date you’re going out for doughnuts and then surprise him or her with reservations at the dimly lit speakeasy (804 N. Henry St., Alexandria) hidden in the back of Old Town’s Sugar Shack.
If all goes well: Actually get the doughnuts—a constant on the bar’s rotating menu.
This Mosaic-district hangout (8298 Glass Alley, Fairfax) bears all the hallmarks of a Neighborhood Restaurant Group operation: a chill, friendly welcome; thoughtful beer, wine, and cocktail lists; and top-quality charcuterie, among other tasty bar snacks.
If all goes well: Grab a milkshake—boozy or regular—and a brown-sugar-and-cinnamon pop tart at the recently improved Ted’s Bulletin (2911 District Ave., Fairfax) nearby.
. . . And One Super-Awkward Spot: Destination Wedding
Bridal dress aside, this nuptials-inspired Logan Circle bar (1800 14th St., NW) is the quickest way to scare off your Tinder crush. But! Say “I do” if you like florals with friends, dancing to Will Smith under a shimmering disco ball, and sipping perfected versions of piña coladas, margaritas, and vodka sodas (yes, a fancy “vod sod” exists). Basically everything we love about a destination wedding, minus the flight.
This article appears in the April 2019 issue of Washingtonian.