5 Bars Where You Can Learn More About What You Like to Drink

Learn more about mezcal, gin, and other spirits.

The wall of whiskeys at Jack Rose. Photo courtesy of Jack Rose Dining Saloon.


Go to: Maxwell Park (1336 Ninth St., NW)
Every month, Brent Kroll’s Shaw wine bar explores a different theme, such as bone-dry or “biggie smalls”—large- and small-format bottles—to help budding oenophiles learn about varietals beyond their usual Pinots.


Go to: Copycat Co. (1110 H St., NE)
What’s the difference between a sour and a fizz, and how do you riff on an old fashioned? The cocktail menu at this bar above a dumpling shop doubles as a history lesson and instructional guide.


Go to: Espita Mezcaleria (1250 Ninth St., NW)
Enlist your bartender for help in navigating the 100 rotating bottles of the smoky agave spirit—many of them rare—sitting behind the bar, then start sampling them in one-ounce pours.


Go to: Wisdom (1432 Pennsylvania Ave., SE)
Check out gin obsessive/owner Erik Holzherr’s classes, or drill into his extensive collection of gins and genever. Then join his gin club to get discounts and monthly tastings.


Go to: Jack Rose Dining Saloon (2007 18th St., NW)
Learn the difference between whiskey and whisky (hint: the latter refers to Scotch)—and much more—at Bill Thomas’s brown-spirits mecca. His collection features 2,700 bottles from 1915 to the present.

This article appears in the April 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

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.

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.