It’s not easy to run a DC-area bar in the pandemic given all the restrictions—let alone open one. But let’s be honest: who doesn’t need a drink these days? Here are some new spots to check out—plus a few exciting ones on the way. Note that most bars offers drinks and food for carryout and/or delivery these days, in addition to on-premise service.
Barkada Wine Bar
1939 12th St., NW
This U Street wine bar specializes in natural, orange, and skin-contact bottles matched with bites like trendy tinned seafood and European-style sandwiches. As a nod to the name—which denotes friendship in Tagalog—the menu also includes Filipino items like lumpia.
1451 Maryland Ave., NE
At this long-anticipated spot from Rasika alum Suresh Sundas and Elle bar manager Dante Datta, drinks get a South Asian spin. When it opens in winter, expect creations like a sparkling gooseberry Scotch-and-soda. Dishes range from classic curries to creative snacks like bison-cheddar kulcha or mango/achar-spiced wings.
2321 18th St., NW
The dusky lounge crowning chef Darren Norris’s three-story Shibuya Eatery in Adams Morgan combines yuzu-, tea-, and sake-spiked cocktails with Japanese street fare. The bar-noir aesthetic will turn into a “Nightmare Before Christmas” theme from November 27 through January 1, as the space is the new home for DC’s pop-up Christmas bar.
Echelon Wine Bar
32 S. King St., Leesburg
Locavores can head to this sleek tasting room/small-plates place. Many of the wines are sourced from sister vineyard Lost Creek Winery, and some ingredients come from the Vintner’s Virginia farm. Twice-weekly wine tastings cover a range of topics, from Portuguese varietals to holiday-friendly pairings.
512 Rhode Island Ave., NW
Can a frozen drink and canned beer garden serve year-round? That’s the hope for this all-outdoor Shaw hangout, which is moving into winter with pumpkin-spice slushies, mulled wine, hearty food-truck fare, tents, and heaters.
1309 Fifth St., NE
This huge outdoor oasis with an Astroturf lawn on the roof of Union Market follows seasonal themes. For fall, that means picnic tables and baskets, backyard barbecue fare, and a shipping-container bar offering boozy pouches and beer buckets. Reserve a spot on the lawn and BYOB (bring-your-own-blanket).
1705 14th St., NW
Three friends—including Rappahannock Oyster Bar vet Jean Paul Sabatier—are behind this snug bar, slated for a late-winter opening. A genteel Southern theme means you’ll find classic cocktails like boulevardiers and snacks such as pigs in blankets out of a retro-chic space. Can’t wait? Try the drinks and snacks via delivery, Thursday through Saturday.
919 Fifth St., NW
A new Bavarian beer hall takes over the longtime Silo space in Mount Vernon Triangle, and it’s outfitted with all the classics: hand-rolled pretzels, brats and schnitzels, and hearty boots of German beer. Warm glühwein and spiked cider keep drinkers toasty on the outdoor patio.
71 Potomac Ave., SE
This massive outdoor shipping container bar from two DC natives has a new home near Nationals Park. In addition to a limited menu of cocktails, beer, wine, and fresh-pressed juices, groups of six can make pre-paid package reservations for specials like unlimited rosé with a gratis tailgate platter.
1401 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Neighborhood Restaurant Group beer director Greg Engert—one of the talents behind Churchkey, Bluejacket brewery, and others—is all about drinkable, low-alcohol brews at this new indoor/outdoor beer hall inside The Roost food hall. In addition to a lengthy selection of drafts and casks, look for natural wines and hot cocktails. Drinkers can order or carry-in food from neighboring vendors like Red Apron or Hi/Fi Taco.
Vin Sur Vingt
1529 14th St., NW
Sommelier Sébastien Auvet’s first wine bar outside Manhattan, now planned for mid-December, will offer 50 French labels by the glass as well as homey, bistro-style share plates. In addition to showcasing well known regions like Bordeaux, the bar aims to highlight wines from Corsica, Languedoc-Roussillon, and beyond.
A version of this article appears in the November issue of Washingtonian.