Awesome Last-Minute Holiday Gifts from DC-Area Bars and Restaurants

Treat the food and drink lover in your life to one-of-a-kind items from DC's dining scene.

Columbia Room holiday cocktail kits with a Derek Brown book. Photograph by Karlin Villondo Photography (Columbia Room holiday cocktail kits 11/24/2020. Photo Credit: Karlin Villondo Photography

For the cocktail and spirits connoisseur

Columbia Room, one of the top cocktail spots in DC, is preparing cocktail kits with the necessary ingredients, tools, and directions. We have our eye on the old-fashioned one ($100) that comes with a bottle of Old Overholt Bottle in Bond Rye Whiskey, rich simple syrup, aromatic bitters, lemon, and a signed copy of Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters from barman/owner Derek Brown. More into the straight stuff? Jack Rose drew lines around the block when it put its world-class whiskey collection on sale at the start of the pandemic. Now the bottle shop is online via Tock and features whiskey tasting flights in themes like American Favorites ($50) and Pappy’s Family Recipe ($65).

A holiday wine pack from Lulu’s Wine Garden. Photograph courtesy of Lulu’s Wine Garden.

For the wine lover

A bottle of wine is a dinner party gift. A set of carefully curated wines from a knowledgeable sommelier? Now you’re talking holidays. Tail Up Goat and Reveler’s Hour partner/somm Bill Jensen created fun holiday wine packs (starting at $75) themed around movies like the Christmas Story (sparkling) and Love Actually (wintery whites). Over at Lulu’s Wine Garden, co-owner Paul Carlson put together holiday wine trios ($75) with themes like Christmas in the Desert. All come with pretty packaging and a side of whipped feta. At Domestique, ranked among the country’s best natural wine shops, an online holiday shop boasts everything from wine packages for your pet-nat pal to cool wine posters from local artists. Feeling generous? Petworth’s new wine bar and garden, St. Vincent, offers cellar club memberships (starting at $300) that include wine storage, annual discounts, and perks like a birthday reservation with complimentary Champagne. 

Cris Logan’s rendition of Le Diplomate.

For the restaurant fangirl (or fanguy)

Local restaurant swag is much cooler these days. How about a fun Covid-era Call Your Mother neck gaiter ($10)? Or an awesome hat ($25) and a gorgeous wreath ($45) from Bad Saint. Or an edgy snake-baguette sweatshirt from Elle ($45). Or wooden engraved chopsticks from Daikaya ($24). Or cool t-shirts designed by the owner of Izakaya Seki ($21). There are also these beautiful illustrations and water colors of spots like Le Diplomate and Ben’s Chili Bowl from local artists. And these gorgeous candles poured in vintage crystal bowls at Queen’s English.

For the Michelin star chaser

The beautiful, gift-packed boutique at the Inn at Little Washington was once a treat reserved for travelers to the Rappahannock County town. In the pandemic, the Tavern Shops have gone online—perfect for snagging items from the three Michelin-star destination like chef Patrick O’Connell’s house tea blend ($14.50) or that addictive spiced pineapple that accompanies an Inn cocktail hour ($18).

At Michelin-starred Masseria, chef Nicholas Stefanelli offers Masseria a Casa—a luxe home delivery service where you can send a meal for two ($85) to your loved one in DC, Maryland, or Virginia, plus optional wine selections from the sommelier.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Union Market DC (@unionmarketdc)

For the food hall fan 

Union Market is packaging the fun of browsing various vendors in its gift shop. Cool gift sets include a bottle of Cotton & Reed PX Dark Rum paired with a vinyl of your choice from Byrdland Records ($65), or a “Night In” set from Latin marketplace La Cosecha with Grand Cata wine, Bolivian chocolate, Zona E glasses, and more ($99).

At Mess Hall in Brookland, you’ll find cool holiday gifts sets from vendors like woman-owned Rako Coffee, which sells pretty gift boxes with the locally and sustainably roasted coffees ($50), as well as gift packages of Bolivian pastries from Saya Salteña.

And while not a food hall, the collaborative spirit definitely shines at the virtual Women’s Food Fest, where you can order holiday gift baskets ($200 each) packed with sweet and savory treats, wine, and merch from female chefs and makers.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rice Market (@ricemarketdc)

For the home cook

Many restaurants are still doubling as marketplaces in the pandemic, so check out your favorite spot online to see if they’re selling spices, sauces, and other homemade goodies. We’d be pleased with chef Vikram Sunderam’s Indian simmer sauces from Rasika ($10 per jar, or $25 for a set), XO sauce from Elle ($10), or Thai curry sauces—one of the many great finds at Rice Market, a specialty shop below Rice on 14th Street. And if your favorite person is an oyster lover (and a shucker), you’d do well with Anxo‘s oyster delivery membership ($20 a month) that comes with Bombazine bivalves and house apple mignonette (oyster knives, as well as less ambitious market items, are available here).

For the serious home chef, check out Togi Max, a knife sharpening service from Michelin-starred Sushi Taro chef Masaya Kitayama. You can drop knives off at Sushi Taro or at a Rockville location, or opt for home pickup and delivery (prices vary).

And if nothing else…

Restaurant gift cards are an all-purpose winner. Most businesses sell them these days, and you can use them across a variety of platforms—dine-in, takeout, and online marketplaces.

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.