Food

Bars Are Finally Back. Here Are 10 New Places to Drink Around DC.

Where to find Champagne, German beer boots, fancy cocktails, and more.

Las Gemelas, from the team behind Espita Mezcaleria, serves mezcal cocktails and plenty of margaritas. Photograph by Leah Judson.

Been a while since you’ve been to an actual bar? Fair! But even with all the pandemic restrictions, plenty of new watering holes have opened over recent months. Here are some new places to check out now that a bartender can actually hand you a drink across a bar.

Apéro
2622 P St., NW
The cozy Georgetown spot from veteran somm Elli Benchimol transitions from a cafe serving espresso and pastries by morning into a wine and cocktail bar specializing in Champagne, caviar, and French fare come afternoon. While there are plenty of ways to splurge, the place also offers several more approachable options, including bubbles with a trio of deviled eggs for $20, or a glass of Champagne and full caviar service (served with a box of savory waffles) for $50.

Barca Pier & Wine Bar
2 Pioneer Mill Way, Alexandria
This tapas-and-wine bar draws inspiration from Barcelona’s chiringuitos (beach bars) set up on boardwalks and in the sand. Comprised of repurposed shipping containers, Barca sits on an Old Town pier overlooking the Potomac River. Spanish classics like papas bravas and garlicky shrimp are paired with a global wine list and summery cocktails like a rosé/stone-fruit sangria or a slushy passionfruit “froijito.”

Dauphine’s
1100 15th St., NW
This New Orleans-inspired restaurant from the crew behind Navy Yard’s Salt Line is serving up dishes like oyster spaghetti and duck jambalaya for two. But another huge draw is the cocktail menu from one of the Big Easy’s best bartenders—Neal Bodenheimer of Cure—including high-brow hurricanes and “sacred” sazeracs.

Donahue
1338 Wisconsin Ave., NW
The Georgetown space that was formerly Bush-era hotspot Smith Point has a new life as a Champagne-and-cocktail lounge angling to usher in a new “Roaring 20s.” The cocktail menu is heavy on rum, tequila, and mezcal and includes modernist creations like a mix of rose-infused vodka, rosé vermouth, lemon, Champagne, and “rose air.” And who needs a flute when you can have a “chambong”—yes, that’s a Champagne bong (take a look). 

Imperfecto
1124 23rd St., NW
The scene-y new spot from the team behind popular 14th Street restaurant Seven Reasons draws Latin American and Mediterranean flavors into its modernist menus. The Aegean-chic dining room features an artful cocktail bar for sipping grapefruit-and-gin-spiked Garden Tonics and truffle-honey-infused old-fashioneds.

Las Gemelas 
1280 Fourth St., NE
This beachy all-day taqueria and Mexican seafood restaurant inside La Cosecha marketplace near Union Market comes from the agave spirit pros behind Shaw’s Espita Mezcaleria. Tropical cocktails highlight fresh fruits and plenty of mezcal, while margaritas are poured from a tap or frozen with strawberry and coconut.

Prost
919 Fifth St., NW
The Bavarian beer hall, which opened in Mount Vernon Triangle last fall, serves up warm pretzels and schnitzel alongside boots of German beer. (Or if you prefer, German wines and Jägermeister-spiked cocktails.) Dogs are welcome on the picnic table-decked outdoor patio.

Shelter
1401 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
You can try pretty much everything at Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s new Hill East food hall, the Roost: pizza, tacos, sushi, Alpine cooking, red-sauce Italian. At the venue’s bar and beer garden Shelter, beverage director Greg Engert (ChurchKey, the Sovereign, Bluejacket brewery) focuses on low-ABV brews across 50 constantly rotating taps. Stay tuned for the opening of the Roost’s cocktail bar, Show of Hands. In the meantime, you can get Spirits Director Nick Farrell’s creations—watermelon frosé, mezcal hibiscus margaritas—at Shelter.

St. Vincent Wine Bar
3212 Georgia Ave., NW
This two-story Park View bar with balcony and a spacious, tree-spotted backyard is a lowkey spot for groups to share bottles of wine. The menu includes more than 200 selections, which you order from a QR code at your table, plus cheese and charcuterie boards and a handful of snacks (tostadas, Vietnamese crab dip). An indoor cocktail bar is in the works. Before you leave, pick up some wines to-go from the bottle shop—all 25 percent off their sip-in price.

Tiki Thai
12100 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 107, Reston
The team behind Ashburn’s Sense of Thai St brought a tiki theme to their new Reston restaurant, which features fusion dishes like larb gai tacos and chiang mai ramen. Veteran bartender Jeremy Ross is behind the tropical drink menu, which spans from colada punch to a hibiscus- and Thai basil-spiked “Long Thailand.” Look out soon for a mai tai-sherry cobbler mix served in a drink tower dispenser for groups.

Don’t Miss Another New Restaurant—Get Our Food Newsletter

The latest in Washington’s food and drink scene.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
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.