Where to Eat and Drink Around DC’s Capital One Arena

Our favorite places for pre and post-game drinks, eats, happy hour, and more.

The dining room at the Smith. Photograph by Scott Suchman
Washingtonian Recommends

Our Washingtonian Recommends lists bring you the best places to eat, drink, and be entertained—all selected by Washingtonian editors.

Capital One Arena is in the Chinatown/Penn Quarter neighborhood, home to many great restaurants. But not all are suited for the lively Wizards, Caps, and concert crowds. These are a few of our favorite pre- and post-game options both in and around the Capital One Arena (formerly known as the Verizon Center).


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Ramen at Bantam King. Photograph courtesy of Bantam King Facebook.

Daikaya and Bantam King
705 Sixth St., NW; 501 G St., NW
These sister ramen shops can get busy, but it’s worth angling for a stool at either to slurp delicious noodle soups or graze on Japanese-inspired small plates at Daikaya izakaya above. Daikaya offers a small menu with Sapporo-style ramen, while upstairs, the dimly-lit izakaya is the place for cocktails, Japanese whiskeys, and shares. Bantam specializes in chicken two ways: fried and in rich soups.

Hill Country
410 Seventh St., NW
Barbecue, brews, and margaritas are the order at this Texas-themed ‘cue spot, which boasts a large bar area and space for live music. Look for daily specials like pitchers of Shiner draft beer.

480 Seventh St., NW
José Andrés’s Spanish restaurant is still going strong after 25 years. The menu continues to evolve, but the classics are still delicious–don’t miss the creamy chicken croquetas, pan con tomate, and every gin-and-tonic creation you can imagine.

713 H St., NW
Tavern standbys get an upscale gloss at this three-level restaurant. The cocktails are easy-drinking, the tasty bistro burger is gilded with creamy comeback sauce, and the pizzas emerge from a brick oven. Big booths (and ample crayons) make it a favorite for families with kids.

Pi Pizzeria
910 F St., NW
The St. Louis-based Pi chain specializes in deep-dish, a woefully underrepresented style in these parts. The crust is more crunchy than bready, thanks to a cornmeal-dusted base, and the whole thing is saved from being just another cheesy carb bomb by a thick layer of extra-tangy, extra-chunky tomato sauce.

The Smith
901 F St., NW
This penny-tiled dining room, a New York export, has a something-for-everyone menu that’s especially strong with bar snacks. A mess of freshly fried potato chips are doused in warm blue cheese, and there are crispy chicken-fried mushrooms. To drink: frozen French 75s, of course.

Wiseguy Pizza
300 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Miss NYC pizza? This slice shop is about as close as you’ll get in these parts. There are plenty of clever riffs—a chicken tikka masala pizza, a penne a la vodka pizza—but we’re partial to the simple grandma pie, a thick, puffy square arrayed with mozzarella and fresh basil.  


A massive Federalist Pig sandwich. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Section 105
Grass-fed burgers, plant-based patties, and hand-cut fries are on tap at this DC-based, sustainable fast-food venture (and it all tastes great, too).

Federalist Pig 
Section 110
Adams Morgan-based Fed Pig dishes out truly tasty barbecue and homemade sauces—we love the wings, brisket, and ribs—plus vegetarian options. For sides: mac n’ cheese and ancho-spiced green beans are a must.

District Doughnut
Section 114
Some of DC’s best doughnuts can be found at this local shop, which turns out fun flavors like torched creme brulee, apple cider, and vanilla bean.

Section 117
Momofuku creator David Chang brought the concession version of his fast food concept to the arena. Want to sample the spicy fried-chicken sandwiches and jalapeño fries? Get in line. 

Bun Papa
Section 120
Burgers on buttered brioche and crispy chicken sandwiches are the draw at this Alexandria-based venture.

Lucky Buns
 Section 120
The original Adams Morgan burger joint slings some of the city’s best patties and fried-chicken sandwiches. At their arena stall, find creations like its Bogan Bun—a burger with bacon-XO jam, pickled red onions, special sauce, and gouda.

Section 408 and 430
The popular Chinese-Korean fast-casual dishes out tasty eats like bulgogi hoagies and Korean-fried wings.

Section 107 and 432
Korean-inspired tacos and bowls come in flavors like bulgogi steak, chicken galbi, and marinated tofu—all topped with a variety of tangy slaws and kimchis.


A beer flight at City Tap House. Photograph courtesy of City Tap House.

City Tap House
901 Ninth St., NW
Beer fans can get their fill at this craft brewhouse, which also serves a late-night menu until 1 on Fridays and Saturdays with stomach-padding options like pizzas and wings.

Clyde’s Gallery Place
707 Seventh St., NW
The happy hour deals at Clyde’s are some of the best around–and include early evening (3 to 6 PM) and late-night discounts (10 PM to close). On tap: discounted oyster platters, $3 canned beers, $4 seltzers, and deals on wine, cocktails, and more.

627 H St., NW
The Southern-inspired, three-story dining and drinking venue at the Motto by Hilton offers a lil’ something for every taste (and almost every hour). The first-floor diner serves biscuits and boozy shakes from morning to around midnight. A subterranean whiskey and moonshine bar opens for evening entertainment. And the rooftop Crimson View is great for catching the sunset over cocktails and snacks.

777 Sixth St., NW
This 60-seat wine bar features tons of themed flights and by-the-glass selections, along with a lineup of share plates including arancini, burrata, and fried chicken.

Free State
501 G St., NW
This low-key bar, a tribute to the Mid-Atlantic, sits just under Bantam King. Pre-game the Delaware beach way, with orange crushes and Fisher’s popcorn, and dive into a long list of local spirits.

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern 
639 Indiana Ave., NW
This sports bar from a native Washingtonian is a great place to watch local teams, even if your plans include going to see them live. Two full bars, sidewalk seating, and a bounty of TVs make it good for groups.

Present Company Public House
438 Massachussetts Ave., NW
If you’re up for a walk—and want to escape some crowds—this pub located in a historic firehouse is a good bet. Happy hour runs daily (and all-day for a “Sunday funday”) and there are casual drinks and pub grub at all hours.

Rocket Bar
714 Seventh St., NW
If watching a game makes you want to play games, this subterranean watering hole is a good spot. Players can pick between pool, shuffleboard, darts, and more.

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 Petworth.

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.