6 Hot New Bars and Restaurants to Try Around DC

The new year means new places to put on your dining and drinking hit list.

Colada Shop opens a fifth Cuban cafe in Dupont Circle. Photograph by Rey Lopez

The new year has brought a variety of exciting bar and restaurant openings to DC, from a casual spot for West African street food to a bumpin’ French-Canadian disco-bistro.

Colada Shop Dupont Circle 
1900 N St., NW
The DC-born Cuban cafe opens its fifth area location in Dupont Circle on Wednesday, January 18. Expect a familiar lineup of Cuban sandwiches, calderos (sofrito-based egg skillets), homemade pastries and empanadas, coffee drinks, and tasty tropical drinks (pina coladas, mojitos). New to the 35-seat location—which will have an almost equally large patio come spring—are family-style platters such as slow-roasted pork ribs glazed in guava-barbecue sauce and served with slaw and yucca fries 

Spicy Water African Grill
2019 11th St., NW
The popular West African street cart now has a permanent home near the U Street Corridor, in the former Charcoal Town space. Chef/owner Duraine Kouassi often set up outside Eastern Market grilling poulet braisé, marinated and barbecued chicken (his mother’s recipe). Now, the Côte d’Ivoire native recreates grilled meats and whole barbecued fish smothered in citrusy, fresh-chopped salsa at the all-day takeout—plus kebab sandwiches, salad bowls, and sides like attieke (cassava couscous). Round out a platter with “spicy water,” a zesty ginger drink.

The Philly pork-inspired Reading Terminal pizza with homemade porchetta, broccoli rabe, and long hots.
The Philly pork-inspired Reading Terminal pizza with homemade porchetta, broccoli rabe, and long hots at Crooked Run and Pizza Serata.

Crooked Run and Pizza Serata
550 Morse St., SE
The Union Market District gets its first brewery on Wednesday, January 18 thanks to Leesburg-based Crooked Run Fermenation—a nano-brewery that’s grown in the last decade to produce 100-plus brews, natural wines and ciders, and real-fruit hard seltzers. All of the above and more will be available at the DC location, which will feature an exclusive Italian-style pilsner produced on site. It’s designed to pair well with in-house restaurant Pizza Serata, which specializes in personal pan pies and stuffed Italian sandwiches from Bammy’s chef Chris Morgan.

Casa Kantuta 
2309 18th St., NW
This one-of-a-kind Bolivian cocktail concept—which started as a pop-up in Adams Morgan—is back for at least a year in its original spot below sPACEYcLOUD. Co-founders and siblings Carla and Juan Sanchez, along with bartender Luis B. Aliaga, sling cocktails made with singani, the Bolivian grape brandy, alongside snacks like salteñas. The “abuela’s living room” vibe is set with family photos, Bolivian art pieces, and a fun soundtrack that ranges from Reggaeton to Cumbia Villera. The bar just launched happy hour from 5 to 8  PM on weekdays (and all day Wednesday) with wallet-friendly specials like $9 cocktails and $3 beers. 

Casa Kantuta founders
Casa Kantuta founders (left to right) Juan Sanchez,Carla Sanchez, and Luis B. Aliaga. Photograph courtesy of Casa Kantuta

Manifest Bread 
6208 Rhode Island Ave., Riverdale Park
Restaurant industry veterans Rick and Tyes Cook started bestowing breads and baked goods on friends from their home—and now have an organic bakery in Riverdale Park to call their own. The full-service shop offers beautiful sourdough loaves and naturally leavened bialys, treats like chocolate babka, and muffuletta sandwiches. In your glass: local coffee and a small selection of wine and beer—available for dine-in at a handful of tables or for takeout. 

French-Canadian disco and bistro Le Mont Royal in Adams Morgan DC
Le Mont Royal, a French-Canadian disco and bistro, opens in Adams Morgan DC. Photograph by Clarissa Villondo of Karlin Villondo Photography

Le Mont Royal
1815 Adams Mill Rd., NW
The disco balls are twinkling at this new dance spot/bistro in Adams Morgan, which takes over the two-story haunt previously occupied by Southern Hospitality. There’s a lot going on—the owners describe it as “Canadian maximalism”—at all hours: oyster happy hour, decadent poutines, DJs spinning vinyl, espresso martinis on draft, natty wines, and a billiards room for late-night gaming.

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.