Your Official DC Nightlife Guide by Neighborhood
DCs Best Neighborhoods for Nightlife
Washington D.C. is not as formal as you think—the grey buildings and conservative dress are just for daytime work hours. Turns out, D.C. has a very vibrant nightlife, spun across all different neighborhoods that cater to just about anyone: hipsters, conservatives, tourists and college students. There’s a lot to explore in this great city with your new interns buddies.
Whether you’re new to D.C. or want to find alternative places to go out, here is a comprehensive guide to the best nightlife in 5 major neighborhoods in our nation’s capitol.
This evolving neighborhood where Martin Luther King Jr spoke at a local High School, and All Souls Church where Angela Davis spoke. The neighborhood is transforming from gritty to inviting, and has a wide array of dive bars, family-run bakeries and mural-covered side streets.
Find it at: 16th Street to the west; Spring Road to the north; Sherman Ave to the east; and Florida Avenue to the south. Metro stop is Colombia Heights.
The Wonderland Ballroom – Live music venue, comedy shop and dive bar
The Raven – Dive bar with a killer jukebox
Lou’s City Bar – Washington Post named this the Best NFL & College Football Bar
Room 11 – Quaint wine bar
Perfectly manicured streets, home to Embassy Row, with more locals than tourists and a thriving daytime outdoor scene and farmer’s Market can be found here. Be sure to come back for Sunday brunch.
Find it at Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Avenues, at P and 19th Streets. Dupont Circle Metro station.
Eighteenth Street Lounge – Charming old row house with a living-room feel that you can dance in
Circa – Great for happy hour or dinner
Science Club – hipster vegetarian hangout
The Front Page – great for happy hour
The Big Hunt – subterranean dive bar
Dirty Martini – if you want a classic cocktail
Lucky Bar – where to watch sports
Café Citron – dancing
Madhatter – Alice in Wonderland themed bar
Sign of the Whale – D.C.’s famous dive bar from the ‘70s
Public Bar – sports bar
Historic row houses, fraternities and cobblestoned streets can be found here. Older than D.C. itself, this neighborhood keeps its old-world charm while staying fresh and young. Georgetown University is here and many high end shops and restaurants.
Find it at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M streets. Metro stop is Foggy Bottom-GWU.
Blue’s Alley – blue and jazz music venue
Daily Grill – starting point for great drinks
Bourbon – pub
Breadsoda – pool hall
The Tomb’s – Great for Halloween
U Street Corridor
It wasn’t until the ‘90s that this area grew out of its shady post-MLK riot phase. Now, this creative area has plenty of live music: including jazz, alternative rock and hip-hop. Amongst the row houses, you’ll find some of the city’s best Caribbean and soul food joints.
Find it from 9th Street on the east to 18th Street and Florida Avenue on the west. Metro stop is U Street corridor.
The 9:30 Club – the best bands visiting D.C. go through here
Bar Pilar – gastro pub
Café St. Ex – check out the bar in the basement
The Gibson – speakeasy
Dickson Wine Bar – to take a date
New Vegas Lounge – dance to funk all night
Churchkey – good for beer lovers
Nellie’s – gay sports bar
Blackcat – music venue for smaller/indie bands
The Saloon – Great beer selection
Marvin – great for outdoor drinking when weather is nice
Vinoteca – wine bar / patio area
Solly’s Tavern – dive bar
Local 16 – great deck outside
Dodge City – biker dive bar
Chi-Cha Lounge – hookah bar
DC9 – indie music venue
If you’re looking for a rowdy, fun night out, look no further than Adam’s Morgan. Barhop and then enjoy one of the many late-night pizza shops throughout the neighborhood. Leave the suit or heels at home.
Find it at the intersection of 18th Street and Columbia Road. Metro stop is Woodley Park–Zoo / Adams Morgan.
Dan’s Café – dive bar
Madam’s Organ – multi-level jazz and dance club
Habana’s Village – 3-level Cuban dance club
Rendezvous Lounge – Hole-in-the-wall favorite with locals
Bourbon – Pub
This neighborhood features cool little bars and restaurants, and has certainly become a local favorite with its eclectic vibe.
Find it at Maryland Avenue and 13th Street NE. Closest Metro stop is Union Station.
Biergarten Haus – Authentic German biergarden
Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar – New Orleans flair
Church and State – speak easy
Star & Shamrock – Jewish deli and tavern
Rock & Roll Hotel – music venue / bar
The Pug – dive bar
Granville Moore’s – Belgian gastropub