Drink at DC's 8 best cocktail bars
Your night out wouldn't be complete without a cocktail -- our picks for DC's best cocktail destinations are below, from mad-scientist mixology, to underground speakeasies, to rooftop terraces.
The Columbia Room
Mt. Vernon Square
With more accolades than can fit in your dad’s trophy case, cocktailing mecca Columbia Room continues to bring it. Snagging a reservation for their drink tasting menu can be tricky, but take heart in the fact that you can also raise your at-home cocktail game and sign up for one of their classes -- though they still won't turn out nearly as good.
Old Town, Alexandria, VA
This Alexandria speakeasy with a '20s vibe (that's 1920s, though 1720s would have been a bold move) is still moving the bevvy that helped put them on the map -- the Smoker's Delight. Four different types of tobacco are steeped before being hit with sugar, bourbon, honey and lemon. Even if Marlboros aren't your thing, you'll like it.
Spirits Bar at Rogue 24
Back in high school, cheftender Bryan Tetorakis was carving craziness at National Ice Carving Association competitions while you were playing NHL '94
(you stand by your decision… Roenick was unstoppable). Try three of his elixirs paired with three bites at his four-seat bar in the back. Green Chartreuse and liquid nitrogen are two of his secret weapons.
Everyone’s talking about Bar Charley’s The Stepdad. Why aren’t you? The drink is more DC than Jayson Werth will ever be. Fortunately, he makes $16.5 mil so he can afford two Stepdads. Check out the fire-based wizardry that goes into making one right here
Like a real speakeasy, it’s hard to find even following the little blue dot on your smartphone. If you find it, act like a regular and go off-menu -- they'll know how to take care of you. But mind the rules: a two-hour limit and absolutely no standing.
Off the Record
For a little historic elegance, step inside the Hay-Adams Hotel's lauded drinkery. Stare at the caricatures on the wall repping Washington's elite. Try not to stare quite as obviously if one of them happens to be drinking next to you as you sip your David's Washingtonian (potato vodka, limoncello, Chambord).
The view is somewhat built into the drink price at this rooftop hotspot, but it's worth it to admire the majesty of DC, and the scaffolding on the Washington Monument. Warm your insides with a Rock and Rye, made with… rye, along with Jamaican rum, orange, lemon, and spices.
Four score and several rounds ago you were enjoying your first Gettysburg Address at Lincoln. Ready to move on from their signature cocktail? Grab a group and try the Emancipation Punch -- ginger syrup, lemon sour, homemade beet puree, and aromatic bitters boozed up with botanical vodka and acai liqueur.
1. Columbia Room
1021 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Columbia Room is consistently one of the best cocktail bars in DC, pouring expertly crafted 'tails using their own cordials, bitters and tinctures, and using hand-carved ice. It's no surprise it has been voted as one of the best bars in America.
728 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314
This speakeasy might charge a bit extra than others in the area, but it's worth it after tasting their specialty cocktails that are handcrafted by some of the most seasoned expert mixologists in the city.
3. Spirits Bar at Rogue 24
922 N St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Cheftender and former competitive ice carver Bryan Tetorakis holds it down at DC's smallest bar, Spiritsbar. You and three of your friends can sidle up to the four-seater (in the back of Rogue 24) while Tetorakis prepares creative concoctions with ingredients like Green Chartreuse and liquid nitrogen.
5. The Gibson
2009 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20003
This multi-level cocktail bar has a serves a variety of craft 'tails that are constantly changing, allowing you to enjoy something new and exciting in their warm ambiance every time you come.
7. P.O.V. Rooftop Lounge and Terrace
515 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
POV offers an assortment of seasonal cocktails and a small plate food menu in a chic, top-floor sky-lounge with oversized, Alice in Wonderland-style black & red couches and glossy, darkly lacquered walls framing floor-to-ceiling windows, all bordered by a wrap-around terrace with views of the mall and the White House lawn.
1110 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
Lincoln reps the former head-of-state not only in name, but in taste as well, spotlighting some of his favorite eats, which apparently included oysters and gingerbread. Lincoln's small plate menu focuses on contemporary American cuisine sourced locally from farmers and fishermen in the region. Nothing says 'merica like infused bourbons and a full list of moonshines approved by honest Abe.