When most tourists invade our nation's capitol, they want to spend time inside the buildings where "laws" are made. But anyone who knows anything certainly knows that it's far better to view them from the outside, whilst loaded with booze. So we drummed up a dead-simple commuter tour that will take you -- and your drinks -- to the best bars near the three branches of government.
Stop One: Eddy bar at Hank's on the Hill
First, put on a suit -- you don't want to feel out of place. Next, get off at Eastern Market metro and head to Eddy Bar at Hank's on the Hill. The top cocktail bar on the Hill is a great starting point to ingest some booze necessary to deal with staffers as you approach your first monument, the Capitol Building... the dome of which you should just be able to make out from here. Grab the PT-109 cocktail from resident mixologist Gina
Stop Two: Hawk 'n' Dove
Jump back out on Pennsylvania Ave and head Northwest towards the dome & the classic Hawk 'n' Dove, where you'll get your first taste of gov staffers puffing their chests out, potentially bump into congressman, and get in the mood to take in some monumental structures. Renovated and reopened in Jan '13 by the Molly Malone's crew, they outfitted the space w/ the bar's original sign and freakin' 'Merican flags, so come praise the free market with a nice lineup of draft brews and ten signature 'tails
Stop Three: Good Stuff Eatery
If you're already having trouble focusing on the Statue of Freedom above the Capitol building rotunda in the distance, lay a solid foundation for the big day ahead by dropping by Spike Mendelsohn's Good Stuff Eatery (just Northwest up the road) for burgers, handcut fries, and OG shakes
Stop Four: Capitol Lounge
Rub your belly as you continue NW along Penn, because you've got one more spot to hit on your approach. Capitol Lounge is one of the better dives in the area and the closest to your American history gawking, so jump in for a few brews and act like you're doing business, as every staffer in here is super important. The bartenders insist there're "no politics" even though the joint is divided up into the "Nixon Room Bar", the main "Kennedy Room," and the "Losers Lounge", which Nate Silver probably predicted you'd be drawn too
Stop Five: The Capitol Building
Pass by the Library of Congress and turn right on 1st SE to bask in the glory that is the United States Capitol, a massive structure that was started in 1793 and didn't have its finishing touches put on until 1960
Stop Six: The Supreme Court
After oohing and awwing (you have been to three bars, already), head North and you'll notice the ridiculously large Corinthian columns of the Supreme Court on your right. Do not stop at Gandel's Liquors or Capital Hill Liquors for road sodas unless you want Ruth Bader Ginsburg to hunt your ass down.
Photo courtesy of The Supreme Court
Stop Seven: Penn Quarter Sports Tavern
Enough of drinking in history, it's time to drink in actual drinks again! Head West on Constitution to view the Star Trek-looking Canadian embassy, then hail a taxi to Penn Quarter Sports Tavern and take a load off on their patio, which offers great people watching, sports-tuned TVs aplenty, and happy hour pitchers of Fat Tire and Sierra Nevada for $16.
Stop Eight: Del Frisco's Grille
Moving Northwest on Penn towards the 1600 address, you'll run into Del Frisco's Grille just across from the Ronald Regan building. Park it for a minute on the 100-seat patio w/ shaded banquettes to view the distant US Cap and imbibe house drinks like the gin/St. Germain/Tabasco sauce Skirt Chaser. At one point you would have been able to see the White House from here, but back in the day Andrew Jackson got all hot & bothered with Congress and erected the Treasury building to block the view, so look at that instead
Stop Nine: Chef Geoff's
When you turn the corner of 13th and Penn North, you'll see the South Lawn down the road and realize it's time to kick things up a notch, so peel off to get one of Chef Geoff's 33.8oz Supermugs, which can be filled with anything from Starr Hill Northern Lights IPA, to Great Lakes Eliot Ness Lager. During their 3-7p happy hour, one'll run you just nine bucks
Stop Ten: POV Terrace
Even if your vision isn't perfect after a day's worth of boozing, you'll still be able to make out the Prez's crib whilst imbibing at the POV Terrace on 15th & F, where the unobstructed panoramic view of the monumental DC skyline and executive branch block pairs perfectly with pitchers of margaritas, mojitos, and caipirinhas
Stop Eleven: Old Ebbitt Grill
Make your way a few blocks North to Old Ebbitt Grill. Founded in 1856, it's the District's oldest saloon, and has the antique gas chandeliers, Victorian bentwood railroad dining car chairs, and mahogany to prove it. It's history as a favorite to many a president makes it a fitting visit before your last stop on the trip, so grab a seat at the bar and yuck it up with the appropriately suspendered bartenders over a Heavy Seas Loose Cannon
Stop Twelve: The White House
Stumble across the street and you'll find The White House -- after such a full day of boozing, you'll probably have the right amount of common sense to live here!
Photo courtesy of The White House