Food & Drink

17 DC Female Bartenders You Need to Know

Published On 09/16/2015 Published On 09/16/2015
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Courtesy of Speed Rack
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Courtesy of Hank's Oyster Bar
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Courtesy of Rachel Sergi
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
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1. Compass Rose 1346 T St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (Logan Circle)

Compass Rose’s culinary muse is, simply put, the globe. Its menu of sharing plates synthesizes street and market food from around the world, conflating Danish smorrebord with house-cured steelhead, dill-caper remoulade, troute roe, rye bread, and flowers with Indian bhel puri chaat, a dish of baby kale, puffed rice, sev, potato, tomato, peanuts, mango, mint, and tamarind chutney. Going to Compass Rose without trying the Georgian khachapuri is like going to Moscow and skipping the vodka -- it’s simply unthinkable. Resembling an almond-shaped eye, the delicacy has a crusty, bready lid, a bubbling, cheesy retina, and, best of all, an egg yolk pupil in the center of all the action, staring right at you.

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2. Ripple 3417 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008 (Cleveland Park)

Boasting a linen-lined, curtained rear dining room and a 40ft tiled bar backed by huge mirrors and flower-patterned lightboxes up front, Ripple's a casually airy, beige-walled winer n' diner.

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3. Rose's Luxury 717 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Capitol Hill)

Situated in a converted townhouse on Capitol Hill, Rose's Luxury is a twinkle-lit, farmhouse-chic restaurant that draws crowds for its bold small plates. Unfortunately for those crowds, it doesn't accept reservations. Get here early for dinner and you can nab a front-row seat at the chef's counter overlooking the open kitchen, where shareable dishes like Thai-marinated pork blade steak and boudin-stuffed jalapeño are prepared with precision.

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4. Dacha Beer Garden 1600 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Shaw)

It turns out Russian owners Ilya Alter and Dmitri Chekaldin know a lot about German beer -- their friendly, open-air Shaw garden offers a broad selection of international suds, plus a menu that not only features standard bratwursts and pretzels, but also extends its reach with a bucket of mussels, a chicken schnitzel sandwich, and grilled steak skewers. Grab a communal picnic table and raise a pint in the seasonal garden, which is open in spring through fall.

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5. Tico 1926 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (U Street)

The bright and graffic graffiti murals are the first clues that your visit to Tico, an outpost of original Boston tapas bar, is going to be a colorful one. Inspired by Schlow's travels in Latin America, Spain, and Mexico, Tico offers bold small plates with Latin leanings, like roasted cauliflower with cotija cheese, black bass ceviche, and a velvety tres leches cake for dessert. There are multiple taco varieties too, but what keeps fans coming back for more are the addictive hibiscus margaritas.

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6. Riggsby 1731 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009 (Dupont Circle)

Located inside the swanky Carlyle Hotel at Dupont Circle, The Riggsby is a luxe retro-inspired cocktail bar and eatery. Celebrity chef Michael Schlow helms the menu, offering bespoke takes on classic 60s' inspired bar fare like club sandwiches, chicken paillard, and steak frites, the perfect accompaniment for a three martini lunch.

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7. Eat The Rich 1839 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Shaw)

You know what’s more fun than binders full of women? Pitchers full of cocktails! Grab one, plus a dozen oysters during brunch service at Shaw’s Eat the Rich.

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8. Nido 2214 Rhode Island Ave NE, Washington, 20018 (Noma)

This Mediterranean eatery boasts a dining room that is equally as Euro-inspired as the menu, with repurposed white-washed woods and expertly curated floral arrangements. The food, mainly drawn from Italian and Spanish cuisine, consists primarily of tapas-like small plates and snacks -- think beef tenderloin carpaccio and warm lentil salad with house goat cheese -- while there are a handful of larger pasta and meat-based entrées available. The weekend brunch menu is divided into two subsets: sweet and savory, and brunch -- like dinner -- is always an occasion for imbibing at Nido. Needless to say, the bi-level Woodridge eatery maintains a philosophy rooted in the importance of good company and great food, served in a place that is every bit as comfortable as it is charming.

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9. Buffalo & Bergen 1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002 (Noma)

Located inside of DC's Union Market, this diner-style spot is specializes in New York-style bagels and everything you can put in-between them. Every kind of bagel imaginable serves as your base for a breakfast or lunch sandwich that you can customize with a selection of meats and flavored cream cheeses. Or you can go for a signature style like the Foxy Loxy (self-explanatory) or something a little more daring like The Bandito with carnitas-style pulled pork and pickled peppers.

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10. Suburbia 1309 5th St NE, Washington, 20002

Located outside Union Market, you can find Suburbia by looking for the NFL-grade turf; lawn games; a flip cup table; and buzzed clientele holding sticky summer shandies made from beer, lemonade, and fresh ginger. Suburbia offers 10 beers on tap plus two draft cocktails and buckets of beer whenever they’re open, but Sundays are special. That’s when they bust out experimental Bloody Mary cocktails and sell them two-for-one.

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11. American Ice Company 917 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (U Street)

Done-up with paint chipped-concrete/exposed brick walls, aged wood booths, and a mounted deer head, AIC serves up daily-rotating meats like smoked turkey alongside an impressive roster of craft cans.

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12. The Dabney 122 Blagden Alley, Washington, DC 20001 (Shaw)

Chef Jeremiah Langhorne opened The Dabney to showcase Mid-Atlantic flavors, and he's doing that by focusing on hyper-locality in the kitchen. His food tastes fresh and earthy, and while the menu changes with the seasons, you can expect rustic small plates like charred cabbage, grilled scallops, and whole BBQ Beaver Creek quail, as well as family-style meals like grilled black bass and chicken & dumplings. Most of the food in his Michelin-starred open kitchen emerges from a massive wood-burning hearth, which is easy to spot from the country-chic dining room.

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13. Osteria Morini 301 Water Street Southeast, Suite 109, Washington , DC 20003 (Navy Yardnear Se)

This New York City transplant specializes in Italian cuisine from the northern Emilia-Romagna region. Expect house-made pasta dishes like braised wild mushroom rigatoni, simply grilled meats, and cured meat and cheese plates. Osteria Morini's dinner is perfect for date night, while its brunch, featuring ricotta pancakes and frittatas alongside signature pastas, has all the cheese and carbs essential to curing a hangover. The upscale Navy Yard spot is bright and airy with floor-to-ceiling windows and high factory ceilings.

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14. Quill at the Jefferson 1200 16th St NW, Washington, VA 20036

Inspired by Thomas Jefferson's Monticello parlor, Quill is an upscale cocktail bar serving signature drinks, such as the "Route One Ricky" (Jim Beam rye, caramelized key lime shrub, and homemade cream soda), and American fare. There's a pianist playing live jazz most nights and new cocktails are introduced monthly.

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15. Maketto 1351 H St NE, Washington, 20002 (H Street Ne)

Maketto combines a restaurant, coffeeshop, bar, and clothing store into one massive, 6,000sqft venue on H Street NE. The 60-seat restaurant focuses on Cambodian and Taiwanese food for lunch and dinner, and if you're in the business of brunching, be sure to put the Sunday dim sum brunch on your bucket list. The retail store showcases international brands at upscale price points, and even if the merch is beyond your budget, the sheer variety is worth checking out. The second floor cafe serves Vigilante Coffee and bread from Frenchie's Bakery, plus a few pastries baked in house.

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16. Hank's On The Hill 633 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Capitol Hill)

This Capitol Hill oyster bar has delicious po' boys and lobster rolls, plus great cocktails.

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17. McClellan’s Retreat 2031 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

Even if you’re not a Civil War junkie, you’re going to want to spend a lot of time here. The bar’s namesake, General George B. McClellan, would surely dig the cozy flannel banquets, dim lighting, and perfect mix of classic, original, and even throwback cocktails like a Sherry cobbler. The team includes Megan Barnes, formerly of The Columbia Room.

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18. Colony Club 3118 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, VA 20010

By day, this old-school eatery is a coffee bar and ping pong club. By night, it serves beer, wine, and cocktails. Why ever leave?

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19. Lincoln 1110 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005 (K Street)

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.

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20. 2 Birds 1 Stone 1800 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (Logan Circle)

Situated in Logan Circle, 2 Birds 1 Stone may be hidden beneath Doi Moi off bustling 14th Street, but it’s far from unknown in the DC cocktail world thanks to its expertly crafted concoctions. The chic, often-crowded bar is known for its original creations (check out the punch du jour) and its re-imagined classics, such as a tequila-infused dark & stormy. The stylish, subterranean space is surprisingly bright, sporting plush seating and exposed brick.

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21. Jos. A Magnus & Co 2052 West Virginia Ave NE, Washington, VA 20002

Although this 1892 distillery was shut down during Prohibition, it was resurrected in 2015 by the founder's great-grandson. Now, Jos. A. Magnus & Co.—in the gin and bourbon business—also features The Murray Hill Club tasting room for a still-to-glass experience.