Food & Drink

13 Bars Outside DC That Are Worth the (Very Quick) Metro Ride

Published On 05/03/2016 Published On 05/03/2016
pepita dc
Pepita | Greg Powers/Courtesy of Pepita
Denizens Brewing Co

Denizens Brewing Co.

Silver Spring

This place is a completely kickass brewpub with amazing beers on tap and a patio to sip them on... so yeah, this place is worth some minor travel time (it’s a 10-minute walk from the Silver Spring station). Head brewer Jeff Ramirez makes super-innovative brews, all of which pair beautifully with the duck salt-sprinkled fries, but what doesn’t? Right now, some of our favorite things on the menu are the McRamirez, a tequila barrel-aged Irish stout, and the Southside Rye IPA. But the real pro move here is to just ask the bartender what bottles they have available... sometimes, you’ll seriously luck out.

Greg Powers/Courtesy of Pepita

Pepita

Arlington

A Mike Isabella joint, this bar is around the corner from his Kapnos Taverna in Arlington. It has tons of high-quality tequila and mezcal, and the drinks tend to move towards the Tiki end of the spectrum. If you’re up for it, they'll sell you some tacos (and they’re good), but the focus of this place is the super-classy use of agave-based spirits.

8407 kitchen bar

Silver Spring

There are three easy ways to access this hidden bar (Metro, bus, or MARC train) so it’s perfect for meeting up with friends from different neighborhoods. Conveniently located at the crux of the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center, this two-story bar is a good choice for an after-work drink, and it’s airy and open enough to accommodate a good-sized crowd. Live music goes down on Saturdays, and includes musical acts like Julia Nixon -- who sang in Broadway’s Dreamgirls.

Bar PX

PX

Old Town

Old Town Alexandria is straight-up gorgeous. Get off at the King St station, then stroll down the road for a little pre-bar ambling. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you get to the joint done up like a speakeasy, and lit by a dazzlingly blue bulb. Ring the bell and walk into award-winning mixologist Todd Thrasher’s cocktail haven. Each cocktail has a story behind the name... ask about The Start to a Beautiful Life, and try not to get any sand in your eye.

Republic

Takoma Park

Roll up to the bar curbside: while you can walk to this bar from the Metro (it’s 10 minutes from the Takoma Park stop), hopping on the 12, 13, 16, or 18 bus will ensure you make it back before that last train leaves your ass behind. This place is part of the Black Salt Group, which owns local favorite Pearl Dive, so it’s no shock that the seafood here is killer. The best time to go is during happy hour, when the $1 Chesapeake oysters guarantee your pockets stay... OK, at least half full.

Tyber Bierhaus

Tyber Bierhaus

Woodmont Triangle

Designed to evoke the Delirium Café in Brussels, this place rotates through over 180 beers throughout the year, focusing on Germans and Belgians, so you definitely have, you know, options. Take a seat at the bar, where beer appears to flow from the ceiling (or maybe we just had one too many steins), and order up pomme frites and the very tasty Stiegl Radler from Salzburg, Austria. And if you can’t pronounce the names of your brews, it’s cool... everyone understands "I’ll take another one." Plus, it’s literally a three-minute walk from Bethesda Station. Double plus: you can drink out of a boot!

Galaxy Hut

Clarendon

This small space packs in 28 taps of craft beer (including lots of seasonals), a menu that’s stocked with both carnivorous and vegan options, and a goddamn killer jukebox. Plus, it’s just a few stops down the orange line and into VA -- get off at Court House Metro station and you’re looking at a seven-minute walk straight down Wilson.

American Tap Room RVA

American Tap Room

Bethesda West

This totally classic bar offers solid discounts nearly every day of the week (hell yeah, Wine Down Wednesday), plus the massive bay windows are perfect for people-watching... combined, that’s a recipe for a great summertime bar. Go for the moonshine shots -- it’s a really good bad decision, we promise -- while jamming to old-school MTV. And it’s less than four blocks from the Bethesda metro, on the corner of Elm St.

Quarry House Tavern

Silver Spring

The bar has gone and phoenixed itself: it’s newly built across the street from where the old location burned down, and this place still has a killer beer selection, and the best bar food you will ever have. It’s decidedly in the running for best wings in the DC area, which come in levels so spicy the waitstaff will literally warn you to stay away from them (so you know you have to order them). It’s dark and kind of dingy in a delightfully no-frills, divey kind of way, and it’s like a five-minute walk from the Silver Spring station.

Kacie Sobsey/Courtesy of Heavy Seas Alehouse

Heavy Seas Alehouse

Rosslyn

If you haven’t tried out the Silver Line, now’s the time... especially when the walk is less than a block from the Rosslyn Metro, and the reward is so, so much craft beer. Heavy Seas originally hails from our northerly sister, Baltimore, and true to Maryland form, Old Bay is all up in the mix here... like the Loose Cannon-battered onion rings served with Old Bay saffron mayo. Delicious.

Trademark Eat and Drink

Trademark

Eisenhower

OK, this place is kind of swanky, with lawyers filing in from the US Patent and Trademark Office, but don’t be discouraged. Another hurdle: this place is also a hotel bar -- located in the Westin Alexandria -- but the good news is, you can get here either from the Eisenhower or King Street Metro (although the latter is a longer walk). These guys make a mean Old Fashioned, and we love that they use Jefferson’s Reserve Whiskey. Do your soul a favor and snag an order of their loaded French fries... which are topped with candy bacon. We repeat: candy bacon.

Captain Gregory's

Parker-Gray

This is a speakeasy inside a donut shop. Yeah, that’s really all the pertinent information you need. And if your mind isn’t blown yet, check out their innovative cocktails, like the Trip Out, Cool Off, which combines rum, unfiltered sake, lime, cilantro, and green curry soda. Plus, if you stand in the right spot, you can see the Braddock Metro from here.

Rustico

Ballston

You’ll have to walk an entire half mile here (yeah, not bad), so avoid wearing a pair of spike heels or whatever, but this place boasts a selection of over 400 beers, so, you know, worth it. Rustico understands that sometimes people just want a sample before choosing a full pour, and with most tastes ranging from $2 to $5, that is definitely an option. Fortunately, the menu is also broken down by flavor profiles... and if you didn’t already think these guys were geniuses, they have a loaded baked potato pizza.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Denizens Brewing Co 1115 E West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (Silver Spring)

Denizens Brewing Co is quite the set up in Silver Spring, complete with a beer garden and barbecue -- since you know there are few things better in life than chowing down on a pulled pork sandwich while drinking craft beer and playing cornhole outside. Head brewer Jeff Ramirez makes super-innovative brews, and if you grab a seat inside you can hear, see and smell the brewing process. The real pro move here is to just ask the bartender what bottles they have available... sometimes, you’ll seriously luck out.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Pepita Cantina 4000 Wilson Blvd, Washington, DC 22203

A Mike Isabella joint, this bar is around the corner from his Kapnos Taverna in Arlington. It has tons of high-quality tequila and mezcal, and the drinks tend to move towards the Tiki end of the spectrum. If you’re up for it, they'll sell you some tacos (and they’re good), but the focus of this place is the super-classy use of agave-based spirits.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. 8407 8407 Ramsey Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (Silver Spring)

A 200 seat duplex, 8407 boasts a first floor bar/lounge and a top-level dining room with rustic brickwork walls, suspended wall-side wine racks, and glossy redwood ceiling beams. There are three easy ways to access this hidden bar (Metro, bus, or MARC train) so it’s perfect for meeting up with friends from different neighborhoods. Conveniently located at the crux of the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center, this bar is a good choice for an after-work drink, and it’s airy and open enough to accommodate a good-sized crowd. Live music goes down on Saturdays, and includes musical acts like Julia Nixon -- who sang in Broadway’s Dreamgirls.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. PX 728 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314 (Old Town)

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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Republic 6939 Laurel Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912 (Takoma Park)

This Takoma Park restaurant uses seasonal ingredients to build an American style menu in a refined bistro style setting. The menu is pretty seafood heavy, including a daily rotating selection of raw bar options and entrees featuring rockfish and crab. There is also a daily vegan special, called the "All Veggie Everything" and some killer housemade cocktails.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Tyber Bierhaus 7525 Old Georgetown Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814

Designed to evoke the Delirium Café in Brussels, Tyber Bierhaus rotates through over 180 beers throughout the year, focusing on Germans and Belgians. Take a seat at the bar, where beer appears to flow from the ceiling and order up pomme frites and the very tasty Stiegl Radler from Salzburg, Austria. Or you can just go wild and order a boot of beer!

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Galaxy Hut 2711 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

This small space packs in 28 taps of craft beer that is constantly rotating with solid emphasis on seasonal brews. They serve a comfort food menu that’s stocked with both carnivorous and vegan options, and a killer jukebox. Plus, it’s just a few stops down the orange line and into VA. Head over on Sunday and Monday nights for live music.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. American Tap Room 3101 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

This totally classic bar in Bethesda West offers solid discounts nearly every day of the week (hell yeah, Wine Down Wednesday), plus the massive bay windows are perfect for people-watching... combined, that’s a recipe for a great summertime bar. Go for the moonshine shots -- it’s a really good bad decision, we promise -- while jamming to old-school MTV. And it’s less than four blocks from the Bethesda metro, on the corner of Elm St.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Quarry House Tavern 8401 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910

This Silver Spring bar has gone and phoenixed itself: it’s newly built across the street from where the old location burned down, and this place still has a killer beer selection, and the best bar food you will ever have. It’s decidedly in the running for best wings in the DC area, which come in levels so spicy the waitstaff will literally warn you to stay away from them (so you know you have to order them). It’s dark and kind of dingy in a delightfully no-frills, divey kind of way.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Heavy Seas Alehouse Arlington 1501 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209 (Rosslyn)

Heavy Seas in Rosslyn is a pirate-themed pub with 15 drafts, two casks, experimental cocktails, and American comfort pub fare that leans towards tasty seafood, expertly prepared using fresh and seasonal ingredients. The rustic-industrial, warehouse-like space is decked out with plank-lined walls, dark wood furniture, and buoyed string lights. It’s great for groups, especially themed parties.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Trademark Drink & Eat 2080 Jamieson Ave, Alexandria, VA 22314

This spot might exude a touch too much swank, with lawyers filing in from the US Patent and Trademark Office, and it might be a hotel bar -- located in the Westin Alexandria -- but don't be discouraged: you can get here either from the Eisenhower or King Street Metro (although the latter is a longer walk). These guys make a mean Old Fashioned, and we love that they use Jefferson’s Reserve Whiskey. Do your soul a favor and snag an order of their loaded French fries... which are topped with candy bacon. We repeat: candy bacon.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Captain Gregory's 804 North Henry Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Ready your mind for elixirs like red miso- and banana-infused bourbon, because Captain Gregory’s has more jars of cool potions than an apothecary. This secret little hot spot is tucked in the back of Sugar Shack Donuts- reminiscent of a speakeasy-style bar that has amassed a list of close to 100 original cocktail recipes. Outfitted like a sailor’s garage, they also make their own vermouth, bitters, and tinctures. We like the Blind Coffee Farmer, featuring house-made dark roast coffee liqueur, galangal bitters, black pepper bitters, cream, and nutmeg. Make a reservation via text if you want in.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Rustico, Ballston 4075 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22217 (Ballston)

You’ll have to walk an entire half mile here (yeah, not bad), so avoid wearing a pair of spike heels or whatever, but this place boasts a selection of over 400 beers, so, you know, worth it. Rustico understands that sometimes people just want a sample before choosing a full pour, and with most tastes ranging from $2 to $5, that is definitely an option. Fortunately, the menu is also broken down by flavor profiles... and if you didn’t already think these guys were geniuses, they have a loaded baked potato pizza.