Got balls? These bars do. BOCCE balls. As well they should, as few games so seamlessly blend socializing, triumphing over your friends/enemies, and never having to put your beer down. Here are seven hangouts inside and outside the Beltway, where you can get your bocce on.
Vendetta Bocce Bar & Tavern (info and address)
H St NE
Bocce's even in the name! The H Street bar with Prosecco on draft is the place to be to throw balls around while sipping something EXTRA classy. With a court upstairs just a stone's throw from the bar, it's easy to get another round when you've lost another bocce bout. And, if you can make it on a Monday, it's only $1 for sausage, meatball, or chicken masala sliders.
Vinoteca (info and address)
Right off of U Street, this recently revamped wine bar (with a strong beer lineup as well), has a perfect patio for tossing some bocce balls.The weekend brunch here is also strong, whether you've worked up an appetite or you're waiting for the bocce to open up.
Black Jack (info and address)
Climb the stairs at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and discover a bocce bar overlooking 14th St. Or a quasi-bocce stadium. With 19 seats next to the bocce court, you can get a group together for a serious bocce throwdown. Hopefully Bobby Flay doesn't show up. Black Jack is kind enough to break down the bocce rules for you. Rule #1: Buy a round of drinks for everyone involved.
Pinstripes (info and address)
Catering to more than the Georgetown crowd, this newly opened venue at The Shops of Georgetown Park has got both bocce and bowling under its roof. To throw those balls, it's $5 per person per hour. And on Tuesdays, bocce players get $5 burgers as well.
Grand Central (info and address)
At this Adams Morgan party spot, the bocce court comes out only for special requests on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. Play a few games of bocce, then change it up with some beer pong. Then after beer pong, go back to bocce. Weekend plans, solved!
Shoe's Cup and Cork (info and address)
You gotta leave the Beltway to play bocce in the secret garden -- in the heart of historic Leesburg, Shoe's Cup and Cork has a decent beer list. But this is wine country after all, so the vino list is much longer. Try a glass of pinot noir and a rousing round of bocce.
La Tagliatella (info and address)
This Italian restaurant in Clarendon has a little-known secret: it has a bocce court out back. Just ask the bartender for some bocce balls and be on your merry way. Except, when you talk to the bartender, make sure to grab a few drinks for the players as well.
1. Vendetta1212 H St NE, Washington
2. Vinoteca1940 11th St NW, Washington
3. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack1612 14th St NW, Washington DC
4. Pinstripes1064 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington
5. Grand Central2447 18th St NW, Washington
6. Shoe's Cup and Cork17 N King St, Leesburg
7. La Tagliatella2950 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington
Located in the old Red Palace, Vendetta is an Italian spot on H Street with two oyster shell/gravel bocce courts.
Among U Street's most popular wine hideaways, Vinoteca is the ideal locale for wine connoisseurs and bocce athletes, alike. Complete with a back "plaza" featuring an old-world, brick-enclosed bocce court, an ethereal fountain, and an outdoor bar, there is rarely reason to set foot inside (the heat lamps make it fairly easy to stay put all winter). The enclosed bar and dining room are equally charming, with exposed brick, floor-to-ceiling windows, and vintage film posters tacked between towering displays of stacked bottles of wine. The food menu boasts an in-house whole-animal butchery program, but the stand-out offering is inarguably the wine and spirits list, featuring an impressive number of inventive house-cocktails, a selection of craft beers on tap, and a seemingly-infinite catalog of available wines.
Who says you can't play bocce while shooting oysters and sipping seasonal craft cocktails? Enjoy the Southern hospitality and the rustic, ancient mariner-inspired interior, while the chef shucks the best mollusks the East and West Coasts have to offer. They also have a solid happy hour with vodka martinis and a wine list with plenty of bottles that'll pair just right with your shelled snacks.
Hailing from the Midwest, Pinstripes offers you the opportunity to drink classy Italian wines and snack on tasty Italian eats while you take down your opponents in bowling and bocce.
Grand Central is a great place to grab some cheap drinks, hit the dance floor, or engage in tomfoolery like beer pong, or bocce (Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays).
Shoe's Cup and Cork is a nice relaxing spot to grab coffee and a bagel, or even some shared plates and wine -- they also have a sweet secret garden out back where you can just hang out or play some bocce with friends.
Yes: La Tagliatella is a 130-location chain. But they're all in Europe, so it's cool! (Chains over there smoke and wear cool clothes and stuff.) Actually, the Clarendon location is their second in the US (#1 honors went to Atlanta), and endless soup & breadsticks are skipped in favor of endless Old World charm: chandeliers, several coats of arms, and other efforts to "mimic a Northern Italian home".