DC’s Best Hotel Bars That Locals Love

Hotel bars in DC aren’t just for tourists, lawmakers, and traveling businessmen: with reliable service, free bar snacks, and fun vibes, these spots can seriously upgrade your standard happy hour game (let’s face it: rail liquor just doesn’t taste that great). So if you’re ready to get fancy and you’re willing to accept slightly pricier drinks, a hotel setting might cure what ails you. Plus, if things go better at the bar than anticipated, you can always book a room.

Brothers and Sisters: the LINE DC
Brothers and Sisters: the LINE DC

The LINE Hotel
Adams Morgan
This all day bar and restaurant in the lobby of the stunning LINE Hotel in Adams Morgan is a dramatic space with a global-leaning menu. This spot makes for excellent people watching (and eavesdropping onto the LINE’s own podcast studio) and drinks lean local with selections from New Columbia Distillers, Port City Brewing, and Thibaut Janisson Winery.

Wild Days, the indoor/outdoor bar atop the Eaton hotel is a great gathering space for not just drinks, but also live music and DJs. The patio channels an urban farm with plenty of greenery and the pops of color around make it a vibrant and beautiful space. If dimly lit bars with nooks and crannies are more your style, head to the Allegory cocktail bar in the lobby level. 

Ritz Carlton
West End
A sleek bar with fantastic cocktails, Quadrant Bar features a collection of rare vintages housed in its “vault.” A neat experience here is the tasting of the sound-aged whiskeys, an experimental technique to use sonic waves to age spirits that is led by mixologist Chris Mendenhall.

Dirty Habit DC
Dirty Habit DC

Kimpton Hotel Monaco
Penn Quarter
The patio is one of the best spots to enjoy Hotel Monaco’s legendary truffle fries, but the indoor space is pretty edgy and cool, too. It’s a popular spot for happy hour or drinks anytime. During happy hour, get a discount on one of the bar’s signature cocktails, the Rice ‘n Roses, which combines Nigori sake, Absolut vodka, a rose and almond syrup, and lychee and citrus juices.

Crimson DC
Crimson DC

Pod Hotel
At Chinatown’s Pod Hotel, you can find two different Crimson experiences. The rooftop bar Crimson View is where you should go for one of the best vantage points to look out over DC, and the subterranean Crimson Whiskey Bar is a perfect stop for cocktails in a dimly lit space.

The Dupont Circle
The Dupont Circle

The Dupont Circle Hotel
Dupont Circle
Settle into this chic bar at the renovated Dupont Circle Hotel. The upscale vintage decor will make you feel like you are in one of the most stylish spaces of yesteryear. Drinks are inspired by the cocktails of the ‘50s and ‘60s and feature classics plus some fun modern takes. There is also an extremely diverse and varied list of spirits, with a heavy focus on all types of whiskey.

Hamilton Hotel
This micro-luxe cocktail bar is one of the best parts about the iconic Hamilton Hotel, which just went through a major renovation. It’s an intimate bar and lounge with only 14 seats, so make sure you show up right when it opens at 5pm. The Art Deco decor features wood paneling, distressed leather, and diamond chandeliers for a bit of a skull and bones vibe. Try the colorful Society on K cocktail with gin, Blue Curacao, creme de violette, sour mix, egg white, and lavender and cardamom bitters.

The Riggsby
Courtesy of The Riggsby

The Carlyle
Dupont Circle
Channel your inner Peggy Olson or Don Draper when you roll up to the bar at The Riggsby. This is definitely the place for a three martini lunch -- the bar works on delivering classic drinks at a decent price point. Expect to find the usual classic cocktail suspects, and some more modern leaning ones. During The Riggsby’s daily “cocktail party” (4-7pm), cocktails are less than $10.

Park Hyatt Washington
West End
There’s a totally nice bar located next to the Hyatt’s Blue Duck Tavern, but why hang out inside when there’s a patio to be enjoyed? Now open year around, spring brings open seats by the fountain (which is frequented by a small family of those eponymous ducks) and fire pits for cooler nights in the fall and winter. Like the food at Blue Duck Tavern, the cocktail menu features local spirits and ingredients.

Bourbon Steak Lounge
Courtesy of BOURBON STEAK at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC

The Four Seasons
Bourbon Steak is home to some killer cocktails, including classics like the Rusty Nail, Manhattan, and Old Fashioned, but there’s also a cocktail menu that stretches for pages, just in case you want to be overwhelmed by options. If you’re up for bar bites, try the Maryland blue crab hushpuppies.

round robin bar
Courtesy of The Willard Intercontinental

The Willard InterContinental
The Round Robin bar is the most DC-esque hotel bar if there were one. It serves classic cocktails, including the mint julep, which the bar is actually credited with introducing to the District back in the day.

Off the Record bar
Courtesy of The Hay-Adams

The Hay-Adams
A basement hideaway just across from the White House, this is the type of place where you imagine secret deals being made. It serves up killer cocktails ranging from the classics to anything you fancy -- the bartenders are pretty great and will make you something you enjoy.

Ritz Carlton
This bar is discreetly hidden in the back of the lobby, and it’s often a celebrity sighting spot when there’s a major event taking place in DC. Bar service here is consistent and welcoming. Pro tip: sneak into the lobby’s living room for complimentary, passed s’mores, which are offered nightly from 6:30pm to 7pm.

Courtesy of The Jefferson, Washington, DC.

The Jefferson
Live piano music, cocktails that change monthly, and an outdoor terrace where it’s possible to enjoy a glass of cognac... Quill isn’t shooting for mediocre here. You’ll find some really creative creations here with ingredients like ube, but they also have a great wine list.

st. regis bar
The St. Regis Washington, DC

The St. Regis
Relax in the leather armchairs, or mingle by the fireplace. Wherever you sit, this bar is adorned to match the mood of the classic drinks served here. If you are here for brunch, order up one of the hotel’s signature Capital Mary’s – a unique take on the traditional Bloody Mary with a local Chesapeake twist. Craft cocktails and afternoon tea are great options here.

Marriott Marquis
Mount Vernon Square
The massive Marriott Marquis opened to much fanfare in 2014, having one of the biggest bed counts in town. The whiskey list is also pretty expansive -- order a flight or try one of the bar's signature cocktails.

POV rooftop
POV Rooftop Lounge and Terrace | Courtesy of Greg Powers

W Hotel
If you want a bar with a view, then the POV Rooftop Terrace and Lounge is right up your alley. This rooftop bar has views of Downtown DC, including the Washington Monument and the White House. Just be prepared to pay... cocktails start at $16 here, and yes, bottle service is available.

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Tim Ebner is a food and travel writer based in Washington, DC. Follow him on Twitter for more tips: @TimEbner.
Aparna Krishnamoorthy is a freelance food and travel writer based in Washington DC. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more dining and wanderlust adventures.