Food & Drink

From underground PBR bunkers to back-alley vintage stores, there's more than U know here

Published On 05/19/2013 Published On 05/19/2013
U Street Hood Guide Thrillist

Alright, so you're Mr. U Street. You're so U Street, they should call it You Street. But behind the jazz and the cocktails and the jazz cocktails, there's another side to the neighborhood..

The freshest workwear around: Federal 2216 14th St NW; 202.518.3375 The big brother half of skateshop Palace 5ive, this place stocks American work & street wear that's surprisingly hard to find in DC, from brands like Levi's Made & Crafted, to Raleigh Denim (out of NC), to Red Wing boots. Come out geared like Steve McQueen with tons of leather goods and raw denim. Link up here for more on getting kitted at Federal
The best small date spot and wine bar: Dickson Wine Bar 903 U Street NW; 202.332.1779 Housed in a non-descript concrete building, this place is three narrow stories of steel wine bottles (over 700, actually). It's a great spot to bring the planet-friendly little lady for a small plate menu consisting of classified "organic" or "bio-dynamic", with bites like Serrano ham & Manchego flatbreads and banh mis w/ Berkshire pork belly. Jump here for additional info on Dickson's vino
Serious vintage clothing: Dr. K's 1534 U St NW; 202.506.1817 From a Thailand native that's sold his gear to the likes of Warehouse & J. Crew and started amassing his collection more than 20yrs ago, this place isn't the type of vintage store to hit for your Halloween costume. The owner's curated men's clothing and accessories spanning from the 1920s to '80s, and he's filled the store with his serious threads, like 30-era Levi's jeans, 40yr-old cowboy & motorcycle boots, properly aged military canvas bags & navy peacoats, and varsity jackets galore. Read on about the Doctor's serious vintage
Jam out to some serious funk: Tropicalia 2001 14th st NW; 202.629.4535 Like "Rio Funk" and "Afro-House"? Never heard of "Rio Funk" and "Afro-House", but hate top 40? Then hit this underground club tucked below the corner at 14th & U, and catch the sounds bouncing off surrealist art installations and a glass mosaic bar that slings six signature South of the border 'tails like the Lambada w/ coconut cream, spiced rum & maraschino, and a house caipirinha. But that's not all. More, here.
A dive that scores a 10: Codmother 1334 U St NW; 202.265.0709 Stay subterranean at Codmother, where punk tunes from the Sex Pistols and The Clash blare and the PBR/whiskey combos flow like (cheap) wine. Down beer-battered fish 'n chips while staring at Sid Vicious paintings and medieval knight's armor that totally fits the metal vibe. Dive on this link for some more on The Codmother's
Late night great bite: Black and Orange 1931 14th St NW; 202.296.2242 Irish goodbye from the bar and sneak over for some late-night ('til 5a), 1/2lb, "pink or no pink" burgers just off U. Cruise up to the steel counter and order up house specialties like their staple Rogue State w/ house spice blend, chipotle, and cilantro, the No Burger No Cry w/ habanero peppers and a house jerk blend, or the black truffle oil/ thyme "Pardon My French" -- you should be used to hearing that from your experiences at the bar. Find out the deets before heading to B&O
Best hidden game bar: Stetson's 1610 U St NW; 202.667.6295 Walk into Stetson's (the oldest bar on U Street) and you think you know the deal. But head upstairs and you'll find a full bar game center: HD projector, pool table, darts, foosball, Pacman, and a jukebox, all Golden Teed up for your enjoyment. Gamer or not, find out the deal

Photo courtesy of Breath Naigh
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1. Tropicalia 2001 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (U Street)

With more than 20 years of experience working in DC nightlife, the crew behind Tropicalia are certainly no rookies. This underground, international "dance club for grown-ups" is tucked away and features live bands & DJs with an AfroHouse leaning, ensuring huge beats will be reverberating off the three huge surrealist art installations they've had put in.

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2. Federal 2216 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (U Street)

Federal is like the older, wiser brother of next-door-neighbor skateshop Palace 5ive, but rest assured, there is no sibling rivalry here. With a gorgeous brick interior, this place is filled with Levi's Vintage, Timberlands, Dickies, and more.

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3. Dickson Wine Bar 903 U St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (U Street)

Although the outside lacks beauty -- it's a nondescript concrete building -- Dickson Wine Bar is a gorgeous three-stories spot with over 700 bottles of wine and is a perfect date spot for you and your favorite lady (no, not your mom). Sip your wine while enjoying tasty small plates, like the ahi tuna tartare, wild mushroom flatbread, or, for your sweet tooth, a vanilla crème brûlée. Look at those French accents, you know this place is classy already.

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4. Dr. K's Vintage 1544 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (U Street)

The U Street shop's a retail clothing store specializing in sick, vintage clothes and accessories from the 1920s all the way through the '80s. The owner has curated his serious collection for over 20 years, so visit this doctor and get kitted.

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5. The Codmother 1334 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (U Street)

As dive-y as it gets, this U Street Corridor joint has fish & chips to rival the best chippies in The Big Smoke (that's London, mate). On top of that, they've got free-flowing PBR, some killer desserts -- deep fried snickers and oreos -- blaring British punk, and walls covered in photos of Sid Vicious, Joe Strummer, and other punk legends. It'll be just like being in London, and be amazing enough to maybe make you reconsider that whole 1776 thing. For a second, anyway.

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6. Black & Orange 1931 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (Columbia Heights)

The burger grilling company whips up gourmet burgers with fresh ingredients, and they're open late from 11a-5a every day.

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7. Stetsons 1610 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (Adams Morgan)

Downstairs: regular bar. Upstairs: small bar and game center w/ HD projector, pool table, Pacman, Golden Tee, jukebox, darts, and foosball. At the all-day happy hour on Sundays, game your face off while pounding $4 Bud Lights and then come back on Tuesday night for their weekly pub quiz. If it sounds like it rules, it's because it kinda does.



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