Food & Drink

The 13 oldest bars in DC

Published On 11/12/2014 Published On 11/12/2014
Lisa Nardelli
Lisa Nardelli
The Hay-Adams
Laura Hayes
Laura Hayes
Old Ebbitt Grill
Laura Hayes
Laura Hayes
Maria Izaurralde
Meher J. Dalal
Yana Bukharova
Old Angler’s Inn
The Tombs
The Dubliner
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1. The Tune Inn 331 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Capitol Hill)

Opened in 1947, The Tune Inn is covered in taxidermy (including a mounted butt of the owner's first buck) that gives the place some serious character. The biggest thing that’s stayed consistent for 60+ years is the attitude that everyone’s welcome — from the bigwig politico to the guy who saved up all day for a beer.

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2. Off the Record 800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006 (Downtown)

If you're across the street from the White House, head to Off the Record. Situated in the Italian Renaissance-style Hay-Adams hotel, this aptly named haunt looks like an over-the-top hideaway of the political elite. Don't be surprised if you noticed Frank Underwood sipping a Sazerac by the bar...

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3. 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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4. Gadsby's Tavern 138 N Royal St, Alexandria, VA 22314-3278 (Alexandria)

Gadsby’s Tavern, which opened in the late 1790s (!), is known for being a President fan-favorite (including Washington and Jefferson!). There’s a museum next to the tavern, so pop in there before your pint. Don’t leave before checking out the original, moneymaking ice well.

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5. Old Ebbitt Grill 675 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005 (Downtown)

Depending on your tastes, it will either be extremely appealing or off-putting that the Old Ebbitt Grill is the oldest saloon in Washington, once frequented by Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Roosevelt, and McKinley. Just steps away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Old Ebbitt’s Beaux-Arts façade begs you to enter for a cocktail, while its mahogany and velvet booths and bars set in marble, brass, and beveled glass implore you to stay for a few more as you imagine what kind of political secrets and scandals were shared here. As you’re doing your best Woodward and Bernstein impressions, munch on breakfast, lunch, brunch (if you’re there on a weekend), or dinner. The menus certainly have a Southern slant (chicken and waffles, crab cakes, shrimp and grits), though you can also opt for house-made cannelloni, pappardelle, and ravioli or flash-fried swordfish tacos.

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6. Tabard Inn 1739 N Street NW, Washington D.C, DC 20036 (Dupont Circle)

After 90yrs of excellence, the Tabard Inn has finally made it -- "it" being our list of Favorite 5 Winter Drinking spots -- thanks to its cozy, fireplaced, mahogany hunting lodge vibe, and cocktails like the pisco/ Allspice Dram/ apple cider Cuzco Mass, and a spiced rum /cinnamon/ orange/ nutmeg mulled cider, which they've clearly put a lot of thought into.

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7. Round Robin & Scotch Bar 1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, 20004

Opened in 1847, Round Robin has been frequented by a number of presidents, as well as Mark Twain & Walt Whitman. Bartender Jim Hewes has also been there for almost 30 years!

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8. Eighteenth Street Lounge 1212 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20036 (Dupont Circle)

Eighteenth Street Lounge holds five dimly-lit rooms of live music and DJs for you to explore while impressing your out-of-town friends by showing them this "secret" lounge that's really not-so-secret anymore. Show up on Wednesdays for a sweet reggae night, backed by a live band.

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9. Bohemian Caverns 2001 11th St , Washington , DC 20001 (U Street)

U Street's "Sole Home of Soul Jazz", Bohemian Caverns is one of the oldest jazz clubs out there. It’s provided awesome date nights of live jazz and candlelight since it opened in 1926. You name it, and they’ve performed here: Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane.

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10. Martin's Tavern 1264 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest , Washington, DC, DC 20007-3238 (Georgetown)

Hit the old guard establishment celebrating its 78th year, pouring eight drafts & nine 'tails (from a Hot Toddy to a Gin Rickey), and outfitted with dark wooden booths that once purportedly saw secret CIA meetings and JFK's proposal to Jackie, meaning in both cases, there was definitely some under-the-table action.

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11. Old Angler’s Inn 10801 MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 20854

Old Anglers Inn’s original purpose was to serve those coming and going along the C & O Canal, but big names like Teddy Roosevelt also stayed there. Recently, while doing restoration work, hidden paintings were discovered on the walls behind layers and layers of paint and plaster. Ask about them on your next visit.

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12. The Tombs 1226 36th St NW, Georgetown, DC 20007 (Georgetown)

Housed in a Federal-style townhouse that was built in the mid-1800s, The Tombs is a rathskeller-style bar named after a T.S. Eliot poem. Be sure to look for name inscriptions of people who’ve worked there -- they date all the way back to 1962!

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13. The Dubliner 520 N Capitol St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Capitol Hill)

Tucked into the Phoenix Park Hotel, The Dubliner's got live music, a big menu of reasonably priced, hearty pub fare, and all the classic Irish beverages (Guinness, Jameson, etc.) that you would expect.

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