Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Scott Suchman/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
James Jackson/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist
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1. Masseria 1340 4th St NE, Washington, DC 20002

Hidden in the rows of wholesale stores surrounding Union Market, you might miss Masseria if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Inside the wooden gate, the warehouse vibe gives way to a stylish courtyard, which leads to an industrial-chic covered patio and dining room. Both the decor and the menu are inspired by Chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s fond memories of Puglia’s idyllic landscapes and welcoming country houses. The tasting menu is the only way to play, unless you take a seat at the bar for small plates. Choose between a three-, four-, or five- course meal -- or splurge on the customized six-course La Cucina menu. The dishes are modern and artistic takes on classics, like the linguine with XO sauce and the tripe topped with lobster. Don’t skip the cocktails, or you’ll miss the smoke show that is the Fumo di Uva.

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2. Riggsby 1731 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009 (Dupont Circle)

Located inside the swanky Carlyle Hotel at Dupont Circle, The Riggsby is a luxe retro-inspired cocktail bar and eatery. Celebrity chef Michael Schlow helms the menu, offering bespoke takes on classic 60s' inspired bar fare like club sandwiches, chicken paillard, and steak frites, the perfect accompaniment for a three martini lunch.

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3. Mad Fox Taproom 2218 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007

Newest member of the Mad Fox family, this Glover Park location boasts a mean brew selection and an even meaner (meatier) menu.

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4. Buredo 825 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

It's like sushi, except massive. Can we get a YASS queen!?

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5. 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.

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6. Walter's Sports Bar 3628 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20010

Sports while you beer while you beef jerkey while you outdoors (or while you indoors). A bar for the modern renaissance man, really.

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7. Sally's Middle Name 1320 H St NE, Washington, 20002 (Noma)

This D.C. eatery puts restaurants serving "seasonal fare" to shame, offering all-new brunch and dinner menus almost nightly. The rotating food rosters, while limited in scope, are miraculously fresh, offering the best of local meats and veggies. With small plates like peach and goat-feta salad, in addition to sizable entrees like fried catfish battered in Maryland IPA, the kitchen manages to toy with an impressive range of techniques and flavor palettes, while still exclusively making use of the absolute freshest ingredients available. The minimal, white-tiled space is lined with cherrywood tables, all of which are topped with delicate flower arrangements and block-printed cloth napkins, and like the kitchen, the bar maintains a garden-to-glass policy, offering house cocktails crafted with local herbs, spirits and sweeteners.

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8. Dew Drop Inn 2801 8th St NE, Washington, DC 20017

A divey time capsule just begging you to make it your new local haunt.

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9. Nido 2214 Rhode Island Ave NE, Washington, 20018 (Noma)

This Mediterranean eatery boasts a dining room that is equally as Euro-inspired as the menu, with repurposed white-washed woods and expertly curated floral arrangements. The food, mainly drawn from Italian and Spanish cuisine, consists primarily of tapas-like small plates and snacks -- think beef tenderloin carpaccio and warm lentil salad with house goat cheese -- while there are a handful of larger pasta and meat-based entrées available. The weekend brunch menu is divided into two subsets: sweet and savory, and brunch -- like dinner -- is always an occasion for imbibing at Nido. Needless to say, the bi-level Woodridge eatery maintains a philosophy rooted in the importance of good company and great food, served in a place that is every bit as comfortable as it is charming.

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10. The Garrison 524 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Like Smeagle always says: Keep it seasonal, keep it safe. Rest assured, it'll be savory and succulent to boot.

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11. Scarlet Oak 909 New Jersey Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Navy Yardnear Se)

Named after D.C.'s official tree, this spot is situated right near the ballpark in the Navy Yard and hopes to cater to crowds pre and post games. They serve simple dishes like pizza and pasta as well as some globally inspired fare. The cocktail list at this casual American restaurant is impressive, but the highlight is the 909 Triple Play, which consists of a three-pronged punch: George Dickel whiskey, a can of PBR, and a shot of pickle juice.

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12. Slash Run 201 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011

Fourteen lines of burger options grace the menu at this cool, no fuss place. If red meat isn't your thing, there's also an impressive roundup of schnitzel options. Don't expect craft cocktails. You're drinking beer and whiskey and you're going to love it.

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13. Songbyrd Music House 2477 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Situated next to the Songbird Cafe is this full restaurant and bar to hit when coffee just won't cut it. If you are feeling fancy, try the Coconut Cooler cocktail and crispy corn-fried trout. Come for the food but stay for the music as the place features vinyl records and DJs.

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14. Crumbs & Whiskers 3211 O St NW, Washington, DC 20007 (Georgetown)

Part glimmering cat palace and part trendy, local café, this white brick eatery offers coffee drinks, smoothies, desserts, and, oh yeah -- cats. Crumbs & Whiskers is Washington DC's first cat cafe, equipped with a full-service coffee station (try the cat-uccino), a lengthy menu of gluten free macarons, and a rotating selection of 30 wandering felines, all of whom are available for adoption from the Washington Humane Society. It's tough to get in without a reservation (you pay by time slot), but once inside, kittens nuzzle themselves along massive couches and walls plastered with kitty-centric polaroids, while patrons sip their chai lattes and consider going home with any one of the charming orphaned creatures. Nearly all of the Crumb's proceeds go directly to the care and keeping of the animals, and the non-feline customers at the casual spot tend to be just as good company as the cats, themselves.

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