The Best Bars and Restaurants Near Capital One Arena
For all your pre- and post-game dining needs.
With concerts, sporting events, and visits to landmark museums back in full swing, that can only mean one thing: Chinatown and Penn Quarter are bustling with foot traffic again. From concerts and games at Capital One Arena to events at surrounding venues like the National Portrait Gallery and other area museums, it can be tricky to find a bar stool or table when hunger strikes. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a loud sports bar or chain for pre- and post-event eats.
The area seriously has something for everyone—from quick-and-easy fast-casual spots to refined Indian and Peruvian restaurants, there’s even a bar tucked into a somewhat secret courtyard. So whether you’re catching the Washington Wizards sink a buzzer-beater, watching the Capitals score, or enjoying a big-name concert, here are all the places where in-the-know food and drink lovers can score big near Capital One Arena.
Turn the corner from Capital One Arena and you’ll find what was once a Burger King. But this BK, Bantam King, is nothing like its fast-food past. The colorful restaurant from chefs Mary Mendoza and Katsuya Fukushima (of Daikaya, a ramen and izakaya restaurant located a block away) is known for serving some of the best fried chicken in DC. The menu includes both a Nashville hot chicken and curry snow-fried chicken plate, plus a half-dozen varieties of ramen. Just be sure to save room for dessert and order up the “big fat chocolate chip cookie.” It’s loaded with Valrhona chocolate chips and is baked in rendered chicken fat.
You’ve heard of farm-to-table, but farm-to-tacos is the thing at Chaia, a fast-casual restaurant with a veggie- and vegan-friendly menu. The most-ordered tacos include braised mushrooms, cumin roasted cauliflower, and creamy kale and potato. Beyond tacos, this spot also has enchiladas, chips and dips, and drinks like seasonal adult slushies or margaritas or sangria on tap. After all, you’ll want to pregame to avoid paying twice as much once inside at Capital One Arena.
Peru’s Chifa, Nikkei, and Criollo cuisines are on full display at China Chilcano, a South American restaurant from Jose Andres that seamlessly blends food traditions from its indigenous people and immigrant communities. Chef Will Fung’s menu includes dishes like “dancing” yucca fries topped with bonito flakes, amarillo mayo, and kabayaki sauce, plus lettuce wraps with Kung Pao chicken, fried rice, and crispy sweet potatoes. Don’t skip out on the ceviche either, as there are seven different varieties to sample here. The bar’s daily Pisco Hour is also the perfect pre-game stop, the bar serves $7 Peruvian-style pisco cocktails, plus $5 beers, $6 wines, and dim sum bites that range from $5 to $10 each from 4 to 6 pm.
Dirty Habit is the moody and sleek restaurant tucked inside the Kimpton Hotel Monaco DC. It also has an oversized and somewhat hidden courtyard bar located directly across the street from the Capital One Arena. The patio stays heated throughout the winter, and the dishes from the kitchen are packed with bold flavor. Chef Edgar Escalante hails from Mexico City but has cooked all over the world and brings a menu, including a karaage-style fried chicken sandwich, Filipino-style short ribs adobo, and Kampachi Aguachile served with zesty citrus juices and cucumber.
Flight Wine Bar
Refined drinkers can easily tuck away into this discreet wine lair with a menu of more than 600 wines from around the world, including 22 wine flights and more than three dozen wines by the glass. The focus here is on small, family-owned growers, which means you’ll be able to experience several wine varietals that pale in comparison to the overpriced Chardonnay you’ll pay for at Capital One Arena.
Karma Modern Indian
This lauded restaurant has become a destination in Chinatown for modern Indian cuisine with fresh and unexpected ingredient combinations. Karma’s founders Sachin Mahajan and Ricky Singh work alongside executive chef Ajay Kumar to build a menu of Indian comfort food set in a cozy dining room and patio settin—just far enough away from the crowds of Capital One Arena. The menu focuses on fresh and high-quality ingredients found in dishes like lobster masala, pan-seared scallops with sesame seeds and red pepper sauce, and lamb chops served with cumin potatoes.
This fast-casual hummus shop is inspired by those you might find in Tel Aviv, and it’s a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurant where you can sample some of the freshest ingredients sourced locally. You can’t go wrong with the “keep it classic bowl,” a warm chickpea hummus bowl served with fresh cilantro and a slight kick of jalapeño hot sauce. Or try the cauliflower shawarma pita, stuffed with caramelized onions, kale, and chickpea “mayo.” Oat milk soft serve is an excellent way to celebrate a win. Try it in two flavors: Tahini vanilla or chocolate Turkish coffee, or go for a twist of the two together.
This family-owned coffee shop and bar is a great way to get your buzz on before or after the big game. Urban Roast offers everything from casual cups of gourmet coffees to specialty cocktails, and the food menu offers a wide variety of sharable options like charcuterie boards, empanadas, and buffalo chicken dip. And since it’s only two blocks from Capital One Arena, it’s the perfect environment for raising a glass to celebrate a big win with friends.