Food & Drink

Beyond Ben's Chili Bowl: 7 great DC half smokes

Published On 01/22/2014 Published On 01/22/2014
Best Half Smokes DC
Laura Hayes
John Sonderman
Laura Hayes
Laura Hayes
Laura Hayes
DC-3
Laura Hayes
Laura Hayes
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1. Bold Bite 50 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002 (Union Station)

Bold Bite houses burgers, dogs, and an array of awesome DC Half-Smokes. Get weird and try the DC Asian with Asian slaw, Hot & Bold sauce, and toasted sesame seeds.

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2. Weenie Beenie 2680 S Shirlington Rd, Arlington, VA 22206 (Arlington)

Still standing after roughly 60 years, the Weenie Beenie (self-proclaimed home of the original half smoke) serves cheap but delicious roadside grub.

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3. The Passenger 1539 7th St NW, Washington, 20001 (Mount Vernon Sq)

When the original Passenger closed at the end of 2014, it felt like losing a loved one. Thankfully, the endearing, unpretentious cocktail joint returned at a new location not too far up 7th Street, where it still encourages patrons to chat with bartenders about what flavors, spirits, or ingredients they’re in the mood to drink, and let the experts take it from there. But don't worry, there’s a chalkboard menu with four or five rotating cocktail options if you’re feeling anti-social. The space also retains its worn-in vibe with carryovers from the old Passenger (church pew booths, a Steve McQueen mural) and vestiges from other DC hotspots (Liv’s old disco ball, leopard-print chairs from the defunct Millie and Al's). It’s still the bar that sells tallboys of Schlitz and makes world-class cocktails -- only now it has Chartreuse on tap and a concert stage upstairs, too.

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4. Birch & Barley 1337 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005 (Logan Circle)

Birch & Barley is the restaurant located below infamous beer bar ChurchKey in Logan Circle. It serves a simple and elegant menu of seasonal American food, but its claim to fame is the 500-plus beer list that rivals anything in the area (except of course, its upstairs sibling). The upscale restaurant serves a multi-course tasting menu with an optional beer pairing, but you can also order à la carte. Brunch rocks too, especially the freshly-fried donut holes.

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5. DC-3 423 8th St SE , Washington, 20003 (Barracks Row)

Named for and decorated after "The Plane That Changed the World", 3's rocking a wall mounted propeller, aluminum tables, and benches with legs modeled after air traffic control towers, and's serving a quirky, hotdog-only menu with highlights like "Qâ€

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6. Boundary Stone 116 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Shaw)

Named for the mile markers that once shaped the city, Boundary Stone encapsulates DC style with exposed brick, original tin ceilings, oak bars, and even a stained glass DC flag. The Bloomingdale American restaurant boasts a menu of snacks, appetizers, sandwiches, and entrees, with favorites including daily changing deviled eggs and the honey hot chicken with honey hot sauce, bleu cheese, lettuce, and fries. Try one of the eight drafts on tap as you slide into one of the rustic, charcoal-colored wooden booths.

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7. Bluejacket 300 Tingey St SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Navy Yardnear Se)

With 20 beers on draught and another five cask beers, Bluejacket ought to be able to satisfy even the pickiest of your beer-drinking friends. Enjoy some snacks at the bar or save some room and wait until 5:30pm for short ribs or sweet potato gnocchi from Arsenal -- Bluejacket's in-house restaurant.