U Street/14th Street
Walk down the stairs below the equally busy and slightly less trashy rooftop spot Lost Society and you’ll find yourself at the notorious Tropicalia. The perfect place to bring a group of friends who are ready to dance the night away, Tropicalia boasts a large dance floor, multiple bars, and live DJ sets usually bumping hip-hop or top 40 jams. Grab your rail drink of choice from the bar that’s sure to be calling your name as soon as you walk in, and then get ready to bust a move.
The Velvet Lounge is the perfect mix of dive and dance, with live performers and DJs getting the almost-always-packed crowd moving. It’s a pretty small place, but with two floors and a backyard area to escape to if you need a breather (or a smoke break), it’s a good spot to post up for the evening. Be sure to check its lineup of shows beforehand to see if any of your local favorites are on the roster.
Are you on the hunt for your hipster, craft-beer-wielding soulmate? Look no further than popular neighborhood bar Red Derby, where funky décor and an open rooftop serve as the perfect backdrop for your next 500 Days of Summer love story. Also helping to set the mood are a selection of board games and American comfort food classics if you get the drunchies, like sweet potato fries and grilled cheese.
Dan’s Café is the diviest of dive bars with a young and rowdy crowd. It’s perhaps best known for its empty condiment squeeze bottles that you can pay a $5 deposit to get filled up with your liquor of choice. Have a ball squirting said liquor into your friends’ mouths (or perhaps the mouth of a new lover?) before stumbling out to sing karaoke next door at Muzette.