From the most extensive cider list in the world to the city’s first rum distillery, here’s where to get your drink on in DC.
This rustic-chic Truxton Circle bar, cidery, and restaurant is known for its artisan cider and bite-sized Basque-style pintxos (pronounced “peen-chos”) snacks. A 660-gallon Mastro Battaio barrel placed prominently near the entrance naturally transforms fresh-pressed apple juice into cider. Anxo Cidery & Pintxos Bar claims to have “the most extensive cider list in the world,” including those made in-house, some collaborations, Sidra/Sagardoa (ciders that have to be poured from high above for proper aeration), plus cider cocktails, vermouth, wine, beer, sherry, and apple brandy. Order a flight to sample a handful, or ask the staff to suggest something based on your taste. They also offer a bottomless brunch and weekday happy hour specials.
Churchkey is basically church for craft beer aficionados. Choose from 555 hand-picked labels, including a selection of 50 taps, five casks, and a 500 plus bottles. Beer director and partner
Greg Engert has conveniently categorized his book of beers by flavor profile: from crisp to smoke, and tart to funky. Some of Churchkey’s rare and exclusive brews can only be found here (at least locally).
What started as tiny bar behind The Passenger has become a luxe, award-winning cocktail lounge in Blagden Alley. Mixologist Derek Brown (co-founder of the Drink Company), concocts contemporary cocktails in royal surroundings. Order a punch, seasonal cocktail, old fashioned, highball, or “no-proof” cocktail to be enjoyed on the airy outdoor deck, or in the swanky Spirits Library. Fit for a king, this area sports dark walls, leather chairs, woodwork, and a library of liquor bottles. There’s a limited food menu available à la carte, or you can make reservations for the ticketed Tasting Room experience. The thematic four-course prix-fixe menu of four cocktails paired with small bites costs $85.
Classic cocktails and Chinese food for the win! This Atlas District den is one of DC’s most beloved bars for daiquiris, gimlets, martinis, smashes, mules, and more. Founder Devin Gong has created a simple menu of cocktails done correctly. Offerings of the day are listed along with their ingredients (plus interesting details like the history behind the drink) on the chalkboard behind the bar. Hit up Copycat Company before or after dinner for drinks, or try some potstickers and bao off their menu of authentic Chinese street food.
The city’s first craft rum distillery and tasting room was started by two former NASA strategists, who chose rum over rockets. Located near Union Market, this popular DC distillery makes its own dry-spiced rum, white rum, mellow gold, and allspice dram. Order it straight, or try a rum-based cocktail like the Summerglow Rickey, made with white rum, Aperol, grapefruit cider, and lime. They do offer daiquiris, but this ain’t no tiki bar. Except on Tiki Tuesdays, of course.
The name of this saloon conjures up a certain scene from Titanic (Jack could’ve fit on there too, Rose!). But in fact, it is actually just a whiskey bar. Not just any whiskey bar, though. Jack Rose Dining Saloon features a selection of over 2,600 single malts, blended, international, Irish, domestic, and rare bottles. Whiskey even serves as decoration—the walls of the spacious first-floor are lined with the libation. The beer list is organized by flavor, while the cocktail menu is sorted by spirit. They also have an open-air terrace for when its nice out.
Hook Hall is a rather recent addition to the Park View scene. The expansive 12,000 square foot indoor-outdoor space features 32 beers on tap, a 40-foot mirrored bar, and an outdoor beer garden with its own bar, deck, and 10 private cabanas. In addition to a rotating selection of craft beers, the pirate-themed bar offers classic cocktails and supple wines.
Stepping into this luxurious subterranean basement bar feels like stepping into another era. Located in the underbelly of the historic Hay-Adams hotel, this red velvet-wrapped DC institution is known to politicos, journalists, and dignitaries as downtown’s best "place to be seen and not heard." The upscale hotel bar offers old-school cocktails like martinis, Manhattans, and old fashioneds; some locally made spirits; a superb wine selection; and politically-inspired cocktails like Mueller’s Trump Card (made with Olmeca Altos Reposado Tequila, serrano-infused yellow chartreuse, benedictine, and lemon juice), which costs $20. Walls and coasters are decorated with caricatures of the city's political elite. Off the Record also offers an upscale bar food-inspired menu.