Top Ten Bars in Washington D.C.'s Dupont Circle

Jonaki Mehta

Explore Washington D.C.’s Dupont Circle with our list of the best bars in this chic, exciting neighborhood. Ranging from quirky game-themed bars to more traditional pubs with unconventional twists, the nation’s capital has a wide range of nightlife experiences to offer.

The Bier Baron Tavern

1. The Bier Baron Tavern


The Bier Baron Tavern

Originally called Brickskeller from 1957 until 2011, the Bier Baron Tavern is a historic beer bar that offers hundreds of beers from all over the globe as well as craft, vintage brews. This bar has a unique ambiance, with live music (and even burlesque dancing) in the upstairs area on some nights and stand-up comedy on Thursday nights, all of which draw in diverse crowds. The vintage beer decor on the brick-laden walls exudes the rustic basement atmosphere in this bar. The food is affordable and tasty, and the staff is not only friendly, but has a vast knowledge about the endless beer selection.

Price: Low to Mid-Range

Opening hours: 4:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4:00 p.m.- 2:00 a.m. Fridays, 12:00p.m.- 2:00 a.m. Saturdays, 3:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. Sundays.

Watch out for: Vintage beer decor

Address & telephone number: 1523 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20037 (202) 293-1887

Pogs at Thomas Foolery | © Andrew Wiseman/Flickr
Pogs at Thomas Foolery | © Andrew Wiseman/Flickr

2. Thomas Foolery


Thomas Foolery

You can spend a night out on the town experiencing some childhood nostalgia at Thomas Foolery, a quirky 1980s game-themed bar. Food trucks and vendors from around the city are featured at this playground-come-bar, and you can find fun and inventive drinks that can be made into ice-cream floats. The games are never-ending and so are the drinks, with 40 types of bottled beer that are all selected by a “D.C. celebrity or awesome-person.” There is even a full candy-bar and “interactive discounts” that ask patrons to join in the fun by following a bizarre rule (like ordering in an angry voice) to earn a cheap drink.

Price: Low range

Opening hours: 4:00 p.m.- 11 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, 4:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Thursdays, 4:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Fridays, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Saturdays, 12:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. Sundays

Watch out for: Games

Address & telephone number: 2029 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036 (202) 822-6200

3. Trio's Fox & Hounds

Bar, Restaurant

Trio’s Fox & Hounds

Trio’s Fox & Hounds is the perfect spot for both breezy afternoon drinks on the patio and homemade comfort food from its neighboring Trio Restaurant. A totally no-frills bar, Fox & Hounds is a cozy place to meet an old friend, wind down after a long day of work with co-workers, or catch the latest sports events. With its jukebox playing classic rock tunes and affordable prices, this is a local favorite for patrons who want to chat, drink, and kick back.

Price: Low range

Opening hours: 4:00 p.m.- 2 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 12:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. Fridays, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m. Saturdays, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m. Sundays

Watch out for: The jukebox

Address & telephone number: 1537 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036 (202) 232-6307

Flamenco at Café Citron | © Michael Perez/FlickrFlamenco at Café Citron | © Michael Perez/Flickr

4. Café Citron

Bar, Cafe

Café Citron

This small bar is a gem in the heart of Dupont Circle, buzzing with interesting crowds who love to groove to Latin dance music. Café Citron’s jalapeño infused tequila drinks and buffalo wings are a great way to kick off a night out, which can include free bachata, salsa kilimbo, and other Latin dance lessons in the basement at 8 p.m. on “After Dark Mondays.” The dim lighting and walls lined with seating open up space in this small two-level bar, and invites dancers to move to the vibrant music late into the night. If looking for a lively night out in an unpretentious bar, this is the place to go.

Price: Low to Mid range

Opening hours: 4:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays, closed on Sundays.

Watch out for: Free dance lessons.

Address & telephone number: 1343 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036 (202) 530-8844

5. James Hoban's Irish Bar & Restaurant

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Irish

The Big Hunt
©Kevin Harber/Flickr
Reflecting a mixture of D.C.’s patriotic character and Ireland’s culture, this bar slash restaurant is named after the Irish architect who beat Thomas Jefferson in an architectural competition to design the White House! James Hoban’s Irish Bar is the kind of intimate, friendly place where the staff are likely to remember your name if you’ve stopped by a couple of times. This is a great place to watch the World Cup or your favorite sporting event, catch up over a beer with an old friend, or enjoy live music gigs on Wednesdays, when wine and cheese are half-off.

Price: Low to Mid range

Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Watch out for: half-off wine and cheese night on Wednesdays.

6. The Big Hunt

Bar, Pub

The Big Hunt

An affordable dive bar with quirky safari-inspired decor and wood-paneled everything, The Big Hunt is located just south of Dupont Circle. With over thirty beers on tap and a menu of casual American pub food, this is one of D.C.’s oldest bars. A nostalgic atmosphere with four separate bars draw in crowds from all over D.C., and when the three floors of hang-out space fill up, the upstairs balcony and funky basement are a nice change of pace. While large bars like this can feel overwhelming, the Big Hunt is known for its friendly bartenders and low-key ambiance.

Price: Low range

Opening hours: 4:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. Fridays, 5:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. Saturdays, 5:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. Sundays.

Watch out for: Taxidermied animal heads decorating the walls

Address & telephone number:1345 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036 (202) 785-2333

The Madhatter | © Bankbryan/Flickr
The Madhatter | © Bankbryan/Flickr

7. The Madhatter


The Madhatter

Inspired by the 17th century hatters in England who went mad from the chemicals used in cleaning the hats, The Madhatter has been around for over 30 years now. The Alice in Wonderland decor and paraphernalia, complete with a funhouse mirror and an upside-down tea party table set, create a distinct and entrancing environment. This bar and grill has a wide array of food dishes and one of the most appealing happy hours in D.C., with $1 Miller Lites. In the evening, the day-drinking and brunching spot turns into a dance floor with strong drinks and Top 40 tunes that make for a great party atmosphere.

Price: Midrange

Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m. Fridays, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m. Saturdays, and 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. Sundays

Watch out for: Upside-down tea party table set

Address & telephone number:1319 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036 (202) 833-1495

Sauf Haus Bier Hall | © Joe Flood/Flickr
Sauf Haus Bier Hall | © Joe Flood/Flickr

8. Sauf Haus Bier Hall

Sauf Haus Bier Hall

This spacious rooftop beer garden, which opened last year, is one of Dupont Circle’s newer bars. Inspired by German beer gardens, Sauf Haus is a low-key hangout that reminds you of Oktoberfest with it’s orange metal benches that are actually imported from Germany, much like its wide beer selection. The downstairs area is inspired by cozy and rustic German taverns, complete with cuckoo clocks, candle-lit tables, and a foosball table. Be sure to arrive on the earlier side on Friday and Saturday nights – they do not take reservations – but it’s well worth it to grab a seat.

Price: Low to Mid range

Opening hours: 4 p.m.-close Mondays-Fridays, 12:00 p.m.-close Saturdays and Sundays.

Watch out for: giant pretzels

Address & telephone number: 1216 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20036 (202) 466-3355

9. Irish Whiskey Public House

Bar, Pub

Irish Whiskey Public House

Located in southern Dupont Circle, this bar is a triple-storied Irish pub with a selection of over 60 Irish whiskeys. Irish Whiskey Public House subverts the stereotype of a gloomy pub where everyone’s had a little too much – it’s a warm and welcoming space, with brick walls decorated with whiskey barrels and an upper area with couches and seats around a gas fireplace. Each floor has its own mood and character, with the second floor being the most spacious floor that’s perfect for sitting and relaxing, happy hour, or late-night dancing. Be sure to stop by this joint on Tuesdays for $2 beers until close.

Price: Low to Mid range

Opening hours: 4:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. Fridays, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m. Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m. Sundays

Watch out for: Funky wall decor

Address & telephone number:1207 19th St NW, Washington, DC 20036 (202) 463-3010

10. Board Room

Bar, American

Located just north of Dupont Circle is the game-night bar Board Room, where you can find games from Uno to Taboo in a 20-page game “menu”. Though food is sparse and you’re better off bringing your own take-out, this is the kind of joint where lasting friendships are made or kept. Checking out a game from the bar ranges between $2 to $5, but covers the cost of a visit and is sure to occupy you and a group of friends or co-workers over a glass of their 22 drafts.

Price: Low range

Opening hours: 4:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. Fridays, 12:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. Saturdays, 12:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. Sundays.

Watch out for: Extensive game menu

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