Colombia Room was so popular it had to relocate recently to somewhere triple its original size, and it thankfully maintained everything we loved about the whimsical cocktail lounge in the first place. When you first arrive, it’s understandable that you might keep looking over your shoulder in hopes of glimpsing a very important person. In other words, the punch garden, spirits library, and tasting room make it feel really, really exclusive.
Colombia Room, 124 Blagden Alley N.W., Washington, D.C., U.S.A., +1 202 316 9396
This splendid dive in the Bloomingdale neighborhood isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s about as part of the community as Pop’s is in Riverdale. The beer-shot combo is tough to turn down, the jukebox holds over 2,000 carefully curated jams, and there’s live music each week. It’s an essential stop in the weekend night plans. But be warned it’s cash only, so take plenty with you to save the embarrassment of asking your date to pay.
Too many places have gone away from the constant classic in order to create something ingenious, but there’s something to be said for the ones who stick to the old ways and don’t take things too seriously. Pork nachos and daiquiris, piña coladas served in Hawaiian tiki idol glasses, so many herbs, fruits, and flowers atop your drink you can’t even see the colorful liquid underneath. Archipelago makes you feel like the first date turned into a cliché island honeymoon, in a really good way.
Archipelago, 1201 U St. N.W., Washington, D.C., U.S.A., +1 202 627 0794
This place is ideal for either someone who has a lot of first dates or someone who wants to make this first date into something more serious so you can come back to the place where it all began over and over again. Adam Bernach carefully changes his cocktail specials weekly, and they’re always worth any excuse to stop in and try: “Oh hey honey, it’s our third-and-a-half week anniversary. Let’s go back to 2 Birds 1 Stone!”
Although Germany isn’t known for being the most romantic country in the world, no one has ever said they don’t know how to have fun or that their beer is sub-par. This Shaw hangout will make you and your date feel like you’ve just been transported to Munich, with its 33oz glass boots of German beer, brats with beer kraut, and chicken schnitzel sandwiches on the side. If you want to reduce the chances of someone who thinks he’s at Oktoberfest spilling a glass on your date, know that the expanded hotspot now includes a private loft where they offer a supper club.
Dacha Beer Garden, 1600 7th St. N.W., Washington, D.C., U.S.A., +1 202 350 9888
Espita Mezcaleria has more than proven itself an expert in distilled agave. Josh Philips has created an Oaxacan world of surprising, smoky, tangy, savory flights of small-batch mezcal. Want to get to know the difference between Tepextates and Espadin? This is the place for you. Want to crush outstanding margaritas in a brightly muraled space? This is also the place for you.
Espita Mezcaleria, 1250 9th St. N.W., Washington, D.C., U.S.A., +1 202 621 9695
This has been a hard week for our country, Mexico, our family, our friends, and communities that make Espita possible. Starting tonight through the rest of the week, we will feature two cocktails that support disaster relief efforts . We will be donating $2 from a Hurricane Relief cocktail sold to the Hurricane Irma Global Giving Relief Fund and $2 from each Earthquake Relief cocktail to a fund by @yescka_art studio for supplies to those affected by the earthquake that struck Oaxaca last week. We thank you for your contribution. Photo: @patraphotography