The Best Bars & Restaurants To Spot Politicians In Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sergeant James Crowley meet in the Rose Garden of the White House, July 30, 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sergeant James Crowley meet in the Rose Garden of the White House, July 30, 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Kate McMahon

Where do the political elite get their kicks on? They prioritize secrecy, which they often find at luxurious venues that are inaccessible to many. Don’t fret; there’s the occasional casual establishment and dive bar frequented by a range of politicians. And a certain vice president who just can’t say no to beer.

Chef Geoffs

This bar and restaurant, located down the road from American University, is a favorite among both underage students and politicians. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright frequently visits, and Joe Biden was spotted there sipping Cheff Geoff’s iconic super mug – a liter of beer for $9.50. It’s busiest during happy hour among college students, because the regular menu can put a strain on a college budget, but go for the dinner fare to spot (or flirt) with high ranking officials. Maybe break a limb and ask Biden to sign your cast.

3201 New Mexico Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016, +1 (202) 237 7800

Joe Biden Signs A Fan’s Cast Outside Chef Geoff’s/

Le Diplomate

The problem with Le Diplomate is that it’s likely out of your price range, unless you are a diplomat. If you can afford it, dine here during lunch and listen to high-ranking officials discuss the merits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership over a salad, no dressing. Joe and Jill Biden have also been spotted here; America’s heartthrob clearly enjoys dining and drinking out across the District.

1601 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, +1 (202) 332 3333


1789 received the distinguished title of America’s Top Table from Gourmet Magazine. Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel dined there together in 2011. The four-course fair is divine, but, yet again, extremely pricey. It’s a favorite among state representatives and senators. Congress is once again inaccessible to the working middle class – how predictable.

1226 36th St NW, Washington, DC 2000, +1 (202) 965 1789


A popular bar in the downtown area with low-ranking politicians. You won’t spot a Clinton here, but maybe your local congressman or John Boehner – whose been demoted and ridiculed by his party since being removed from Speaker of the House. At the least, you’ll find the people who work for them.

1620 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006, +1 (202) 429 4350

Blue Duck Tavern

Blue Duck is the quintessential spot for the power lunch – the famed lunchtime in DC when politicians meet to talk business and procure signatures for legislation in 30 minutes. Unlike other political power lunches, this one isn’t exclusively steak; there’s plenty of vegetarian options.

1201 24th St NW, Washington, DC 20037, +1 (202) 419 6755

Off The Record

This luxury speak-easy’s vicinity to the White House makes it the perfect spot for big-hitting politicians. Caricatures of officials who have visited the establishment line the wall. Ironically, the bar’s basement location and dim lighting are its most popular features among the political elite – privacy. If you’re not one to care about intruding, embrace your inner paparazzi and head there during the weekday in the post-work rush from 5 – 8PM. Don’t forget to double check the far back table behind the bar.

The Hay-Adams, 800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, +1 (202) 942-7599

Capitol Lounge

This dive bar is popular with underpaid Hill staffers who can’t afford the luxury places that politicians frequent. Give your patronage here to eaves-drop on high profile gossip and learn which congressman is cheating on his wife. There’s thin-crust pizza, traditional burgers, and $5 margaritas.

229 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20003, +1 (202) 547-2098

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