Dupont Circle is a traffic circle, park, neighborhood, and historic district located in the ‘Old City’ of Washington, D.C. Connecting three main avenues, the circle lies at the center of New Hampshire Ave, historic Massachusetts Ave, and Connecticut Ave which radiates from the White House itself. Along many of these connecting roadways, you will find rich history, things to do, and places to eat. Here are a few of the top bars in the area to quench your thirst after a long day of sight-seeing.
With oversized windows offering a panoramic view of Dupont Circle, Bar Dupont offers a trendy atmosphere to have a drink and people-watch in one of the more vibrant parts of town. Whether you prefer to sit at the bar, hunker down in an oversized leather chair, or enjoy the airiness of the outdoor terrace, Bar Dupont presents an elegant setting whose classy drinks and light bites bring in a younger, chic crowd. Happy hour is offered daily from 3pm to 6pm, with cocktails and signature drinks like the Honey Pear—a mixture of sparkling wine, prickly pear puree, and a maple-syrup-spiked sour. Bar Dupont’s menu also features a list of beers, champagne and sparkling wines, as well as whites, rosés, and reds. For the lighter fare, cheese boards and flatbreads are available as well as lunch or dinner items like sandwiches and wraps, soups and salads, seared salmon, risotto, or steak frites. Bar Dupont offers a classy but comfortable experience, serving up great drinks and a view at the center of everything in Dupont Circle.
Located just off of historic Dupont Circle, The Big Hunt is one of D.C.’s oldest beer bars, with three floors, four bars, and over 32 beers on tap. The venue is funky and low-key, featuring a menu of burgers, pizza, and other pub snacks. Look out for daily specials like drink discounts, half price pizza, twenty-cent wings, half price burgers, and one dollar tacos. The Big Hunt also hosts events like Underground Comedy, a local and touring comedic group that performs every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evening in the basement of Big Hunt. The ambiance is divey and is always bringing in crowds with a jukebox, pool tables, and friendly bartenders always happy to chat with the patrons. There is also a deck out back if you prefer to enjoy the night air or have a casual smoke with a buddy. The drinks are more than affordable and the place is always happening, making the Big Hunt a lively hangout spot to meet with friends.
Eighteenth Street Lounge is a converted townhouse and trendy hangout spot featuring five unique areas to enjoy your evening: the Main Room, the Gold Room, the Jazz Bar, the Studio Bar and the Deck Bar. Each room is spotted with candlelit tables and comfortable seating, but the mood varies with each—you might have live jazz in one room with rap and hip hop in another. There is a dance floor for those seeking a lively night, but there are also nooks and crannies with sofas if you prefer to strike up some more intimate conversation. There is even an open-air room outside for those who prefer a breath of fresh air. Eighteenth Street Lounge uniquely offers a little bit of every environment, so no matter your mood you are sure to find a room that suits your niche. Be aware that the entrance can be easy to miss, with front stairs that are reminiscent of an old Victorian house.
Bar, Pub, American, Irish, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, $$$
With a ‘Drink Bible’ of over 50 whiskey brands and more than 50 beer selections with a focus on craft beers, Irish Whiskey Public House is a great place to frequent for the spirit or brew enthusiast. The tri-level bar offers a contemporary setting inspired by the charm of Ireland with design features like barrels, brass, patterns, and plaid elements that give the modern look a more traditional theme. Irish Whiskey is a fresh and innovative version of your traditional Irish pub. The menu features Irish-American cuisine taking Irish classics and adding a modern spin, with whiskey pairings available if you feel like engaging in a more adventurous experience. While the night life is unbeatable with a full bar and satisfying pub grub like pretzel bites and spinach dip, Irish Whiskey Public House is also a popular place to visit for weekend brunch. One of the top features is a one dollar champagne bottle brunch with any $10 food purchase, plus brunch cocktails like Irish coffee, strawberry Bellinis, and a selection of Bloody Marys, Mollys, and Maureens to add to the Irish flair.
Located inside the Beacon Hotel, the Beacon Bar & Grill offers a casual atmosphere with red, black, and gold décor inspired by Vermeer’s portrait ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring.’ An over-scaled version of the print itself resides in the place casting a romantic allure over the intimate atmosphere. Depending on the season, guests can also take the elevator to the Rooftop Sky Bar to enjoy an evening of great views and drinks. Happy hour is every day from 4pm to 7pm with a menu of seasonal cocktails, martinis, champagne cocktails, beer, wine, and bar food from house-made guacamole and burgers to mussels in a white wine herb broth. The Beacon Bar & Grill is yet another place popular for brunch as well, featuring a three-course brunch on Saturdays with unlimited champagne and mimosas and a Sunday champagne brunch buffet. Reviewers on Yelp rave about the brunch experience, highlighting the extensive selection of everything from waffles, sausage, breakfast potatoes, fried chicken, mac n cheese, salmon, and many others. The made to order omelet bar is not to be missed.
Gazuza Lounge is a unique 21 and older club featuring hookah, cocktails, and sushi. The sleek interior with booths and indoor patio seating offers a trendy hangout spot for those looking for a new kind of experience. The staff is friendly and attentive and the food portions are outstanding and full of flavor. During happy hour, which is daily from 5pm to 8pm, Gazuza features $5 drinks, $18 Hookahs, $8 specialty Sushi rolls. Gazuza Lounge is known as Washington, D.C.’s most famous Hookah Lounge, so if you are an enthusiast, stop in to try one of dozen or so flavors that Gazuza has to offer.
Rebellion pays homage to result of the rebellion against Alexander Hamilton’s tax on domestically produced distilled spirits—American Bourbon. While Rebellion features an extensive list of spirits with over 230 types of bourbon and whiskey, it also values the creation of fine cocktails. Try anything from El Desperado, a Mexican twist on the Old Fashioned, to something like The Legacy, Al Capone’s favorite cocktail made with Old Grandad 100 Proof bottled in bond bourbon, house made simple syrup, and a dash of Balsamic Vinegar topped with Gosling’s Ginger Beer. The food menu features traditional Southern chow like shrimp and grits, hot sauce fried chicken, chili mac, barbeque ribs, and jambalaya—and the ambiance resonates with your American tavern feel. Whether you want a starter of Naw’lins BBQ shrimp with a shot of bourbon or a hefty steak sandwich and beer, Rebellion has everything you could ask for in the all-American experience.
Tucked into the back of the Jefferson Hotel, Quill is a lounge and cocktail bar with a refined ambiance for the special occasion. You might want to have an intimate conversation in the lounge area with a crafted cocktail or glass of wine, or step outside for a cigar and cognac. Some of the seasonal cocktails include the Holly Jolly made with cranberry-infused Ketel One and spiced cranberry prosecco, the Mele Kalikimaka made with coconut foam, Mt. Gay rum, and spiced syrup vermouth reduction, or a simple Mulled Wine crafted with red wine, madeira, star anise, clove, lemon, orange, and cinnamon. Quill also offers a list of beers and wines, appetizers, and light bites like shrimp cocktail, cheese plates, and crab cake sliders. The décor of the place mirrors the history of Thomas Jefferson with 18th-century maps on the walls that follow Jefferson’s journey through the wine regions of France, Germany and Italy. Quill is an unknown gem in a secluded setting. You will be met with attentive service and an upscale menu perfect for any special occasion.
The Bier Baron Tavern is a divey kind of pub bar located within the Baron hotel. The Tavern offers a range of brews, casual eats, and weekly events in a dark brick interior setting. With over 30 brews on tap and an even more extensive list of bottles and cans, the weekday happy hour from 4pm to 7pm is not to be missed. The menu offers some creative pub grub like bacon lollipops, springs rolls, pierogi, poutine, and ceviche in addition to the classics like wings, spinach dip, and nachos. Salads, sandwiches, and burgers are also available in addition to desserts like an apple blossom with ice cream or fried Oreos. The Bier Baron Tavern also hosts events like trivia night and comedians, but the real draw of the place really just lies in sitting down with a friend to a good solid burger and beer.
The Fox & Hounds Lounge is a cozy neighborhood bar, a popular place to have a drink with friends and enjoy some jukebox music featuring new and classic rock. With affordable drinks and a shared kitchen with Trio Restaurant, visitors also have the luxury of choosing from a menu of appetizers, burgers and homemade comfort food, and a fresh assortment of seafood and steaks. The bar is also a popular spot to sit and enjoy a game on one of Fox & Hounds’ 9 plasma televisions. Stop by for a daytime cocktail and people-watch on the patio, or enjoy a casual evening out on the town—Fox & Hounds Lounge offers an atmosphere great for hanging with old friends or making new ones. Reviewers on Yelp highlight the attentive service and energetic staff that have them coming back, making this a favorite, casual spot amongst locals and out-of-towners alike.