The Best Pubs in Washington, DC

Courtesy of Sherlock Holmes Pub
Courtesy of Sherlock Holmes Pub | | Courtesy of Sherlock Holmes Pub | © Michael Bang
Photo of Nicole Hampton
5 December 2017

Ah, the pub – not quite a bar, not quite your home. Many think bars and pubs are one and the same, at least in America, but anyone in Europe knows that’s not the case. Bars are places you drink. Pubs are where communities come together, where the locals hangout with one another, drink, eat and be merry. A pub is something special, with friendly staff that knows your name, and lovingly made food is always served alongside your cold pint.

The Public Option

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View

The nice play on words makes this a good start already. It might be small, but it’s that cozy type of small, where bumping elbows with a fellow drinker doesn’t bother anyone. And if there are regulars there, chances are they are brew connoisseurs because, according to public opinion, The Public Option offers an outstanding selection of beer.

The Dubliner

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
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The Irish enjoy talking. A lot.
The Irish enjoy talking. A lot. | © By Dean Drobo/Shutterstock

When just about every employee talks in a charming, Emerald Isle accent above the nightly live music, you’ve come to the right place. This family-owned pub knows how to pour their Guinness right and serve it alongside their Guinness burger, which is a must-try. They clearly have some good training too, because 35 people who have worked at the Dubliner have opened pubs of their own. A big perk: you can come in after a long night or (maybe a little too) early in the morning.

The Pub & the People

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View

As the name suggests, this pub has super friendly staff and great customer service. You’ll find more variety on the food and cocktail menu than at most pubs, and it definitely works for them. The place is dimly-lit with a relaxed tavern vibe, and there’s a patio out back.

Third Eye Tavern

Restaurant, Asian, $$$
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Dumplings | © Stewart Butterfield / Flickr

Dupont Circle can be an expensive neighborhood and many restaurants and bars up their prices as it gets to be a more affluent area. This Nepalese restaurant doesn’t do such a thing, and that could be why it’s a local favorite. Meals for under $10 and beers for under $5 are impressive enough, but the fact that they’re really delicious is what gets people coming back. They serve everything from margaritas to local brews, and you’ve never had pub food like this! Come enjoy some Nepalese dumplings, fried rice and pork belly alongside your wallet-friendly cocktail.


Bar, Irish, Pub Grub, $$$
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Beer | © Don LaVange/Flickr

This two-story Irish pub is the definition of a neighborhood hangout, much like what you would see in Ireland. The Guinness and other craft beers flow heavily here for the locals that make up the majority of the clientele. Their grub options are few but well thought out and rounded, with everything from hummus plates and salads to totchos (spectacular loaded tots) and fish and chips.

The Queen Vic

Pub, British, Pub Grub, $$$
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Where can you find toffee pudding cake, naan bread and a good beer being served altogether? A British Indian pub of course, and this place delivers that entirely right here in DC. They have terrific British Indian food that gives the Indian restaurants in the city a run for their money, not to mention a happy hour and a little shop with U.K. goods.

Murphy's Grand Irish Pub

Pub, Irish, $$$
Map View
© Photo-Mix/Pixabay

This is a drive or metro ride away, but the live music and Irish egg rolls are totally worth it. They have various events, traditional food and drink, and daily specials to boot. Winter is an especially good time to visit, since they have a nice fireplace to warm up to as you drink your perfectly poured Irish cider.

Across the Pond

Restaurant, American, Pub Grub, $$$
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Brazilians drink beer in small glasses
Brazilians drink beer in small glasses | Max Pixel

This Irish pub is your ultimate casual, no-frills place, and they want to keep it that way. They have deals for every occasion; food and drink happy hour, ladies’ night, and others every night from 7pm until closing. Their best quality is their employees – the bartenders and servers are genuine, humorous and all around happy people.

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