Fun fact: BYT has something like dozens upon dozens of contributors. They all have their dedicated areas of expertise (and charming non-expertise) but pretty universally, they all love a good bar and hate a shitty one. So, for 2014’s end of year lists-we decided to poll them all on the state-of-district-drinking. We sent them all the questions below, and told them they can answer just 1 or all 10.
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why?
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why?
- Favorite new bar?
- Favorite drink?
- Best bar food?
- Favorite happy hour?
- Favorite bar keep/staff?
- Favorite date night bar?
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in?
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why?
This is what we got back:
DISCLAIMER: it is quite possible some of them: a. misunderstood some of the questions (that’s ok) and b. were having a drink while they typed this (also ok)
Alan Zilberman, Film Editor
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? All Souls’ “All Souls special.” It’s a glass of rose and Maker’s neat. Combos are my favorite thing to order at a bar, and this one is just so classy.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? DC9. Good shows, great rooftop, and it’s near my apartment.
- Favorite new bar? Lyman’s
- Favorite drink? 3 Stars Two to the Dome Imperial IPA
- Best bar food? DC9
- Favorite happy hour? Thunder Burger
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Black Cat
- Favorite date night bar? DC9
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? The Passenger (when it’s not crowded)
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? The Brixton. No pub anywhere should have a fucking line to get inside. Someone should burn it down.
Jonny Grave, HiddenDC columnist & more
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? My favorite beer of 2014 is Denizen’s Rye IPA, for three reasons: the balance of grassy hops front and a woody malt finish, the drinkably adequate ABV, and that it’s from my hometown of Silver Spring
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? Wonderland Ballroom. Not just for cheap beer and invaluable friends, but for the shows upstairs (and downstairs on Sundays).
- Favorite new bar? Roofers Union, without question.
- Favorite drink? This summer saw the return of Stiegl’s Radler, which pairs brilliantly with Irish whiskey. Try it with Bushmill’s, and a dash of Campari.
- Best bar food? KBC (Kangaroo Boxing Club) has a dish on their late-night menu that trumps all others. It’s called the Fuck-it Bucket, and it’s beautiful. Whatever they have left-over from the day’s pulled meats selections, fries, baked beans… It’s gorgeous.
- Favorite happy hour? I love oysters, and Old Ebbitt Grill has a half-priced raw bar after 10pm. You can drink at the bar where Teddy Roosevelt drank, eat half priced oysters, and get served by…
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Mike. His name is Mike, and he’s worked at Old Ebbitt since before I was born. He’s a commanding presence behind the bar, someone who remembers your name, greets you with a smile, makes you feel right at home, and has a bellowing laugh that shakes the room. I like Mike.
- Favorite date night bar? This is oddly specific, but I made this suggestion for a friend earlier this week: Boxcar at Eastern Market during a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Lots of things to do outside of the bar if the date goes well. Right next to a Metro if it doesn’t.
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Either the Tune Inn of Capitol South, or the Saloon on U street. Talking loud is strongly discouraged in either bar.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Brixton, easily the least impressive of the Hilton empire, is a behemoth of mediocrity. I don’t understand why anyone would stand in a line stretching around the block for mediocrity. Or cupcakes.
Brandon Wetherbee, Managing Editor
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Beer: anything seasonal because it’s impossible to get sick of any one
beer if it’s only available for 4-8 weeks a year. Or anything at Atlas Brew Works. Cocktail: Remember the Maine at Bar Dupont. See review. Bar: Dram & Grain.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? DC9. A healthy mixture of shows, location and rooftop.
- Favorite new bar? Roofers Union. Really. Especially the downstairs.
- Favorite drink? Duck & Fig Julep at Macon. No other drink features duck fat and comes with a piece of duck prosciutto.
- Best bar food? Bar Pilar. It’s not exactly bar food but since the first word in their name is ‘bar,’ I’m counting it.
- Favorite happy hour? Mintwood Place. Please, don’t go. Seating is limited.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Ivy and Coney. It’s nice to be able to scream at a fellow Chicagoan about incredibly dumb things.
- Favorite date night bar? Showtime
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Looking Glass Lounge
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Red Derby and Lyman’s Tavern. Distance. I want to go to these places but the walk home is slightly too far to make it a regular destination.
Andrew Bucket, Our Girl Friday
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? If it wasnt for combos I’d be destitute
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? For comedy I have spent more time at the bier baron and the big hunt than any reasonable person. But my last stop of the night is usually showtime.
- Favorite new bar? Bravo was okay for a while but I don’t go there anymore cause the drangus found out. Lyman’s is hands down the best new bar. Sup Arnold.
- Favorite drink? The manhattans at bar pilar are my true love. It’s the brandies cherries man.
- Best bar food? Oysters.always. Eat the rich.
- Favorite happy hour? The strip on Georgia Ave around Looking Glass has been dubbed BoGo alley. You will get straight up wasted.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Gotta give that one to wonderland. Sup Dario.
- Favorite date night bar? Nobody wants to go out with me.
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Red derby. Lymans too.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Masa 14. The jerk wads can have it.
Svetlana Legetic, Co-Founder/Coach Taylor
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? It is, as always, a toss up: Ghibellina & Hank’s Oyster Bar (Dupont Location)- due to proximity. DC9 & American Ice – due to shows and friends. Jack Rose & Bar Charley – due to old fashioneds. The Quill at The Jefferson – due to hiding (but also really good martinis). I also go to Bar Pilar and Saint-Ex a lot because they are my first DC bar loves and they feel like home. In summation: I went to a lot of bars A LOT.
- Favorite drink? In the morning: Pamplemoose Presse @ Le Diplomate (which may single handedly save the breakfast cocktail), during the day – a white wine spritzer anywhere, at night: a toss up between an Old Fashioned (Jack Rose, Hank’s & Bar Charley are personal favorites) or Vodka Martini (hotel bars all the way, or Eat the Rich)
- Best bar food? I feel like Saint-ex and Bar Pilar shouldn’t count here but they do. AND THE CHEESE CANOE AT COMPASS ROSE (it is life changing). And the redneck laundry @ Eat the Rich.
- Favorite happy hour? If you’ve even tried to go to a happy hour with me you know that Ghibellina has my heart. $4 good beers, $5 good wine and procecco, $6 craft cocktails and all the pizzas half off. Good Dinner+drinks for two for under $30. Only rub: it is early, 4-6:30pm. Runners up: El Chucho, Birreria Paradiso, Barrel, DC9.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Jack Rose. Roofers Union. Ghibellina. Hank’s. Eat the Rich. Black Cat. Room 11.
- Favorite date night bar? Iron Gate. No contest. 2 Birds 1 Stone is a solid choice too, though. Or hotel bars. Those are sort of inherently clandestine.
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? 1905. Always. Or the Back Garden at Bourbon.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? The whole of 14th street on Fridays & Saturdays. I tried. I just can’t anymore.
Phil Runco, Music Writer, Rec-Room Overlord
- Favorite new bar? Jackpot. Before we get to anything else: the popcorn. I am not a fan of the popcorn. Well, I am a fan of popcorn in general – just not popcorn in bars. Popcorn makes a small bar smell like a movie theater lobby. Also, I have no self control, so I end up eating popcorn when I should be drinking beer, and it napalms my taste buds, and yet I can’t stop eating because it’s sitting right there, because see the beginning of this sentence. That being said, everything else about Jackpot is wonderful. In fact, it’s changed my life. As someone who works near Archives / Gallery Place, I have been denied a decent bar for years and years, to the point where I had pretty much given up hope that I would ever get one. (Note: “Decent bar” is defined by many beers and no frills.) Its rotating tap list is massive and impeccably curated. The 4:00 to 8:00 happy hour – with $2 off all drafts – is generous on multiple levels. Its subterranean location keeps it slightly off the radar (for now). And it smattering of flat screens makes it a great place to half pay-attention to sports. I remember my life before Jackpot. I don’t want to go back there.
Bryce Rudow, Music Writer, Aural Fixations columnist
- Best Beer: Three Stars Two To The Dome; it’s not often you find an Imperial IPA that doesn’t make you hate yourself midway through your second glass. Plus Three Stars is a great brewery. Anderson Valley Winter Solstice: It’s like if cream soda and the spirit of Christmas had a baby.
- Bar I went to the most: Duffy’s. I didn’t go here more than any other bar, but I was there most Sundays because it was one of the few places I could really unleash my inner insane Green Bay Packer fan around other like-minded Cheeseheads. It will be missed. Bar I actually went to the most: DC9’s roof. It’s one of the last reliably enjoyable bars in biking distance.
- Favorite Drink: Manhattan with rye. It’s delicious, it comes with a cherry, and anyone that judges you for ordering it just hates the name and/or that you thought of it first. Best one I’ve had in a while: I can’t remember his name from Bar Pilar after a show at Black Cat.
- Favorite Happy Hour: Smoke and Barrel’s Taco Tuesdays. It’s $5 for 3 tacos and a side, and they have one of the best beer lists in the city. Get BBQ style.
- Best bar keep: If Logan McGear (the chef) ends up behind the bar at Smoke and Barrel, he will make sure you leave happy and tipsy. And, I don’t know her name, but there is one bartender at UHall that actually tries to raise the level of decorum at that place, no matter how inebriated the clientele trying to buy a Red Bull Vodka for her. She still remembers regulars that may have started avoiding that place like the plague unless there’s a good show, and she knows that drunk asshole cut in front of you and will take your order first while looking at him to teach him a lesson.
- Favorite Date Night Bar: Black Squirrel. It’s a secretly great neighborhood bar during the week, with fun twists on bar food, good beer, and if you can get that little nook in the window with the pillows, it’s a sneaky romantic people-watching goldmine.
- Favorite Bar To Have A Conversation In: 1905’s rooftop. Remember warm weather? Good times.
- Bar You’ve Been Avoiding: Roofer’s Union: I want them to know that I hate what they did with that valuable real estate.
Connor Hogan, Theatre Gay
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? – The Rotatoria at Ghibellina because it’s easiest drinking and it has Absinthe. Win win
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? – Tie between The Drafting Table, and Dodge City. Drafting Table because it’s around the corner from my house, and they have a salad that I trick myself into thinking is healthy for me, and Dodge City because Monday movie nights and hot dogs
- Favorite new bar? Den of Thieves
- Favorite drink? See above, and most of the cocktails at Lupo Verde
- Best bar food? I don’t eat.
- Favorite happy hour? Number 9, cause I can’t turn down a good BOGO
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Any of the staff at Eat the Rich, Mockingbird Hill, cause like super nice people that give me alcohol
- Favorite date night bar? Gin Joint, cause like, Gin is the best.
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Eat the Rich, because fancy
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Desperado on U street because of one horrible horrible night. I went there for a friends birthday. After having a few drinks, I decided to cash out. I signed my check, and began to leave, but a man who claimed to be “the manager” approached me and my friend. He offered to buy us shots with his ‘manager discount.’ I agreed, and he ordered us three shots of Jameson (not even my favorite). I took the shots, and proceeded to walk out. Outside of the restaurant, I was chased down by this man, who claimed I ‘hadn’t paid my bill.’ I pulled out my signed copy of my tab, and showed it to him. He looked at me dumbfounded and said ‘No, I mean for the shots.’ I laughed, thinking it was a joke, but he was dead-serious. When I told him that he was full of shit, and I wasn’t paying for the shots, he flagged down a police officer. Not wanting to get arrested, I went inside and paid for the shots. After this, the police officer gruffly asked me “Did you pay your bill?” I replied, “Yeah, but you need to know this guy is totally shaking me down for money.” The Police officer dismissed me by saying, “It looks like you’ve been drinking.” Anyway, never go to Desperados, cause you might get arrested instead of drunk.
Andy DelGiudice, Photographer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why?: Natty Boh in a can either at home or in any bar that serves it (in a can, not draft) because I’m dead broke
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? The Blaguard, because it’s next door to my apartment, has a great staff and a great regular clientele from Sunday night through Thursday night.
- Favorite drink? Of all time? Dry Hendricks Martini, up with a cucumber garnish (not available at The Blaguard) because we all gotta have nice things every once in a while
- Best bar food? The Fried Chicken at Bourbon
- Favorite bar keep/staff? The Blaguard staff, favorite keep; Rodolfo Antorcha
- Favorite date night bar? L’Enfant Cafe
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? The Red Room because I’m usually about to see some good music
Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Pretty much anywhere with a line at the entrance. You shouldn’t wait in line to get into a bar.
Elizabeth Parker, Photographer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? 3 Stars Southern Belle & Passenger… First place I felt at home in DC. Amazing bar program & staff
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why?See above!
- Favorite new bar? Barrel
- Favorite drink? Jade Aldrighette’s boulevardier
- Best bar food? Ivy & Coney
- Favorite happy hour? Hahahaha…. Like I ever get to go to happy hour…
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Passenger
- Favorite date night bar? Harold Black
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Beuchart’s Saloon
Rohan Mahadevan, BYGays Editor
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Lymans hits all the right marks for me, because it is one cheap and two a block away from my house. The staff is friendly, it is never too crowded and it is easy to waste a whole day in there.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why?
- Favorite new bar? Lymans Taven
- Favorite drink? Dc Brau Public Ale
- Best bar food? Meridian Pint
- Favorite happy hour? Nellies
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Black Cat
- Favorite date night bar? Dodge City
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Lymans Taven
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Anything expensive and full of douchebags.
Jose Lopez-Sanchez, Music Writer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? 1905. I hesitate to even share it, because it’s been a semi-hidden gem for this long, but it’s amazing. Never too crowded, delicious and original take on cocktails, friendly staff, and a great rooftop with views of the major construction sites around U Street (but really).
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? American Ice Company. Perfect place to drink before a show at the 9:30 Club, great beers on tap, and the magical, amazing, incredible swachos.
- Favorite new bar? Lost & Found over in Shaw is really cool, and has a great dive bar feel without being cramped. Decor is eclectic without bordering into full-on kitsch, and they let you bring in your own food.
- Favorite drink? A bourbon Old Fashioned at Roofer’s Union. Drink game ON POINT over there.
- Best bar food? Tough one, as I tend to stick to just drinking while at bars, but I’d say that Satellite Room and Bar Pilar both have excellent offerings.
- Favorite happy hour? Does Codmother have happy hour? It’s cheap, it’s divey, it counts.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Pearl Dive. Really great service, even when they’re slammed.
- Favorite date night bar? Bar Pilar. Great ambiance, really intimate vibe, and extremely flattering lighting paired with good food and quality drinks.
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Satellite or American Ice. I really enjoy the open air seating areas, even when it’s cold (they have heaters). It’s often quieter, there’s fresh air, and you don’t feel like you’re on top of the person next to you. It’s kind of nice.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Anything in Chinatown. Because I have better sense than to go there.
Kate Warren, Photographer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Coffee cocktails from Mockingbird Hill. Not too heavy or sweet, these delightful concoctions take my coffee co-working addiction to the next level.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? SHOWTIME. I live two blocks away and it manages to take both my cash and dignity with alarming speed. I’m happy to give both because this bar, the music, and the people who go are generally excellent. Two days ago I was in bed asleep when a friend texted me, and I got up, put on pants, and found myself at Showtime…again. #winning
- Favorite new bar? All Souls
- Favorite drink? Hendrick’s and tonic. Gin for days.
- Best bar food? Anything Mathew Ramsey feeds me before we go to Showtime while he’s recipe testing. Fois gras often makes appearances, and who am I to argue?
- Favorite happy hour? For fancy: the W Hotel POV. For less-fancy: Dacha Beer Garden
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Anyone at Showtime who can pass me a Com’Boh.
- Favorite date night bar? We love going to Red Hen, sitting at the bar and asking their knowledgable staff to recommend a glass of wine to go with a shared bowl of pasta. Their knowledge and poetic descriptions of the bottles are incredible!
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Showtime during the week. Grab a Boh and a booth and you’re good to go.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Pretty much anything outside of Bloomingdale and Shaw, because I’m lazy and like to walk home from wherever I’ve been. Plus I have a thing against places that get remotely fratty/bridge and tunnel.
Kaylee Dugan, Film Writer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale – 2014 is the year I introduced my Bud Lite loving dad to craft beer and I couldn’t have done it without this crowd pleaser. Old Fashioned – I am Don Draper. The Passenger – This place is absolutely fantastic and I’m going to miss it like crazy when it’s gone.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? Brookland’s Finest! I spend a lot of time in Brookland now and all of the bartenders here are absolutely delightful. Plus, the food is stupid good. Like, insanely good.
- Favorite new bar? Smith Public Trust! Their cocktails are delicious and their ramen warms my heart.
- Favorite drink? Gin and Tonic for life. Bury me with a bottle of Hendricks.
- Best bar food? NACHOS. Nothing is better than nachos, they are the platonic bar food.
- Favorite happy hour? I constantly miss out on happy hours because my friends are always making me late, but Mandu’s happy hour ($3 beers, $4 rail) has never let me down.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Honestly, any bar that will serve me booze without hassle. I still look like a 12 year old, so as long as the bar staff isn’t insinuating that my ID is fake, we’re gold. Although both the staff at Brookland’s Finest and Smith Public Trust are fantastic.
- Favorite date night bar? If you really want to go all out and impress, I would highly recommend a reservation at Barmini. I took my boyfriend here for our anniversary and we had the best time looking at all the wacky furniture, people watching, and reading the drink menu like it was a NYT best seller. Now if you don’t want to drop a crazy amount of cash in a bar that looks like it belongs in Kubrick’s version of A Clockwork Orange, I really like The Passenger (RIP???) for date night. They have cozy booths and great little nooks where you can hide away from the rest of the bar and make out obnoxiously with your date. They also have NACHOS.
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? All Souls, because the best kind of conversation is the kind you have to yell at the top of your lungs. Also, if you have nothing to talk about you can always make fun of the people around you. If you actually want to have a conversation with your companion, head over to the Tabard Inn. Hanging out in the lounge always makes me feel classy and sophisticated, even if I have spilled half of my cocktail down my shirt.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? CHURCHKEY. And it’s killing me. I love the long bar, the big booths, the stupid amount of beer available for me to consume, but I just can’t stand being around so many people. It’s so stressful and that is not how I want to feel when enjoying a beer. I guess I’m just going to have to stick with Bier Baron and love Churchkey from a far (I am always down to go to Birch and Barley though).
Priya Konings, Food Writer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Union Market! I love the wine bar at Righteous Cheese, the cocktails at Bidwell, and the frozen drinks at Suburbia. It’s just such a great place to spend an afternoon.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? Dickson Wine Bar. Great atmosphere, great wine, great food. In the summertime, Poste, American Ice Co., and Roofer’s Union Roof: all of them have fabulous outdoor space. Plus, Poste has frites, American Ice Co. has a fantastic beer list, and Roofer’s Union has a punch bowl!
- Favorite new bar? Harold Black, cuz their drinks are so good and I don’t have to stand at the bar; all guests have to have a reservation so that they are guaranteed a table.
- Favorite drink? A kir royale. You can never go wrong when you go French.
- Best bar food? Compass Rose, international street food. The bar bites at Republic (fried green tomato sandwich), Fiola (parmesan churros), and City Tap House (flatbreads) are also great, as is the grilled cheese bar at Ripple.
- Favorite happy hour? Sidebar in Silver Spring, their upscale cocktails are all $6 at happy hour, no exceptions. And their cocktails are damn good.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Jonathan and Omar at Bar Dupont. So friendly, and always ready to hang out.
- Favorite date night bar? Barmini! So fancy.
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Le Chat Perche, the wine bar on the second floor of Le Chat Noir. So charming and so very French.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Churchkey. Way too crowded.
Anastasia Kolobradova, Writer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Meats & Foods. Does this even count as a bar? I don’t care. They have beer and wine and sausages. What else does anyone need?! What’s not to like?!
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? Showtime. Cool space, cheap beer, friendly bartenders, and five blocks from my house.
- Favorite new bar? Lyman’s Tavern is cool. Activities other than drinking are fun. If DC can’t have a bar with a photobooth, I will take a bar with pinball.
- Favorite drink? Red wine, preferably from a mason jar.
- Best bar food? Fried pickles from Drafting Table. Fried pickles from anywhere.
Logan Hollers, Food Writer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Beer: Adoration, Brewery Ommegang. Started branching out this year to non-American beers, facilitated by the awesome crew at Granville Moore’s. The Adoration is a great Belgian Strong Dark Ale – sour on the nose, with a super dark fruit finish. Just an awesome beer. Cocktail: Calvin Ball, The Gibson. I drink a lot. Too much, probably. Between work, pleasure, and exploring new spots, I’ve gotten to see a good slice of the city’s cocktail scene this year. The one drink that was far and away the best alcoholic beverage I tasted this year was the Calvin Ball. Per my BYT writeup, “My notes immediately after tasting: “OMFG.” Easily one of the best cocktails I’ve tasted this year. Wild Turkey 101 Rye, Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur), lemon juice, and a dash of Hellfire bitters. That’s it. Who knew this combination tasted like heaven? A spicy, boozy cream soda with a little snap.” Hard to always order the same thing at a bar with cocktails of this quality, but I always fall back on it. Bar: Boundary Road, H St. You know how when you watch old episodes of Cheers, you’re always like, “Dude, that looks badass – wish I had a bar where everyone knew me and all my friends were there all the time”? That’s Boundary Road for me. Close to home, great chef, great drinks program, always bringing in cool new beers and weird cocktail ingredients, a bangin’ late-night food menu, and just a cool vibe made up of good people enjoying a great place. 10/10 would recommend.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? The Big Board, H St. Fun little neighborhood bar, two blocks from my house. Great friends (staff and patrons), cheap beers, damn good burgers, lots of sports, and a lenient buyback policy for regulars – can’t ask for much more from a four-times-a-week spot.
- Favorite new bar? Copycat Co., H St. Dirt-cheap Chinese drinking food (dumplings, bao, and skewers) and a cocktail menu composed of the classics and some updated twists on them by Barmini alum Devin Gong. This place is going to slay in 2015.
- Favorite drink? Negroni. Hard to mess up, even at a dive bar – three ingredients in the classic, but thousands of riffs a good bartender can take on it. Herbal, a little bitter, a little citrus, and goes well with almost any food.
- Best bar food? Favorite bar food? Wings. So many different styles, so many different flavors. Kind of like a BJ – even a bad wing is, you know, still a wing. Best bar food in DC? The Dickson, U St. Randomly stumbled in here just wasted the first time I tried it, wound my way through this dark rowhouse to the narrow back patio, and proceeded to have my mind blown by a fuckin’ dynamite cheese plate and a legit (though definitely not traditional) banh mi. Best drunk food ever. Start or end a night on U St. at the Dickson, and you’ll have a good night.
- Favorite happy hour? Le Grenier, H. St. Totally under the radar, but unbeatable. All (yep, ALL) cocktails, wines by the glass, and beers are half off every.single.goddamn.day from 5-7. That means Tuesday through Sunday, you can get a hand-crafted cocktail for $5.50, a glass of bougey-ass delicious French wine that you have to point at on the menu since you can’t pronounce it for $4.00, or one of their bottled beers for $4.00. Oh yeah, they also have half-price cheeses and charcuterie on Tuesday nights. Nbd.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Brenden, Boundary Road. Zac, Bruno, and Andrew, The Big Board. Andrea, The Gibson. James, A&D. Anyone behind the bar at The Pug. Anyone serving/bartending at Little Serow – matching wines and beers to crazy spicy/sour Thai food is no easy task, and they kill it.
- Favorite date night bar? The Gibson, easy. Dark, intimate, on the quieter side, great cocktail list; plus, if your date hasn’t been there before, you look like a baller.
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Any one that has alcohol, a cool vibe, and nice people.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? The Sheppard. I get it. Bars are dark, the bartenders are trying to make good drinks, no one wants to be distracted with camera flashes… But come on – a strict no pictures policy? Please. Too many good drinks in DC to deal with lame, elitist rules. (or maybe I’m just being a dick…sorry, Spike)
Molly Cox, Writer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why?- hot toddy with an earl grey teabag, bc it’s been cold as shit.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why?- The Heights- great happy hour, close to home
- Favorite new bar?-
- Favorite drink- Pearl Cup, from The Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
- Best bar food?- fried pickles
- Favorite happy hour?- Golden Brown Delicious in Dupont because they have great food and punch
- Favorite bar keep/staff?- bar tenders at Cava Mezze in Clarendon. they are the best. so many free drinks…
- Favorite date night bar?- NoPa
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in?- Boundary Stone
Erin Crandall, Writer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Red Derby: for the cheap drinks, the good crowd, and the roof.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? DC Reynolds: for the incredible happy hour, awesome back porch area, and good fries.
- Favorite new bar? Lyman’s Tavern
- Favorite drink? Margaritas at El Centro
- Best bar food? Wonderland Ballroom
- Favorite happy hour? DC Reynolds
- Favorite bar keep/staff? The bar staff at DC Reynolds
- Favorite date night bar? Bluejacket
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? DC9 (the downstairs bar)
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? The Brixton: Why would anyone want to wait in that line when there are a multitude of bars in a four block radius?
Alana Wise, Music Writer
- Favorite bar? Iron Horse in Chinatown- it’s dirty, divey and a little overpriced, but the staff couldn’t be sweeter.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? I think El Centro on 14th and T probably got the most face time from me this year because they literally have the best margaritas I’ve ever tasted, and their happy hour prices are delightfully reasonable.
- Fave new bar has gotta be either El Centro because it’s delicious, or the newly discovered (for me, anyway) Satellite, which is just a couple blocks from my dorm. Satellite is admittedly more out if convenience than actual merit (some of their staff is pretty, pretty pretttyyyy shitty), but Josh is awesome and has a bitchin’ beard.
- Favorite drink? Ok, guys. Hear me out. I recently created a new cocktail that consists of cheap-ass cherry Pinnacle vodka and Pinot Grigio. It’s actually seriously good.
- Best Bar Food? Nellie’s on 9th and U has the BEST bar food hands (or pants) down.
- Favorite Happy Hour? I need a paycheck for all of the promotion I’m swinging these guys’ way, but again, El Centro definitely has the best HH.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Rocket Bar in Chinatown. Their staff is so friendly! They know how to mix a decent whiskey sour, too.
- Favorite Date Night bar? Capitol City Brewery. The atmosphere is really chill and not too loud, but not dead silent, either. Perfect for a laid-back date night.
- Nellie’s. Head to the rooftop and chat and laugh as much as you’d like.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Jackpot on 7th has a really weird smell and comparably higher drink prices than neighboring bars. No thank you.
Matty Greene, Writer
- Favorite cocktail of 2014: No. 5 at All Souls Bar. Riverboat Rye, Aperol, Fresh OJ, and bitters. Perfect if you have a cold or if you think you might be getting a cold because taking preventative measures is always the correct choice, right?
- Bar I went to the most: The Saloon. I’m tired of yelling over people and competing with flat screen tvs at bars. 2014 was a year of really getting to know people over good conversations. And maybe also Dodge City because Ladies Tea Dance.
- Favorite new bar: Ivey and Coney — although, I refuse to believe this place just opened because I feel like it’s been here forever.
- Bar food: Mac and Cheese sticks at Churchkey or the brussels sprouts at Boundary Stone.
- Favorite happy hour: DC Reynold’s buy one get one (BOGO) is insane.
- Date night: I would really like to take someone on a date to Lost & Found.
- Bar to have conversation: Don’t forget Big Bear serves alcohol and gets pretty empty at night. Drinking a glass of wine on their patio on summer evenings is heavenly.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding: Lucky Bar — we’ve all done the intern thing in DC at one point or another. I still shudder every time I go by this place.
Ilya Plotkin, Photographer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Dominion Oak Barrel Stout it’s delicious
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? The Pug – simply put, why not?
- Favorite new bar?
- Favorite drink?
- Best bar food? Ugly Mug half-price pizza on Monday happy hour
- Favorite happy hour? Red Rocks, H St.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? The Pug
- Favorite date night bar? The Queen Vic
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in?
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Smith Commons who goes there?
Laura Hayes, Food Writer
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Dram & Grain because I like a little show with my drink, the main spirit is whiskey, and who doesn’t love a throwback to drinking in the basement.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? Quite honestly, Ventnor’s. They’re my destination for every game I can’t find on TV and the burgers never disappoint. Just don’t panic when there’s a plumbing disaster, it’s par for the course in the basement.
- Favorite new bar? CopyCat Co. on H Street NE. They’re doing the whole dumplings with your drink thing a heck of a lot better than Chaplin’s.
- Favorite drink? – “Smoke Gets in Your Rye” at Iron Gate (Rye, Mezcal, Cocchi Vermouth, Averna, Habanero Bitters) Sadly though…have two and you won’t remember your meal.
- Best bar food? ChurchKey. Because Fig & Prosciutto flatbread.
- Favorite happy hour? Sushi Taro. Half price beer and sushi at the bar. However, this leads to sitting next to sushi amateurs who are 1) Wearing sweatpants and not the dressy kind they’re hawking at Loft 2) Drumming their chopsticks 3) Muddling wasabi in their soy sauce.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Chantal and her team at Mockingbird Hill because they serve up some serious education with their sherry (and sherry cocktails).
- Favorite date night bar? Barmini. If you ask your husband to pay with his credit card instead of yours, it’s kind of like he’s paying?
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? 2 Birds 1 Stone. You can talk about ANYTHING in those booths.
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Baby Wale. Just really sloppy
Sarah Park, Contributor
- Favorite beer/cocktail/just straight up bar of 2014 and why? Lagunitas IPA, an amazing hoppy flavor and it is super smooth.
- Bar you went to the MOST in 2014 and why? American Ice Company because the environment is very chill and the atmosphere is insanely welcoming, especially during the holiday season with all of the Christmas lights in the outdoor seating.
- Favorite new bar? Roofers Union
- Favorite drink? Gin and Tonic
- Best bar food? Tater tots. Head over to Quarry House Tavern in downtown Silver Spring, they have the best tots out there. Also all of their burgers are half price on Mondays, such a good deal.
- Favorite happy hour? Sign of the Whale in Dupont. You can win a happy hour event where you can drink for free and all of your friends that mention your name at the door will received a wristband for discounted drinks.
- Favorite bar keep/staff? Black Cat or DC9
- Favorite date night bar? Capitol City Brewery
- Favorite bar to have a conversation in? Black Cat on U Street! Really relaxed environment, everyone is generally friendly and they have couches and arcade games
- Bar you’ve been avoiding and why? Midtown. Not impressed with the crowd
AND THAT IS ALL YOU GUYS. Subjective? Sure. Informative? Of course. Possibly Aggravating? We imagine.
FEEL FREE TO LEAVE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES (AND LEAST FAVORITES) in the comments.