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We ran our first Least Douchey Bars in D.C. list in 2012. It was done in response to COMPLEX’s The 25 Douchiest Bars in DC which we felt was, “For the most part an inoffensive, agreeable list that inspired little but reaffirmation of stereotypes: Adams Morgan is a shithouse zoo, Georgetown is too preppy and too Republican, and oh-yeah-screw-hipsters.” We felt it was better to focus on the miracle of positive thinking (how about that? ON THE INTERNET?) and asked:

So what makes a non-douchey bar? Ones that don’t sponsor 7 kickball teams or have an iPod port in place of a DJ, ones that DO have staff that are chill and rarely on edge or too affected with enthusiasm. ‘The less remixed top 40 the better’ is a maxim passed down from the time of my great, great, great grandfather.

Everyone has their own idea of a douchestination, no doubt with terms narrower than our own. And no matter what bars we came up with, I’m sure there would be at least five eager volunteers to tell us why we’re wrong. Hell, some of these bars are douchey depending on the time.

Good news is we have some SOLID additions to the 2012 LIST and the 2013 LIST  and 2014 LIST and 2015 LIST and 2016 LIST and 2017 LIST which we discuss below, meaning your realms of non-douchebaggery are forever expanding, plus scroll to the bottom of the list for the ALL-STAR ALUMS and obviously, comment with your favorites. Without further ado, here are our picks for the 10 newest least douchey drinking destinations in D.C.


Is Mount Pleasant the least douchey neighborhood in D.C.? Probably. So, it makes sense that the nicest food establishment in the neighborhood is the home of the least douchey fancy-ish bar to open in the city of late. Everything about Elle is smart, sane and well done – the food is somehow both exciting and comforting, the drinks get served in perfect glasses at perfect temperatures, and the bar staff is lovely whether you’re just sitting down while you wait for a friend, or pulling a chair up for a full meal. It feels like a neighborhood bar should feel – welcoming and well worth leaving your living room for, while not compromising any of the comforts.

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Yes, we know that Haydee’s is theoretically a restaurant, but since you can sit at any table and just drink (vs be forced to order a dinner), and it is open later than most bars, and Christmas decorations reign supreme year round, we are calling it a bar as well. The random vinyl-only dance parties, karaoke break-outs and other entertainment only add to the celebratory vibe, and its proximity to several other establishments on this list (Raven, Suns, Marx, Eat At Elle) make for a great douche-free night any night of the week. Thank you, Haydee!

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Jackie Lee’s

This Brightwood bar is so good, sometimes it feels like it shouldn’t exist. Originally opened sometime between the early 1950’s and the late 1960’s, Jackie Lee’s became known as a place where you could see killer music every night of the week. it closed down for a casual 10 years in the early 2000s, but it’s been open since 2017 and I’ve been going far more than I should ever since. Their menu is perfection, with a long beer list for those who like to jump around and try a couple different things, a solid showing of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian bar food and a cocktail list that includes all the basics. The real gem tho, is there beer and a shot deals. For $6 you can sit back with a PBR and a shot of Overholt or you can follow my lead and get a Tecate and tequila. They even have a beer / shot du jour, which mostly seems to be whatever the bartender is feeling like that night. It’s one of those bars that’s so good, I don’t want to tell people about it. As of right now, I can get a seat at the bar no matter what time I show up. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Library Tavern

Library Tavern is a weird bar. It’s a bar I like, but it’s weird nonetheless. The mixture of books and flatscreen TV’s doesn’t necessarily jive, but I understand what they’re trying to do and i appreciate it. Perched on the corner of Kennedy and 3rd Street, Library Tavern wants to be everything to everyone. It wants to show sports to the sporty people while feeling like an old time-y cocktail bar and having pool tables and arcade games and serving Persian food. They’re trying to be everything the neighborhood needs. They’re not necessarily succeeding on all of those fronts, but they’re doing pretty well when it comes to solid food, reasonable drinks and a friendly atmosphere. At the end of the day, that’s all I need.

Lucky Buns

A quality burger and beer restaurant at the corner of 18th and Florida and U Street, Lucky Buns opened a little over a year ago in the former L’enfant Café space (which explains the Eiffel Tower on the roof). This recommendation comes with a caveat, as does most of our picks in Adams Morgan. It’s a very good, non-douchey bar on Sunday through Thursday nights. We can not wholeheartedly recommend any spot on 18th in Adams Morgan during the weekend, whether it’s for brunch or evening service.

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Mount Pleasant may be the most non-douchey neighborhood in D.C. but the strip of bars and restaurants from Monroe St NW to Kenyon St NW gives it a run for its money. One of the newer additions is Maple. It’s mostly a restaurant, but there is a very small bar that can seat a few (like, fewer than 10), but since it has a bar we’re find adding it to this list. This is a date spot and if you’re not sure if you like your date, maybe just have a glass of wine and the bar and figure that out.

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Off The Record

Hotel bars often pop-up in our least douchey list mainly because the old school ones tend to be the only part of D.C. that is seemingly unaffected by trends or Instagrammers (or Instagramming trends, as the case may be). Off The Record, which exists in the basement of the Hay-Adams, is a classic, almost platonic ideal example of the type, with good hight backs on all furniture meant for sitting (including bar stools), perfect sound absorbtion and flattering (read: low) lightning. The drinks are strong, the bartenders very professional, and the political cartoons make the coasters something actually worth stealing.

Post Pub

The Washington Post has moved. Post Pub has not. It also has not changed in the best possible way. It’s a no frills, quality bar with that serves bar food without shame. It’s a bar that should have been on this list since 2012. It’s a bar that’s been around in one form or another since the mid-1950s. It’ll outlive every bar on this list.

Union Stage

The Wharf has its ups and downs, the downs being primarily that everything there is just a little too upscale. It is sort of like 14th Street if 14th Street was planned like a Disneyland and on steroids (which is saying something). So, lets put out hands together for Union Stage, a mid-size venue with cool, mid-size acts that wouldn’t be out of place on 14th Street 14 years ago. Simple, straightforward, timeless in many ways. You want to go to a show and have a beer and not spend $100+ dollars per person on the experience and do it at the Wharf? Look no further.


A go-to happy hour spot just off U Street that gives you a fine view of U Street. If you’re looking for a beer and a shot, go next door to Solly’s. If you’re looking for a glass or two or three of wine and want to chat with your friend instead of wonder what’s on the jukebox, go to Vinoteca.

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RIP: Argonaut, Blackbyrd, Boundary Road, Buckeye + Bear, Cashion’s Eat Place, DGS, HOGO, 1905, Red Palace, Stetson’s and Toledo Lounge, Mockingbird Hill / Eat The Rich / Southern Efficiency Trifecta (currently the most successful rotating pop up bar in the country).

Please feel free to dig into us in the comments and inform us of all the bars we missed. The 2019 edition will be here soon.


Behold our list of least douchey bars to watch football  and our list of best bars WITHOUT TV. We’re never not looking out for you.


2018 by Kaylee Dugan, Svetlana Legetic & Brandon Wetherbee, Shout-outs to Shauna, Stephanie and Logan who helped with the 2012 and 2013 lists