The Least Douchey Bars In DC
BYT Staff | Aug 7, 2012 | 9:07AM |

Last week, Complex posted their list of The 25 Douchiest Bars in DC and for the most part it was 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. Every phylum of douche was enumerated and cut down: college, prep, hipster, sportsbro, rich kid, club head, intern, or basically anyone that wasn’t the author. We all felt comforted that everyone can be reduced to a character type and congratulated ourselves for being “complex,” special snowflakes, incapable of doing anything or frequenting any establishment that’s… that’s douchey, right?

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 my own. And no matter what bars we come up with, I’m sure there would be at least five eager volunteers to tell us why we’re wrong. That said, we think we have 25 good counterpoints:

Black Cat Red Room

  • 1811 14th Street NW

The Black Cat’s Red Room has long since been a great halftime spot while you wait between band sets upstairs at the Cat’s main concert hall. Or maybe you use it as a casual, cover-free destination when bar hopping along the spine of 14th Street. Either way, the drinks are cheap, and it’s generally quiet enough to feel at ease with a group of friends. Another bonus is that it’s an antechamber of sorts for the Backstage Concert room where there are other bands, DJs, or even occasional movie and television happy hours happening that you didn’t know were happening until you found yourself in the Red Room.


  • 1021 7th St NW

Even though it’s right next to the hustle and bustle of New York and Massachusetts Avenue, as well as the Convention Center, Passenger has always retained a homely, neighborhood feel to it. In the front of the house you can sit in booths with friends and enjoy an array of excellent cocktails, or mosey back to the Columbia Room where the brothers Brown (formerly of the Gibson and Cork) will further blow your mind with craft cocktails. It can be a madhouse when you hit it on a hoppin’ night, but every one there seems to be there to to get classy drunk/tipsy rather than to rage.

Red Derby

  • 3718 14th Street NW

Red Derby is possibly my favorite DiveBar in DC solely because it has Apples to Apples (you know, the kid’s game where you match adjectives to nouns that got turned into a hilarious adult drinking game). Or if you’d rather not sit back and enjoy a great selection of can beer or dangerously priced King Combo ($7 tallboy w/ a shot of whiskey) with a slate of games at your disposal, there’s always a breeze to catch on Red Derby’s rooftop.

American Ice Company (potentially controversial choice-we know-Ed)

  • 917 V Street NW

American Ice Company can get fairly out of control and unmanageable on weekends when crowds rush inside, but what place on a weekend that’s worth it isn’t going to be loaded? I prefer checking this place out on a week day, especially during Spirits In Black when heavy metal-inspired specialty cocktails are served by staff and guest mixologists, all while a specially curated metal playlist crunches overhead.  I suppose the fact that they serve drinks in mason jars may be a hipster-hate trigger point, because sometimes that’s a little too quaint for it’s own good, isn’t it? I recommend heading to American Ice Company after a show at the 930 Club on a Monday or Tuesday when it’s less crowded and you can enjoy the cool, converted-garage interiors.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe

  • 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW

For a business known for its books and cafe, I feel that Kramerbooks’ beer selection doesn’t get enough due. With eighteen draft beers and five premium bottle options, it’s one of the perfect spots to go when you’re flying solo around Dupont Circle. I’m not going to lie, I’ve spent hours in this place reading books from Kramer’s shelves. It’s where I’ve almost discovered as many great beers (Ommegang) as I have writers (Bruce Chatwin). I can guarantee you’ll make at least one friend between all the brews and books at your disposal.

The Saloon

  • 1205 U St NW

The Saloon feels cozy with its low lights and brick walls. You’ll also notice that there are no televisions and no loud music. It’s a nice retreat to tuck away to with a group of friends and tip back some delicious German beer. Despite the fact that it’s in the heart of U St I can’t help but feel “at home” once I get inside, and for that I’ll always welcome it as a go-to bar.

Saint-EX/Bar Pilar (but only on a week night)

  • general 14th and T Corner

It should be noted that 14th street is the new Adams Morgan and as such, 14th street is about to become the ultimate weekend nightmare (unless it already IS the ultimate weekend nightmare but we’ve been too busy trying to not be there on weekends to notice). Having said that-you arrive to Saint-Ex or Bar Pilar on a week day (or night) and there is, all of a sudden, plenty of room to sit at the bar, the drinks are strong and colorful, the staff is (beyond) enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and if you play your cards even remotely right, they’ll remember your name next time you get there. It is no wonder the whole of BYT staff has the St-Ex wireless password saved on their laptops-we’re back there often enough.

Quill (at The Jefferson)

  • 1200 16th street NW

Hotel Bars are a tricky thing. They can be too loud, too busy, too showy, too…well, douchey. And if they’re not TOO DOUCHEY then they sure as heck are (pretty often) TOO LAME. Quill at the Jefferson somehow bridges the gap: the hunter green walls, the library vibe, the chocolate/cognac pairings-they all scream “OLD DC” – but at the same time, the vibe is utterly relaxed, not trendy but somehow fully modern. One of our favorite places to hide in plain sight ever.

Marx Cafe

  • 3203 Mt. Pleasant Street

What MARX Cafe is good for? Amazing, unpretentious quality beer happy hours. Great, off-kilter DJ night during which people sometimes dance wildly (OUTLAWS) or just nod their heads knowingly (We Fought The Big One, etc), super friendly fellow patrons who seem to show up to any of said DJ nights “just to check them out” and that one bartender that never makes you feel like you’re better than the rest of us. You want more than that in bar? Well, kid, you’re in a wrong city.

The Tune Inn

  • 331 Penn Ave SE

If someone wrote a bio of The Tune Inn the words “quintessential” and “classic neighborhood” would be used. Even now, after the renovation and the lifetime achievement Rammy, it is still exactly what it set out to be when it first started: a quintessential, classic, neighborhood Capitol Hill bar. Plus, for real-the grilled cheese is among the best in town.

Room 11

  • 3234 11th Street

Room 11 is so small, and so perfect it does not have any room for douchebaggery to take place there.

DC9 RoofTop

  • 1940 9th street

A rare venue rooftop that operates just as well, if not better, as a bar on its own. DC9 is now surrounded by much flashier establishments (including the dueling Nellie’s and Brixton 24/7 party rooftops) but it is always chill, always affordable (added bonus: even though happy hour drinks are as low as $3, they WILL take your credit card and happily open a tab without any minimum or cash-only posturing), and there is always a place to rest your drink in peace there, without someone offering to: a. buy it for you or b. spill it (all over you) for you. And every once in a while, that’s really all you want from a bar rooftop. The shows below are just a bonus.


  • 20005 14th street

Even though Blackbyrd is RIGHT NEXT TO Marvin, Gibson and the hot mess that Lost Society can be sometimes, it is also the one place 14th and U where you can walk in at 6:15 (as opposed to 5:55 while keeping your fingers crossed) and be able to get a seat at the bar, like a regular person. BYT has a lot of our after-work meetings here.

Toledo Lounge

There are no normal bars left on 18th street/Adams Morgan. Everything is either a bridge-and-tunnel nightmare or trying to re-invent itself. So, while Smoke & Barrel (aka “the old Asylum”) is completely great and Pharmacy bar does what they do well, I am picking Toledo Lounge for this round-up because it literally has no agenda aside from being a bar, with very limited douchebag appeal, that doesn’t have really anything else going for it but those two things: no nice cocktails (unlike S&B or Bourbon), no cutesy, hipstery gimmicks (like Pharmacy’s Buck Hunter and that jukebox of theirs), no roof, no decent bathrooms, no nothing-just a bar, with limited douchebag appeal, right next to a jumbo slice place on 18th street NW. That is, somehow, still in business. And that, in 2012, may be the rarest thing in this town.


  • 1905 9th Street, NW

There’s a reason why year after year we continue to throw our Beaujolais party at this tiny locale at U Street’s second most popular intersection, and it ain’t because we love the wine.  1905 is everything you’d want in the perfect date bar, but also isn’t overwhelming to a crowd of good friends looking for a spot to hole up on a weeknight.  With a new, beautiful rooftop that grants you an unparalleled view, 1905 has quickly risen to the ranks of one of our favorite bars. Plus the lamb sandwich, if you’re hungry, is probably the best thing you can eat period.

930 Club Back Bar

  • 815 V Street, NW

It’s amazing to me the amount of people who still stand on long, sometimes terrible lines at the 930 Club to get a plastic cup full of booze.  With the Back Bar in the basement of the 930 Club, just shimmy right down there a song or two before whatever band is over and get a proper pint glass filled to the brim with a craft beer (or if I remember correctly, Guinness on tap!).  Back Bar also makes for an excellent hiding space from that awful ex you have while the set changes over from opener to headliner.

The Lounge at Bourbon Steak

  • 2800 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

I’m sure we could make a whole list of Hotel bars worth your time, but it’s the Bar at Bourbon Steak that stands on the shoulders of the rest.  Time and time again, Jamie and Dwayne make your drinking experience a magical ride of taste, flavors and alcoholic adventure that you just can’t help but reflect upon happily come happy hour time.  Always try one of the house cocktails, which have been carefully crafted and selected with painstaking effort, because they’re guaranteed to impress.  Yes, drinks are pricey and yes, this is in Georgetown but if you want an incredible cocktail in a grown-up atmosphere, look no further. Really.

  • 917 U Street, NW / 915 U Street, NW
Couple together only due to their proximity (and the fact that you probably bounce back and forth between both of them throughout your night), Dodge City and Velvet Lounge are staples of the U Street Corridor.  Dodge City, the younger, much more attractive bar of the two, is sleek and clean with a courteous bar staff and sometimes even a DJ on the top level if you feel like dancing.  Velvet Lounge, the older, grittier rock-club, boasts cheap drinks and cheaper thrills, with a mixture of bands and DJs to keep your body moving.  Both bars play host to some of the best outdoor patio spots in the city, which even on a good weather night tend not to be too overcrowded.
  • 1212 H Street, NE
On any given night you can stroll up to Red Palace, not know who the band is upstairs and still manage to have on hell of a night.  The booking, of course, is phenomenal and ahead of the curve but the bar offers more than just a place to set your drink while you see Jeff The Brotherhood play.  With ample space (both bar and seated), it’s rarely crowded on the first level, where occasionally a DJ will be on decks to keep you entertained with tunes.  But it’s the curios and oddities on the walls, left over from the bars previous life as The Palace of Wonders, and the amazing hidden nook of a patio that draw me to Red Palace, even when I’m not “in the mood to go to H Street.”  Dare I say it might even be the best bar on the strip.
  • 1207 19th Street, NW
A bar that serves Jameson is not a surprise.  A bar that serves 18 year aged Jameson is heaven.
Non-Douche Bonus Round

Boundary Road

  • 414 H St. NE

There is absolutely nothing douchey about this spot on H. With a late-night menu serving up charcuterie and the chef’s special, Pig’s Head Ragu, Boundary Road keeps it (affordably) classy while keeping it (also incredibly affordably) fun with shot-and-beer specials. Their music selection is always aces and can range everywhere from Tom Waits to Elvis and there’s nary a backwards baseball cap in sight.

Rock and Roll Hotel

  • 1353 H St. NE

While the bar’s demographic can change depending on which band is playing on a given night–though, let’s be honest, most RnR shows can almost all fall into the non-douchey category–their second-floor bar offers some of the best trivia in the city focused on pop culture movies, not douchetastic categories for the likes of, well, sportsbros. Expect whole rounds on “Family Matters” and George Clooney films. Their patio is welcoming, unpretentious (in the best way imaginable) and the entire staff seems to have a great sense of humor and actually wants to be there. Go on and engage them in conversation. You’ll be glad you did.


Recent Comments:
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  • Anonymous says:

    How is the Bottom Line not on this list!???! And Room 11 over Wonderland/Looking Glass Lounge…as always, BYT fail.

  • qkonLJg says:

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  • Anonymous says:

    Are. You. Kidding?? Black Cat is the douchiest bar I have been to in my entire life.

  • mysocialkeys says:

  • Anonymous says:

    Whoever made this list is in Toronto smoking crack with there mayor and barry

  • Anonymous says:

    ummmmmm….how is Boundary Stone not on this list

  • Anonymous says:

    Red Palace is closed.

  • jtcullimore says:

    just because you douche hipsters had your jean shorts in a knot from some of your places being on the other list, you had to make your own (of which at least 5 of i would add to the douche list – American Ice…are you kidding me?) – “Please, serve me something in a mason jar” – Someone who wears cut off jeans and fake glasses

  • Andy J says:

    y’all need to check out Karaoke night at Club Applebee’s

  • The FLAME THROWER says:

    @JB: S&J is getting wayyyyy too mainstream these days. You sound like a douche.

    Re: Boundary Road… ok great there may not be a backwards hat in sight but THE PICTURE OF THE BAR HAS A GUY WEARING A FEDORA. FEDORA’S ARE NOT OK

  • Tacopits says:

    The Raven. Before 14th St. became the new Adams Morgan, it could be a bit annoying, but it’s still the best dive bar in the city, and one of the very few left with a tavern license.

  • Matthew says:

    I think BYT had a golden opportunity to combat the “Douchey Bars” list with a list of laid-back, unpretentious places, but got a little too caught up in promoting the bars where they hold events. Some of the bars on this legit belong here (Passenger, Red Derby, The Saloon, Tune Inn), but by including things like the Red Room, Rock and Roll Hotel (one of my least favorite places in DC), American Ice and DC9, they just end up promoting bars that cater to a different type of douche. Places like Trusty’s, Bedrock Billiards and Black Squirrel all should be on this list. Those are not places that you go to be seen, and any place where you go to hang out because it’s “cool” is, by definition, douchey.

  • RANTORO says:

    UPDATE: The Toledo Lounge is now closing for renovations, transitioning to appeal to a more “upscale” crowd, and likely changing the name –

    So now it’s inclusion on this list is twice removed from reality. derp

  • Masterf202 says:


    Bat Cat Red Room- On both lists….
    Red Derby- Smelliest of them all. The new Wonderland, we ONLY take cash. CC’s are for the 1 percent…
    American Ice- You already said it
    Kramer’s- Fair, No one reads anymore but it crosses all all boundaries in a smart city like DC
    Saloon- a neighborhood place there are 10,000 places that meet the same criteria
    St Ex- Not bad if during the week Ill hand you that one
    Quill- What an outlier
    Marx- OK but only cause 15 people know about it. Walked from a house party with friends for midnight 2 years ago on New Years. 25 people there got a bottle of Champagne for $20 bucks. I guess that is your definition of least douchey so maybe we have a WINNER.
    Tune Inn- Good Call
    Room 311- Nailed it. I farted there once and everyone left. Guess I am THAT DOUCHE!
    DC-9- Guess the staff and their actions, like beating someone to death doesn’t apply to the douche label….
    Blackbird- The hang out for reformed douches and 28 to 32 yr old’s “I wasn’t cool in high school but I have a good job now so your 12 dollars ultra cool drinks I can afford”
    1905- Whats a “date bar” oh your mean like Bar Pillar or every Bar on 14th ST (not included)
    Bourbon Steak- See Blackbird plus 5 years. (Excellent Place though)
    Dodge City- So Cool, so cool…
    Red Palace- Ill believe you
    Irish Whiskey- Thank you for pointing out how good Jamo 18 is. The 12 is BULL SHIT! But Just wait with the Pint and Rumors around the corner its only a matter of time.
    Boundary Stone- BLOOMINGDALE MONOPOLY, Rustic SUCKS and Big Bear don’t even get me started. Non Douche by default. Prob the Douches in Bloomingdale.
    RandR Hotel- Shes OK

  • Dial F for Fun says:

    What Rantoro Said is true. Toledo Lounge is no fun anymore, the half-owner of the Black Squirrel and Nolan’s the other owner have ruined the character of it. The Blaguard is a great non-douchey, any kind of crowd welcome bar though.

  • BeeZales says:

    I’d like to nominate Churchkey.

    Also, if you are going to include hotel bars: The bar/lounge at Tabard Inn is pretty great!

  • JB says:

    I like both Rustic Tavern and Boundary Stone in Bloomingdale. S&J in Riverdale too.

  • seahorseseahell says:

    Sooo…basically this is the list of the lamest, most hipster bars in DC? You should probably re-title this.

  • Contagious says:

    Signed up for this site just to comment on this guys meltdown over the list.

  • your sweet internet name says:

    what about Hamilton’s (on 2nd)? not a bro in sight

  • Michael M. says:

    Ruby Tuesday’s in CoHi is the shit.

  • TX RN says:

    Duffy’s is fantastic. Being new to town, I haven’t hit most of these, but it gives me a nice starting list. I have to say went to the Boundary Stone and wasn’t all that impressed. Just a bunch of guys sitting on their laptops and not speaking to one another. I like a social place.

  • burnt says:

    Of course, it must be said that anyone who lives in NYC and looks down on people coming in from surrounding areas is also seriously douchey. Actually, NYers who look down on people anywhere generally are.

  • burnt says:

    I love some Lil Miss Whiskey’s and Red Palace. I don’t pretend to know every corner of the city, as I’m an outsider, but I’ve never not had a good time down there on H Street. LMW’s decor might be a little hipster-contrived in places, but such trivial matters don’t really bother me.

  • TOEMAC says:

    Agreed. (That’s why I put the bit in brackets right after it.) 🙂

  • rich says:

    wow…you took some other lame internet sites idea and then managed to make it worse by listing a bunch of “hipster” bars your friends probably work at. bravo…

  • Chezwu says:

    Lol i was at American Ice Co last Sat and almost EVERY guy there looked like they’re in Weezer.

  • Chezwu says:

    Anyone here old enough to remember Dan’s Cafe in Adams Morgan? LOL you bought a pint and buy some lil bottles of mixers on the side. Loved that place. Now Adam’s Morgan’s all pork pie hats all the time.

  • pcock says:

    looking glass the over priced bastard spawn of wonderland with idiot staff bad food and the usual ..too loud trivia night,stand up comic nite ” hello 1988″ and karaoke god will this ever die.For that matter roll up all the bars on Georgia Ave and make one crappy bar..

  • Sara says:

    I like Churchkey so much, but with the same proviso as for American Ice Company — gotta get there before the massive crowds of douchey types.

    Tabard Inn is great especially at that tiny little bar.

    Am I a total limousine-liberal jackass for really liking Busboys and Poets at 14th & V? It’s more restaurant than bar, I guess, but I do love the crowd that hangs out there.

  • Shhhhh says:

    The best bar in a 25 mile radius around DC is inside the Iwo Jima Best Western, off route 50, in Rosslyn. I’m not supposed to tell, but there you have it.

  • Micky C says:

    This is awesome!! There are other bars in DC that could’ve prolly made this list like maybe Wonderland , Queen Vic, or the Pug.. But, only 25 could make the cut, and I personally like the choices. Thanks to the people who recognized these great bars.

  • Colin says:

    @Chezwu Dan’s Cafe never went anywhere, though people who go there do tend to leave with hazy memories.

  • Nateee says:

    Duffy’s is one of my favorite bars. Kevin and Gene are the two coolest bar tenders I’ve ever met. DC Reynolds is another I’d throw up there. Their old joint TT Reynolds had the best happy hour south of the Mason-Dixon. The BOGOs they’re currently offering are quite a good pull for me. I also like Galaxy Hut in Arlington. I know this will probably get me banned from ever commenting again, but I’m a big fan of Town Hall. Beautiful women but a fair amount of douchebaggery.

  • LC says:

    Jack Rose should be on this list.

  • Brendan O'Connor says:

    People need to recognize the difference between Adams Morgan Sunday-Wednesday and Adams Morgan Thursday-Saturday. Plenty of great, non-douchey bars–Angles, Bedrock Billiards, Black Squirrel, Mellow Mushroom, Smoke & Barrel, Blaguard, Bossa, and even Madam’s Organ if you’re a fan of the music and not the scene.

  • Dave says:

    How is Raven not on this list? Also Trusty’s, Little Miss, Looking Glass…?

  • Bad Mike says:


  • Bad Mike says:

    I used to love au pie de couchon! It was an awesome bar in Georgetown that got turned into a five guys burgers and fries. Boooooo!

  • Dave says:

    The reason the Black Squirrel shouldn’t be on this list is because the owner is a fucking racist.

  • le teej says:

    Trusty’s, Desperadoes (aka old Lucy’s), Players’ Lounge, Big Chair, Big Hunt.

    Goddamn, I miss Common Share.

  • SF says:

    BYT identifying the least douchey bars in DC. LOL.

  • lol says:

    because they’re such douches!!! lololololololololololololololol

  • Johnny says:

    God I miss the Asylum.

  • NW - says:

    “There are no normal bars left on 18th street/Adams Morgan. ”

    Angles. But it’s not trendy, and for real journalists.

  • Jfor5k says:

    I live off H st NE and Little Miss Whiskeys is my favorite bar there most nights and I dont even mind the random ass people dancing all over the place upstairs on Saturday nights. I like most of the U st bars but hands down my absolute favorite bar is Bourbon Glover Park. The best part is the name isnt on it!

  • Bad Mike says:

    I like the 9:30 clubs back bar! So chill especially when the right band is there!

  • FenEstelLa says:

    lgl & wonderland, duh.

  • TOEMAC says:

    Wait. Is this dcist? Now I’m confused….. 😉

  • Max says:

    Great to see some redemption for The Red Room (which made Complex’ most-douchey bar list). I’ve been heading there for over 10 years and have always had a great experience. Plus, it was one of the first mainstream bars in DC which made gays feel totally at home with a straight crowd. That’s appreciated.

  • AmberMcD says:

    I totally second Boundary Stone.

  • Ohboyohboy says:

    The Pug serves cheeseballs. I always eat a ton and then stand outside and wipe my day-glo orange hands on douches on their way to the H St Country Club.

  • John says:

    I think Black Squirrel deserves credit as a great AM non-douchey bar (far above the rebooted (and not improved) Toledo Lounge).

  • Me says:

    Looking Glass should be on the ‘best burger’ list as well. Love that place.


    i like how you hate on clarendon in one breath and then in the next decry the haters of the “outer boroughs” of dc. isn’t that some ironic shit?

  • Shauna Shauna says:

    You know I totally wanted to write about Black Squirrel, but also the hought of sending anyone to Adam’s Morgan ever made my soul cry a little bit

  • Max says:

    TOEMAC – Your comment is the essence of douche.

  • Mount Chelsea says:

    Arlington isn’t Queens–it’s Hoboken. At least line up your burbs right!

  • andy says:

    OUTLAWS will never die. See you August 14.

  • Capt. Merica says:

    I think BYT is douchey — way to ride the coattails. And yeah the fact that they put Black Cat right on top shows that this article was really written because this douche disagreed with that one selection.

  • kol says:

    The Pug, for sure.

  • Alan Zilberman says:


  • ToeMac says:

    Not a bad list. A couple of things come to mind …

    RockNRoll Hotel can be seriously douchey. In fact, most of the bars on H St can easily be overrun by the d-bags if they aren’t specifically catering to them. Last time I was in Little Miss Whiskeys I thought I magically teleported to Clarendon.

    More importantly, “bridge-and-tunnel” should never be used except to reference people heading into Manhattan from surrounding areas. (And even then it’s douchey.) Any one that lives in DC and looks down on people coming in from surrounding areas, while trying to equate yourselves to NYC elite, is the epitome of douchey. Seriously. U St is not the East Village folks. Mount Pleasant is not Chelsea. Just like Arlington is not Queens and Silver Spring is not Staten Island.

    Then again I’d assume most of the BYT staff, if they actually lived in NYC, would live in Williamsburg which would officially make you part of the “bridge-and-tunnel” set. Isn’t that some ironic shit?

  • brian says:

    no looking glass?

  • danko says:

    or dc reynolds (the zombie version of tt’s)? and even though they ain’t exactly in dc, though just up georgia ave, you have quarry house and sidebar

  • anonymous says:

    I’d like to nominate Boundary Stone.

  • svetlana Svetlana says:

    looking glass should objectively be there. but that is the beauty of the comments-expanding horizons etc

  • joe says:

    With the death of Outlaws, Marx Cafe has little to offer.

  • jayaydoubleu says:

    i’d like to nominate wonderland

  • Matteo says:

    I’m not sure how the list omits Jimmy Valentine’s but includes douchetastic American Ice Company.

  • svetlana Svetlana says:

    actually-Jimmy V’s and Little Miss Whiskey’s should be on here too. Great bars, stiff drinks, dark corners.

  • Bradley says:

    Yeah, Jimmy V’s obviously.

  • chops says:


  • Colin says:

    Aren’t these mostly hipster bars? That’s just a different flavor of douche.

  • BroBQ says:

    As far as Adams Morgan goes, Chief Ikes is pretty solid.



  • danko says:

    you make a really good point. yes…i am a douche bag and i’m proud of it

  • svetlana Svetlana says:

    Trusty’s and Lil Pub should definitely be on any expanded list of this kind. Obviously-DC has more than 25 non douchey bars, and that is a good thing. “DC’s Least Douchey Bars-The Sequel”-I can see that column happening.

  • springroadintoaction says:

    Sadly, Toledo Lounge is no more.

    However, I would add Looking Glass and DC Reynolds to the list. As well as the Argonaut.

  • v says:

    Kramerbooks/Afterwords Cafe might not be douchy per se, but they are the biggest assholes in DC.

  • Sara says:

    I tend to find Bourbon in AdMo worth a visit and non-douchey. I think the writers were astute in the calls they made about places not to visit on the weekend if you’re avoiding douchiness. The Black Squirrel, alas, confounds me. Sometimes it’s a slice of great, sometimes it’s an exasperating AdMo-as-per-usual bar, regardless of time of day or day of week. I’ve pretty much stopped going.

    I know this list is restaurant focused, but I want to speak up for the bar at Founding Farmers (I am a snob about how mediocre I think the restaurant is, but the bar redeems it). Pricey, but genuinely good mixed drinks on the menu and the bartenders get that attentive/friendly/super-competent mix that so much of professional DC excels at but bars seem to flounder at, just right.

  • Logan Logan Donaldson says:

    Good call. Shout out to Dylan at FF, who mos def knows his shit

  • JJ says:

    Louis’ Rogue.

    Some comments…

    “If you like your ‘dancers’ smoking blunts out on the sidewalk before jumping on stage, you’ll love this spot.”

    “I’ve been to the Rogue on a few occasions. It’s quite a nasty little place, up there with the Skylark. It’s very graphic and in your face. It’s the polar opposite to Camelot. If you like stretch marks and needle marks, you’ll love this place.”

    “I’m black I don’t like this, throwing beat up coochy in my face is not cool”

  • your sweet internet name says:

    The addition of the American Ice Company makes me want to barf. I mean, what kind of bar serves all of their (ridiculously expensive) beers in 12 ounce mason jars? I’m sorry but that’s not clever: that’s just taking away 25% of my beer.

    I can’t believe the Looking Glass isn’t on here. Scandals abounding!

    (everywhere else is awesome, though, great job, all is well in the world, etc.)

  • Cleo says:

    Angles! Angles! Angles! The redeemer of the Adams Morgan strip.

  • Drew says:

    Boundary stone
    Red Derby
    Looking Glass
    Star and Shamrock
    Nanny O’Briens
    Sixth Engine
    1905 (not really a bar so much, but still)
    Bar Pilar
    Cafe St. EX
    Wonderland sunday thur Wednesday (totally different bar on Fri/Sat)
    Kanagaroo Boxing Club

  • TOEMAC says:

    Yeah, it’s doubly ironic because I live in Arlington. That said, you missed the point. Elitists that hate on the burbs and the douchey folks that make Clarendon a nightmare any weekend both suck. Perhaps not equally but that’s an other story.

  • TOEMAC says:

    Great reply Max. This is the BYT comments section. Try harder next time, ok?

    Also, I’ll be more than happy to bottle some essence of douche for you. You can wear it next time you’re cruising H St. or Clarendon.

  • furcafe says:

    RANTORO is correct. We former regulars of the old Toledo call the current version “T.G.I. Toledo’s” because it looks like it was turned into a franchise bar. I actually like the Black Squirrel, but I don’t think their gastropub model works for the Toledo.

  • VJDoolz says:

    uhm…DC9 rooftop is ripe with douche flavor…

    Sova on H St., Boundary Stone on RI Ave., Tap & Parlour above Bohemian Caverns

    yeah, don’t trade sports/frat douche for trustfund/wannabe/cuntrocket douche

  • Vader says:

    American Ice Company is the worst. The end.

  • Roz says:

    Here ye, here ye.

  • Brock Ducharme says:

    Bossa Lounge on 18th is a haven of authenticity and great music with a serious douche forcefield keeping it safe douchenozzlery at all moments.

  • Katie says:


  • Monkeyrotica says:

    You are my new god. I will pay your bail.

  • Name says:

    This is a list of BYT besties. It’s a popularity contest. Let’s get all our Bar owner friends on a list and be mean girls to everyone else. When did the dc social scene turn into lame high school hell? BYT being the slutty cheerleaders :p

  • msgreatloki says:

    How about the Gin Joint in Woodly Park? It really is one of the most amazing bars I have been to in DC, most relaxed and best drinks from the chillest bartendress.

  • HARK says:

    At least throw Trusty’s on there to give the SE some love.

  • nobodygrl says:

    Ben’s Next Door….decent prices and decent drinks.

  • Logan Logan Donaldson says:

    I can confirm that everyone I work with is a slutty cheerleader

  • Rantoro says:

    The Toledo Lounge you’re describing is not the Toledo Lounge as in currently exists. Gone is the “just a bar,” unpretentious interior, great drink prices and specials, and repugnant bathrooms.

    Other than the name, the entire aesthetic of the bar has been completely wiped away. “Toledo” doesn’t even refer to Toledo, OH, anymore according to their Web site, but to all the Toledos around the world. WTF?

    Now it’s just another polished, who-cares bar with mid-to-high drink prices (no surprise since it was renovated by the owner of the Black Squirrel). Not sure why they kept the name since none of the original clientele are likely to find anything familiar within.

  • TOEMAC says:

    Good one. I was in a rush and should have thought of that myself. Good call. We should have a NY area to DC area naming standard. Let’s all meet at a bar. How about … oh never mind.