Dinner is easy to come by, thanks to a long list of restaurants. Pizzeria Paradiso attracts long lines for its well-made pies, topped with an array of fresh ingredients, and one of the city’s better (small) beer bars. While the Palm is pricey, the steakhouse is always filled with famous-for-Washington politicians, reporters and talking heads, and the aged New York strip wins plaudits, too. And possibly no restaurant in the neighborhood feels quite as lively as Bistrot du Coin, a buzzing French restaurant with good steak frites, a long wine list and service that some readers describe as “typically French” -- i.e. hit-or-miss -- but it’s worth it just for checking out the variety of French and Francophile patrons who stroll into the bar.
For after-dinner drinks, Dupont Circle can suit any taste. ChurchKey (back near the galleries on 14th Street) offers 50 draft beers and 500 more in bottles, plus five traditional cask-conditioned ales. The popular Veritas wine bar has dozens of choices by the glass. And Russia House lives up to its name with a staggering selection of imported vodkas, which can be served in cocktails or straight up as chilled shots. (Look for Eastern European diplomats and members of the Washington Capitals hockey team enjoying a night out.)
In terms of sheer buzz, no neighborhood of nightspots comes close to the revived H Street NE corridor, dubbed the Atlas District after the restored Atlas Theatre. Destroyed in the riots after Martin Luther King’s assassination, this once-popular shopping and dining area started attracting hip bars and restaurants five or six years ago, and now it seems a new one opens ever few weeks. The vibe is more Williamsburg (Brooklyn) than Capitol Hill -- look for edgy dives, laidback neighborhood hangouts, a bar with its own nine-hole indoor mini-golf course, an enormous German beer garden, clubs offering a mix of DJs, live rock or burlesque shows, and pubs that range from traditional English to Irish-with-a-Jewish-deli. (One word of caution: Parts of the neighborhood can still be sketchy, especially late at night, if you venture off the main drag. )