Editors’ Picks

Looking for quick recommendations? Check out Editors’ Picks, Washington Post writers' lists of the area's best in dozens of categories.

 

A week's worth of taco happy hours

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 09/10/2012

Taco happy hours are so plentiful in Washington that you can find a special every night. Most of the restaurants and bars that offer taco deals aren't even nominally Mexican, but it's often hard to beat the price. | Photos: D.C. taquerias

 

Best bars and restaurants with fireplaces

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 12/28/2012

When it's cold outside, these bars and restaurants allow you to warm up while dining or drinking.

 

Best bars for a 'Mad Men' vibe

  • By By Julia Beizer and Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 03/20/2012

Capture the spirit of the AMC show and 1960s Manhattan at these evocatively lighted establishments.

 

Best bars for a non-alcoholic drink

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 12/03/2012

If you're pregnant, serving as designated driver or just don't feel like imbibing, you don't have to settle for soda or plain tonic. These bars and restaurants pour creative and delicious non-alcoholic beverages.

 

Best bars for flying solo

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 01/26/2011

Most of the bars we recommend for solo patrons have a few things in common: bartenders who make small talk and introductions; they offer both tables and barstools where you can relax; and, though this is subjective, they're not sketchy places with reputations as singles bars.

 

Best bars for fun and games

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 01/03/2013

Sitting in a bar shooting the breeze is a great way to spend a night, but sometimes you want to do something else while you sip your beer -- like bowl on a Wii or turn a spelling bee into a drinking game.

 

Best bars near the Convention Center

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 07/20/2012

Whether you need to kick back after a long day of meetings or want to catch up with fellow attendees, these bars fit the bill.

 

Best bars near the Verizon Center

  • By Fritz Hahn and Alex Baldinger
  • |
  • Updated 01/22/2013

Whether you're attending a Capitals game, a Wizards game or a big concert at the Verizon Center, we suggest stopping into one of these bars for a drink before or after the main events.

 

Best bars with outdoor firepits

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 12/28/2012

When it's cold outside but you still need some fresh air, head to one of these bars with outdoor fire pits.

 

Best bars without televisions

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 09/22/2011

You want to go out and have a drink and gossip with your friends or meet a date for a cocktail, but most of the places you're thinking of will be packed with people watching sports or, worse, political coverage. Here's where to go instead.

 

Best beer selection

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 01/15/2013

Need a cold, refreshing brew? These bars move beyond the usual mass-market taps and are perfect for beer hunters looking for something new.

 

Best cocktails

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 07/25/2012

From classic martinis to unusual libations crafted with homemade bitters and exotic liqueurs, these bars will satisfy the most demanding drinkers.

 

Best comedy nights for under $10

  • By Lavanya Ramanathan
  • |
  • Updated 12/15/2012

Top local comics constantly work the circuit of open mikes and local showcases, getting onstage four or five times a week to hammer out a perfect punchline or seamless delivery. For comedy fans, that means many chances to catch a laugh or a fun date night on the cheap. Open mikes are frequently free, and excellent showcases can be found for less than $10. Just be sure to get there early enough to score good seats and order a drink. Here are some comedy nights you shouldn't miss.

 

Best dance floor action

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 07/16/2010

When you got ants in your pants and you want to dance, these are some of our favorite options.

 

Best dive bars

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 11/29/2012

No cover charges, no $10 martinis, no dress codes.

 

Best free nightlife events

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 12/11/2013

You don't have to pay a high cover or make bottle service reservations to enjoy the D.C. nightlife scene. Check out some of the area's best DJs for free -- and even score open-bar drinks -- at these hot no-cover parties.

 

Best gay/lesbian club

  • By Fritz
  • |
  • Updated 06/02/2011

From stylish lounges to neighborhood bars to all-night dance clubs, these gay and lesbian nightspots have something for everyone.

 

Best happy hours for impressing a date

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 07/03/2014

Sometimes you want (or need) to meet for drinks at a place that's a little classier than usual your usual after-work joint. These happy hours will make you look good without breaking the bank.

 

Best Irish pubs

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 09/20/2011

Venues include snug taverns with pints of Guinness and bars that pulse with live music.

 

Best jazz clubs

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 08/15/2012

When you're looking for hot musicians and a warm atmosphere, these jazz haunts deliver.

 

Best oyster happy hours

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 04/17/2013

Sweet, briny and fun to eat, these shimmering beauties are more seductive appetizers than, say, chicken wings. No matter your tastes, these raw bar happy hours deliver.

 

Best people watching

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 08/22/2011

Sometimes, you just want to relax and watch the world go by -- or see what other people are wearing. These are the best places to do it with a cold drink in hand.

 

Best places to dance to a live band

  • By Fritz Hahn and Jess Righthand
  • |
  • Updated 10/26/2012

Walk by the corner of 14th and U streets NW on a weekend night, and you'll hear bubbly, joyful dance music blasting out of a new nightclub called Tropicalia. What makes this basement bar stand out from other recent arrivals in the neighborhood is that several times a week, the sounds drawing crowds onto the dance floor come from musicians instead of a DJ.

It's easy to understand why bars shy away from live music: It's expensive to install a stage, lights and a sound system, let alone pay a group of musicians, when a DJ can do it all on a laptop for less.

But Tropicalia, which opened Labor Day weekend, bucks that trend, with multiple bands performing every week. "I want people to randomly pop into the club, dance and hear something that blows their mind. That makes me happy," says Jim Thomson, who books Afropop, soul and Latin groups for Tropicalia.

It's also about expanding the idea of what, exactly, constitutes dance music. Traditional Sierra Leonean musician Sorie Kondi, who performed at the club earlier this month, "is something you might see at the Folklife Festival or at the Kennedy Center," Thomson says. "But if you put that music in more of a club setting when the lights are dim, people feel a little looser, and they respond differently."

Video: Tropicalia

 

Best places to go if you're under 21

  • By Erin Williams
  • |
  • Updated 09/20/2011

Interns keep Washington humming by day. These places welcome the almost-legal crowd at night.

 

Best places to smoke cigars

  • By Timothy R. Smith
  • |
  • Updated 09/20/2011

With strict smoking laws in the area, it can be tough to find a place to have a stogie and a drink.

 

Best pool halls

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 08/27/2010

Whether you're meeting friends for a game of 9-ball or practicing your English, keep this list of billiards bars in your pocket.

 

Best rock clubs

  • By David Malitz | Washington Post Staff Writer
  • |
  • Updated 01/03/2013

For those about to rock, here are the area's best spots for live music. Take a look inside the Fillmore and other local rock venues.

 

Best rooftop bars

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 04/08/2013

As much as we all love bars with patios from April through September, bars with rooftop decks are a completely different proposition. There's something about the views, the breeze and being away from idling street traffic that makes for a more enjoyable experience.

 

Best sushi happy hours

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 09/17/2013

On the happy-hour scale, sushi happy hours are close to the top. They're more urbane than the usual wings-and-beer deals, and they seem like a better idea for dates, especially if you're ordering a few rolls or pairs of nigiri and sharing. With the Cherry Blossom Festival upon us, we thought we'd suggest a few of the area's top spots for affordable sushi, beers and cocktails.

 

Best weeknight nightlife

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 07/19/2012

Weekend DJ nights frequently have long lines and huge crowds. Leave those to the amateurs and check out these events, which run Monday through Wednesday.

 

Best wine bars

  • By Fritz Hahn -- The Washington Post
  • |
  • Updated 04/05/2010

Wine bars have exploded in the Washington area in recent years, but the ones that follow offer something extra -- great flight selections, free tastings -- that set them apart.

 

Best wings

  • By Fritz Hahn, Justin Rude and Going Out Guide readers
  • |
  • Updated 10/23/2012

When we asked readers in August to help us find the best wings in the Washington area, they nominated dozens of bars and restaurants with wings in a multitude of preparations. Beyond traditional sauce-covered Buffalo wings, the recommendations we received through e-mails extolled the virtues of smoked wings, roasted wings, fried wings dry-rubbed with Old Bay, Korean-style wings and even vegan barbecue wings.

Here are a few of the most persuasive responses. Whether you're craving a spicy zing or a rich, smoky flavor, there's a great set of wings out there for you.

 

Breweries that offer beer to go

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 09/11/2012

Growlers have long been a fixture at brewpubs, which almost never commercially release beers outside their own bars. But you can also go to most local breweries and get fresh beer from a tap for far less than you're paying for a pint at local pubs. Here's a quick guide to filling growlers on the burgeoning local brewery scene.

 

College-friendly nightlife in the District

  • By Fritz Hahn
  • |
  • Updated 10/18/2012

Attention, college students: You can enjoy Washington's nightlife if you're under the age of 21 as long as you know where to go.

The hottest nightspots routinely deny entry to anyone not of legal drinking age because managers are afraid that one bad apple buying a beer could mean the loss of the establishment's liquor license. But that's not the case everywhere. With college back in session, some bars and clubs are welcoming students with parties tailored to those younger than 21 in the Washington area.

 

Fail-proof first dates

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 02/09/2012

In the age of Internet dating, the first date has gone casual -- why not have a little fun checking out the area's hottest bars and restaurants while also getting to know someone new?

 
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