Zoo Bar (Oxford Tavern)

Patio/Rooftop, Bar, Low-key

Editorial Review

When you just want to throw on a pair of jeans and escape the jungle, the Zoo Bar can be a fine refuge. Actually called The Oxford Tavern, its patrons came up with something more identifying to match its neighbor across the street, the National Zoo. The walls are now spattered with murals of wild animals but the establishment remains as tame as its upper Connecticut Avenue neighborhood.

Patrons ranging from Gen-X to late-model baby boomers gather around a small bar (decorated with Redskins paraphernalia) and seating area to sip beers, watch television or play cards. At least several times a month live blues bands or rock groups shake the room up.

The unusually abundant bar menu is a bit pricey (most entrees are in the $10 range), but there are happy hours every day from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., with some beers going for $1.75. The Zoo Bar offers a short list of bottled microbrews plus Miller and Wild Goose on tap when it's "in season."

– Amy Joyce