After Last Call: Food, Glorious Food
After a night of barhopping, you're going to be hungry. There's a detailed scientific explanation that involves alcohol and the body's production of glucose, but just trust me on this one. (How else can you explain the lines in Adams Morgan for a jumbo slice of pizza?)
Late-night food doesn't have to be something you wouldn't eat any other time of day. Here are suggestions for the best post-bar snacks in the area's most popular night-life areas. All are open well after last call on weekends, and some are even open late on weekdays.
-- Fritz Hahn
Lines for Amsterdam Falafelshop's sandwiches often go out the door, and crowds pack tightly around the "all you care to use" toppings bar, featuring spicy carrots, beets, eggplant and more sauces than you can experiment with at once. The Belgian-style fries are pleasantly crispy, especially when paired with Dutch mayonnaise or tahini sauce. The big problem is the lack of seats. (When it's warm, there are tables outside.)
Speaking of lines, we love the ever-popular Diner, but why wait for 30 minutes for a seat at 3 a.m.? One neighborhood eatery that's overlooked is the Old City of Jerusalem Cafe, just east of 18th Street on Columbia Road. Owned and operated by former Amsterdam Falafelshop chef Walid Abuelhawa, Old City has crispy falafel, a serve-yourself toppings bar and two things its rival does not: meat-based entrees and plenty of seating. It can take a while to get your well-seasoned kafta kebab (ground beef with onions and garlic in a pita) or beef shawarma, but at least you can sit while you wait.
AMSTERDAM FALAFELSHOP 2425 18th St. NW. 202-234-1969. Open Sunday-Monday until midnight, Tuesday-Wednesday until 2:30 a.m., Thursdays until 3 a.m., Friday-Saturday until 4 a.m.
OLD CITY CAFE OF JERUSALEM 1773 Columbia Rd. NW. 202-232-1322. Open weekdays until midnight, Friday-Saturday until 4 a.m.
Bistro Francais is the classiest late-night option in town, all warm wood and brass, with uniformed servers carrying platters of steak fries and eggs Benedict. It draws all manner of customers, from patrons in tuxedos to those in T-shirts.
Other popular places include the Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory, which makes one of the best sandwiches this side of Passyunk Avenue, and Quick Pita, a hole-in-the-wall offering falafel, shawarma and gyros.
Five Guys is popular with the preppy crew, which descends on the place for burgers and fries after a night at Smith Point across the street.
BISTRO FRANCAIS 3128 M St. NW. 202-338-3830. Open Sunday-Thursday until 3 a.m., Friday-Saturday until 4 a.m.
PHILADELPHIA CHEESESTEAK FACTORY 3347 M St. NW. 202-333-8040. Open Sunday-Thursday until 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday until 4 a.m.