Fans heading to a game or concert at the Capital One Arena have dozens of options for eating and drinking in the area. Whether you’re feeling peckish before or looking for a place to celebrate afterward, here are a few of our favorite spots.
Chinatown Express: Those walking past this traditional Chinese restaurant are often mesmerized by Lin Han, who pulls lai mein noodles by hand in the front window. That’s your clue to order the house noodle soup or the steamed pork buns, which are also made on-site. 746 Sixth St. NW.
Hill Country: The Texas-inspired smokehouse scored the top spot on The Washington Post’s 2017 ranking of D.C.'s best barbecue, thanks to its smoky brisket and spareribs. Buy meat by the pound in the large dining room, or head to the bar for frito pie and chili-rubbed wings, washed down with a spicy margarita. (Happy hour is offered from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, also making this a prime postgame destination.) 410 Seventh St. NW.
Jaleo: José Andrés’s oldest D.C. restaurant received three stars in Post food critic Tom Sietsema’s 2018 Fall Dining Guide, with fried baby squid, salads and Spanish tortillas earning praise. More importantly, Sietsema says, “the space is as fun as the food is serious.” 480 Seventh St. NW.
Little Sesame: The Post’s Tim Carman says this Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant has the best hummus in Washington. Judge for yourself with one of the creative bowls, starring roasted cauliflower or a seven-minute egg and served with warm pita, or sample the irresistible chicken shawarma sandwich. 736 Sixth St. NW.
Shake Shack: Danny Meyer’s burger chain is a popular draw for tourists and locals alike, who wait in line to order double ShackBurgers — a thing of beauty topped with American cheese, lettuce and tomato — with crinkle-cut fries and a chocolate or caramel shake. Shake Shack now has seven locations in Washington, but that only seems to have increased demand. 800 F St. NW.
Taco Bamba: The first D.C. branch of chef Victor Albisu’s local taqueria chain is a lively spot, thanks in part to the hard-rocking soundtrack. While the menu includes traditional chicharrone and carnitas tacos, the best offerings are the most creative: The Sid Vicious is a fish taco with the malty tang of English fish and chips, and the Drunken Master nods to Chinatown with spicy kung pao shrimp. Happy hour, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, brings $6 margaritas and $4 beers. 777 I St. NW.
Wiseguy Pizza: Everyone loves to argue about D.C.'s best pizza, and the foldable, thin-crust slices at Wiseguy will silence almost all critics who claim there’s no good pizza south of Staten Island. (The thick, square “grandma” pizzas are pretty tasty, too.) Keep it classic with the meat-laden Godfather slice, or experiment with pies topped with Korean chicken or paneer tikka. Be warned: Lines can get long after games. 300 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
For happy hour
City Tap House: The draw at this Philadelphia-born chain is a selection of 40 rotating craft beers, plus the notable happy hour: $5 craft beers, $6 wines and $7 beer-and-a-shot combos from 5 to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Attention, Caps fans: During home hockey games, Ghost White IPA from D.C.'s 3 Stars Brewing is $5 from 5 p.m. until the end of the game. 901 Ninth St. NW.
District Chop House: The neighborhood's oldest brewpub is still one of the cheapest at happy hour, with $3.50 housemade beers — brewer Barrett Lauer excels at German styles — and $5 mixed drinks from 4 to 7 p.m. 509 Seventh St. NW.
Free State: Focusing on beer, cider and spirits from the Chesapeake Bay watershed, this comfortable basement bar offers $2 off all drafts, wines and liquor from 4 to 7 p.m. Its location on the eastern side of the arena means it doesn’t get as busy as the bars on Seventh Street. 501-B G St. NW.
Iron Horse Tap Room: Happy hour runs until 8 p.m. every day at this two-level motorcycle-themed bar, which means $2 off the strong craft beer selection, and $5 wines and rail drinks. Sister bars Rocket Bar and Jackpot have similar deals, but what sets Iron Horse apart, besides the elbow room, are the daily specials, such as $6 Tito's drinks on Monday and $6 Jameson on Thursday. 507 Seventh St. NW.
Penn Social: The sprawling 13,000-square-foot space is packed with bars, a row of skee-ball machines, ping-pong tables, arcade games, giant Jenga and Connect Four, and other ways to have fun before the game starts. Happy hour, which goes until 7 p.m., includes $5 mixed drinks, $6 wine and $2 off all drafts. 801 E St. NW.
For cocktails and wine
Crimson Whiskey Bar and Crimson View: The latest project for Eric and Ian Hilton — the brothers behind Marvin, the Brixton and other popular bars — is at the new Pod Hotel on H Street. Visit Crimson Whiskey Bar in the basement for cocktails, then take the elevator to the rooftop Crimson View for fresh air. 627 H St. NW.
Daikaya: This is two destinations in one: a stellar ramen joint on the first floor (arrive well before game time to get in line for a seat), and an upstairs izakaya, or Japanese-style tavern, that offers carafes of sake, shots of shochu and Japanese whiskey, and cocktails that draw influences from all over the world. 705 Sixth St. NW.
Denson Liquor Bar: An unassuming flight of stairs on Sixth Street leads down to this opulent cocktail den, inspired by Roaring ’20s New York. Notice the large, round booths, the ornate tiling, and the gold leaf on the wall. Then turn your attention to the sizable menu, which begins with a shortlist of inventive cocktails and offers pages of whiskeys, tequilas and gins that can be served neat or in mixed drinks. 600 F St. NW.
Flight: A wine bar with a sense of adventure, Flight offers wines from lesser-known regions (Serbia, Hungary, Georgia) and quirkier selections from France, California and Spain. The best way to dive in to the menu is to pick one of the many three-glass flights, with such names as “Two Austrians and a German walk into a bar...” and “Thought-provoking light-bodied reds.” 777 Sixth St. NW.
Succotash: Chef Edward Lee’s Southern-inspired cooking is going to be the main reason crowds flock to Succotash, but the drink menu is strong, too. Lee made his name in Louisville, and the menu features dozens of bourbons and rye whiskeys, tasting flights, and interesting cocktails, including milk punch and a proper whiskey sour. 915 F St. NW.
This article was originally published on Nov. 1, 2017. This version has been updated.