Washington’s bar scene has grown at a frenetic pace this year: Glamorous rooftops with views, themed cocktail dens, low-key basement spots. Think of these as a Swiss Army knife of destinations: Whether you’re celebrating, meeting a friend or planning a date night, one will be the perfect fit. Here are my 10 favorites, starting at the top:
1. Columbia Room
Best known for thoughtful prix-fixe cocktail tastings ($75-$100 per person), it also offers seasonal libations in an open-air punch garden and vintage cocktails in the plush spirits library. 124 Blagden Alley NW. 202-316-9396. columbiaroomdc.com.
2. Jack Rose
Its collection of 2,600 whiskeys (and counting) is reputedly the largest in the Western Hemisphere, but what sets this Adams Morgan bar apart are the varied settings: rooftop tiki bar; classy marble-accented saloon; and dark, speakeasy-like cocktail bar (Dram and Grain ) in the basement. 2007 18th St. NW. 202-588-7388. jackrosediningsaloon.com.
3. 2 Birds 1 Stone
The cocktails at Adam Bernbach’s lounge might include bourbon infused with Middle Eastern spices, house-made sodas or a high-end take on frosé, making them almost as creative as his hand-drawn drink menus. 1800 14th St. NW. No phone. 2birds1stonedc.com.
4. Lyman’s Tavern
Washington’s largest selection of new and vintage pinball machines is the draw at this friendly neighborhood bar, where bartenders serve beer-and-a-shot combos and free baskets of popcorn slathered with sriracha butter. 3720 14th St. NW. 202-723-0502. lymanstavern.com.
5. The Sovereign
Its laserlike focus on Belgian lambics, saisons and blonde ales — and American beers made in a Belgian style — make it a fascinating place to settle in and take a deep dive into craft beer. 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-774-5875. thesovereigndc.com.
6. All Souls
David Batista runs this one-room bartender’s bar, where affordable French and Spanish wines meet well-made signature cocktails, most of them priced at just $9. 725 T St. NW. 202-733-5929. allsoulsbar.com.
7. Copycat Company
The best cocktails in the H Street corridor are in this narrow, dimly lit walk-up, where veterans of Barmini and the Columbia Room draw inspiration from tiki drinks, bitter amari and long-lost bartender manuals. 1110 H St. NE. 202-241-1952. copycatcompany.com.
8. Espita Mezcaleria
Mezcal is as central to Espita as the Mexican street art on the walls: The Oaxacan spirit is mixed with fresh fruit in seasonal cocktails, served in a shot glass alongside Miller High Life, or poured in flights from the dozens of bottles behind the bar. 1250 Ninth St. NW. 202-621-9695. espitadc.com.
9. Right Proper Shaw
Shaw’s lone brewpub has expanded to a production facility in Brookland, but I prefer the convivial original bar, where the regularly changing drafts might find a dry-hopped Berliner weisse next to a wild Belgian-style saison next to a barrel-aged hoppy farmhouse ale.
624 T St. NW. 202-607-2337. www.rightproperbrewing.com.
Washington’s finest jukebox, stuffed with vintage R&B and soul, is found in this cash-only bar, competing for attention with $5 beer-and-a-shot combos and the Sunday night performances by the funky house band. 113 Rhode Island Ave. NW. No phone. twitter.com/Showtime_DC.