Washington, D.C. Nightlife

From buttoned-down political appointees who've just arrived to laid-back folks who've lived here their whole lives, Washingtonians are always looking for a place to relax. And they have plenty of options when they head out for a night on the town. Most places are clustered in several key neighborhoods, making a night of barhopping relatively easy.

Georgetown's bars, nightclubs, and restaurants

radiate from the intersection of Wisconsin and M streets, attracting crowds that include older adults and college students. Many restaurants here turn into bars after the dinner crowd leaves. Georgetown is one of the safest neighborhoods in D.C., with a large police presence on weekends.

Those seeking a younger and less inhibited nightlife may prefer the 18th Street strip in Adams Morgan, between Columbia Road and Florida Avenue, which offers a wide variety of places for dancing, drinking, and eating. The best part of Adams Morgan is that there are so many bars and clubs around 18th Street that if you don't like one, there's another next door. At night the streets are so crowded you will have trouble weaving your way through the swarms of revelers. AdMo, as it’s affectionately called, is best known for its bard, but there are some restaurants that make the strip worth the trip for those in search of a good meal.

The U Street Corridor (U Street NW between 9th and 17th streets NW), historically D.C.'s hippest neighborhood and a regular stop for jazz greats, has undergone a revival and is now the hottest spot in town, with bars that appeal to all types. Down 14th Street you will also find new bars and restaurants spilling revelers out on the street on weekends. Wine bars, dive bars, hipster bars, gastropubs, and dance clubs make for a full night out. Other hot spots include Capitol Hill, Downtown, and the city's most-up-and-coming area, Shaw. The stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue between 2nd and 4th streets has a half-dozen bars. Thanks to massive redevelopment, Penn Quarter/Chinatown is burgeoning with new bars and music venues orbiting the Verizon Center and Gallery Place. The newest center of gravity for D.C. nightlife is the H Street Corridor, still tricky to get to, but home to some of the city’s most dynamic venues.

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Washington, D.C. Nightlife

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  • Bars/Pubs

A more mature Southern-tinged drinking and dining experience diverges from the typical Adams Morgan scene. Though you can dance on the...

Chief Ike's Mambo Room

  • Bars/Pubs

A wild and eccentric crowd enjoys some of the best dance-your-pants-off parties in town, with DJs Saturday and Sunday. Wednesday and...

Columbia Station

  • Music Clubs

An unpretentious retreat on the 18th Street strip attracts a diverse crowd, many of whom were pulled in off the street by the good vibes...

Habana Village

  • Dance Clubs

No matter what the temperature is outside, it's always balmy inside this unpretentious Cuban oasis. The tiny dance floors are packed...

L'Enfant Cafe

  • Bars/Pubs

This French-flavored café boasts the most sidewalk seating in Adams Morgan, superb for watching the world go by at the intersection...

Madam's Organ

  • Bars/Pubs

Neon lights behind the bar, walls covered in kitsch, and works from local artists add to the gritty feel of three levels that play host...


  • Bars/Pubs

Bohemian and unpretentious, this coffeehouse-bar serves fancy sandwiches and exotic coffee creations. Comfy chairs and couches fill the...