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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The White House Area and Foggy Bottom 4

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Washington, D.C. Nightlife

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Board Room

  • Bars/Pubs

Put down your smart phone and interact!" is the motto at this pub with 20-plus beers on tap, a full bar—try "The Bionic Woman"—and...

Cafe Citron

  • Bars/Pubs

Mojitos are the specialty at this Latin bar and dance club, with no less than eight varieties available, from the standard to a spicy...


  • Bars/Pubs

There's an astounding selection of beers at ChurchKey—555 varieties from more than 30 countries, including 50 beers on tap and exclusive...


  • Dance Clubs

Popular among the gay and lesbian crowd, this venue anchors the 17th Street strip with three distinct floors: the bottom floor is the...

Eighteenth Street Lounge

  • Bars/Pubs

This multilevel space's division into an array of sofa-filled rooms makes an evening at this home away from home for Washington's hipper...

El Centro D.F.

  • Bars/Pubs

A sunny spot—whatever the weather—on D.C.'s 14th Street, this Richard Sandoval outpost celebrates tequila with a ridiculously expansive...

Hank's Oyster Bar

  • Bars/Pubs

A small, sleek, and unpretentious nautical-themed bar offers a half-price raw bar after 10 pm every night of the week, here and at its...

JR's Bar & Grill

  • Bars/Pubs

A popular institution on the 17th Street strip packs in a mostly male, mostly professional gay crowd. Various nights offer show-tunes...

New Vegas Lounge

  • Music Clubs

The New Vegas Lounge may be a vestige from a grittier, less affluent era, but the Logan Circle club is in its fifth decade of offering...

Number Nine

  • Bars/Pubs

The heart of Logan Circle nightlife is a predominantly male gay bar attracting guests of all ages. The downstairs lounge offers plush...