The Best Georgetown Bars: Don't Miss These Watering Holes in Washington D.C.
Georgetown, the posh neighborhood of Washington, DC, has some of the best bars in the area.
1. Georgetown Piano Bar
The Georgetown Piano Bar is one of those places that you can only find in certain types of major cities. It’s a piano bar where the drinks, the food, and the music are all equally good, and the décor is amazing as well. This is the sort of bar that people come back to again and again—once you’ve been there once, no trip to DC will feel complete without a visit. Georgetown Piano Bar feels simultaneously old-fashioned and very modern, making it unique enough that it’s almost impossible to find its equal, even in a city as diverse as Washington, DC. One step inside the door, followed by a long look at the funky décor, should be enough to tell you that.
The Georgetown Piano Bar is a laid-back place, but that’s not reflected in its hours—this is a place where you can get a casual drink in the middle of the night. It first opens its doors at 5:00 PM and doesn’t close until late into the night, with singalongs filling up the beautifully appointed space hour after hour. It’s not everybody’s scene, but if it’s yours, you’ll be in heaven. The piano starts up at 6:00 and doesn’t stop playing until closing time, which is 2:00 AM Sunday through Thursday and 3:00 AM Friday and Saturday. The signature cocktails are rightly famous, and they have a good selection of beer on tap as well.
2. The Rye Bar
If you love whiskey (and really, who doesn’t?) then the Rye Bar, located on 31st Street, is a great choice. This classy venue appeals to a wide range of people, and few people who go ever have anything bad to say about it. Rather, they rave about the décor, the quality drinks, and the overall ambiance of the place—you can say a lot of things about the Rye Bar, but you can’t say that it doesn’t leave an impression. The food does leave something to be desired, but the quality drinks more than make up for it. That being said, if you’re going to order a meal, try one of the salads—they have a pretty good reputation. The Rye Bar isn’t really a food-oriented place, though, so the best move is probably to eat before you go out.
The other downside of the Rye Bar is the price—like most places serving fine whiskey, it can get pretty expensive. The fact that the Rye Bar is located in the lounge of a stylish hotel doesn’t help. That being said, if you’re willing to splurge a little, there may be no better place in the city for a classy drink. Worth noting: purchases here come with access to the rooftop lounge and infinity pool. It may be a little on the expensive side, but no one can say that you aren’t getting a lot of bang for your buck. This may not be a great place to hit up every night, but for a little indulgence every once in a while, it’s perfect.
3. ENO Wine Bar
For a totally different vibe, why not try the ENO Wine Bar on Pennsylvania Avenue? If you’re looking for a casual night, there may be no better option in DC, let alone in Georgetown. "Lively" isn’t really the word for it, so it may not be everyone’s preferred way to spend the night, but it’s perfect for some people. If you’re a lover of fine wine, for instance, you’ll be right at home in the funky, beautifully decorated venue.
Like most wine bars, ENO is a pretty laid-back place, and while it’s not cheap, it’s perfectly affordable for most people. ENO has a few different locations around the US, but the Georgetown one is among the best, offering almost any type of wine you could imagine, and amazing cheeses besides. They specialize in local cheeses from Virginia and Pennsylvania, so you’ll get to enjoy the best the area has to offer in lovely ENO surroundings. It’s the perfect combination of an international feel, offering wines from all over, and genuine local flavor.
4. Gypsy Sally's
Gypsy Sally’s is both music venue and bar, and unlike most such locations, it’s great at both. Some pretty great acts have played at Gypsy Sally’s over the years; if you go you can count on the entertainment being top-notch. If you want to enjoy quality drinks whilst feeling like you’re at an old-timey music hall, this is the place for you. The acoustics are amazing, and the drinks are great, too. It’s a little pricier than some of the places on this list, but not so much so that you really need to watch your wallet while you’re there. That being said, it’s not really worth spending the money unless you’re into the music (though with a lineup like the one at Gypsy Sally’s, who wouldn’t be?). Make sure to check out their website ahead of time so you’ll be in the know about upcoming events.
5. Ri Ra Irish Pub
Ri Ra Irish Pub is actually best known for its burgers, but the drinks are amazing as well. Some people say that there’s no better place for those who really love a good drink, and they may be right—the drinks are life-changing. At Ri Ra, everything they serve has had a lot of thought go into it, and thus, everything is incredible. So is the live music, though that isn’t a focus at Ri Ra as it is at some of the other places on this list. The highlight of Ri Ra is actually the whiskey room—hands-down the second-best place in the city for whiskey lovers. The first, of course, is the aforementioned Rye Bar, but this is where you should go if that place is out of your price range. Ri Ra, while not exactly cheap, is much more affordable, and it has its own incredible atmosphere.
6. The Tombs
The Tombs, according to some people, isn’t a bar to go to unless you’re planning to get really drunk. Those people are usually Georgetown students and alumni, though people who want to seem "in the know" are beginning to pick up this line and spread it around the city. Those who say that, though, are selling the venue a little short—it’s a nice place, no matter how drunk you are or aren’t. What really makes the Tombs work is the quality barbeque, which you can’t find in just any Georgetown bar. A trip here wouldn’t be wasted even if you never ordered a single drink—the food is that good. The Tombs is situated right on the edge of the Georgetown University campus, but even so, it’s surprisingly lacking in undergrads who can’t hold their liquor. If you’re afraid of reliving your college days, you don’t have to worry about that here. That being said, the clientele at the Tombs does skew young, so if that’s not your demographic, you may feel out of place. It helps if you go early, as the youngest patrons often aren’t out yet, but it’s still something to keep in mind. If you do decide to go, though, you’re bound to be stunned by the amazing food, drinks, and décor.
7. The Rooftop Bar and Lounge
The Rooftop Bar and Lounge is pretty controversial, mostly because it’s a bit pricier than similar venues in the area. It’ll do about the same damage to your wallet as the Rye Bar will, but you probably won’t get as much bang for your buck—the Rooftop Bar is nice, yes, but the Rye Bar is on a different level. That being said, many people love it—it really delivers a feeling of exclusivity at a price that’s still affordable for most people. There are no other public rooftop lounges around, so it’s definitely worth checking out during the summer months (it closes in the winter, for obvious reasons). Reservations are highly recommended, as the venue is fairly small and seating is in demand.
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