Best Cocktail Bars In Washington DC

October 17, 2013 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

The craft cocktail movement has really taken off in DC, lending itself to some of the most creative and innovative cocktail bars in the area. These best cocktail bars will give you a taste of the top from seasonal to speakeasy.

Black Jack
1612 14th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 319-1612

From the classy neighborhood Black Restaurant Group comes a craft cocktail bar on top of its seafood-loving restaurant Pearl Dive in the popular 14th Street area. Black Jack’s cocktails range from the tried-and-true classics like a Sazerac from the South with its rye whiskey, absinthe, bitters and lemon, to the seasonal. These craft cocktails are as much art for the eyes as they are for the taste buds. And what better way to enjoy your cocktails than with a round of bocce at Black Jack’s indoor bocce court?

Bar Pilar
1833 14th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 265-1751

Known for its small, shareable plates and delicious craft cocktails, Bar Pilar is a force to be reckoned with in the craft cocktail scene. Themed happy hours keep the cocktails rolling like Monday Sours Hours that feature an $8 sour cocktail, or Tonic Tuesdays that offer a sip of the house-made tonics. And don’t forget the end of the work week with the Pork N Punch Friday that features a freshly mixed punch coupled with specials on a pork dish. Sunday features bottomless cocktails served in the classic mason jars at brunch.

The Gibson
2009 14th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 232-2156

Harkening back to the days of prohibition, the Gibson is a speakeasy on 14th Street off of the popular U Street area. Next to Marvin’s through an unassuming gray door, you’ll find a sign saying to wait for the hostess who will guide you and yours into the speakeasy. The seats are limited and the atmosphere is cozy and classic with a cool bohemian vibe that makes you feel like you’d find Ernest Hemingway tucked in a corner somewhere. The cocktails change frequently and usually feature something fruity, boozy and made with egg whites. For those unfamiliar with craft cocktails, lean on your server to guide you through the mélange of words you probably have never read before. Either way, you’re guaranteed to enjoy it. The Gibson is open daily at 6 p.m., but be sure to make reservations as it fills up quickly.

Related: Washington DC’s Best Gin And Tonics  

1017 7th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 393-1313

Brainchild of The Passenger’s delicious cocktail bar, Hogo is a tiki bar with an upscale vibe. You won’t find any grass skirts here, but what you will find are classic tropical cocktails that will transport you from the swamplands of DC to the islands of Hawaii. For a real treat, try one of the scorpion bowls featuring a different concoction served up in a flaming bowl with long straws to reach from one side of the table to the other. The cocktail menu changes nearly as frequently as its chefs. Hogo features new up-and-coming chefs frequently that create the menu Hogo will be serving. It’s almost like a test kitchen, but one thing is for certain, you’re sure to have a great time.

8081 Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD
(301) 565-9700

Next to the popular Silver Spring restaurant Jackie’s sits the eclectic and deliciously devilish Sidebar. With a cocktail menu that features some of the most well-crafted cocktails in the DC region, Sidebar features many of its own house-made infusions and syrups into a well-designed menu that offers a cocktail for every taste. From fruity to straight up boozy, whet your palate on a cocktail before trying your hand at a game of pool. There’s also a snack menu that is different from Jackie’s restaurant, but the food is of the same delicious caliber as the main restaurant.

Related: Most Creative Cocktails In Washington DC

Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isn’t enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at