Over a hundred years ago, alcohol was something to be hidden away in private rooms with fake doorways that required a secret knock for an entrance. Prohibition, thankfully, is long over but for those who want to experience dark, hidden rooms that provide an intimate drinking experience, here are your best speakeasy bars in D.C.
2009 14th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
With an unmarked entrance on one of D.C.’s busiest street corners, The Gibson is very welcoming for those that know to knock on their door. With seating both inside and out, The Gibson is one of D.C.’s larger speakeasy bars. If there does happen to be a wait, you can leave your name and cell phone number and you will be texted when seating becomes available. Since the seatings are restricted to two hours, the wait time never seems to be that long.
212 7 St. S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
Located in the Capitol Hill area, Harold Black is about half the size of The Gibson. Like The Gibson, the entrance is unmarked and easy to miss. The advantage with going to Harold Black is that seating times are reserved online only so you never have to deal with wondering if there’s a wait.
1337 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Located just south of Dupont Circle, The Sheppard is about the size of Harold Black. The disadvantage to The Sheppard is that the bar doesn’t take reservations unless you’re a party of six or more. So if you’re going with some friends to celebrate a birthday and can plan ahead, this is a great location. Otherwise, you might have to wait an hour or more.
Dram & Grain
2007 18th St. N.W.
Another small speakeasy to check out is Dram & Grain, located in the basement of Jack Rose. Guests can text their reservations in advance (to 202-607-1572) and there is a two drink minimum/two hour period that you have to contend with as well. Dram & Grain does accept walk-ins if you’re willing to wait at the upstairs bar at Jack Rose.
Denson Liquor Bar
600 F St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
Located down a set of stairs in Chinatown, Denson Liquor Bar provides a great speakeasy experience for those going to or escaping from a Verizon Center event. Their Happy Hour drink specials seem to be the best (and most popular) bet, but you’ll also be dealing with an overcrowded bar. But it’s worth it for the setting and the quality of the drinks.
Originally from Bermuda, Christina has more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry; having worked for organizations including Universal Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, PolyGram and CBS Television. She’s been fortunate to work with a variety of artists including Elton John, U2, Sting, Phoenix, Mumford & Sons, Def Leppard, Ringo Starr, Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, DMX and Salt ‘n Pepa. A graduate of The George Washington University (which she attended on a partial scholarship for drumming), Christina earned her bachelor of arts in communications (radio/television) with a minor in music.