Casual Place in DC - - Near Capitol Hill or Downtown for Drinks, Food
About once a month, my friends and I take out a group of people we work with and are also friendly with for drinks and dinner. Over the past year we have tried the following with mixed success: Oya, Sonoma, The Ugly Mug, Les Halles, La Plaza, and Cantina Marina to name a few. We are looking for a spot which is casual, with decent food and alcohol selections and not terribly pricey. I should mention that it's a group of 10 that typically meets.
We would be willing to try a place downtown, but we just can't seem to find a spot that meets all of our needs. If anyone has any suggestions we would much appreciate it.
Let me put in a second plug for Old Siam; I think it's one of the more underrated places on the Hill. Nothing spectacular, but consistently good Thai.
Also unspectacular but good (I like the pizza lately) is Bistro Italiano on D Street NE behind Schneider's. It's tiny but I've seen big groups there before.
Something really casual in Union Station is America's. Grub is decent and the atmosphere in Union Station is always vibrant. There are other options in Union Station, but I haven't tried them yet.
Down H Street from the Argonaut are The Red and The Black and The Majestic. They have live music with the food. The nearby Rock and Roll Hotel has been booking top indie bands.
Also try Tunnicliff's near Eastern Market or Bullfeathers for standard American fare. Same for the Hawk and Dove on Penn.
La Loma, La Lomita or La Lomita Dos if you want Mexican.
The Banana Cafe on Barracks Row has a mix of Caribbean food. Lots of new places on Barracks Row to try.
The Flying Scotsman (200 block 2nd Street, NW - looks like an alley)is DC's only Scottish bar/restaurant. Lamb shanks, burgers, pool tables. My Brother's Place next door has good bar food. The nearby Dubliner has great Irish food and drink.
I have often met friends at the M&S Grill downtown. It is not super cheap, but has a mellow atmosphere. The food is really good and the service has benn pretty decent too.
600 13th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 347-1500 or 1-888-344-6861 toll free
Located across the street from the Metro Center in DC's theater district, M&S Grill is three blocks east of the White House, one block off Pennsylvania Avenue, convenient to major museums, and just 5 blocks from the MCI Center. The Washington Times says "...the restaurant has a friendly feeling ...the service is on par with more upscale restaurants..."
These are all great recommendations. The Flying Scotsman is now closed. I actually used to work around the corner and all of my former colleagues told me it's gone now. We actually tried Old Siam and Finn MacCools - some people weren't happy that McCools didn't serve Guinness.
Pacific Cafe and the ideas for H Street and Stoneys are intriguing. Thanks so much for all of the thoughts!