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good "alternative" /"dive"bar with food

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I have friends coming in from out of town (sans enfants), I want to go out to a great bar with good food on a Sat night, preferably walking/bus distance to Adams Morgan. Was thinking about the starlight, but it is just that little bit too far to walk and am frankly a bit scared off by the gang activity on 14th st. Anyone can think of anything this side of 16th st?

If it is nice might go down to the waterfront to Cantina, but really would prefer something walkable.

Adams Morgan tends to be such an amateurs night on the weekend. Sidewalk pizzas and all.

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  1. I have never eaten there, but the top deck of the reef in AM supposedly has good food and beer.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      This is a good recommendation. I hear the burger is good and I've enjoyed their artichoke dip.

      Also on 18th Street I would recommend Bourbon. Not entirely a dive persay but a great bar with really good food (I love their crab cake sandwich with fries).

      Otherwise how about Brickskeller in Dupont for lots-o-beer and tasty cheese fries (it helps btw to have a few beers in you while scarfing down said fries).

      1. re: Elyssa

        I wouldn't consider the Reef a "dive" by any stretch though...

        1. re: Lowbar

          No of course not. If you want a real dive head next door to Millie and Al's but don't expect decent food--except the jello shots of course. The only thing safe there is the grilled cheese sandwich. But it's divey enough.

          And later in the night if you reallllllllly want a dive and interested in just getting plastered take a trip down to Dan's Cafe.

          Also not sure if they serve food but a great alternative bar that doesn't get too crowded on 18th Street is Pharmacy.

          1. re: Lowbar

            The cornball in me really wants to make a joke about "dive" bar and the tanks of fish and reef as a diver, but I will hold back. You should be happy my corney jokes reallly are bad. No not per se a dive bar...

      2. I live close to 14th and U, while you should always be aware of you surroundings wherever you are, I find Adam's Morgan a much more dangerous in terms of late night crime. I have never been to Starlight and I don't know the neighborhood, but I would not be deterred. Take a cab if you feel that uncomfortable.

        If you bail on Starlight, Stoney's is a good option for delicious grilled cheese and tasty beers. It is less divey in its new location, but still has a laid back atmosphere. It's placement on P Street has made it more "alternative," but it is not an indie bar or anything.
        The Raven is the classic DC dive bar in Mount Pleasant. I haven't eaten there, but they serve food.
        In Adam's Morgan the only realy "alternative" bar is Pharmacy Bar, but I don't think they have food and it is not particularly divey. Amsterdam Falafel is a few doors down but it sounded like you wanted a one stop dinner/drink combo.
        Another option is Bar Pilar on 14th, although i have not tasted their new menu -- still miss those tater tots.
        Or maybe Polly's (U st bt 13th and 14th) is definitely a dive and has great greasy food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dzherbst

          The Raven doesn't serve food anymore, but you can order in and eat there...

        2. I've never been but there IS asylum, which is definitely alternative, serves food and not a sidewalk pizza place given that it's in the basement. huge selection of vegan/vegetarian things on the menu- has anyone ever tried it?

          1 Reply
          1. re: chocolatstiletto

            Actually the food at Asylum isn't half bad. I haven't tried the vegan selections but I remember meeting some friends there a year or so ago and we had some typical bar food (wings. nachos or something) and they were decent enough. Grab a table in the basement early on and you are all set.

          2. I'll be staying at the Marriott at 1221 22nd Street NW and I'd be interested in any local, fun, dive bars in the area. Are there any?

            1 Reply
            1. re: AlbertaHound

              The Post Pub at 15th and L isn't TOO far away.

            2. the first bar that pops into my mind for this is wonderland ballroom in columbia heights. its on the wrong side of 14th but if you walk up 16th and cross over on irving you miss that problem area. it has bar food and is alternative and sorta divey.

              also, in mt pleasant. tonic has really good bar food and is v. dark. not particularly divey but very down to earth. it's like a half block up from the raven too. so you could always eat at tonic first and then wander down to raven as the night goes on.

              the same people own all three, wonderland, tonic, and the raven