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Fun, laidback bar near Ben's Chili Bowl?

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Hi all! A couple of friends are visiting from out of town, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to *finally* try Ben's Chili Bowl, since they'll surely be famished when they get in at midnight on Friday. Can any Hounds recommend a fun bar for us to visit in the U Street area? We're looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, where we won't have to fight for bar space.

Thanks!

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  1. Maybe Bar Pilar?

    2 Replies
    1. re: BaltoPhilFood

      They said that they didn't want to fight for bar space and Bar Pilar or St. Ex aren't good places to go to on a Friday night. Now M-W, those are great places to go to with ample space.

      1. re: botnot

        My goof, I've been there on Wednesdays

    2. Ulah Bistro is very spacious, I imagine you won't have too much trouble finding a seat, especially in the 2nd floor lounge.

      1. How about Solly's on 11th and U? It's just about two blocks from Ben's. I also recommend checking out The Saloon on U St. I've heard good things about that place, but never went.

        3 Replies
        1. re: botnot

          Definitely hit up The Saloon. AMAZING bar with a huge beer list, great vibe, extremely chill and they have lots of board games too.

          1. re: de muerte lenta

            depends what you are looking for.

            marvin on 14th is good, but can get crowded. saloon is fine

            cue bar has pingpong

            1. re: MTP

              Cue Bar has closed.

              Cosign on The Saloon. You have to get a bar stoor or a table so you won't have to fight for bar space and won't be cramped.

              If you cannot get a table there, Solly's, Polly's and Duffy's are fun but low-key options for a Friday night.

        2. I second and third on The Saloon. It's very laid back and perfect for catching up. If you would like something a little sexier, try Tabaq. The roof upstairs gets crowded though. Also nice is Vinoteca, for something sophisticated.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mjf32

            We like cafe st. ex and also Bar Pilar. Both are on 14th street just a couple of blocks from Ben's.