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Need Rec's for Restaurant in Penn Quarter this weekend

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Hi DC Chowhounds,
We are coming to DC for a concert this Friday at Verizon Center (staying at Courtyard) from Norfolk, VA. I haven't been to DC in years. We would like to find a bar/restaurant to have drinks and appetizers (small plates, tapas, nothing too heavy) before the show. We will probably be wearing jeans. We love to sit at great bars...looking for contemporary american cuisine, french, or italian. Price is not an issue. We'd like to be close to the Hotel/verizon center (walk or short cab). We are in our mid-30's, looking for a cool, fun urban scene and good food/drinks. I drink wine (by the glass) and SO drinks bourbon/whiskey. Restaurants I have looked at are: Central, Cafe Du Parc (can't tell if they serve food at the bar--don't really want a sandwich), and Proof.

Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. proof, proof proof proof is perfect. especially if you're a big wine-drinker, and they also have some interesting bourbons as well. i had lunch there again today and continue to be impressed by the incredible food and service.

    1. Cafe Du Parc is going to pull you pretty far from the concert. I LOVE Central. Other options if you want to go the tapas or mezze route would be Jaleo or Zaytinya. Also, I love Zola, and it has a really nice bar scene, plus is half a block from your hotel. Get there early to snare seats at the bar.

      1. Regardless where you go, get reservations EARLY! Zola, Zaytinya, Zengo, Coco Sala, Rasika and Proof if you can get in.

        1. My first recommendation would be to eat at the bar or the lounge area (there are small tables) at PS7. They have the best "bar food" in town in my opinion. You can have wine or sample some of Gina's creative and delicious drinks (I know Gina is a fan of bourbon because she is teaching a cooking class in November with bourbon being the theme for the drinks section). As for food I highly recommend the tuna tartar sliders. The oxtail tots are also out of this world and I really like the various flat breads. It's a chic atmosphere with a friendly staff and excellent food.

          If it's Spanish tapas you want you can try the bar at Jaleo. I was there recently and had some delicious chicken croquettes and baby potatoes with a green herb dipping sauce--very good. The menu changes often and is very good.

          1. Thank you! We are now trying to decide between PS7, Central, and Proof, with Zola as a back up. On the map, it appears that Central may not be walking distance to our hotel or the Verizon center. Is that true? If so, it may help to narrow it down a bit! Thanks for all of your help!

            4 Replies
            1. re: alsky

              Central is at 11th and Penn, and the Verizon Center is on 7th and F. All told, it's about 6 or 7 blocks. Not bad at all. If someone is in stilettos, she may want to throw on a pair of flats and change into the heels on the sidewalk.

              1. re: alsky

                I can't say I loved PS7...it was good, but nothing mind blowing. Granted, I tried it with a few friends who wanted to go during Restaurant week.

                1. re: alsky

                  It's walking distance but just a little further than the other spots.

                  Those are all great choices---I don't think you can go wrong with any. But personally I would go with PS7 (it's one of my favorite restaurants in DC and I almost always dine at the bar.)

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    I can see if you were just going for HH, then PS7 would be a good possibility. However, there are a lot better choices in DC. I have found their food to be pretty boring there.