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B-day weekend visit--looking for restaurant and bar recs :D

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Hi hounds! I'm coming to DC later this month for a long weekend. It's my fiance's b-day and we'll be looking to relax, have some great food and drinks, etc. I've been researching restaurants for a few days but am feeling kind of overwhelmed and so far nothing has stood out to me as a must :-/

I'm looking for a few different places--one for the b-day outing, a cozy/intimate/romantic place with a somewhat cool vibe...dinner and drinks around $100-$150. We're staying in Dupont Circle but anywhere in the NW area is fine. I'm thinking I'd like French, Italian, Mediterranean, or American--could be small plates or a wine bar--open to all recommendations if the food and atmosphere are great. Fiance is a vegetarian but there's no need for it to be a strictly vegetarian spot.

And any recommendations for great beer bar around dupont circle? I saw The Brickskeller has an extensive list and is nearby but have read mixed reviews about the place. Also a good place for martinis--nothing overly trendy or $$$. :)

Thanks very much--I really appreciate your input. Anything else you want to add would be great! We don't visit DC very often and just want to have a fun time and enjoy some awesome food.

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Brickskeller
1523 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20037

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  1. For the birthday outing- I think Proof might have the vibe you are looking for, not small plates, but lots to share. Or Cork would be lovely if you could get there early, it can get crowded so it might not be the right vibe. I really really love New Heights and their Gin bar (although they have lots of other spirits and a nice cocktail menu) so you might check it out. Any place you choose though contact them before with the veg requirements so they know. Rasika downtown has a vegetarian tasting menu and excellent non-meat dishes, it is modern, upscale Indian. I love the feel and they have nice cocktails too.

    For the beer you might try Brasserie Beck instead, or Againn, not exactly dupont, but not too far.

    For martinis head to the lounge at PS7 (also very good food). And Matchbox nearby actually has a decent beer list, and RFD nearby is a great beer bar you don't want to eat at.

    Anyway some suggestions.

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    PS7 Restaurant
    777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

    Rasika Restaurant
    633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

    Brasserie Beck
    1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

    New Heights Restaurant
    2317 Calvert St. NW, Washington, DC 20008

    2 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      Thank you so much--all of these suggestions are wonderful and completely in-line with what I'm looking for. I'm especially excited about the New Heights Gin bar!

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      New Heights Restaurant
      2317 Calvert St. NW, Washington, DC 20008

      1. re: uliaire

        If you like Gin, they have a truly great selection. And they just re-did their summer cocktails. They have a cucumber one a friend told me I had to go try. And I was really happy with the food when there. And the service was very nice. I think what I like about it is that it isn't huge and doesn't get screaming loud, but is happening enough. They also have outside tables. If Palena fits your budget the back room is very nice, as well, I think we spent more than that on dinner there, but I think that was in large part due to the wine we ordered. I wouldn't miss a chance to go back to either.

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        Palena
        3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

    2. The only problem with New Heights is that there isnt really anything around there besides Adams Morgan which on weekends can be a more fratty scene. I would pick up on the Penn Quarter suggestion of Proof because there are tons of places to go out drinking afterwards. Besides Proof and PS7s which are great there is Oyamel for fun Mexican small plates (and amazing margaritas), RFD isnt a great bar but it does have a huge beer selection if thats what you are looking for, Zataniya has great greek small plates and a fun bar area. You really cant go wrong in that neighborhood (if its nice out check out Poste's courtyard for a drink). Hope its a great weekend!

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      PS7 Restaurant
      777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

      New Heights Restaurant
      2317 Calvert St. NW, Washington, DC 20008

      1 Reply
      1. re: anunez

        OK--thanks for that info. :) I checked out the other places you mentioned and love the look of Oyamel and the Poste courtyard.

      2. Not sure how old you are, or how fancy you want to go, etc. But for the price range you suggested, I'd definitely think about dinner at Palena (back room not the Cafe). Quiet, old school, great food and service. You could walk down to Dino for a glass or three of wine afterwards.

        Brasserie Beck is a great choice if you are into Belgian beer.

        Don't worry about staying near Dupont Circle, DC is not large and it is easy to get around by METRO or cab.

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        Palena
        3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

        Brasserie Beck
        1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

        1 Reply
        1. re: dinwiddie

          Thanks dinwiddie! It looks like Brasserie Beck will be a definite. We're early 30's. I'm not looking for anything especially fancy, just great food, nice atmosphere, at (hopefully) a moderate price. Palena looks and sounds wonderful.

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          Palena
          3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

          Brasserie Beck
          1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

        2. Hey Guys, thanks again for your recommendations! :) I've gone ahead and made reservations at Proof on Friday and Brasserie Beck on Saturday. I guess we're going to play the other stops by ear. Hopefully I can make it to New Heights. I'm thinking of brunch at Tabard Inn either Saturday or Sunday. I decided to stay over in Baltimore Thursday night (driving in from NY) and am excited to stop by Brewer's Art. I haven't been there in almost 10 yrs, but I used to love it during my college days.

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          Brewer's Art
          1106 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

          Brasserie Beck
          1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

          New Heights Restaurant
          2317 Calvert St. NW, Washington, DC 20008

          Tabard Inn
          1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

          1 Reply
          1. re: uliaire

            The Brewer's Art is still terrific -- and the food has improved since you last stopped by.

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            Brewer's Art
            1106 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201