Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Jan 31, 2011 04:29 PM

Bar crawl in DC?

Hello, My 22nd birthday is next week and I want to go out to a bar preferrably in U Street or Chinatown or Eastern Market area but need help in figuring out what bar would be a fun place to start out at but that is in WALKING distance (since it will be COLD) to other cool bars as well.
Can you help me out?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'd say U St. To start out classy, with a great cocktail, try The Gibson on 14th St. for your first one. From there, go upstairs next door at Marvin's. Nellie's is a few blocks away -- lots of other places too, but I can't direct you more specifically.

    6 Replies
    1. re: woodleyparkhound

      thanks for the advice! some others have also recommended the Gibson but I plan to have atleast 10 or so people showing up, do you think it will be too crowded for us? Also, someone said something about needing a reservation for that bar, have you found that to be the case?

      1. re: rmj

        They let my party of 3 in without a reservation, grudgingly. I'm certain you'd need one for 10. One thing I love about the place, in addition to great cocktails (the cheapest of which is about $10 as I recall), is that they have small rooms, like a house. Your group of 10 would be likely to be seated in your own room. It has a speakeasy sort of feel. I love the place!

        1. re: rmj

          I'm 99% sure they will not allow a party of 10 at all--I seem to recall a max of 4, and frankly I don't see how the space would allow a party of 10, given that it's a no-standing bar and none of the tables are close to big enough for that party. I am 100% certain that you would need a reservation if, as I assume, you all want to enter at the same time.

          Also, as a resident of one of the quiet side streets in the U Street area, I humbly request that if you do choose our neighborhood, please try to keep the gratuitous drunken shouting to a minimum.


          1. re: marcj

            Yes, and try not to step on the junkies.

            1. re: flavrmeistr

              I think that goes without saying.

              1. re: marcj

                LOL! At least they don't make a lot of noise.

      2. yes, while I love the Hill (duh) I'd second the U street area. plus with the Manhattanization of C-Town, that wind just whips through those canyons.

        course though if you really wanna go crazy after a a few, hit C-town around 10, get hopped up on some full kee soup (I swear there has to be MSG) bring a bottle in a flight bag and jump on a super cheap no-name bus to NYC and be there by 3 or 4 AM. and then really throw it in gear. and slink home the next night on Mega bus or Bolt.

        or for a bleak post DC binge fun destination - Atlantic City! (6 AM crusty eyes, "WTF?")

        1. IMO, U Street, Captiol Hill, and H St NE are the best places to bar crawl, with H St NE being far at the top of my list. For U St, you could start at Bar Pilar, St. Ex, th eGibson, and Marvin are all within a few blocks. Marvin gets crazy busy by 9:30 in my experience. For the Gibson you will need a reservation.

          Chinatown is no good for bar crawling, IMO - the bars get too busy and you can't get in and out.

          1. I would do it in Gallery Place/Chinatown. There are a lot of great cocktails lounges and bars in that area.

            I would start at PS7 that way you can taste some of Gina's great cocktails and get some delicious bar snacks (hello tuna tartar sliders!). Then you could head to any mix of Ping Pong Dim Sum, Poste, Proof, Zengo or Coco Sala. All great places to grab cocktails.

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

            Zengo Restaurant
            781 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

            Ping Pong Dim Sum
            900 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

            4 Replies
            1. re: Elyssa

              I've got to ask you again - when do you do this? I've seen your recommendations and I live *right there* so I check them out all the time and they are always, always, always packed. Do you show up before 7pm? After 10pm? Particularly Proof and PS7.

              I actually really dislike the cocktails I've had at Poste, although I *love* their food there.

              1. re: Raids

                When do I do what? Go to these bars?

                I usually go to PS7 during the week. I have never had a problem finding a seat.

                I went for dinner this Saturday. We had a 7pm reservation and I peeked in the lounge area. It was busy but not jam packed at that time. I also went with my bf about 3 months ago on a Saturday night, later around 10/10:30pm and again didn't have a 2 seats at the bar and hung out with Gina.

                As for all honestly it's been awhile since I've been there just for drinks. But with a bar crawl it's not like you are finding a place to sit and settling in for the night. You are grabbing a cocktail or a beer and moving on.

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

                1. re: Raids

                  I should mention during the week I usually go around 6pm, because I'll have a 7-7:30pm event in the area. I go usually once a month for a mid-week cocktail and small plates. I am usually by myself but I always sit at the bar. Never have an issue.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    Asking about weekends in particular, thanks for the info.

                    Proof's bar is tiny - I think you'd have a hard time fitting a group of 10 anywhere but the front couch when it's busy, even standing.

                    Also, I have noticed that many places empty out a bit around 10pm in this neighborhood. But if you haven't picked a bar by 8pm you're screwed until then, IMHO.

              2. I've been seriously loving Dodge City lately. I think it would be a great place to start. If you get there early enough, you can definitely hold onto some real estate for 10 people or so. Then, you can wander west as much as you want down U. Pilar would be another good option, but you'd have to get there very early, as it gets VERY crowded.

                4 Replies
                1. re: katecm

                  Hit Marvins early then go around the corner to Patty Boom Boom and dance the night away to some reggae

                  1. re: agarnett100

                    I second this recommendation. Also, if you want to start out kinda classy but not wanting to make reservations, I've found that Dicksons (right outside the Civil War Mem metro exit) has open seating, decent drinks, and tasty small plates.

                    1. re: SandyCat

                      Now you've got me craving Dickson Wine Bar's banh mi!

                      1. re: katecm

                        BWAHAHAHA... it is so good. Dammit, now I'm craving it myself. Backfire.