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In DC for one night- DuPont Circle, need a great cocktail and small plates!

I'll be staying in DC on business in the next 2 weeks and would love nothing more than to sit outside someplace and have an amazing cocktail and some small bites. Please give me some stellar recs.

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  1. Hmmm... the places I can think of off the top of my head that have the best cocktails in town (The Columbia Room, The Gibson, PS7) have indoor seating. Estadio has great small plates and just won a Rammy for their cocktail program (I love their alcoholic slushies!) - and has indoor seating.

    I love Brasserie Beck for their Belgian beer and moules frites - it has outdoor seating.

    Lauriol Plaza has great outdoor seating and horrible Mexican food - I've heard good things about their margaritas and guacamole though. (I've never been.)

    How about Cafe St. Ex? It has some outdoor seating and just won a RAMMY for Best Neighborhood Hangout. I've only been once and that was a few years ago. I thought it was just OK, but maybe someone with more recent experience with it can comment.

    3 Replies
    1. re: woodleyparkhound

      I love St. Ex. Every time I go, I remember how good it is - and scold myself for having forgotten. Plus, in addition to their awesome appetizers and entrees, they have a bunch of great a la carte side dishes that would add up to a great meal.

      1. re: katecm

        Yeah, I agree. I had a really good meal there not too long ago - highlights were the lamb chops and mac n cheese.

        1. re: mdpilam

          Oh, and the bread with pork butter? A must-try.

    2. Have not been there since last summer (and I think we had beer, not cocktails) but I really liked Agora.

      http://agoradc.net/

      2 Replies
      1. re: JoanArkham

        Lauriol Plaza has good margaritas and passable Latin food , For great cocktails Bourbon Steak make sure to bring your wallet its expensive

        1. re: JoanArkham

          Agora is actually quite good. Nothing out of the world but a solid spot. They have a white bean salad type dish that I really love. Nice, shaded outdoor seating as well. Good people watching in that area.

        2. Directly in Dupont is the new Boqueria, which has really nice outdoor seating. I haven't tried their cocktails yet but I have tried their tapas for lunch and they were really tasty. There is a lamb kabob dish that is amazing!

          If you are willing to go to another neighborhood, which is walking distance to Dupont, I would head over to 14th Street. The best place with small plates, delicious cocktails AND outdoor seating is Masa 14. A really fun spot. Latin-Asian fusion small plates.

          You can also check out Cork, which has a few tables outdoors. Their focus is more on wine than cocktails though. Make sure not the miss the simple yet delicious avocado and pistachio crostini.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elyssa

            I'd go to Cleveland Park and try, my favorites for cocktails or wine AND small plates:
            Dino, Ripple, Palena Cafe.

            Quite the crawl! And you are a nice long walk or a short Metro ride from the Circle

            1. re: discojing

              Can anyone recommend some can't miss dishes at Estadio or Pearl? Impromptu date night with the wife so whichever has the shorter wait time will be the winner. Thanks!

              1. re: shake N baik

                At Estadio, the simple pan con tomate is just lovely, and the kale is extraordinarily wonderful. And definitely get one of the alcoholic slushies, which are amazing on a night this hot.

                1. re: shake N baik

                  At Pearl Dive, I love the raw oysters and the fried oysters but especially these:

                  Tchoupitoulas
                  Oyster Confit, Blue Crab, Tasso, Roasted Corn

                  Wood Grilled East Coast Oysters
                  Garlic, Red Chile Butter, Gremolata

                  At Estadio, I strongly second the alcoholic slushies - love them! I ate at Estadio most recently with several friends so I had the chance to taste a lot of items, none of which blew me away. We didn't have the pan con tomate nor the kale, however.

                  1. re: woodleyparkhound

                    At Estadio, I was not impressed by the kale, but I did really like the patatas bravas, the tortilla (very subtle spicing in the sauces), and anything with pork sausage.

                    1. re: hamster

                      They need to sell the grapefruit slushie by the "Big Gulp" Great recommendation on that.

                    2. re: woodleyparkhound

                      What are oysters confit? Are they preserved oysters? How are they preserved?

                2. I second Boqueria. I would also add that if you are willing to leave Dupont, Zaytinya has a nice outdoor patio- more than just a few tables outside, good small plates and very good cocktails.

                  1. I ate recently at Cashion which, admittedly, is up a tiny bit from Dupont Circle so it might depend on where you are staying but the food was excellent and the bartender made good drinks. Very neighborhoody sort of setting with bar, indoor and outdoor seating.