In August 2009, I flew from Los Angeles to Washington for some final job exams — for a job based in Tampa, Florida. At the end of a perfect, humid & scorching hot summer weekend, Rachel took me to the National Sculpture Garden, where we cooled our feet in a fountain facing the National Archives. I sighed, and decided to move to DC instead of Tampa. Rachel rolled her eyes, but 3 weeks later, I boarded a one-way flight.
The city was wonderful when I first moved here, and has grown so much even since then. Here are some of my favorite spots, if you happen to live here or visit! Feel free to contact me on Twitter or Instagram for more.
E A T
Le Diplomate — cute French bistro. Attempt to make a reservation, or you’ll be waiting a while. It’s considered one of the best spots in DC. The mussels are spectacular. My favorite menu items are the Burger Americain and the Pimm’s cup.
Ghibellina — really, really good Italian pizzas. They give you shears to cut them with. Also, great sangria and cocktails, and a pretty atmosphere.
Dukes Grocery — East London-themed pub, has the best burger in DC (pictured above).
Little Serow — Northern Thai food, no reservations. Get there at 4:30 PM, and wait in line for the 5:30 seating. Worth it.
Ted’s Bulletin on 14th Street — a step or two above a diner, with a fantastic menu. Lucky enough to not care about calories? Have an adult milk shake.
Lupo Verde — fantastic Italian. If you’re going for brunch, have the cheese & charcuterie plate. If you’re going here, I’ll join you for dinner.
Mintwood Place — always reliable for brunch or dinner. Get the escargot hush puppies. Don’t hesitate. Just trust me.
C O C K T A I L S
Pearl Dive — Great happy hour. I’ve heard it’s a spectacular brunch. After hh, you can go upstairs to Black Jack, a bar with stadium seating and a bocce ball court in the back of the bar.
Garden District — outdoor beer garden, tends to feature beers brewed in DC.
The Fainting Goat — seasonal punch bowl is delicious. Great atmosphere.
Bar Charley — great food and even better cocktails. Not sure if you’re a bourbon drinker (I am) but their 80’s Old Fashioned and the Vieux Carre are spectacular.
Hank’s Oyster Bar — amazing little patio, known for their cocktails.
C A F F E I N E
Slipstream — a brand new coffee shop, with a full bar and some great food.
The Wydown — another new-ish coffee shop, tiny and trendy.
The Coffee Bar — a trendy, shabby-chic coffee bar. Comfy couches and a great outdoor patio, if you catch some nice weather.
Dolcezza — gelato + fantastic coffee. Beautiful interior design.
N I G H T L I F E
Bar Charley — great food and even better cocktails. The 80’s Old Fashioned and the Vieux Carre are spectacular. There was a point in my life when I’d go on multiple internet dates a week here. True story.
Nellie’s — gay sports bar, reliable fun. Rooftop dance party.
El Rey — great open-air space made of shipping containers. Awesome tacos (which is saying something, coming from a Californian living on the East Coast).
Big Hunt — great dive bar. It’s actually the first bar I ever went to in DC… so I have a sentimental connection to it. They have their own beers. My pick is the “bad ass brown ale.”
Garden District — outdoor beer garden, tends to feature beers brewed in DC. Great for summer.