Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are

Best Bars for Bourbon Lovers in DC

Bourbon. What was once considered swill for old men and cowboys is now revered by celebrity chefs and mixologists. From hipsters sipping craft cocktails in Mason Jars to bro-dawgs doing late night shots, bourbon’s popularity rivals that other American classic, bacon. In fact, in 2007 the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill to declare September National Bourbon Heritage Month. Since the government says so, we must comply. Here are five favorite places to channel your inner Don Draper and get your bourbon on.

Southern Efficiency: From James Beard Award nominated proprietor Derek Brown, Southern Efficiency is one of his trio of connected restaurants that, as one, made Bon Appetit’s 50 Best New Restaurants in the U.S. This modern whiskey bar is the definition of the New South. Green seltzer bottles line the walls and tractor seat stools dot the bar. Speaking of which, the bar features a “neatly tailored” selection of bourbons like Jefferson’s Presidential Reserve 25 yrs (94 proof) and Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary (91 proof). However, anybody can pour a shot of bourbon. Southern Efficiency’s talent lies is their playful cocktails, served on tap, like white whisky with cola, and mint juleps as well as with daily chalkboard specials. The menu is Charleston via Paris. Think chicken liver mousse with duck fat served in jars, smoked pork shanks with bourbon jelly, and a dish called ‘Country Captain’ which is curried chicken over Carolina Gold Rice. (1841 7th St. NW; 202-316-9396)

Jack Rose: If bars were libraries, then Jack Rose would be the closest thing to the Library of Congress. The walls of the main dining saloon are lined with bottles. With over 1,800 different selections of bourbon, whiskey, and rye, there’s something for everyone. They even have a couple of Evil Twin beers that have been aged in bourbon barrels to round out the collection. The open air roof terrace has one of the best happy hour atmospheres in town. The real gem here though, is in the basement – Jack Rose’s reservation only “speakeasy,” Dram and Grain, where one can inquire about the appropriately named Whiskey Library. This is the owner’s personal stash of rare bottles that will be extremely difficult to find anywhere else. It’s not cheap though. The Old Lancaster that was bottled in 1933 will cost you $175 for a two-ounce pour. (2007 18th St. NW; 202-588-7388)

Barrel: The new kid of the block. Barrel brings that southern Charleston charm here to D.C. This neighborhood joint captures everything you’d want in a bourbon bar. Plus, you gotta love a place where there’s a “Brown Water” menu. Go upscale with a 21-year-old Willett Reserve Red Eye (145 proof) or barrel aged Sazerac from their “lab.” It’s all good. You’ll find smokey Benton’s bacon, fried chicken with sausage gravy, and Carolina BBQ pork on the menu. Make sure you check out Elixir, the basement bar that features communal tables and a glass case with high end bourbons. Barrel also has a kick ass brunch that serves bourbon peaches with flapjacks and pork chops with bourbon beans. (613 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; 202-543-3622)

Bourbon Steak: This high end lounge is part of celebrity chef Michael Mina’s steakhouse chain. Located in the Four Seasons hotel, this is where power brokers sip 23-year-old Pappy’s and make deals that decide your future. The cocktails here are meticulously detailed. Citrus juices are hand-squeezed daily. Even their herbs are fresh from their own garden. Try the Jefferson, served up with Bulleit, carpano antica, crème de mure and old fashioned bitters. But let’s face it. You’re also here for the food. So go all out and treat yourself with a 40-oz. bone-in tomahawk ribeye with a half lobster thermidor side, a glass of their private bottling of Four Roses and soak in the fact that President and Mrs. Obama celebrated their 20th anniversary here. (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-944-2026)

Bourbon: With a name like that, how can you go wrong? This perennial favorite in Glover Park is one of D.C.’s original whiskey bars. While their selection isn’t as big as its sister bar Jack Rose, it’s still one of the best in town. Go in for bourbon flights that feature Willet’s The Natural (111.4 proof) or Four Rose’s 120th Anniversary (100 proof). In this day and age any bar can stock expensive bottles and rare vintages, but to have a bottle of J.T.S. Brown? This famed bottle was the bourbon of choice by Paul Newman’s character “Fast Eddie Felson” in the 1959 classic, “The Hustler.” To have a bottle like that, now that’s character. (2348 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-625-7770)

Top Photo via Jack Rose; Lower Photo via Barrel


Tags: Bourbon, Food, Whiskey
Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Gin Pong is Here to Class Up Your Next Soiree

Gin Pong is Here to Class Up Your Next Soiree

Gin pong is here, just in time for the holidays....read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Oct 17, 2017
Applebees Employee's Video Shows Crappy $1 Margaritas Even Crappier Than You Thought

Applebees Employee's Video Shows Crappy $1 Margaritas Even Crappier Than You Thought

Applebee's is offering a $1 margarita throughout the entirety of October at any of their participating restaur...read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Oct 13, 2017
Tue
Oct 31
Tue
Nov 14
SPONSORED
Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are
California Wildfires Burn 150,000 Acres, Majorly Affecting Vineyards Throughout Wine Country

California Wildfires Burn 150,000 Acres, Majorly Affecting Vineyards Throughout Wine Country

Wildfires have swept through Napa and Sonoma counties, killing 15 and putting the livelihood of wine country a...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 10, 2017
Where to Find Late Night Happy Hours in D.C.

Where to Find Late Night Happy Hours in D.C.

Take a look at our picks for best late night happy hours for the next time those hunger (and drinking) pangs hit you late at night. ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Oct 10, 2017
Johnnie Walker Is Selling a Blade Runner 2049 Scotch

Johnnie Walker Is Selling a Blade Runner 2049 Scotch

With the Blade Runner sequel in theaters now, Johnnie Walker has designed a blend to commemorate the film: Johnnie Walker Black The Director's Cut....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Oct 10, 2017
Sing Your Heart Out at These D.C. Karaoke Bars

Sing Your Heart Out at These D.C. Karaoke Bars

Whether you're looking for a fun night out with friends or a place to practice for your audition with The Voice, here are our picks for where to get y...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Oct 2, 2017
Oregon's Union Wine Co. Teams up with Wildfang Clothing to Benefit Planned Parenthood

Oregon's Union Wine Co. Teams up with Wildfang Clothing to Benefit Planned Parenthood

Oregon's Union Wine Co. and Wildfang Clothing are teaming up to raise money for Planned Parenthood with a new ...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Oct 2, 2017
Boozy Ice Cream is Here To Boost Your Buzz

Boozy Ice Cream is Here To Boost Your Buzz

A Maryland company, ArcticBuzz, has given us the gift of combining vodka and ice cream to create the ultimate boozy treat....read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Oct 2, 2017
Celebrate Fall in Style with Flask Cocktails from Coopers' Craft

Celebrate Fall in Style with Flask Cocktails from Coopers' Craft

Spice up your autumnal drinking with coffee cocktails that fit perfectly in a flask made with Coopers' Craft Kentucky Bourbon, which pairs perfectly w...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Sep 29, 2017
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close