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D.C.'s Best Speakeasy Bars

by Lanna Nguyen on Aug 16, 2016 in Roundups

Whether you’re looking for a great date spot or a quiet place to grab a fancy drink with a few friends, speakeasy-style bars are a great option; they’re dark, cozy and have a plethora of specialty cocktails to sip on. Here’s our list of where to find speakeasies and other hidden bars in DC.

Although not technically a speakeasy, this cocktail bar can be a bit hard to find. Head down a few shorts steps from Doi Moi, right off of 14th Street, and you’ll find yourself in a stylish lounge offering a weekly rotating menu of drink specials. This summer, be sure to stop by during Frappe Hour (6 PM - 8 PM, Tuesday - Saturday) for frozen drink specials that vary by the day. (1800 14th St, NW)

Brick and Mortar
Located in the Prequel space on F street, this dark basement bar (walk down the long hallway and take the stairs down to the right)  offers Prohibition-style cocktails in a cool space. In addition to the classics, the menu also has fun takes on familiar drinks; the Oaxacan Old Fashioned is a crowd favorite, made with Tequila, Mescal, Orange, and Spicy Pineapple Bitters. (918 F St, NW; 202-510-9917)

Columbia Room
An intimate cocktail bar, Columbia Room is slightly hidden — it’s tucked away on Blagden Alley above the popular restaurant, The Dabney. The space can only accommodate 14 seats, but that only adds to the tasting experience Derek Brown has curated for his guests. Be sure to make reservations for the prix-fixe experience in the Tasting Room. Otherwise, enjoy your cocktails in the Spirits Library or Punch Garden. (124 Blagden Alley, NW; 202-316-9396)

Denson Liquor Bar
The busy Chinatown neighborhood would seem to be an interesting spot for a speakeasy, but head to Denson below Fuel Pizza, steps from the Verizon Center, and you’ll be transported to a dark, cozy lounge serving cocktails harkening back to the Prohibition era. (600 F St, NW; 202-499-5018)

Dram and Grain
A craft cocktail bar located below Jack Rose in Adams Morgan, you can take in the full speakeasy experience over the weekends with the reservation-only seatings. There are three seating times available, and they operate on a text message system to gain entry. Grab a business card at Jack Rose’s bar and text the number to complete your reservation… and upon arrival, you’ll enter through a code locked door. Tuesdays through Thursdays are first come, first served from 7 PM to close. (2007 18th St., NW; 202-607-1572)

The Gibson
Probably the largest speakeasy-style bar in DC, gain entry to The Gibson through an unmarked door  on 14th Street. The cozy, dark bar is perfect for a first date (be sure to make a reservation ahead of time). When the weather is nice, head to the back patio and enjoy your cocktails al fresco. (2009 14th St, NW; 202-232-2156)

Harold Black
The 1920’s style speakeasy can be found at Capitol Hill, above restaurant Acqua Al 2. The intimate and quiet bar has limited seating (28 seats, to be exact) and can be accessed by an unmarked wooden door. (212 7th St., SE; 202-627-0994)

PX
Located above an Irish fish ‘n chips joint, be on the lookout for the telltale blue light, signaling the speakeasy’s hour of operations. The vibe here brings guests back to the 1920’s, emulating the feel of social lounges, featuring a lot of speciality cocktails and a little bit of glamour. (728 King St, Alexandria; 703-299-8385)

Beuchert’s Saloon
Now a restaurant serving up farm-to-table dishes, the original Beuchert’s - which opened in 1880 - was known to have operated as an actual speakeasy during Prohibition. Stop by for dinner and cocktails and take in a piece of DC history. (623 Pennsylvania Ave, SE; 202-733-1384)

Photo via Lanna Nguyen

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