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Bar Crawl: Hop Through the Atlas District

Fun on H Street
Bar Crawl: Hop Through the Atlas District

If you want a happening evening in the heart of the District, there isn’t a better neighborhood to head to than H Street NE, the thriving Atlas District. For an entertaining evening filled with interesting bars – all within walking distance of each other and all with good but cheap drinks – there’s no comparable area in Washington, D.C.

And there’s no better bar to begin an evening of carousing than Smith Commons. The happening back patio may be the popular destination, but don’t overlook the second floor space on the front side of the building. There, plush, oversized Georgian-wing high-back chairs sit facing the bar’s large glass windows and let you survey the street and scene below. On these soft thrones you’ll feel like the Emperor of the Atlas. Plan the rest of your evening while sipping one of the many heavy-hopped beers Smith Commons keeps on tap, like Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale or Ommegang Abbey Ale.

Stay with the beer theme at your next stop, straying away from ales toward the brews of Bavaria. Biergarten Haus, a half-block west down H Street, brings Munich to the Metro, with its dark wood paneling setting off white-washed interior walls. The size of both the beer list and the mugs here can be daunting. To get the authentic German experience, order an entire liter of one of the many Bavarian-style lagers on tap. The massive glasses, when filled, are so heavy drinkers practically need two hands for the first few sips. Those in a modest mood can order more manageable half-liters. In the summertime, the outdoor patio is bursting with people, but in cooler months, head to the quiet and inviting main bar at the front entrance as crowds flock upstairs.

With a few drinks in you, it’s time to head to one of the best kept secrets on the strip. Rock and Roll Hotel is well known as one of the best places in the city to catch a show, thanks to the intimacy of the performance hall. But few are aware there’s also a happening upstairs – on weekends, one of the grooviest spots in the entire city – with DJs spinning, laser lights flashing and cheap drinks flowing. And if by now the alcohol is starting to hit, nom on one of the surprisingly good sandwiches offered on the menu.

If your legs begin to ache after an hour of grinding, head still further west down the block for some quiet at the Argonaut. The place looks likes a dive, that’s on purpose. But it’s also warm and inviting and one of the better places in the Atlas District to catch your breath, avoid the crowds and snag a small booth. Added bonus: it’s home to one of the more eclectic draught beer lists in the area, with kegs shipped in from Epic Brewing Company in Utah and New Holland Brewing in Michigan.

While four spots is a lot for an evening, a night on H wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t close down the bar at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar. The voodoo-themed bar carries a Goth vibe throughout, and as the clock starts to tick toward last call, this is where you’ll find the party. The bar obliges, with a raised DJ booth spinning ‘80s tunes in a cramped dance floor, and bartenders slinging cheap Natty Bohs. Make sure to save up your ducats during the evening, because this is one of the few joints on H Street that’s cash-only.

Just remember, don’t go too all-out with your funds, because after a night on H Street, you’ll need a few bucks left over for the cab ride home.
 
Top photo via Flickr user DDOTDC; middle photo by Laura Matteo via H Street Guide; bottom photo by The Argonaut on Facebook

 

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