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Park Hyatt Lounge: Serious Cocktails for the Downtown Crowd

The Park Hyatt is already known as a foodie destination thanks to the Blue Duck Tavern – it’s where the Obamas celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary – but slightly more under the radar is the hotel’s swanky lounge, an excellent stop for classic and seasonal cocktails.

Mirroring the hotel’s distinguished American architecture (it’s all clean lines and sleek surfaces), the cocktail menu emphasizes domestic gems. For example, all vodkas on the the martini sampler are made stateside.

If ordering from the classics list, start with the Old Fashioned; it’s the bar’s best-selling drink and a good barometer for overall cocktail quality. It’s simple – Buffalo Trace bourbon, raw sugar, orange, bitters and a splash of club soda – but done right. On the seasonal menu, the Grapefruit Gimlet is the popular choice (the bar typically goes through hundreds in a single night) and is made with house-infused grapefruit vodka, lime juice and agave nectar.

In the mood for bubbly? The French 75 is always a good choice (this one made with gin), but our favorite libation overall was the Pear and Bubble, a not-too-sweet balance of house-made pear syrup, prosecco and gin, garnished with a fresh pear crisp. For something even more unusual, try the Campari Mojito; its orange-infused rum takes two weeks to steep, and instead of lime it uses oranges prepared with the “lost art of muddling,” as head bartender Luca Giovaninni puts it.

Be sure to check out the hot cocktail selection while the temps are still low. With peppermint schnapps, homemade hot chocolate and crème de cacao, the After Eight is especially appealing on cold nights. There’s good news for teetotalers and pregnant gals, too: Park Hyatt also offers a dizzying array of fancy teas (a select few more than 50 years old and priced at more than $200 a pot) as well as a selection of mocktails.

For a casual drink, grab a spot at one of the communal tables (there are two inside and one on the terrace). If you’ve got top-secret Washington business to discuss, reserve one of the Capitol Hill booths where you can be seen but not heard; all four are glass encased and named after presidents featured on dollar bills – the perfect place to go all-out with the bar’s bourbon sampler.

1201 24th St. NW; 202-789-1234

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