Washington, DC

DC Tips

Right, Bens Chili Bowl, Chili, famous “half smokes” and chili burgers.

Washington DC-the greatest place to be?

Local alternative paper-Washington City Paper.

Recommened of late is Buzz, fridays at Nation, 1015 Half Street SE, 202-554-1500 with lots of guest djs like Keoki and Laurent Garnier

Most Washington clubs are open til 2 am on weekdays and 3 am on Friday and Saturday.

The Bier Baron Tavern hosts Burlesque events-1523 22nd St NW Washington, DC 20037
(202) 293-1885


American Ice Company – 917 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001  (202) 758-3562-Basement Bar with BBQ

Red Derby- 3718 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010 (202) 291-5000 most nights til 3 am.  Bar with games and lots of canned beer.

Satellite Room – 2047 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001  (202) 506-2496

The Wonderland Ballroom – 1101 Kenyon St NW, Washington, DC 20010 (240) 542-8687

Jackie Lee’s-116 Kennedy St NW, Washington, DC 20011′

Looking Glass Lounge-3634 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20010

Slash Run-201 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011-Mostly metal.

Live Music-

The Runaway– 3523 12th St NE, Washington, DC 20017

The 9:30 Club is THE venue for cool shows.
The Black Cat Club-1811 14th St. NW-Phone: 202/667-7960-hosts of local bands and small indie bands like Le Tigre.  Good hangout bar on non show days too.

DC9 NIGHTCLUB  1940 9th Street NW  Washington, DC 20001 |(202) 483-5000
Fort Reno-Chesapeake St and Nebraska Ave NW Washington.  Free summer outdoor concerts
Velvet Lounge-915 U St. NW, Washington at Ninth Street 202/462-3213
Nearby in Arlington, VA is the Galaxy Hut, another live music spot.
For larger shows in Alexandria, you can check the listings for the Birchmere-3701 Mt. Vernon Ave-Alexandria, VA, host of shows like Marshall Crenshaw.
Comet Ping Pong in Washington, DC, ping pong, pizza, art gallery and bands
5037 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
You can also check out THE CORRIDOR for info on the Washington DC and Baltimore music scene.

Turks Inn-331 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003  (202) 543-2725-Great Hamburgers and they have a battered deep fried Burger and  features a special “bon ton” sauce on many of their sandwiches.  featured on triple d.  Nice dive bar too.

Ollies Trolley-1426 L St NW,   Washington 20005 At Vermont Ave NW, When I was growing up, there was this place called Ollies, which served an Ollieburger which they sold to the chain Lums, who started a fast food place called Ollies Trolley.  This is one of the last ones left in the world.  They have lots of diner food, and it is said that this place is scary from the outside, but just do yourself a favor and get an ollieburger, marinated in secret spices with a souped up secret sauce, and Ollie fries, also dusted with a special seasoning.  Don’t get anything else.  Right near the FBI and White house.
Ben’s Chili Bowl , 1213 U St. NW, Washington, DC -a must go to for your grease consumption.  Hot Dogs and Half smoke sausages with chili.  Droolllllllll.

Oohh’s & Aahh’s-1005 U St NW, Washington, DC 20001-Soul Food

DC-3-Counter-serve spot serving hot dogs inspired by franks from around the U.S.423 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003 (202) 546-1935 and other locations

Record stores-
DC CD-2423 18th Street NW The following are tips from sight formerly known as  DCGRRL. Now its DC HIPSTER
.  Check out her awesome sight including a great local calander of events from a cool perspective.

Cool Neighborhoods
Takoma Park-It is outside the city proper, but it’s only a short ride away.  Takoma Park is full of of antique shops, diners, junk stores and the best vintage clothing stores on earth.  My favorite places in Takoma Park include:
Marks Kitchen – the place is sorta divey and small but the cuisine is terrific and the vegetarian selection is amazing
Polly Sues – Beautiful vintage clothing and other fun stuff from days long gone.
Takoma Underground – More vintage clothing and neat vintage stuff.  It is also worth nothing that both this store and PollySue’s have pretty reasonable prices.  An average dress is about $25.
TPSS Coop – Tons of obscure health and vegetarian items.  If you don’t have a place like this in your hometown and you want to stock up don’t miss this place.

Dupont Circle
If Washington DC had an equivalent to New York’s village I guess this would be the closest thing.  Its a nice liberal artsy part of town with small art galleries, outdoor cafes, coffee shops, book stores, record stores, etc.  It is on the metro line and has it’s own stop.

It’s not on the metro exactly but any cab will take you there and it’s not too far from the Foggy Bottom Metro.  The heart of Georgetown is Wisconsin and M streets.  It may be a little ritzy compared to the other two suggestions but it has some fun stores and it’s a cool place for walking
around, window shopping and people watching.  All the trendy stores are here including J. Crew, Restoration Hardware, Dean and Deluca, Eddie Bauer, you get the idea.  Mixed in with the pricey trendy places are some more alternative stores you might enjoy including:
Commander Salamander – punky clothes and accessories
Smash – more punk/alterna-teen stuff.  Good selection of obscure music.
Urban Outfitter – It’s a chain but if you don’t have one in your city you might like this place.  It’s a little on the trendy side but they usually have fun things to look out.  They aren’t cheap so you’ve been warned.
Another Universe – Mostly a haven for sci-fi, comic and gamer geeks.  They are a chain as well but if you fall into that category and don’t have this store near you it may be worth a visit.

Other day time fun can be had at:

Now Music and Fashion
My favorite record store.  The staff is very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.  The selection is pretty good.  They have lots of used CDs and they sell some funky clothing also.  They often have bands playing on weekends in the afternoon.  They are outside of DC proper in Arlington.  If you want to check it out take the Clarendon metro stop on the orange line.  It is less than a block away.  For more info visit www.nowmusicandfashion.com
Corcoran Gallery
A terrific modern art gallery.  They usually have pretty good exhibits and you can find out more at their website http://www.corcoran.org

If you get hungry you are in luck because Washington is full of terrific exotic foods.  You can find everything from Lebanese to Ethiopian.  Here are a few of my faves:

Kabob Bazaar – This place is sort of across from Now Music and Fashion in Arlington so if you go up there you might want to try them for lunch.  They serve really good middle eastern food.

Weenie Beenie -2680 Shirlington Rd, Arlington, VA 22206 (703) 671-6661 Most Days 6 AM to 6 PM Closed Sunday-Another Joint for Half Smokes.


Julias Empanadas – There is one in Adam’s Morgan and one on Connecticut near Lucky Bar.  They are a quick take out type place with a few small tables.  They have really delicious cheap empanadas.

Meskerem Ethiopian – If you’ve never tried Ethiopian food before, this is your chance.  This place is located in Adams Morgan.  Adams Morgan is actually full of bars and eateries so if you head down there and whimp out of trying the Ethiopian food there are plenty of other places to eat.

Thai Shirlington – This place is really off the beaten path and further into the burbs but it has the tastiest Thai food ever.  The Panang Tofu is amazing.  If you want a laid back evening of indie/artsy flicks, good food and beer you could head up to this part of town.  It is called Shirlington and I think there is a bus that goes down there but you may need a car.  Shirlington has a couple of eateries, a movie theater that really only gets hip movies and a brewery called Capital City Brewery.

Thaiphoon – If you want to stay downtown and still get good Thai food, Thaiphoon in Dupont Circle also has pretty good food.

Quick Pita – This is almost like a fast food place, it has a few chairs and tables but most people get delivery or take out from this place.  They have delicious middle eastern food and they are open really late so if you get hungry late at night try Quick Pita.  They are in Georgetown.

Miss Saigon – This place has pretty good Vietnamese food and they are also in Georgetown.

Vegetable Garden – This is another out in the burbs place.  They have a huge totally vegan menu though.  I was beside myself with the massive selection.  If you are a veggie or vegan you may want to try to make a special trip to this place even though it is out in the burbs.

At night if you want more entertainment check out:
Cherry Red Theater Company – These guys put on really bizarre hilarious plays.  To find out what they have going on currently visit their website http://www.cherryredproductions.com.   Even if you don’t like theater much
you will probably enjoy their shows. DC Arts Center, Source and Studio theaters also tend to get pretty good plays.  Another option for theater is Sheer Madness.  This is a sorta touristy thing to do but it is a very
good show.  It is in the beautiful Kennedy Center and during intermission
you can go out on the patio and take in a terrific view of the city.

Galaxy Hut – This is a great neighborhood bar in Arlington.  All the hipsters hang out here.  You can take the Courthouse or Clarendon metro to get here and it is a short walk away.  They have good beer on tap and they often have bands playing.  URL for more info – http://www.galaxyhut.com

Iota – If you are a no depression/alternative country, Wilco fan this is the bar for you.  They have bands playing most nights.  This bar is also in Arlington and a short walk from the Clarendon Metro. URL for more info
– http://www.iotaclubandcafe.com

Metro Cafe – Entertainment at this venue can be hit or miss so check the schedule but they often have interesting things going on including improv comedy, jazz bands, indie bands, rockabilly bands, plays, performance art and anything else you can think of.  Website has the schedule

Velvet Lounge – Mostly local and regional bands play this venue.  It is usually full of hipsters and the music style ranges from indie pop to punk rock.

If you are up for plain old beer swilling two places to try are:

Lucky Bar – This bar is on Connecticut south of Dupont Circle.  On Tuesday nights they usually show b-movies.  They have a pretty good selection of beer and munchies and a laid back crowd.

Brickskellar – This place has a huge selection of beer.  That is really their gimmick.  They have over 1000 kinds of beer or something crazy like that.  This place is in Dupont Circle
and you do have to be 21 to get in.  They usually card at the door. has a great weekly calender of events.

Personally, I think the Thievery Corporation are overhyped, but their Eighteenth Street Lounge has some excellent taste. 1212 18th Street NW-202-466-3922

Most Washington clubs are open til 2 am on weekdays and 3 am on Friday and Saturday.

Bars-Lyman’s Tavern-3720 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20011-Bar with Pinball


1957 Postcard of the Watergate Inn which specialized in hot popovers and mennonite chicken