Cherry blossoms come and go, but in our nation’s capital, drinking is always in season. And with a growing collection of bars taking their libations seriously, there’s never been a better time for thirsty travelers to visit.
»click here to see photo gallery
Birch & Barley
The impressive beer selection, including 50 draft brews and another 500 beers by the bottle, is the main attraction at this 14th Street tavern--but the food is equally of note.
Order: Pair a brat burger topped with beer-braised sauerkraut and Emmentaler with a pint of Kentucky Breakfast Stout.
1337 14th St. NW; 202-567-2576 or www.birchandbarley.com
This new bourbon-centric spot is putting the Adams Morgan neighborhood back on the map with pre-Prohibition hooch and rare tipples. Plus, there’s a rooftop, wood-fired barbecue pit.
Order: Sample unusual tipples like Amarut cask-strength Scotch-style whiskey from India.
2007 18th St. NW; jackrosediningsaloon.com
This speakeasy-like back room at The Passenger bar recently expanded its hours--and D.C. booze geeks rejoiced. The entrance fee ($64) includes bar snacks and a trio of cocktails.
Order: Derek Brown’s famous dry martini is a must.
1021 7th St. NW; 202-393-0220 or passengerdc.com
The Hour Shop
Victoria Vergason stockpiled vintage barware, jiggers, stirrers, tongs and shakers for years before opening her collection to the public. Find Art Deco tumblers, Mondrian serving trays and the like at her Old Town Alexandria store.
Get: The Dorothy Thorpe Cocktail Set ($108) will help you channel Mad Men at home.
1015 King St., Alexandria; 703-224-4687 or thehourshop.com
The Willard InterContinental
The real reason to stay at this Beaux Arts relic is the Round Robin Bar, which offers more than 130 whiskey selections. Tasting flights are arranged by age and region--but it’s best to let veteran barman Jim Hewes be your guide.
Order: Mint juleps are made according to Henry Clay’s specific instructions here--and they’re the best in town.
1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-628-9100 or washington.intercontinental.com