Washington, D.C., is an excellent destination for beer snobs. With dozens of breweries and beer-centric bars, there’s something for everyone. Here are five of the best beer bars in Washington, D.C. Each one offers a unique drinking experience, from classic American brews to international selections. So if you’re looking for a great place to drink a cold one, check out one of these excellent beer bars!
One of the best curated and delicious beer lists in town can be found at Pizzeria Paradiso, a D.C. beer scene mainstay that dresses up as a pizzeria. The menu changes with the seasons to suit the traditional fare available, and there are always suggestions for beer and pizza pairings if you need them. If you order by the flight, you can sample the sour Brett beer or cherry-infused cider that might otherwise be too adventurous. The website for Pizzeria Paradiso features a forward-thinking layout that offers a nearly real-time beer menu, complete with long-form bottles, rare brews, and a “Coming Soon” section that teases future beer delights. Perhaps the best thing about Pizzeria Paradiso is that beer connoisseurs can bring their less-enlightened (OK, annoyingly obsessive) friends to enjoy some of the more popular beers from breweries like Sam Adams and Allagash. If you are a beer lover, you will surely love this spot.
You won’t find your average beer at this establishment. Instead of a typical bottle shop, think of it as a tap bar with a dozen beers on tap from places as far-flung as Belgium, Germany, Austria, Virginia, Michigan, and California. They have eight different wines available by the glass and make unique drinks like the Paloma Radlier, which is a tequila highball enhanced with Stigl Grapefruit Radler. The funky dried fruit tastes of the Duchesse Bourgogne from Belgium and the dry crispness of Germany’s Gaffel Kolsch are two of the best beers around. The vibe is much funkier than the food. While there may not be any rust here, the RxR’s huge main hall has a bare, industrial aesthetic that belies the name. The space has a look and feels of a workshop, with concrete flooring, steel benches, and rough-hewn workbenches. Beer drinking isn’t complete without a decent view, and Highline provides that in spades. When the weather is nice, the entire exterior wall of the restaurant slides open, transforming it into a rooftop terrace overlooking Crystal Drive at dusk.
Greg Engert, who is in charge of the beer program at both ChurchKey and The Sovereign, is responsible for the extensive and well-considered beer list. ChurchKey has an extensive selection of beers on tap and in bottles and a special cask program. ChurchKey’s sibling restaurant, Birch and Barley, is located directly below it and serves up excellent brunch and modern American fare. ChurchKey has gained legendary status over the years and is an essential stop for anybody interested in learning more about D.C.’s beer industry.
The Big Hunt’s dark interior and cartoonish jungle-themed wall hangings may seem like an unusual choice. Where formerly the Miller Lite crowd congregated is now one of the best places to enjoy rare beers. The beer list at the Large Hunt is surprisingly extensive, covering not just some of the most popular styles but also some regional favorites and something big (as in “powerful”) and nasty (as in “excellent”) to help you relax after a long day in Washington, DC. The Big Hunt is best experienced on a weekday or Sunday, when the crowds are less and the downstairs bar offers a wider selection of beers, despite the tempting upstairs deck seats.
Smoke & Barrel
BBQ at Smoke & Barrel, run by the same people behind Meridian Pint, is still advertised as a hidden gem for beer aficionados. Amazing barbeque, surprisingly many vegetarian options (which is… fairly cute, considering), an extensive whiskey collection, and a changing range of rare, seasonal, and great beers are just the icing on the cake here. I don’t understand why Smoke & Barrel can excel in three different areas while the rest of us can’t even pick just one. Get in the spirit with a sampler of superbly curated drafts and a brisket plate (or vegan spare ribs).
Where To Dine?
There are a few reasons why people love beers at Washington, D.C. One reason is that the city has a large number of breweries, which means there is a wide variety of local beers to choose from. In addition, D.C.’s restaurant scene is booming, and many restaurants offer unique beer menus with selections from all over the world. Finally, D.C. is home to some of the country’s most passionate beer lovers, so there’s always someone around to recommend a delicious new brew to try.
Whether you are looking for a place to watch the game or enjoy a good brew, these five beer bars are sure to please. Each spot on our list offers something unique and has something to offer to everyone who visits. So, if you find yourself in the nation’s capital, check out one of these establishments!