The holiday season has kicked off in D.C., and it's often a time full of catching up with friends and coworkers. If you're looking for a new place to share a round of cocktails with friends as the 2017 wraps up, check out these new options around town.
The Darkside Bar
(816 H St. NE)
Mythology Restaurant has transformed into a tribute to all things Star Wars for the next couple months. Owner Todd Luongo has teamed up with Zach Neil to bring The Darkside bar to D.C., joining locations in New York and Los Angeles. The bar has a list of specialty cocktails, all themed after the dark side of the force. There will also be rotating nightly programming like DJs, trivia, and burlesque dancing. Follow the bar's Facebook page for details. Reservations are recommended, and a cover charge (the price includes two cocktails) is required for admission.
Go if you like: Star Wars, galactic-themed speed dating, colorful and "smoking" cocktails, wearing a Wookiee costume.
(1346 Florida Ave. NW)
Maydan's obvious draw is the wood-fired oven in the center of the restaurant. It's used to cook just about everything on its menu of Eastern European, North African, and Middle Eastern dishes. But Maydan—a project from the Compass Rose team—doesn't slouch when it comes to drinks, either. Like the food, cocktails draw from a range of exotic ingredients such as black tea or paprika. The Garden is a refreshing blend of Green Hat gin, cucumber, fennel, dill, lemon and arak. For a caffeine jolt, try the Quahwa, with Jamaican rum, Capitoline Rose Vermouth, Turkish coffee, cardamom and honey. The bar is open until 2 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, making it an intriguing location for a late night cocktail or glass of wine.
Go if you like: Unique ingredients, drinking by an open flame, feeling like you're far away from D.C.
Miracle On 7th Street
(1841 7th St. NW)
Shaw's popular Miracle On 7th Street—more commonly known as "The Christmas Bar,"—is back for for its third year of delighting Washingtonians with holiday cheer. This year's edition has nods to Christmas movies, Hanukkah traditions, and Old Work Christmas cheer. Drinks are themed after everything from "A Christmas Story" to "Elf" and feature sherry, whiskey, cookie-dough infused vodka, and more. If you can't decide, check out the picture menu for visuals of the different drinks. The pop-up runs through the end of December.
Go if you like: Christmas cheer, things that sparkle, eggnog shots, guilty-pleasure cocktails
(740 15th St. NW, no website)
Belly up to this drinks-only bar from the owners of Solly's and The Pug—two low key neighborhood drinking spots in town. As that resume suggests, Union Trust is meant to be a spot to grab a drink without much fuss. The bar was built inside an old bank building, so there's a bit of history to the vibe. Come for local beers, bubbles on tap, and some simple cocktails. Unfortunately, Union Trust doesn't serve food. Still, it is a welcome addition to the downtown bar scene that lacks some more straightforward options.
Go if you like: A pint of DC Brau after work, simple cocktails, an easy place to gather with friends.
Unnamed Shaw Cocktail Bar
(600 T St. NW, no website, no phone)
A bar with no name? That's the story with the new underground watering hole at 600 T St. NW. Local bar owner Stephen Lawrence has deliberately kept his new project anonymous, with the goal of keeping the focus on the drinks and the atmosphere. There's no name on the door or the property, just a 700-square foot "cocktail den" that promises to be somewhere all types of Washingtonians will feel at home. The cocktail program is organized by base spirit and drinks are centered around guest tastes and seasonal, house-made ingredients. To top it off, beverages are served with carved ice inside mismatched antique glassware.
Go if you like: Speakeasies, drinks made to order, Miles Davis on the stereo, off-the-beaten-path locales.
(Lead photo by Kate Warren)
Travis moved to D.C. in 2007 has written about the city's diverse food scene for a number of outlets over the years, including Eater DC, Washington City Paper, Washingtonian and DCist, where he was formerly the food editor.