Washington DC is home to an eclectic assortment of must-see, must-do stops. There is the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building. But the capital of the United States is known for more than politics. When the sun goes down, DC comes alive and the heart of the city beats throughout the many nightlife venues. Few, though, manage to pull off the magical combination of swagger and class.That being said, here are four of the classiest bars in all of Washington, D.C.
The Rye Bar
Located at Capella Washington, DC, Georgetown, the Rye Bar lives up to its name and offers a large selection of finely crafted American rye whiskeys. DC has had a long love affair with whiskey, as some of its most notable residents were whiskey enthusiasts. Thomas Jefferson is recorded as being knee-deep in the whiskey trade, and George Washington was one of the most famous whiskey producers.
In addition to a large selection of rye whiskies, the bar boasts an extensive selection of high-class spirits and liquors, like Herradura Tequila and top shelf champagne. The establishment also employs specially trained bartenders who create drinks by hand and with traditional utensils, which adds to the ambiance of class and integrity.
The Rye Bar: 1050 31st NW, DC; www.capellahotels.com
Located within the famous Jefferson Hotel, Quill exudes an air of refined elegance. It is pricey and debonair, so most patrons visit Quill for special occasions. The intimate lounge, cigar-smoking patio and specialty drinks make it a favorite among the DC night-lifers.
Quill also offers appetizers, a variety of wines and beers and delicacies, such as crab cake sliders and shrimp cocktail. Quill also has delectable seasonal cocktails, such as the Holly Jolly. This drink is made with cranberry-infused Ketel One and spiced cranberry prosecco. The thematic décor is based on the life of Thomas Jefferson, and the walls are dotted with maps that chart Jefferson’s journeys.
Quill: 1200 16th St. NW, DC; www.jeffersondc.com
Boasting innovative dishes and specialty cocktails, Degrees has a special small plates menu with unique regional and internationally inspired dishes. These pair wonderfully with the restaurant’s clever cocktails and long list of wines.
The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown houses the illustrious Degrees bar and restaurant. It works extensively to create an industrial-chic atmosphere that coincides with the modern design of the hotel with hardwood floors, black-slated bar and timeless bistro tables. Patrons favor specialty drinks, such as the hot chocolate with Bailey’s creme de mint.
Degrees: 3100 S St NW, DC; www.ritzcarlton.com
Barmini by José Andrés
One of the most modern bars on the classy DC list, Barmini is the brain child of José Andrés, a noted avante garde culinary artist who has branched out into cocktail creations. The cocktail lab offers over 100 artisan cocktails that are hand-crafted and brilliantly executed.
The establishment is recognized as a culinary research and development ThinkFoodGroup, and the minibar is considered the testing ground for the concepts and projects of Andrés and his staff. A favorite specialty here is the Veruka Salt, which contains pineapple grog, peanut rum, sugar and salted peanut crumbs.
Although DC is home to the throne of democracy, the night-life bars of swagger and class are home to the chalice. So next time you’re in DC, consider skipping the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and take in the history one drink at a time.
Barmini by José Andrés: 855 E St NW, DC; www.minibarbyjoseandres.com