Let’s all take a minute to appreciate that we just survived one of the roughest stretches of arctic weather in D.C. in recent memory. Whether you spent the past days huddled at home or in one of the city’s cozy restaurants, I think everyone is glad it’s over! (I certainly didn’t decide to live in this place because of the cold.)
So now that it’s finally warmer-ish outside, consider hanging out somewhere that brings vibes of sun and warmth. Being cozy is great, but so is escaping winter altogether, however briefly. Here are some picks for bars and restaurants where it always feels a little more like summer.
(1201 U St. NW)
Nothing chases away the cold like sipping a stiff and/or fruity drink. Get a seat at this U Street tiki bar and peruse its menu of classic and remained cocktails like the pina colada. There’s also some local beer and wine and Chinese-inspired snacks. Go with the spicy dan dan noodles or egg rolls. Happy hour is an especially excellent deal, with $8 cocktails, $4 beers, and food specials.
(1330 5th St. NE)
The rum drinks (and maybe a few shots) are always flowing at this local distillery – the first in D.C. since prohibition to produce its own rum. Drinks are reasonably priced at around $10. The Red Beard is a popular choice. It’s slightly bitter but balanced, made with white rum, Campari, ginger, and lemon. If you prefer to keep it simple, you can’t go wrong with a standard daiquiri. Or order a pour of the white or dry spiced rum on the rocks. It’s location across the street from Union Market makes it good spot to go before or after a trip of local shopping and eating.
(1250 9th St. NW)
It’s all about the mezcal at Espita. The bar stocks a large selection of this Mexican agave spirit, with variations that are smokey, grassy, earthy, floral and seemingly everything in between. There’s also a rotating cocktail list for those who prefer a less intense (but no less tasty) approach to mezcal.
(606 Florida Ave. NW)
Perched atop Rito Loco, El Techo opened this past fall as an “adult treehouse” refuge from the city bustle. The bar here mixes up an excellent margarita and also some good creations with rum and other booze that’ll remind you of the warm days to come. Order up a burrito or some ceviche from the kitchen and kick back. And starting on Friday, El Techo will relaunch for winter with an enclosed and heated tent it’s calling “Casa Verde.”
(401 7th St. NW)
José Andrés is a master of transporting guests to exotic culinary destinations. At Oyamel, the experience is centered around the vibrant colors and flavors of Mexico. This is not your neighborhood taco shop, though. You’ll find margaritas topped with salt “foam” and expertly crafted small plates from ceviche to salsas and heavier entrées. Really all you need though for an escape from the cold is a house cocktail and some guacamole