Capital Cocktail Crawl

For well over a decade now, the craft-cocktail movement has been going strong and the nation’s capital—thanks to places like the Gibson, barmini by José Andrés, 2 Birds 1 Stone, and Columbia Room—has been at the forefront of quality Manhattans and Martinis. While these bars are always welcome additions to any evening itinerary, there are a few new feel-good contenders to spend time in, too. Inspired by the boisterous drinking culture of New Orleans, Vieux Carre, replete with wrought-iron touches, is located downtown, in the epicenter of the lobbying industry. When it’s time for happy hour, the after-work crowd spills in for frozen Hurricanes, French 75-style shooters, and absinthe-vermouth-Grand Marnier concoctions that keep them satiated until the DJ gets going. Over on the more pulsating U Street, the chilled out Service Bar offers Southern-inflected dishes including fried chicken and red beans and rice alongside adventurous cocktails like the Bloomingdale (gin, galangal, blackberry/aged apple cider vinegar shrub, lemon, egg foam, absinthe spritz) and Burning Apple (Calvados, tamarind, habanero, honey, lemon) from an expansive menu. Particularly interesting is Cotton & Reed. This warehouse distillery in the burgeoning Northeast neighborhood makes a few boutique products on the premises—white rum with Louisiana sugarcane, dry spiced rum heightened by botanicals like sweet fenugreek, and a Tiki-friendly allspice dram liqueur—but it thankfully doubles as a welcoming, breezy bar. Naturally its signature rums are the focus, appearing in drinks such as the Redbeard with Campari and lemon and the Cuba Liberace with black cola and lime.

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Photo Courtesy of Service Bar Facebook

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Photo Courtesy of Cotton & Reed

 

Featured Photo Courtesy of Vieux Carre

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