Jun 8, 2023 - Food and Drink

The best basement bars in D.C.

Barrel basement bar on Capitol Hill turns into a sea-themed speakeasy.
"Why does it, what's the word, burn?" cocktail at Barrel's speakeasy. Photo: via Barrel

Rooftops get all the hype, but when it’s hot — or the air is unbreathable — basement bars are the coolest place to be.

🍸 Off the Record: The plush Hay-Adams hideaway downtown is perfect for cold martinis, fancy nuts, and covert conversations.

🎱 Players Club: Who needs sunshine when you can hang in a bar styled like a '70s-kid basement with tons of games, a sex-toy claw machine, and Shake Shack delivery from above?

🎹 Georgetown Piano Bar: Dueling pianos and singalongs go down below M Street at this musical hangout with nightly $5 margarita happy hour (aka liquid singing courage).

🍺 Quarry House Tavern: The Quarry’s been cool for decades in Silver Spring— we’re not talking temperature — thanks to a great jukebox and live music, many whiskeys, and tasty burgers.

🪼 Barrel: The Capitol Hill drinking den chills out this summer with an ocean-themed pop-up. The “Sea-Easy” (get it?) dives in with blue mermaid martinis, poke, and Ariel design inspo.

🍹 600T: One of the city’s best cocktail spots whispers date night drinks in the basement of a rowhouse — especially with live jazz on Thursdays.

🍿 Kingfisher: Drinks are cold and popcorn’s hot (and free!) at this Logan Circle basement pub, where a chill vibe means canned wine, beer-shot combos, and daily happy hour until 8pm.

😎 Never Looked Better: It’s easy to forget the time — and decade — at this '90s-themed bar below Blagden Alley where the cosmos are chiller than the blue lighting.

🎤 Recessions: No D.C. basement bar list is complete without this L Street dive, beloved for its karaoke, cheap beer, and questionable carpeting.


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