If comfort food is supposed to evoke a sense of ease and familiarity, the Impossible Double Hank burger breaks rather severely with tradition. With its intimidating name and heaps of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, bacon, and cheddar, the burger forces the brave patrons of Hank’s Tavern & Eats to confront their most delicious fears. Though less overwhelming than the double-portioned hamburgers, the tavern’s shrimp po’ boys, baby back ribs, and fish burritos are made with similarly fresh ingredients and prove just as tasty. While digging into these and other hearty eats, patrons can follow local sports on 20 TV screens and guesstimate their height by lying facedown on the 50-foot bar.
In lieu of buns, Duffy's Irish Restaurant & Pub's Monster Burger earns its name by piling bacon, grilled onions, and a half-pound burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches. The Washington Post profiled the beastly eat and its “calories-be-damned goodness” in its This Thing You Should Try series. Those with tamer appetites assemble less daunting burgers with a beef or homemade black bean patty served on a white or whole grain Kaiser roll. Along with burgers, Duffy's culinary team crafts casual dishes such as mushrooms fried in peanut oil, vegan pasta tossed with homemade tomato sauce, and seven wing varieties voted the city's best in 2012 by readers of Washington City Paper.
Along with the menu of daily grub, Duffy's staff supplies discounted drinks and quesadillas at weekday happy hours and hosts brain-teasing pub trivia challenges every Wednesday night. 12 flat-screen TVs throughout the bar stay tuned to the latest Florida Gators and Green Bay Packers games, a more thrilling alternative to watching looped footage of an actual gator attacking a defenseless cheese wheel. In addition to front of the house entertainment, Duffy's accommodates private soirees with a back room equipped with more flat-screens, skeeball, darts, and an internet jukebox.
“A synthetic turf-covered love letter to Washington.” That’s what Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post had to say about H Street Country Club after visiting the nearly 7,000-square-foot bar at the heart of the Atlas District. Yet Hahn wasn’t talking about the eatery’s decadent food; he was commenting on the space's devilishly tricky indoor golf course. During each nine-hole outing—for adults 21+—putters encounter the Lincoln Theatre, Ben’s Chili Bowl, and the titanic grasping hands of a half-submerged Marion Barry. As if a trip to the links wasn’t enough to work up an appetite, the entire first floor of H Street tempts gamers with skee-ball, shuffleboard, and wall-vs-human staring contests—all within an arm’s reach of margaritas, mojitos, and other specialty drinks.
Upstairs, a glass panel filled with retired golf balls gazes out over artist and contributing decorator Lee T. Wheeler’s talents, which alight upon everything from the sculptures crafted from repurposed birdhouses to the bar’s cushy lounge seating. The design sets the stage for executive chef Pablo Cardoso’s upscale take on classic Mexican food, with tables welcoming grilled skirt steak splayed over "cowboy" beans, a half chicken paired with yuca, and fajitas stuffed with still-sizzling shrimp. For dessert, the chef stuffs crisp empanadas with sweet mangoes, topping the confection with creamy ice cream and a note to get out of gym class for a week.
If a beer connoisseur tried a different beer every day, it would take more than 13 years to sample every beer that RFD Washington has served. Since 1957, Regional Food and Drink (RFD) has slaked thirst with more than 5,000 types of beer, totaling a staggering 25 million total glasses served—a figure that earned it a Guinness World Record, among many other awards.
The sister bar to the Brickskeller restaurant, RFD taps more than 30 beers at any given time, including a rotating selection of rare beers and handcrafted brews from breweries such as Gouden Carolus, La Chouffe, and Tröegs. It also carries more than 300 varieties of bottled beer, as well as premium liquors, single malts, and small-batch bourbons. The food menu has no choice but to revolve around beer, with dishes such as the 12-ounce strip steak in a stout marinade, and the brew burger, a half-pound Angus beef patty marinated in black lager and grilled on top of a keg.
Inside RFD, flat-screen TVs line the running boards and refrigerators line the walls, proudly showcasing the cache of microbrews and handcrafted ales. Flags and banners dangle from the rafters, signaling to families and beer aficionados that they may have finally met their malted matches.
Standing beneath the German flags fluttering outside with the two-story timber structure of Biergarten Haus looming overhead, one might feel transported to the streets of a small Bavarian village. Inside, the head of an elk looks down at glasses full of more than 25 German lagers and weizens that draw from one of the largest selections of German beer in the area, while warm, doughy pretzels provide what the Washingtonian describes as an "excellent drinking snack" to pair with authentic German schnitzel, sausages, and potato pancakes. Old world meets new with 16 TVs airing sporting events inside the bar, which accommodates up to 400 patrons. Each day, wood burns within the large fireplace, warming visitors during the fall and winter. Climb the stairs to the rooftop beer garden?one of the largest German beer gardens in DC, and lauded as one of DC?s best by the Washington Post?where tables made of repurposed barrels cluster together underneath cool-water misters. Out back, a second beer garden populated by long, rustic tables is open for year-round Oktoberfest celebrations, and groups can clink glasses to celebrate birthdays or holidays.
Before guests to Japone—or its less-formal sister eatery, Café Japone, located upstairs—even take their first bites, they notice the restaurant’s unusually colorful environment: an attached lounge area dubbed Sango Sho surrounds patrons in oceanic hues and fiber-optic luminescence, and regular DJ performances keep toes moving so that they don’t get caught by a shark. Karaoke kicks off at 9:30 p.m. every night in both Japone and Café Japone, giving guests two places to show off their pipes on a continually updated list of the latest hit English, Japanese, and Spanish-language tracks.
To keep mouths happy, Japone's French-trained chef fuses Japanese and French flavors. Entrees include curried jumbo shrimp and scallops, plated with fresh veggies, japanese mushrooms, and a dollop of rice, while sushi specialties include the Arizona roll with shrimp tempura and carrot.