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.
You may feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1970s at this underground billiards bar and restaurant. The focus at Breadsoda is on fun, with super-friendly servers and drink-friendly games like ping pong, shuffleboard, darts and Yahtzee available for the youngish clientele. Accompany the entertainment with a grilled cheese BLT, an Italian meatball sandwich or the namesake Breadsoda, piled high with turkey, Swiss cheese and slaw on pumpernickel. Grab a seat at the zigzagging wooden bar to enjoy your meal, or slide into one of the squared-off leather booths that hug the vibrant walls. When you’ve finished, step out to the below-street-level patio area with your pint of craft beer, or meander around the inside, checking out the eclectic trophies, skateboard decks or whatever’s on the hanging flat-screen TVs.
Meridian Pint is the anchor of the hip 11th Street strip in Columbia Heights, but don’t mistake it for just another cool kid hangout. The pub atmosphere welcomes one and all, offering communal tables, outdoor seating, two levels of indoor space to choose from and three unique booths where patrons can pour their own pints of draught beer, right from a tap in the table. Meridian Pint’s environmentally-friendly bar specializes in American craft beers, while the menu offers much more than traditional pub grub. Look for mushroom risotto with Brussels sprouts, or seasonable items like lobster and pumpkin ravioli laced with a lobster bourbon corn sauce. Beyond the good times with friends and wide array of great beer to choose from, Meridian Pint also offers pool tables, shuffleboard and TVs for catching a game.
The Black Rooster Pub, located in the heart of downtown DC, is the perfect happy hour haunt for local drinkers. It’s got the feel of an old-fashioned British pub, complete with a wide mix of patrons from the surrounding neighborhood, an unpretentious vibe, dartboards and a worthy selection of ales. For something a bit stiffer, The Black Rooster specializes in serving the finest whiskeys, bourbons and scotch from the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The sweeping back bar is also an import from the U.K., giving the Black Rooster a bit of cross-continental cred. The food, though, is definitely American pub grub: chicken wings, potato skins, ribs and burgers, the latter of which are offered half-price on Tuesdays.