A Bar By Any Other Name

I have recently, for various reasons, have been thinking about the Americanized version of the bar.  Everyone has their favorite watering hole.  For various reasons, it’s sort of your go to place.  There are definitely various reasons why some people tend to favor some bars over others, but in the end, something has to get you into that establishment.  When I first moved to DC, I didn’t really find a good place in particular that I wanted to go to.  I liked RFDs downtown.  They have a huge beer menu that allows you to try a lot of different brews from different places.  There is, however, very little character to the place.  I’ve heard many people refer to it as a cafeteria.  Then, later on, I started working at place called Marty’s on Barrack’s Row.  I liked it simply because I could drink as much as I wanted, and I paid very little.  I guess this is why it doesn’t exist anymore.  They didn’t have good beer, but it was a place to go, and it was cheap.  Now-a-days, I find myself relying solely on H St for my libations.  There are, however, a few bars that really stick out to me as bars I love and continue to go back to.  Here are a few of them.

The Cloverleaf Tavern: This may be my favorite bar of all time because it was the first bar I ever really found that was interesting.  This bar is actually not located in DC at all, but I think that helps it on the cool factor.  This bar is a little under a mile from my house at home.  They have a really good selection of beer, but what really puts them over the top for me is their beer club.  It isn’t really your typical beer club.  Anyone who wants to join gets a card to keep track of the beers they drink at the bar during every visit. The key to their club really is how your can progress through their club.  You move through the different levels like you do your higher education.  You earn your bachelors, masters, and doctorate.  With each completion you get to throw a graduation party at the restaurant and enjoy other perks as well.  All in all, it’s a great idea.

Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar: I have talked to a few other people who actually aren’t a huge fan of this place.  I however am not one of them.  There is one aspect of this bar that you have to look past to enjoy it: cash only.  But, if you bring some cash, this is a great place to visit.  It always has a really chill vibe, the atmosphere is very cool, and the beer selection is really good.  It doesn’t really need a gimmick, although some might consider the atmosphere a little bit of a gimmick.  For me, the most important part is the beer.  They always seem to have the limited edition stuff from Founders and Stone, as well as, some really good beer as well.  There is nothing on tap though.

The Pug: This bar is completely different from any other bar you’ll find on H Street.  I say that because it is basically a really good dive bar.  They don’t have anything fancy going on here.  They have probably 5-6 beers on tap, most of their stuff in cans, and really only a few in bottles.  They serve beers like Natty Boh, Molson, Schlitz, and PBR.  But they also have a lot of good beers mixed in there as well.  They really don’t try to please anyone too much, but they have a lot of fun as well.  There is a very loose boxing theme to this bar, but they don’t really hype it too much.  They serve a little bit of food, but they mostly serve cheese balls all night. It’s a great little bar where you can get an inexpensive beer.

These aren’t even close to the top beer bars if you google beer bars in DC right now.  Of course one is in NJ anyway. However, I really like these bars.  I feel at home there, and that really is what matters.  I’m asking my wife to take me out to one of the top beer bars in DC for my birthday next week.  I’ll keep you up to date if I like it as much as some of my typical watering holes.  Stay tuned!

What are some of your favorite bars in your area, and what about them makes them your favorite?



  1. All the bars I like are multipurpose. One is a restaurant, possibly the nicest in the area. The other is in a building that houses a bakery, video rental store, and art house theater. They have the best selection and great atmospheres.

    When I was in DC last summer, I really enjoyed Pizzeria Paradiso and Church Key. I could spend a lot of money at those places.

    • The one bar sounds really interesting for sure. Bakery, video store, art house, and a bar sound pretty good to me.

      I am sad to say that I have never been to Church Key, but that is actually the place we are going for my birthday. The two DC bars I did are within walking distance from my house, hence the reason I frequent those. I have a feeling I would live at Church Key if it wasn’t on the other side of the city.

      • Fair enough. The bars I mentioned are within walking distance, but it’s just far enough that it’s a pain and public trans is not really an option.

        The bakery/theater/bar is a joint venture by this non-profit art house theater called Ragtag and Uprise Bakery. Both used to be in shitty locations, but Ragtag raised money to move into an old printing factory and was able to expand from one tiny screen to two screens, one full-sized. Besides indie films, I’ve seen comedians and bands perform in those spaces. It’s one place I’d take with me if we were ever to move.

      • Well I doubt I will ever be in your neighborhood, but I will keep that in mind for sure.

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