Off the Record

Historic Bar / Hotel Bar / Lounge
Off the Record It's a never-ending battle of donkeys vs. elephants in the District of Columbia, but Off the Record, a chic lounge in the basement of the historic Hay-Adams hotel, brings both parties together for a cordial cocktail after... Washington, DC United States 38.90051 -77.037
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Off the Record - Historic Bar | Hotel Bar | Lounge in Washington, DC.
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Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review It’s a never-ending battle of donkeys vs. elephants in the District of Columbia, but Off the Record, a chic lounge in the basement of the historic Hay-Adams hotel, brings both parties together for a cordial cocktail after... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    Blue, Orange Lines: McPherson Square, Farragut West

  • Phone:

    202–638–6600

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–Th, Su 11:30am–midnight, F–Sa 11:30am–12:30am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Off the Record Review

The Scene

It's a never-ending battle of donkeys vs. elephants in the District of Columbia, but Off the Record, a chic lounge in the basement of the historic Hay-Adams hotel, brings both parties together for a cordial cocktail after...

It’s a never-ending battle of donkeys vs. elephants in the District of Columbia, but Off the Record, a chic lounge in the basement of the historic Hay-Adams hotel, brings both parties together for a cordial cocktail after an exhausting day of work.

Located a block from the White House, this venue’s name is no accident, as its deep red velvet booths frequently fill with powerful politicians and wizened journalists engaged in hushed conversation.

Upscale hotel guests claim stools at the U-shaped bar to question the bartender on sites to see in the city, oblivious to the Capitol Hill insiders who are making global decisions at the dark wood tables nearby.

Glass chandeliers hang from the intricate plaster ceiling, while the room’s crimson walls are covered with pencil caricatures of well-known politicians, many of whom have been regulars.

It isn’t rare for someone as noteworthy as the Chief of Staff to make an unexpected appearance for a quiet night out, though lesser-known but dapper patrons are still welcome to relax on the ruby-red chairs, a fresh grapefruit mojito or Delirium draft in hand.

Whether the conversation leads to politics or religion, education or healthcare, guests can be sure that it will all be Off the Record.

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Tip from Emma:

A trip here is a must just for the chance to see some of the country’s most powerful people. It definitely trends pricey, but the bar stocks large bowls of free jalapeño chips and olives that go perfectly with that $15 cocktail.

  • Crowd

    Sophisticated crowd of politically-involved young professionals and tourists, hotel guests, staffers, journalists, and lobbyists, late 20s to 60s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Ambient mellow jazz and instrumental music. Two TVs over the bar.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Shared plates and entrées consisting of mostly American cuisine, including flatbreads, cheese plates, large salads, and steak.

  • Prices

    Appetizers $10–$19, shared plates $9–$24, entrées $15–$30. Beer $6.50–$9, wine $10–$23/glass or $30–$250+/bottle, cocktails $12–$40, specialty cocktails $15.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Upscale: Armani suits, tailored dresses, nice slacks and button-downs, J. Crew dresses, floral flats.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    After work during the week for the high-powered political people-watching.

  • Close By

    The Lafayette (800 16th Street NW) is a fine dining restaurant with a complete view of Lafayette Square and the White House.

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