Party Earth Review Known as the heart of DC’s African American community and home to an eclectic mix of people who share a love of music, art, theater, and food, U Street – after decades of neglect – has been the focus of a major resurgence... ... read full review
Between 9th Street and 17th Street,
and Florida Avenue and S Street NW
Green, Yellow Lines: U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo
U Street Corridor, Washington, DC –
Known as the heart of DC’s African American community and home to an eclectic mix of people who share a love of music, art, theater, and food, U Street – after decades of neglect – has been the focus of a major resurgence since the late 1990s.
With historic landmarks like the Lincoln and Howard Theaters, where Duke Ellington and Miles Davis once claimed the stage, and the famed 1920s jazz club Bohemian Caverns (also an Ellington favorite), U Street has managed to hold onto its roots while making way for dozens of new and culturally diverse restaurants and bars, modern loft spaces, independent shops, and organic markets.
Live music is a big draw in this area, where Black Cat, 9:30 Club, DC9, and Velvet Lounge showcase a huge range of musical styles every night, while freshman ravers in plaid are long familiar with the cork dance floor and electronic beats at U Street Music Hall.
Fashionable singles on the prowl, meanwhile, make their way through the standing-room-only rooftop bar at Local 16 to show off their latest finds from the nearby boutiques and handmade jewelry stores, as eccentric jocks check in at Nellie’s Sports Bar and try to “beat the clock” at Happy Hour, when drink prices rise every hour.
At the center of it all stands the acclaimed Ben’s Chili Bowl, a Bill Cosby favorite and neighborhood institution that has been serving colossal chili dogs to hungry late-night revelers since the 1950s.
An array of music haunts, eclectic bars, and eateries – combined with the ongoing gentrification – has turned the U Street Corridor into an ever-growing microcosm of DC's melting pot character.
Neighborhood hipsters, cultured young professionals, music lovers, foodies, mixology fans, college kids, vintage lovers, and boutique shoppers. All ages.
Several live music venues, including:
Black Cat (1811 14th Street NW).
9:30 Club (815 V Street NW).
DC9 (1940 9th Street NW).
Velvet Lounge (915 U Street NW).
Bohemian Caverns (2001 11th Street NW).
Live theater at Lincoln Theater (1215 U Street NW).
Independent art galleries, small jewelry stores, vintage marts, antique shops, and mom and pop furniture dealers.
Dozens of café’s, restaurants, and quick bites, including:
DC institution Ben’s Chili Bowl (1213 U Street NW).
Tabaq Bistro (1336 U Street NW) for tapas and mimosas.
Busboys and Poets (2021 14th Street NW) for large community gatherings, books, and art to go with the food.
Eatonville (2121 14th Street NW) for Southern and soul food.
Marvin (2007 14th Street NW) for intricate Americana cuisine.
The immensely popular neighborhood haunt Café Saint-Ex (1847 14th Street NW) for creative New American and seasonally changing fare.
Prices vary by venue, but budget-friendly spots are the norm.
Anything goes: hipster casual, punk, work attire, button-downs, sandals.
Any day or night, particularly Fridays and Saturdays for the biggest crowds and Sundays for the popular brunch spots.
Cork Wine Bar (1720 14th Street NW) serves small plates of contemporary European and American cuisine and specializes in wine.