DC Dive Bars Overview

Velvet Lounge - Dive Bar | Live Music Venue in DC

A city of majestic and historical buildings that rival the towering architectural triumphs of Europe, the District is also home to some really solid Washington, DC dive bars.

That’s right; it’s not all big business in this politically driven city. After all, most folks are off by five (thanks federal work week!) and plenty of folks working on Capitol Hill like to get in on some unpretentious fun once they’re released from the halls of justice…wait, is that The Avengers? Whatever. The point is, Washington, DC dive bars are easy to find if you know where to look.

First-time visitors will probably need to be reminded to avoid Georgetown if on the hunt for DC dive bars, and the same can be said for Capitol Hill, but that still leaves plenty of areas open.

Adams Morgan is a major party neighborhood in this town, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that some of the best – or at least rowdiest – dive bars in DC can be found there. Dan’s Café is probably the best example: built into a flat, square building with no exterior windows or lights, Dan’s is known for being hotter than hell and serving up massively sized drinks in ketchup bottles.

Meanwhile, over along the vibrant U Street Corridor, a PBR is always $3 at Solly's U Street Tavern, while the nearby Velvet Lounge is a quintessential DC dive bar with a knack for booking some of the best up-and-coming and niche bands the city has to offer. Further afield in up-and-coming Columbia Heights, Raven Grill and The Red Derby are two popular haunts where the booze is cheap, the crowd is unpretentious, and the vibe is devil-may-care.

Everyone should make it a point to revel in all the incredible history in this town, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get in on a few great Washington, DC dive bars too!

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