Eighteenth Street Lounge

20s / 30s / 40s / Artists / Bar / Blazers / Brazilian / Button-downs / Chic / Cocktail Dress / Cover charge / DJ / Dancing / Designer Jeans / Designer T-shirts / Dress Code / Fashion Types / Good for Groups / Happy Hour / Hip / Hip-Hop / House / International / International / Jam Band / Jazz / Laid back / Live Band / Live Music / Live Music Venue / Locals / Lounge / Music Industry Professionals / Musicians / No Hats / Outdoor Area / Reggae / Scenester / T-shirts / Trendsetters / Trendy Casual / Young Professionals
Eighteenth Street Lounge "Little of Eighteenth Street Lounge's façade would attract the attention of an uninitiated passerby, save for the bouncer who plants himself before its unmarked door or the lines that form beneath the neon glow of a ""MATTRESS..." Washington, DC United States 38.906227 -77.041872
4.24 10
Eighteenth Street Lounge - Bar | Live Music Venue | Lounge in Washington, DC.
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Party Earth Review Little of Eighteenth Street Lounge’s façade would attract the attention of an uninitiated passerby, save for the bouncer who plants himself before its unmarked door or the lines that form beneath the neon glow of a “MATTRESS... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    Tu–Th 5:30pm–2am, F 5:30pm–3am, Sa 9:30pm–3am, Su 9:30pm–2am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Eighteenth Street Lounge Review

The Scene

"Little of Eighteenth Street Lounge's façade would attract the attention of an uninitiated passerby, save for the bouncer who plants himself before its unmarked door or the lines that form beneath the neon glow of a ""MATTRESS..."

Little of Eighteenth Street Lounge’s façade would attract the attention of an uninitiated passerby, save for the bouncer who plants himself before its unmarked door or the lines that form beneath the neon glow of a “MATTRESS DISCOUNTS” sign on the adjacent building.

Inside this three-story lounge, however, DC scenesters enjoy a dynamic blend of DJs, brass bands, and live percussionists six nights a week, which draw many a tweed-dressed local deep inside this labyrinthine nineteenth century mansion to bop their heads to the eclectic beats.

Red-carpeted stairs behind the entrance lead to the Main Room, a mellow area of the venue, accented by a warm wooden bar, luxurious dark drapes, and low-lit candelabras, where young professionals sporting blazers and chic dresses sip cocktails and flirt on velvet Victorian couches.

The Main Room also provides access to a simple outdoor deck, where the hip-shaking crowd can cool off at a second bar, while a distinctly international crowd makes their way upstairs to a shadowy, lime-colored enclave for live samba, bossa nova, and jazz acts throughout the week.

A small hallway off the Main Room leads into the Gold Room, where nightly musical acts crank it up under the shimmering glow of gold flecked ceilings and the sparkling hue of bottles behind yet another bar.

With authentic and offbeat jams every bit as cultured as the clientele, Eighteenth Street Lounge is all about the music DC trendsetters love to groove on.

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Tip from Jonah:

Two words: Reggae Night. Show up on a Wednesday and watch ex-Thievery Corporation members tear the house down with the most eclectic nine-piece reggae jam band you’ve ever heard.

  • Crowd

    Hip international mix of musicians, fashionistas, artists, trendsetters, and music industry folk, 20s to 40s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Mix of live bands, percussionists, and DJs spinning mostly hip-hop and house. Reggae Night on Wednesdays, Brazilian Night on Thursdays.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Happy Hour Tu–F 5:30–8pm. Table reservations available W–Sa for groups of up to sixteen. Space available for private events for 50–150 people. Valet parking at neighboring clubs.

  • Prices

    Cover charge $5–$10 after 10pm W, F–Sa. Beer $8–$12, wine $8–$12, cocktails $10–$12. Table reservations $275–$575 minimum after 9pm.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Trendy chic: funky Diesel jeans, graphic t-shirts, and button-downs for men, sexy Seven jeans, True Religion tops, and cocktail dresses for women. Dress code: no athletic gear, caps, shorts, or open-toed shoes.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Friday and Saturday nights for the biggest crowds, Wednesdays for the popular Reggae Night, and Brazilian Night on Thursdays for the most international crowd.

  • Close By

    Current Sushi and Lounge (1215 Connecticut Avenue NW), a modern upscale sushi joint, is usually open until at least 2am.

Eighteenth Street Lounge User Reviews

Average rating:
Thievery Corporation's Top-Secret Washington DC Headquarters is a Bohemian Paradise
Dennis D. Aug 7, 2013
Approaching the nondescript, unmarked three story mansion above a mattress store in the DuPont Circle neighborhood of Washington; DC, (a mansion which holds the historic yet quiet notoriety as the former home of Teddy Roosevelt); one would never expect that they were about to enter one of the most euphorically sexy ambiances they've ever experienced. As the door is opened by the doorman; who can see patrons approach from behind the tinted glass; to reveal a staircase flanked with candle votives on the steps behind him, the chill-out tempo and dub-step bass can be heard from the rooms at the top of the stairs. Reaching the top of the staircase you emerge with the DJ directly in front of you, and adjacent to the main bar. The music is now penetrating your mind and body as it stirs your soul and you scan the room of interesting, intelligent international faces, in conversation at the varnished, candle-lit, oak wood bar, as well as on the vintage, mismatched yet elegant Victorian style couches that are arranged in clusters throughout the dark, candle-lit living rooms on either side of the center, bustling bar, which are complete with crackling fireplaces and a large bay window in the east room, overlooking historic Connecticut Avenue from this second floor oasis. Eighteenth Street Lounge exudes class, secrecy and sophistication of a secret private home where you are privileged to be invited into. Delving further through the labyrinthine home, and the swaying, beautiful bodies flowing like pendulums to the down-tempo, reggae-fringed beats, you can explore the large gold room with a mildly livelier atmosphere and bar, the back outdoor deck and bar, or the third floor living room with live bands playing classic or acid jazz, or Bossa Nova. Eighteenth Street Lounge has been owned and operated by the world-renowned DJ/Producers known as Thievery Corporation; Rob Garza and Eric Hilton; since 1995, and has remained true to the uniqueness of Thievery's extraordinary sound and influences of Latin, Jazz, Reggae and Bossa to this day. I have personally considered ESL to be far and away one of the best lounge experiences in the world, and countless others who are much more versed than I have also agreed.
ESL Knows How to Leave a Lasting Impression
Henry B. Apr 26, 2013
Eighteenth Street Lounge offers a whirlpool of pleasure: pleasure that is at once indulging and highly satisfying. For a lounge that does not seem, like others in D.C, to be preoccupied with showcasing itself with bright neon signs, ESL offers more-- way more!-- than its external appearance suggests. Upon entering the lounge, one is immediately taken aback by its sprightly energy. It has a bedazzling saturnalian tinge, accentuated by a sprawling red carpet, cozy couches, and a sapid, diverse, crowd of enchanted bright-faced people, crooning, swooning ,grooving, chatting, drinking, flirting, twirling, twittering--all with a neighborly air that makes one feel a sense, at once, of being at the right place. The lounge almost always has people from every walk of life. Located in Dupont Circle, a place with a lot of foreign embassies, Eighteenth Street Lounge seems tailor-made to capture the essence of the city's diversity. As a result, it is impossible to feel left out in that lounge. It has a beautiful, towering, patio, with its own bar, that overlooks the city, where people go to grab a smoke, chat or make new friends. Right before that patio is a nice dance floor for whoever wants to dance to a good music. And right before the dance floor is a dimly- lit room, with comfortable couches, where people (usually newly-made friends), who just left the dance floor, cozy up and croon. And right next to that dimly lit room is another room—this one with a bluey refreshing aura, usually filled with an intimate and excited crowd, sinuously slinking to the sound of reggae or jazz or blues or samba (depending on the day). Upstairs, there is another bar for people, usually couples, who want to have some time to themselves and enjoy an intimate moment, while taking in the soothing melody of a cool jazz band. (Oh, and all the bars at ESL have almost every beer, including European beers, you can think of.) In short, no matter your language, your style, your personality, your nationality, your sense of humor, or your taste of music (or drink), you will always find a suitable company at ESL. Still more, you will find an activity tailor-made for people of your kind. ESL is that unique lounge that leaves an imprint on you, and forever glues you to its subtle charm. I truly envy the person who is discovering this fun lounge for the first time.
House Music Here it Is!
Sam P. Apr 18, 2013
If you haven't checked out Eighteenth Street Lounge and you like or love house music, you are missing out. This place gets packed on an almost daily basis, and especially on Fridays when they really turn it up and drop the bass on some of the sickest house tracks out there. The drinks are moderately priced, and the ambiance is great if you're not a wallflower. If you're not satisfied until you've burned off 500 calories dancing, then this is the place for you!
Many Leveled Fun
Caroline C. Feb 20, 2013
Going to the 18th Street Lounge is like going to a house party of the coolest kid you know, who happens to be loaded. With a different and exciting atmosphere and a strange pink glow, this spot attracts an eclectic mix of people and styles. There are many levels with different music on each -- chill levels for lounging on fancy furniture and chatting, grindy reggaeton sublevels, and my personal favorite, the live jazz level at the top, which makes the cover totally worth it.
Be sure to make your way to the patio out back
Jimmy D. Sep 5, 2012
I am a huge fan of 18th street lounge. I especially enjoy grabbing a drink on the patio during spring, summer and fall. There a tons of couches and spots to carve out a place to hang with friends inside, but for me, nothing beats the fresh air scene on the patio out back.
Uniquely awesome
Nick T. Aug 27, 2012
It's hard to find a similar experience to 18th street lounge in DC - or really anywhere else for that matter. I felt like I had walked into Midnight in Paris, minus the famous contemporaries and with the addition of really good live music. Like the review says above, nothing about this place sticks out from the street. If I was not with someone who had been here before I would have definitely had a difficult time finding the entrance. Once you do find the entrance and walk up the first flight of stairs it feels like you just joined a special club that no one else knows about. Each floor has its own different vibe to it, all unique from most other bars in the vicinity. Its basically a very classy/trendy house party. I would recommend this place to anyone and everyone - unless they are looking for a very quiet, mellow atmosphere. While the 18th street lounge is not a raging party at all times, it is hard to find a quiet place to have long conversations. That being said, I think going out here for a night is an experience all should have.
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