When your group is unsure whether they want a casual few beers or a long night in a club, go to Cafe Saint-Ex. The basement has a dance floor that will make you feel a phantom bass drop in your chest days later, and the main floor is a basic bar with a tin ceiling and some vintage movie posters. While the combination of these two things might sound weird, it winds up coming in handy more often than you might think. Just know you will lose whichever members of your crew opt for the dance floor.
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Estadio’s tapas will be familiar if you’re used to eating Spanish food, but it will be better. Use Estadio to woo sources, dates, or anyone else.
Chicken + Whiskey
Chicken + Whiskey’s name says it all: it’s a casual Peruvian chicken spot in the front, and a vinyl bar with 100 varieties of whiskey in the back.
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If you’re looking for a dance floor around U Street, try The Brixton. And head to the rooftop when you need a break.
Froggy Bottom Pub
Froggy Bottom is a mix of Vietnamese and bar food, and it’s surprisingly great for some low-key pho.
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The Fainting Goat
Fainting Goat isn’t great, but you’ll end up here at some point. When the time comes, go heavy on the drinks and light on the food.
Ghibellina is a neighborhood Italian spot in Logan Circle. You’ll come for the pizzas and pastas, but stay for the cozy vibes and friendly service.
The Ferris Bueller of DC restaurants, The Royal is cool without trying too hard. Come for great Colombian food and cocktails.
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