Become a Washington DC Insider with Our Guide to the Nation’s Capital

What to do in Washington DC

Washington D.C. is home to our nation’s capital, some of the most recognizable monuments and museums in the world, and the White House which houses our President.

Those are all facts that you probably learned in your 3rd grade social studies class back in elementary school. Now that you’re a grownup in the city, you need a grown man’s guide to DC. There are new landmarks to see, plenty of delicious destinations to get your grub on, shops for the shopaholic, and a couple of nightlife spots that feature good beer and classic cocktails. When you plan your next trip to Washington D.C., refer to our guide for some of the best places that this historic city has to offer.

EAT

BrunchTabard Inn

Tabard Inn

The word around town was that Tabard Inn has the best brunch in the city. Well, we took everyone’s advice and it’s safe to say everyone is right. If brunch is what you seek, look no further than Tabard Inn. Executive Chef Joud Achkar is serving up anything from savory omelets to sweet donuts in this hotel and restaurant.

Tabard Inn

Courtesy of Cori Sue Morris

The dining room of Tabard Inn has a formal appearance without actually being overly formal. Everything on the table is set to a T and the wait staff is phenomenal. When you are seated, your server arrives with water and complimentary sweet muffins that are deliciously addictive so eat with caution. If you’re a guy that likes a boozy brunch, we recommend Tabard Inn’s take on the Bloody Mary. It’s served spicy, like a bloody mary should be, and comes garnished with the classic fixings. One item that you must order are the Tabard Inn doughnuts. Forget your diet, these are the best doughnuts that you will ever eat, and we bet that you can’t eat just one. They’re coated in sugar and paired with a light whipped cream for dipping.

For your entrée, you can’t go wrong with the chicken and waffles. Who doesn’t like savory and sweet for brunch? The chicken is fried in a creole batter to add a touch of spice, the waffles have bits of bacon in them for added smokiness. Then they drizzle a maple cream cheese sauce on top for a sweet component to the dish. It’s good enough to drink straight from a cup, and there is no shame in that because this is what brunch dreams are made of.

Reservations in advance are highly recommended because of its popularity.

LunchPi Pizzeria

Pi Pizzeria

Courtesy of Emily Clark Photography

There are no two words in the English language that go together quite like pizza and beer. Whether you’re a deep dish or thin crust kind of guy, Pi Pizzeria has all of the styles and toppings to cater to any pizza lover’s craving. There is no better way to eat your slice than with a cold pint of craft beer from Pi Pizzeria’s draft list. They carry a diverse selection of craft beer from local breweries in DC and others found across the country. If pizza and beer is your thing, we recommend a glass of Port City’s ‘Essential’ American Pale Ale and Pi Pizzeria’s specialty pie the South Side Classico. It’s made with quality mozzarella, Berkshire sausage, mushroom, green pepper, and onion all baked in Pi’s legendary, deep dish cornmeal crust. Want more proof that this pizza and beer joint is legit? In 2009, Pi Pizzeria became the very first restaurant to prepare food at the White House. If the POTUS likes Pi Pizzeria, it’s probably legit enough for us.

DinnerPearl Dive Oyster Palace

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

Found in DC’s Logan Circle Neighborhood, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace is the go-to seafood joint for the best oysters in the city. Chef Jeff Black’s commitment to sourcing fresh, locally caught seafood has turned this dive into a true palace. Their oysters come from only the best spots on the east and west coasts. Whether you like your oysters hot or cold, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace has the perfect dish for any palate. We recommend a dozen of the Old Black Salt Oysters from Chincoteague, VA. Old Black Salts have an average salinity level of 33ppt, making them one of the saltiest oysters available on the market today. Virginia oysters typically have a buttery mouth feel that balances out the saltiness of the Black Salt Oysters. Just add a touch of the mignonette and a dash of hot sauce and kick it back. Repeat that same process for the next eleven oysters and then order one of their hot oyster plates. We recommend the Wood Grilled East Coast Oysters. They’re grilled with a garlic and red chile butter and topped with a gremolata. They’re a little spicy, but it’s probably one of the best bites you’ll find at the Oyster Palace.

If oysters aren’t necessarily your thing, we’re disappointed in you. But, there are plenty of other options on the menu from fish and fish tacos to gumbo and etouffée. If you want to pair your dinner with a cocktail, try the Bardstown Derby. It’s made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, grapefruit, lemon, and orange blossom honey. Oysters and bourbon sounds like the perfect way to cap off a perfect day in the nation’s capital.

DRINK

Church Key

Church KeyFounded in 2009, Churchkey has established itself as one of the most popular bars for craft beer connoisseurs. The Washington Post even named it as the best beer bar in the city. According to Churchkey, “Churchkey was designed and developed to celebrate the full spectrum of beer styles, artisans, traditions, regions and flavor possibilities with an unrivaled combination of small-batch brands, three climate controlled cellars, a deep selection of traditional glassware and a rare level of knowledge.” The bar can be found upstairs of the restaurant below, Birch and Barley. It’s a lively nightlife spot with dimmed lights and plenty of seating at the bar or at one of the tables adjacent to the bar (if you’re lucky enough to grab one). Churchkey’s expansive draft list features nearly every beer style for even the pickiest of its beer patrons. If you like to eat while you drink there are plenty of great options to choose from on their bar food menu. We recommend plates that would work well as finger food like the charcuterie plate or curated-cheese plate. If drinking the night away with your pals is on the agenda, schedule in a stop at DC’s best beer bar – Churchkey.

The Gibson

The GibsonThe Gibson, if you can find it, is one of the best speak easy style cocktail bars in DC. They’re serving up a list of delicious craft cocktails priced reasonably around $10 – $15 so you can have more than one without breaking the bank. If you’re new to the city or have never been to The Gibson, trying to find it might drive you crazy, but that’s part of the fun.

The Gibson

We’re going to make it easy for you – or at least easier. It’s directly next to a very good bar itself The Marvin on 14th street, but there is no signage to direct you towards the door. The easiest way to find it is by looking for the big black door to the left of The Marvin. You may even have to knock depending on the night, but you should be able to open the door. Once inside, there will be a hostess ready to seat you. Tracking it down might be difficult, but it’s the novelty of a speakeasy that’s really just exciting. Once you take a sip of one of The Gibson’s specialty craft cocktails, you’ll be glad you gave this secret spot a try.

SEE

African American Museum

African American Museum

If you want to take in a little bit of history during your stay in DC, you have to visit the brand new African American Museum. The museum opened for the very first time in September and became the 19th museum of the Smithsonian Institution. The building is an architectural phenomenon alone. Its design follows classical Greco-Roman form in its use of a base and shaft, topped by a capital or corona. The building’s exterior is wrapped in an ornamental bronze-colored metal lattice that pays homage to ironwork that was crafted by enslaved African Americans from the South and elsewhere.

Some must-see exhibitions in the museum include African American’s impacts on sports, politics, music, theatre, and art. There also are over 30,000 historical artifacts in the museum that have been collected over time by their very generous donors. In a time of political unrest throughout our country, this remarkable museum serves as a place of meaning, memory, reflection, laughter, and hope. From Carl Lewis to Muhammed Ali, there are so many inspirational stories you’ll read while walking through this amazing structure full of extraordinary history.

SHOP

Redeem

Redeem DC

Redeem is an independent men’s boutique in Washington DC that specializes in showcasing up and coming brands. Their mission is to support unsung and lesser-known brands and offer products that are unique, fun, and interesting. Currently, Redeem features brands such as: OAK, Matiere, I Love Ugly, NEUW, and Religion. All are men’s streetwear brands that produce fashion-forward products for the fashion-minded man. Redeem loves to constantly update their brand lineup with designers whose passions are to excite, engage, and intrigue those involved in the industry. They recently celebrated their 10th anniversary by hosting a party and unveiling Chapter‘s Autumn/Winter 2016 ADMISSION Collection. If you like to shop for low-key streetwear brands, Redeem is likely showcasing a brand that would pique your interests.

STAY

The Donovan Hotel

The Donovan HotelThe Donovan Hotel, situated on Thomas Circle in Washington DC, is luxurious hotel-living at its finest. Their rooms and suites impress with a minimalist design that’s both sleek and modern. If you’re into fitness and staying in shape while on vacation, The Donovan Hotel helps you keep up your healthy routine by providing free yoga mats and a 24/7 fitness center. If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat before exploring the city, step in to The Donovan Hotel’s adjacent restaurant, Zentan. It’s a Japanese-inspired restaurant that combines sensual décor and delectable fare to offer a sophisticated experience that’s both beautiful and delicious.

Just when you thought your stay couldn’t get any better, you rode the elevate up to The Donovan Hotel’s rooftop bar DNV Rooftop Lounge. This urban retreat hosts a sophisticated crowd in search of craft cocktails, Asian-inspired small plates, and the best views that DC has to offer. It’s a great place to grab a couple of drinks with friends or serves as a perfect setting for a date night under the city lights. The only part of your stay at The Donovan Hotel that you won’t like is checking out because it’s hard to part with this luxurious palace.