Food & Drink

The 7 Best Bars in Dupont Circle

By Swingers

Looking for the best bars in Dupont Circle? These Dupont Circle bars are perfect for afterwork drinks, nights out and everything in between!

The 7 Best Bars in Dupont Circle

Whether you’re celebrating hump day or the start of the weekend, a trendy DC bar is the perfect place to enjoy your evening. Particularly if you’re in Dupont Circle, there’s no better spot to enjoy a tipple! This area offers an amazing selection of cocktail bars, so you’re sure to find somewhere that caters to your tastes. On that note, here are the 7 best bars in Dupont Circle to check out next time you’re in the neighborhood.

1. Swingers Dupont Circle

The Clubhouse Bar at Swingers Dupont Circle featuring red suede barstools, polished wooden surfaces and low lighting.

We’d be remiss not to include our own Swingers Dupont Circle among the best bars in Dupont Circle! Within this palace of cocktails and crazy golf, you can explore three cocktail bars, each featuring playful decor with botanical touches. We’re especially proud of our unique cocktail offerings, including a continuously rotating Cocktail of the Month – though of course, our extensive drinks menu has something for everyone!

Take The Swinger, for instance: our twist on the classic G&T featuring Tanqueray gin, tonic water, lemon peel, star anise, pink peppercorns, rosemary and an edible flower. Or maybe you’re more of a rum person, in which case you can’t miss the Hurricane Hazard: a combination of three different kinds of rum, pink grapefruit liqueur, peach bitters, cinnamon syrup, black tea and lime juice. (Yes, it’s as dangerous – and delicious – as it sounds.)

And if you’re looking for your particular liquor of choice, we’ve got you covered there as well. Check out our incredible list of mescal, tequila, rum, gin, whiskey, brandy, wine and beer! Finally, if you have a party or team social coming up, consider hiring out one of our bar spaces for a night to remember. Whether you’re planning a special occasion or simply craving a drink, Swingers Dupont Circle is the place to be.

2. Bar Charley

A bartender lights a match to create a flaming cocktail at Bar Charley.

Credit: Bar Charley 

Bar Charley is where great drinks and equally great food collide. You’ll adore this bar’s relaxed atmosphere with vintage-inspired decor, warm wood furniture and exposed brick.

Take your pick from indoor or outdoor seating as you browse the extensive cocktail list – with over 100 different drinks available! If you’re struggling to choose, we’d recommend one of their signature cocktails, such as the Giggle Water, the Rum Runner or (our personal favorite) the Suffering Bastard – a real kicker made of bourbon, gin, ginger-lemongrass syrup, lime and bitters. Did we mention they’re all on tap?

Needless to say, Bar Charley is a cocktail lover’s dream come true. And food lovers won’t be able to resist the decadent menu! You know you’re at a stellar steakhouse when there’s a whole central section dedicated to ‘the beef’. You can even try Bar Charley for weekend brunch: an outstanding menu that includes brioche French toast with cherry apple butter and crispy chicken with beignets. We wouldn’t blame you for wanting to sample it all; luckily, Bar Charley is open every day of the week.

3. Doyle Bar

A bartender mixes a drink at a reflective bartop with golden and crystal glassware. Doyle Bar

Credit: Doyle Bar

Looking for somewhere glamorous and chic to sip a cocktail? You’ll find it in Doyle Bar, a lounge-style bar with an elegant mid-century aesthetic. This bar’s floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of light to reflect across its brass fittings, making you want to sit in the plush chairs and just bask in that sun. When the weather’s really good, guests can enjoy the outdoor patio overlooking Dupont Circle!

But back to the important stuff: the booze. In keeping with the décor, Doyle Bar’s cocktail menu spotlights playful, mid century-inspired drinks that are sure to make you smile! If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be sorely tempted by the Tuathal’s Sickle, made of creme de menthe, cacao, ice cream and cocoa – or for something a little more tart, you might try Enzo’s G&T with limoncello and grapefruit bitters. For those not in the mood for cocktails, the back bar has an impressive selection of other liquors.

And if you’re feeling hungry (or a little tipsy), why not sample the pork belly steam buns or Maryland colossal crab cake? You can try all this and more at Doyle Bar from 2 pm every single day – and if you ever feel like indulging, book a room at the adjoining Dupont Circle Hotel for a post-cocktail catnap!

4. Jane Jane

A modern bar featuring blue, yellow and white tile and light wooden surfaces.

Credit: Jane Jane
Jane Jane is unquestionably one of our favorite bars in Dupont Circle. The modern yet comfortable decor makes this space immediately welcoming, and it’s ideal for catching up with friends or grabbing a drink before dinner. Speaking of the drinks, they’re pretty divine; we’d especially recommend checking out the House Features cocktails. These include the Silk Chiffon – made with cognac, peach and firewater bitters – and the fruity Patio Szn of traditional Jamaican rum, coconut creme, and pineapple.

Jane Jane also boasts a curated wine and beer list, plus small plates to keep you and your party fed. The pickled okra, pimento cheese and “Jane’s Caviar” with onion dip and potato chips are especially mouthwatering! Perhaps the best news is that you don’t have to book ahead to try these offerings – in fact, Jane Jane doesn’t even take reservations, so it’s all up to your spontaneity. This bar is open from 5 pm throughout the week, so if you’re looking for an afterwork happy hour with flair, or looking for an extra stop for you bar hoppers, look no further than Jane Jane.

5. Residents DC

An outdoor bar patio decorated for spring with cherry blossoms, white marble tables and multicolored chairs.

Residents Café & Bar is a great bar with an even greater story behind the name: its founders immigrated to the US and found a new home in Washington, DC. Now they hope others will become “residents” of the bar just as they became residents of DC!

Upon entering Residents, you’re immediately struck by the bar’s warm, welcoming atmosphere, the relaxed ambience and the many beautiful plants. If you’re lucky, the cozy heated patio will also be open for you to enjoy, and you can sit back in immense comfort as you browse the menu! At Residents, you’ll discover exceptional food and cocktails using only the best local ingredients. Their latest seasonal cocktail highlights include the Sakura Spritz, finished with sparkling sake and cherry blossom petals, and The Bee Vol. 4, which features raw honey, mead, and beeswax.

Or if you’re off the booze, try a mocktail like the 0% Rhubarb made with lime, grapefruit and non-alcoholic gin. For eats, fuel up on Residents’ unbeatable brunch and dinner options! If you’re brunching, be sure to try their French toast bites with dulce de leche or sourdough pancakes with pistachio crumble; seafood fans, you’ll love the Scottish salmon carpaccio and spicy crab pasta.

6. Lady Bird

The rooftop bar at Lady Bird, featuring plenty of outdoor seating and a deep blue sky with views of DC.

Credit: Lady Bird DC

Atop the Kimpton Banneker Hotel, you’ll find another one of the best bars in Dupont Circle: Lady Bird. This rooftop bar comes with breathtaking views across DC, including the Washington Memorial and the White House – and those who know their First Ladies will recognize that the bar is named after Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson! The DC tributes don’t stop there; Lady Bird’s decor also features tasteful nods to the wood thrush, the district’s official bird, and the cocktail menu features a couple of cleverly named drinks that any politico will appreciate.

The cocktail ingredients at Lady Bird are just as creative as the names! We’re especially intrigued by the Strawberry Fields cocktail, a blend of strawberry-basil shrub, muddled strawberry and sparkling wine. There’s also a solid wine and beer menu, plus light bites to sample while spending time with friends and loved ones. We love the look of the chicken confit spring rolls and the duck sliders with shoestring potatoes. Take your treats out onto the gorgeous wraparound terrace and sip cocktails as you revel in the fresh air and sunlight – just as Lady Bird Johnson would have wanted.

7. McClellan’s Retreat

A selection of amber liquids in bottles and other glassware at McClellan’s Retreat.

We’ll end on a DC bar which conjures visions of the Founding Fathers conferring by candlelight: the rustic tavern of McClellan’s Retreat. This Dupont Circle bar is a must-visit spot if you love craft cocktails and American history – even more so if you prefer them combined!

The drinks list kicks off with a rotating Spirit of the Month, featured in two specialty cocktails and even a tasting flight. Of course, if you’d rather stick to the classics, you’ll find plenty of familiar favorites – but we’d be remiss not to recommend some of McClellan’s signature drinks! Try the cheekily named Doesn’t Own Any Books (vodka, vermouth, blueberry preserves) or the Kind of Sazerac-y (gin, banana oleo syrup, smoke, and salt bitters) to awaken your taste buds.

Wines, beers, bubbles and all kinds of spirits are available too. That said, McClellan’s Retreat specializes in whiskey, so you’ll find the most extensive selection of bourbon, rye, Scotch, Japanese, and Irish variations. You’ll also get plenty of bar favorites like charcuterie boards and loaded sandwiches to keep you grounded throughout the night – crucial if you intend to stay until closing time, clinking glasses with your buddies and making grand plans.

BONUS: Barmini

Barmini DC , A bar in DC

Credit: Barmini 

While José Andrés’ Minibar is almost impossible to win a reservation to, the adjacent Barmini is the perfect place to grab a cocktail and enjoy the exclusive atmosphere. With over 100 drinks available to peruse on the cocktail menu, you can also indulge in one of the experiential cocktail flights available – perfect if you’re not able to make a choice!

Inspired by the innovative chefs and mixologists who curate the menu, your time at Barmini is promised to be a real sensory experience.

There you have it: the 7 best bars in Dupont Circle you simply must try! And for cocktail lovers planning an imminent trip to NYC, check out our list of the 10 best bars in NoMad for even more amazing watering holes.

Swingers ~ The crazy golf club

We believe that life is more fun when there is an element of competition, and that competition is best enjoyed with friends.

Swingers, the crazy golf club takes the holy trinity that is crazy golf, street food and amazing cocktails and combines them all into one incredible social experience