Love Stinks: DC’s 14 Best Bars for Drinking Alone

Drown your sorrows in style

February 14, 2023 7:00 am
Woman drinking a shot of whisky in a bar
Where you'll be able to dodge the V-Day couples
crotography via Getty

The love holiday is here. You do not need to celebrate. You can go to a local watering hole and enjoy your own company. Here are the 14 best bars in Washington, D.C. to drink alone. Whether you’re looking for beer selection, bike trail access, craft cocktails, eavesdropping, people watching or a potential new friend, we’ve got you. Just you. Because you’re alone. 

Aslin Beer Company

DC’s newest beer garden is also a coffee bar. The newest place to sample 21 different types of Aslin Beer is on the already busy corner of 14th and S St NW. If you don’t like what you’re imbibing at Aslin, there’s about a dozen other nearby options, from the chill Chicken + Whiskey next door to the incredibly small, almost secret Left Door across the street. 

DC9

Music venues are one of the easiest places to drink alone. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with going to a show alone, but they’re also one of the best places to make new friends. DC9 is open on their first floor on non-show days. This is a very good option for the person who actually cares what’s being played on the jukebox. 

Dew Drop Inn

The Brookland bar has survived and thrived over the past three years. Their outdoor expansion is here to stay, and its extra space makes it an ideal place to have an after-work beer, weather permitting. Conveniently located right off the Metropolitan Branch Bike Trail, its ample seating make it well-suited for the reader/crossword puzzler/trainspotter. 

The Gibson 

One of DC’s longest-operating and highest-regarded modern cocktail bars is extremely dark in certain spots. Enjoy a drink and the dark.

The Line 

The Adams Morgan hotel happens to have some of DC’s best hotel bar drinks. The setting is also fantastic for doing anything alone. Use the space as your office or clubhouse. Good for potentially meeting a special someone. Also, it’s not downtown, so walk down 18th Street and get a jumbo slice if things don’t work out.

Lyman’s Tavern

Two of the most uncomfortable aspects of drinking alone are where to look and what to do with your hands. Lyman’s has some of DC’s most plentiful pinball machines. Pinball definitely helps you know where to look and what to do with your hands.

Midlands 

The Georgia Avenue sports bar/beer garden has Buffalo Wild Wings-levels of sports on TV and a craft beer bar-amount of beer options. It’s an ideal for Saturday college football game destination and for any evening DC team viewings. It was a good spot for Nats playoff baseball viewing, though don’t expect Nats playoff baseball any time soon. 

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Off the Record 

Eavesdropping is better when alone. Eavesdropping on people who think they’re very important people talking about very important things is better when you hear people say embarrassing things a  block away from the White House. Off the Record is billed as a “place to be seen and not heard,” and I can tell you half of that statement is absolutely false. People in this town do not shut up. It’s hilarious.  

The Pursuit Wine Bar & Kitchen

A fine option for enjoying a glass of out-of-the-ordinary wine and a fine option for solo dining. The H St. NE restaurant also offers a fantastic Tuesday-through-Friday happy hour. You’re not going to find a ton of Friday night happy hours at this level. 

The Royal

The best place to have a late breakfast/lunch meeting in Shaw/LeDroit Park, The Royal is also good for a pre-show drink before a concert at 9:30 Club or Howard Theatre. If you need a little liquid courage before a date, here’s your spot. 

Slash Run 

The punk rock burger bar has a great happy hour, a great burger night and great beer flights. It’s also relatively loud and they typically screen well-known films in the background (the last two times I visited they had on Grease and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes). The music volume and films should suck you in so you won’t even notice you’re alone.  

Slipstream 

Seemingly everyone there is already alone. Slipstream is a fantastic place to work in the morning and early afternoon and drink in the late afternoon. Start with coffee, end with a cocktail. If you meet someone, good for you. If you leave like you arrived, good for you. 

The Sovereign

The best Belgian beer bar in DC (Eastern seaboard? US? Everywhere outside Belgium?) may be best enjoyed alone. Sit at the bar, drink one or two pints and plan another visit. 

Suns Cinema

The Mount Pleasant art house movie theater also has a cute, tiny bar on the first floor and, when it’s nice outside, a handful of outdoor tables and cocktails. A quality place for a drink before taking in a film most won’t appreciate. 

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