Lots of times the phrase "intimate venue" is simply another way of saying "a rather tiny spot that no one of any importance every plays." Yet there's no denying the intimacy — or importance — of the Black Cat. Located in the U Street Corridor since its opening in 1993 — it moved in 2001, but only three doors away — and co-owned by Dave Grohl, this legendary venue specializes in indie, alternative, punk, and experimental music, and has played host to everyone from Jeff Buckley and Neko Case to The Killers, Radiohead, and The Roots. The Cat is also home to the Food for Thought Café and the Red Room Bar, so you can find an excuse to stop by even if the show hasn't started yet.
Did you know that Muléh means "to come home" in Javanese? Neither did we, until we made a stop by this Logan Circle shop. The name comes from owner Christopher Reiter, who returned to the states after four years in Southeast Asia to create a store that reflected the design sensibilities of the region. Inside, you'll find intriguing, original furnishings, including couches, chairs, tables, beds, dressers, and lighting, all with a distinctly Asian flair. Have a lady in your life? They also have a selection of women's fashion designed in NYC, LA, Paris, and Milan, and for out-of-towners, there's an outpost in Chelsea, as well.
To say there are a lot of places to stay in DC is an understatement — but you'd be hard pressed to improve on the rooms at Hotel Monaco. Ideally located in Penn Quarter, not far from the Verizon Center, the National Mall, and some of the best dining options in the city, this luxury hotel offers 183 guestrooms and three different styles of suites, all of which mix original architectural details — it's housed in the old General Post Office building — with eclectic modern furnishings, a solid restaurant/bar, a wine hour every evening in the lobby, and a host of in-room spa services if you're in need of extra pampering.
If you like beer and are going to be in the area, you need to be at Snallygaster. This self-described "gargantuan beer jamboree" is a one-day event featuring food, music, and over 150 carefully curated craft beers on tap. Tickets range from $10 to $50, with the latter including early access to the taps and 30 food + drink tickets. It's scheduled for 1-6 pm on October 19 at Union Market, and promises to be "an epic day of inimitable imbibery and monstrous merriment", but perhaps the best thing about it is the fact that your admission fee goes to help support the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture.
Blame it on extremist Republicans, Congress as a whole, or even the rain — the fact of the matter is that during a government shutdown, your options for sightseeing in Washington D.C. are pretty limited. Thankfully for those staying close to the heart of the action, the Newseum remains open. Located just behind the National Gallery of Art, this 250,000 square foot museum is dedicated to the news and the people who report it. It features 15 main galleries, as well as two broadcast studios, 15 theaters, a food court, a Wolfgang Puck Restaurant, a store, and a terrace that provides unmatched views of the Capitol, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, and the Washington Monument. Still have time to kill after all that? Head over to the International Spy Museum.
"In wine, there is truth." Or so roughly translates the Roman saying "In vino veritas" from which Veritas Wine Bar takes its name. Indeed, there are many ways to seek the truth at this Dupont Circle-area spot. Over 70 wines are available by the glass from the bar's temperature-controlled tap system, and dozens more available by the bottle or half bottle. Also on offer are a handful of craft and imported bottled beers and a selection of spirits, and a surprisingly tasty food menu that includes cheeses, charcuterie, chocolates, and sandwiches.
There's just something about record stores in basements. Som Records is a prime example. This Logan Circle-area purveyor of vinyl specializes in rare jazz and soul LPs, with plenty of funk, disco, reggae, folk, blues, punk, and electronica thrown in for good measure. You'll also find a solid selection of Brazilian bands and hard-to-find rock albums, which are pretty impressive until you start browsing through their stock of vintage posters and show memorabilia.
Odds are if you frequent U Street, you've probably wandered past The Gibson a time or two without even realizing it was there. Which is a shame. This upscale, speakeasy-style bar is hidden behind a nondescript door marked only at the buzzer, which you'll use to gain access — assuming you've made reservations, of course. Inside, you'll find a quiet, dimly lit area downstairs, a parlor-like atmosphere upstairs, and a patio out back. As for the menu, there's certainly one available, but it's not really necessary — the bartenders are just as adept at listening to your preferences and creating drinks from scratch as they are recreating whatever happens to be printed on a page.
If there's a more fitting name for a District book shop, we can't think of it. Located near the corner of Connecticut and Nebraska since its founding in 1984, Politics & Prose Bookstore now boats more than 8,000 square feet of space, and offers a wide range of volumes, including a surprisingly large selection of children's books — a result of its 1999 merger with the Cheshire Cat, a nationally-renowned book store for kids. It also hosts an astounding number of author events, bringing in heavy-hitters like Salman Rushdie, Bob Woodward, Rachel Maddow, Dan Rather, Dwayne Wade, and Stephen Colbert. It probably doesn't hurt that it's current husband-and-wife owners are both former Washington Post scribes, with the latter most recently serving as a speechwriter and adviser to Hillary Clinton.
He's best known for his Spanish cooking — he is from Spain, after all — but like any good chef, José Andrés knows his away around more than just one cuisine. Oyamel Cocina Mexicana is a great example. As you can tell from the name, it specializes in Mexican food, but apart from the chips and salsa — which are fantastic — there's little here that will remind you of your local burrito joint. The tacos range from pit-barbecued pork to (delicious) grasshopper, the ceviches are spectacular, and the house margaritas come topped with foam that tastes like salt. Our advice? Bring an open mind and an empty stomach.
Cleverly named after the neighborhood it calls home, Madam's Organ is an Adam's Morgan institution. This raucous, multi-level joint regularly features live music — normally blues and bluegrass — on the first floor, and multiple floors offering a mix of pool, karaoke, dancing, DJs, and even a rooftop patio. The booze is fairly priced and plentiful if not high-end, the crowd is rowdy but not overly douchebaggy, and the food is above average for a place of its ilk. If that's not enough for you, how about this tidbit: the building was once the original Children's Supermart, a little store that was later renamed Toys 'R' Us.
It might not look like much from the outside, but trust us — the food you'll find on the inside of Komi makes up for any panache the exterior might be lacking. Helmed by James Beard Award-winner Chef Johnny Monis, Komi is a multi-course, prix-fixe affair, starting with small, light dishes before progressing to more hearty plates, including pasta, a family-style entree, and, of course, dessert. Wine pairings are optional, and, well, that's it — there are no printed menus, and no other options. Just grab a table — no groups larger than four — and enjoy.