Have no shame in your drinking game, even if you're by yourself. Well, as long as you're not by yourself in a dark, recessed corner of your apartment wailing and playing "Somebody That I Used To Know" on repeat. If that's the case, you might need this guide even more. Behold! Here's where to drink solo in DC and feel good about it.
Where to chat with the bartender
Sadly, with so many bars in DC being busier than a Walmart on Black Friday these days, finding a bar with a bartender who has any free time to chat is getting increasingly difficult. While it's not the conventional watering hole, we're huge fans of rolling into Toki Underground late night, when solo diners can sometimes wrangle a seat at the bar. We've found some of the most knowledgable and nicest bartenders in town here. And sure, the bartender's still busy, but in the downtime, you can keep yourself occupied by slurping up the most popular ramen in town.
Where to work on your novel
For a more literary atmosphere while you imbibe, pop by Tryst and snag a seat at the bar in the back. Not only are the cocktails impressive, but so's the free Wi-Fi, although if Googling "How did J.D. Salinger do it?" is on your to-do list, make sure to stick to weekdays. Tryst shuts off its Internets on the weekend.
On the other hand, if you're just looking for inspiration, get to Bar Pilar, which is named after Earnest Hemingway's boat. Who could resist wanting to pen a few words surrounded by murals of his sea vessel? The only issue is crowds at this popular spot, so come earlier on the weekdays if you need to concentrate.
Where to sip and watch the fancy people
Step back in time at the Round Robin Bar, situated in the Willard Hotel. Sure, the drinks are pricey, but the barkeeps earn their money by making one of the best mint juleps in town. Plus, with its convenient and posh downtown location, don't be surprised if you spot a White House official or two.
For a different kind of fancy, pop over to Georgetown's BOURBON STEAK, where you can sit at the bar, order a double-digit drink and a $20 hamburger (although, to be fair, it might be the best tasting drink and hamburger in town). While you most likely won't spot as many politico types at this bar in the posh FourSeasons hotel, you'll find something even more interesting: the people with the money who influence the politico types.
Where to get picked up
Alas, should you ever want to forego drinking alone for making friends with a stranger (maybe even for more than a night), Dupont Circle's Public Bar offers just a raucous enough atmosphere that makes striking up conversations with new people easy. If you're into sports, even better. Come when your favorite team is on and cheer them on together.
Another good option is Local 16 on U Street. While this bar gets extra mingle-ready in the spring and summer when the patio gets popping, the homey atmosphere inside offers just the right noise level for singles to start giving eyes to the cute stranger across the way. Need more evidence? We know a couple who met here who ended up having their wedding reception at the bar.