In my year off from school, while I was working in the city, I spent a lot of my nights on U Street, and if you’re willing to make the trip it’s well worth it. U Street is farther away from Dupont Circle than Adams Morgan, but if you take the GUTS bus to Dupont, it’s probably faster to just walk instead of taking the metro to Gallery Place, and having to change to the Yellow Line. No matter how you decide to get there, you need to at least check out U Street at least once before you graduate.
Since coming back to Georgetown, I like to think that I’ve become a little more classy in my drinking habits. Of course this is a matter that I question every time I write these posts seeing has how all my anecdotes relate to drinking in some manner, but The Gibson (on 14th St, right up from U St and next to Marvin’s), may be my saving grace. It can be a little tricky to find because the unmarked door looks like it may be locked, but if you dare to venture in you will be greeted by a hostess at the far end of a narrow and dark corridor. It’s a little intimidating at first, but it leads to a dark, smoky speakeasy — one of the last vestiges of prohibition left in the city. Great for intimate dates or small groups of close friends, the dim lighting is perfect for stimulating conversation. If you start to get claustrophobic, there’s also a patio in the back. The drinks tend to be a little on the pricey side, but you’re paying for the experience.
If you’re not feeling that classy, or you woke up on the side of your bed where you keep you non-prescription wayfarers, head up 14th Street from The Gibson, and you’ll find Busboys and Poets. Its a great spot to grab a few drinks, a bite to eat, or check out some eclectic reading material before checking out other places on U St. It’s also a great place to hang out – there are a lot of tables in the front of the bookstore, it has a full bar and of course the occasional poetry reading.
This next place on U Street is one of the best late night nosh spots in the city. Before I explain about this place, I want it put on the record that my mother’s chili is amazing. But, sorry mom, Ben’s Chili Bowl may give your steaming ambrosia of meat and beans a run for its drachmas (and seriously, they have a Chili Burger, what more can you ask for?). It’s also open until four in the morning on Friday and Saturday.
Other worthy mentions: U Street Music Hall and 9:30 Club for dancing and live performances, and Lost Society.