Our first nightlife in DC started with great VT-meeting. We, 7 VT-ers, didn't have any table booked for our evening VT-meeting as it was a bit spontaneus event :-). We met at the Union Station as I remember at 6 pm. We followed our DC commander-in-chief Kent (kentbein). First we discovered that one large restaurant very close to the Union Station was closed for public due to private party.
Kent took us a bit futher to an Irish Pub called The Dubliner (520 N. Capitol St. NW). Its interiors and lively atmosphere looked attractive but there was no table for 7 people. Kent started to negotiate the place for us but soon we had to give up. Keep in mind that it was Saturday evening. Next time in DC, I will try to get to the Dubliner :-).
We came back to the Union Station and temporarily ended up in Center Cafe which was perfect choice for our talks and first drinks :-). Details in my Restaurants tips.
Dress Code: Casual dress (I mean trainers, jeans, T-shirt or shirt, jacket for guys and whatever comfortable for a woman) is OK for the Dubliner, Center Cafe and generally for VT-meetings :-).
The Red Room is located inside of the Black Cat, however it is a much more laid back atmosphere. All of the hours still apply. Happy hour if from7pm-9pm. You can enjoy a wide variety of micro-brews, imports, Belgian beers, and a great selection of bourbon and scotch. It feels like you are in a different place because you are. You can play pool or pinball, make music selections on the jukebox, or just kick back with friends. A great place to go if you want to get away from the headaches of extremely load music.
Dress Code: NONE. you must have a valid I.D. to buy and consume alcohol.
We were there on a Thursday nite so only the downstairs was open. But with less than 20 people in the place, there was still no where to sit.
Don't stand too close to the stair at the end of the bar or you will be told to move away.
Not the friendliest staff I've ever met, and none of the staff danced on the bar while we were there.
This place is pretty fun--it's a lot like Dave and Busters, which I am also writing a tip about, but it's by a lot of other bars, so you can drink for awhile someplace else (cheaper) and then head here. I went w/ 2 male friends and we played basketball, hockey, a football passing game, air hockey and some other stuff. They made fun of me the whole time because I wasn't as good as they were. I felt good about the hockey until a 6 year old kid came in a killed my score.
It doesn't matter, though. It was one of the best times I had going out in DC.
It can get expensive...you have to get a card and put so much on it, which you find out, if you're with a group, doesn't go a long way.
Also, keep track of your card. There's a very good chance that, when playing air hockey, it can get sucked down the holes. I didn't do that at this place, but I did it once in Tampa. That really sucks.
This place also has multiple levels--the bar with big screen TVs, the restaurant and then the arcade/gaming area and another bar. People don't just come here to play the games, they can drink and watch sports too.
Dress Code: Casual...
I've spent many Thursdays at the Lucky Bar, which is good old "dive" bar. By that I mean, it's basically a place to go and have drinks with friends, and expect little in return in the way of atmosphere. Then again, it's a good place to meet up at the beginning of a night on the town. Has a decent pool table, and has a DJ on Fri and Saturday.
Dress Code: Very casual, you could wear jeans and a t-shirt if you wanted. Many people do come in more fashionably dressed, as the bar is actually in a relatively trendy part of DC, Midtown.
Even in the freezing cold, regulars and tourists mingle in dining establishments and nightclubs. Action starts after 7:30 PM
Dress Code: Elegant, sophisticated or business dress. DC is NOT like California even when being casual. Jeans are seen well after work hours or on weekends. Even in jeans, people come off well dressed.
In every City - respecting themself you will see a copy of a town in China !
Live is during night - markets/restaurants - a special atmosphere and so different in every Capital!