Five Worst Bars to Hang in Washington DC

Yes, this blog is subjective and will start fires, but I’m going to give you a list of the worst social establishments in Washington, D.C. It’s not necessarily the bars themselves or their staff, but sometimes it’s just the people attracted to the spot. Sure, it’s not tech, but this is something I’ve been meaning to get off my chest for days. So here we are at last:

5.Town Hall – Glover Park


Rating: Bourgeoisie

We’re no longer in high school, so we’re not allowed to make fun of people for how they dress. Of course, if everyone in your bar came by wearing letter jackets and cheerleader outfits, you might feel a little left out or critical of the group. Meet Town Hall: A Georgetown establishment known for its old money ties and absurd attire. Don’t get me wrong, Town Hall is an incredible bar with a giant patio and friendly staff who know how to serve customers.

Of course, then you realize something’s different. Am I the only one this summer who didn’t buy a $60 Lacoste polo and J. Crew khaki shorts? Shit, I  coincidentally also forgot to wear the $150 Sperry’s I bought for my dad’s yacht. This bar, sponsored nightly by the Ivy League (or Ivy League rejects), is like entering Gatsby’s house without a pocket square; you just feel out of place and unable to take your eyes off the “sameness.” Sure, the people are friendly…while they look down their noses at you. Run.

4. Lost Society – U Street

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Rating: Overcrowded half-open button down

This heralded spot on U Street is a great place to meet people simply because everyone else says that (meaning: sort of, but not at all.). So there you are, in a line waiting 20 minutes to enter, only to realize the place is already twice-past fire code once you get in. IF you manage to find your way to a bartender (and good luck), you’ll have your ass grabbed by at least five people, have knocked noggins with two, and stepped on everyone’s toes to get there.

One of my socialite friends said, “Yeah, but that’s why it’s fun.” Considering I don’t feel any more claustrophobic than the next person, and I feel like I want to die as soon as I set foot in this ego and popped-collar-filled establishment,  I find her assessment absolutely ridiculous. Go on a week day when you can actually walk around and breathe fresh oxygen from their beautiful patio. Their brunch is fantastic, and their first floor bar is a great place for a cocktail and dinner. I held my birthday there this past June (On a Tuesday).

3. RedRocks (Rooftop) – H street


Rating: Tiptoe Around the Rooftop Bartenders

Let’s get the point. Most people go out to be served drinks by friendly people, chat with friends, and flirt with the rest of the DC population. Unfortunately for this lovely and enormous establishment, the rooftop bartenders either have resting-bitch face syndrome or simply hate their customers. A group of us had a pleasant going away there on a Friday this summer (no, not understaffed evening at all), and the bartenders continually leered at us, forgot about us, or simply gave us attitude and made us feel bad for the imposition of requesting service. The main floor restaurant is an entirely different story, and I’ve never had problems, but blackballing any restaurant or bar based on indignant staff should be fair game to anyone. Sure, it was one night, but it left enough of a bad taste in our mouths to not want to go back.

2. Tap & Parlour – U Street


Rating: Where the hell did she go? Is that dish soap in my beer?

Tap & Parlour already has less than stellar reviews, so this should be no surprise for anyone. The first thing you’ll notice is that the outdoor patio tables look unkempt and in disarray, with beer-sponsored umbrellas that don’t generally match. The indoor bar is actually fairly classy–a wood-filled space with a nice lounge atmosphere with comfortable couches and chairs. Most people go here for a quick drink before a concert or a gathering with a group of friends or family.

Of the several times I’ve gone, the SERVICE has always been a horror story. Ordering one round of drinks with table service can sometimes take up to twenty minutes (not exaggerating). Once we asked for a the Heineken draft special ($2, which is amazing) and they brought us BOTTLES for full price instead. You have to be kidding, right? They didn’t even charge us correctly for it later. When they did get us our draft beers (finally), they literally tasted like Dawn dish soap. I’m all for a little extra lemon, but I’d be more appreciative of the fresh produce kind. If you’re going to Tap & Parlour, sit at the bar and don’t expect fast service. Their food can be a bit dry as well.

 1. Sign of the Whale – Dupont


Rating: OMG, what is that smell?! Seriously, a Miller special?

Bar marketing is a thing in DC, and if you were ever 21 in this city, you definitely were invited to at least three Sign of the Whale “happy hours.” You know, those things where you get a special wrist band for a crappy buffet and $4 rails and $3 Miller Awful? That’s what Sign of the Whale is for. Period. So what’s the problem? This seedy Dupont Circle bar (right next to a Gentleman’s Club) is always overcrowded with interns. Besides this possible nuisance, it always ***ing smells. I’ve not been there once without smelling vomit or piss throughout the bar. It’s a sticky place much like McFadden’s, but it’s arguably worse in terms of social scene. Most people I know get there and want to leave immediately. If it’s not the smell, it’s how overcrowded the bar is.