DCcool.com is a Destination DC website and companion to Washington.org, the official tourism website for Washington, DC.
Copyright © Destination DC.
Adams Morgan is one of DC's most popular neighborhoods. Check out our picks for how to experience this great DC 'hood by day and by night.
A Matter of Records
Music lovers find their DC vinyl at Crooked Beat Records, which is fully stocked with all types of music and a knowledgeable staff committed to helping you find the right beats for any collection. Smash Records, farther up on 18th Street, will help you pad your indie and punk records. Chill out and listen to tunes at Songbyrd Record Cafe, where on Sunday’s, the needle drops on brand new vinyl that is sold at a used price after only one play.
Vintage Shops and Boutiques
Venture to the southern-most tip of Adams Morgan to find trendy design stores Hudson & Crane, as well as And Beige. Inspect vintage fashions at Meeps, a trusty 18th Street consignment shop, and continue the trend setting with even more turn-back-the-clock fashions at Mercedes Bien Vintage. Also on 18th Street, Violet Boutique is a cost-friendly, fashion forward option for ladies. On the other hand, Commonwealth is one of the city’s leading men’s wear boutiques.
The Brunch Crowd
The restorative powers of a brunch can be witnessed when walking through “AdMo” on a weekend at noon, as you encounter throngs of people waiting to hear their name called at any number of restaurants. The lucky seated at Smoke & Barrel gorge on thoroughly rib-sticking orders of huevos rancheros with braised pork or brisket sandwiches. For a more refined experience, take to the Columbia Road patio at Cashion’s Eat Place. Perry’s, a few doors down, also attracts gatherers waiting for the first seating of its celebrated drag queen brunch. Francophiles can pay homage to Paris at L’Enfant Café, a corner cafe with a picturesque patio, crepes and Stella Artois on tap.
A Must-Stop Coffee Shop
Grab some new reading material or pick up a funny card at Idle Time Books, then take a seat in any of the mismatched chairs that dot nearby Tryst coffee house. Counter Culture coffee is among the highlights of the large and laid-back cafe, which also dishes out animal crackers with every coffee drink. The patio seating can be tough to come by, but that’s no problem as the ambiance inside is rife with contagious energy – perfect for studying, writing notes or planning your next move on the free Wi-Fi.
Groomed for Greatness
When was the last time you pampered yourself with a hot lather and straight razor shave capped off with a face massage? Get the aforementioned man treatment for $40 at Wise Owl Club, an old school barbershop at the corner of 18th Street and Florida Avenue NW. Haircuts, hair products and beard services are also popular orders.
A Satisfying Feast
New American cooking with a handle on French cuisine is Mintwood Place’s MO (see: crispy escargot hush puppies and flavorful beef bourguignon). Wait out the line at Pasta Mia, a high-trafficked cozy trattoria on Columbia Road with a must-order Bolognese and a first seating that starts promptly at 6:30 p.m. (get there 30-60 minutes early). For some satisfying Asian fare that won’t break the bank, try a Japanese rice bowl from Donburi or a steaming helping of Sakuramen's umami-charged brew.
Reach the uppermost perch at Roofer’s Union, a three-level restaurant helmed by talented chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley, and gaze out at the Adams Morgan faithful below. If heights scare you, show off your bravery by taking down an oyster shooter at Pop’s SeaBar, with the requisite coozy-wrapped Tecate tall boy close at hand. Dan's Cafe owns top dive bar honors along 18th Street, where you order self-serve liquor out of a squeeze bottle. Every night of the week promises adventure at the Duplex Diner on 18th Street, one of the DC’s popular gay bars.
Live Music, Dancing and Karaoke
For more than 20 years, Madam’s Organ Blues Bar has been an Adams Morgan nightlife anchor thanks to stiff drinks and live music every night of the week. Step to rhythmic Cuban beats and blaring horn sections at Habana Village. Never danced salsa before? Talented instructors will guide you on Wednesday nights through Saturday nights. Karaoke it up in your own private room at Muzette for as little as $25 an hour, or put on a public spectacle at the subterranean Karaoke Cafe.
The most practiced falafel experts swear by Amsterdam Falafelshop, not only for its crisp round fritters of spice-laden chickpeas, but also its well-appointed, self-serve sauces and toppings bar. Yes, you get the pressed tin ceilings and handmade shakes at The Diner, but home-cooked weekly specials bump it up a notch. Its motto, “serving early birds, night owls and everyone in between,” is backed up by a full menu offered 24-7.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more robust whiskey list than what Jack Rose has to offer. Single malt Scotch, blended Scotch, Irish whiskey, domestic whiskey and bourbon – it’s all there. And if you’re looking for plaudits, Esquire magazine named the bar among its “Best Bars in America, 2013.” Hidden in the back of the bar is its craft cocktail-minded speakeasy, Dram & Grain (text ahead for reservations on the weekend or ask the Jack Rose host to be seated there Tuesday through Thursday).
Want to see more?