MUSIC w/ FOOD &/or DRINKS
Venues that are categorized as “Music w/ Food &/or Drinks” are bars or restaurants that offer live music in such a way that the music dominates the room – the music stage is quite prominent and/or the music is loud enough that it can easily be heard over conversation. Oftentimes, the crowd is a mix of people who are there primarily for the music and those for whom the music is a secondary consideration, but even then, those who are there for the music can still have a good music experience from almost anywhere in the room.
You can scroll through this page or click on the following links to jump to each venue’s place on the page: Big Chief, The Black Squirrel, Bossa, The Brixton, Columbia Station, Comet Ping Pong, DC9, The Dubliner, Dukem, Ebenezers, Eighteenth Street Lounge, Georgetown Piano Bar, Gypsy Sally’s, Hill Country BBQ, JoJo, Madam’s Organ, Marx Cafe, Mason Inn, Midlands, Mr. Henry’s, Mr. Smith’s, The Pinch, Roofers Union, Rumba Café, Shaw’s Tavern, Takoma Station Tavern, Tropicalia, Velvet Lounge, Wonderland.
Big Chief is a New Orleans-style bar located in Ivy City, an industrial neighborhood in NE DC. Big Chief has three bars spread out over its 7,000 s.f., including one on the rooftop where a 1970s Airstream trailer sits. Big Chief hosts events regularly, with live brass bands being one of the venue’s staples.
The Black Squirrel calls itself an “old-school neighborhood gastropub,” and its slogan is “Where Beers Come True.” It offers a six-page beer menu which is chock full of diverse options and a strong lineup of pub fare crafted by a pedigreed chef. It also offers rotating live music events and open mic nights.
Bossa Bistro + Lounge offers live music, Brazilian tapas, cutting-edge art, spoken word events, and the fine cocktails. With two stories of intimate, candlelit nooks and generous dance floors, Bossa is one of those rare sexy spots in the city where one can feel equally at home with a date, posse, or grandpa. Bossa is famous for its nightly live shows, featuring formidable acts in the biz from every genre in the spectrum: from jazz to rock to world music and all in between. The food is prepared with the finest and freshest locally sourced and organic ingredients with options for carnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free patrons.
The art gallery features local painters, photographers, and lithographers with a unique global vision. Shows rotate, but “Bossacima Project” – artist Daniel Cima’s take on da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” recreated with Bossa regulars – is the house’s trademark and most provocative conversation piece, and it maintains its permanent home above the main floor bar.
The Brixton offers numerous experiences, including a spacious roof deck with a bird’s eye view of the city, a first-floor dining room, and a “lodge bar” with fireplaces, leather couches, and flat screen TVs. Entertainment includes a weekly Sunday night jazz jam session and live DJ sets on Friday and Saturday nights.
Columbia Station is a DC jazz staple, featuring nightly live jazz in the heart of Adams Morgan.
The menu offers a range of all-American items – burger, pizza, sandwiches, and pasta. The entrees and appetizers also cover the country, from New York strip steak and Cajun-seasoned andouille sausage to southern fried catfish and meatloaf supreme.
COMET PING PONG
Comet Ping Pong is a mix of a thin crust pizza parlor, table tennis center, and concert venue. The decor includes rough concrete walls, bathrooms hidden behind secret panels, and a sea of ping pong tables and table tennis-themed details. Nearly all the food served at Comet Ping Pong is farmed and harvested in a sustainable manner. All ping pong tables are free and rotate quickly through players – either while waiting for a dining table or just hanging out.
Comet Ping Pong does not take reservations and serves on a first-come-first-serve basis. Waits on Friday and Saturday nights can be pretty long; the wait during the week is much shorter, if there is a wait at all.
DC9 is a bar, restaurant, and music venue in the U Street corridor. DC9 has three levels, with the second level hosting a wide variety of events and concerts. The stage and viewing area are small, allowing for an intimate concert experience. Shows are held on a very regular basis – days without a show are incredibly rare.
The Dubliner was established in 1974 by Daniel Coleman, a second-generation “publican,” and is now operated by Daniel’s son and nephew. The Dubliner is designed to be an authentic Dublin city pub. It is the largest purveyor of Guinness Stout in America and the only purveyor of Auld Dubliner Amber Ale and Dubliner Irish Lager, as well as other Irish staples. The menu features “hearty Hibernian fare” such as fish ‘n’ chips and Irish beef stew. Live Irish music is provided seven nights a week.
DUKEM ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT
Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant is the most enduring Ethiopian music entertainment landmark in the district. Over the past twelve years, Dukem’s entertainment has reached fame both in DC and nationally. It is the home of Dukem Jazz, a weekly jazz jam, as well as Ethiopian music. The restaurant provides a large variety of vegeterian and non-vegeterian meals. The VIP bar can be reserved for private use.
Ebenezers is a first-class, fully-operational coffeehouse that seeks to serve the community on Capitol Hill. It serves “coffee with a cause” – all coffee that is for sale is fair trade and is provided by One Village Coffee, and all profits go towards the community outreach projects of National Community Church.
The lower level of Ebenezers is ideal for meetings, concerts and other events. Ebenezers hosts live music and other public events in the lower level quite frequently. All shows are all-ages – Ebenezers does not serve alcohol.
EIGHTEENTH STREET LOUNGE
The Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) opened its doors in April 1995 and has been independently operated since its inception. It is the birthplace of the internationally-renowned Thievery Corporation, and its affiliates record label, ESL Music. ESL includes five areas: The Main Room, The Gold Room, The Jazz Bar, The Studio Bar and Deck Bar. ESL is dedicated to providing the District with the greatest regional and world-class DJ talent as well as live music ranging from traditional Jazz and Funk to Reggae and a hybrid of Latin sounds. ESL showcases live bands Tuesday through Saturday.
Please note that ESL requires “proper” attire – no athletic attire or accessories. Non-athletic shorts allowed on Sundays and during extreme heat. ESL does not have food facilities on the premises, but offers complimentary light fare during happy hour, courtesy of Figs Mediterranean Cafe, and can make accommodations for professional catering for private events.
GEORGETOWN PIANO BAR
The ultimate vision for Georgetown Piano Bar is to create an environment that is enveloping and inviting while simultaneously being a place where people feel enlivened by the music. The bar is organized to revolve around this unequivocal centerpiece, the glossy cherry red piano. The bar showcases two of the area’s most recognized pianists, Hunter Lang and Spencer Bates. Guests wishing to hear a favorite tune are welcome to request it at Georgetown Piano Bar and lyric books will be made available to encourage sing-along. Those itching to get up and perform solo will have the opportunity to do so as well.
GYPSY SALLY’S VINYL LOUNGE
Gypsy Sally’s is the music venue for serious music lovers who don’t take themselves too seriously. The dream of its founders is to provide a comfortable, affordable and friendly space where adults of all ages may enjoy sharing great food, drink and music.
Located under the Whitehurst Freeway, Gypsy Sally’s second story windows look out on the Potomac River and the Key Bridge. It features local, regional and national Americana acts in two different settings – the informal cover charge-free “Vinyl Lounge” and the more formal Gypsy stage. The stage boasts of high ceilings and open sight lines, and guests can sit to eat dinner, sit at the bar, stand, or dance.
NOTE: Since K Street is located under the Whitehurst Freeway, the location can sometimes confuse GPS.
HILL COUNTRY BBQ
Hill Country Live showcases American Roots Music found in Texas and beyond its borders including: Honky Tonk, Western Swing, Rockabilly, Roots Rock, Alternative Country, Blues and Americana. Because our spiritual epicenter is Austin, we take our lead from the audience appreciation for live music there. Artists who play with heart and soul, no matter where they come from, are welcomed.
Hill Country doubles as a performance venue, with performances on the downstairs stage in the Boot Bar from Tuesday through Saturday nights including frequent visits from national touring acts. The stage, with its state-of-the-art sound system, has welcomed legendary artists such Dale Watson, Bob Schneider, and Rosanne Cash. Many of Hill Country Live’s performances are free to the public.
Before there was a “Harlem” there was “U Street” – Harlem ultimately laid claim to jazz, but jazz was first nurtured on U Street. True to the Spirit of U Street, JoJo Restaurant and Bar works hard to provide the ambiance and sound that blends the nostalgia of the early 1920s with a contemporary flair. Flavorful cuisine and nightly live music set the tone, and provide the adventure seeker with a refreshing escape from the mundane and monotonous.
JoJo feels like an upscale restaurant, without the fancy dress code. There are two levels at JoJo, both with ample seating and a full bar. To keep the energy flowing, global music plays inside before the live entertainment begins. Jojo’s prides itself on its welcoming atmosphere, great food, cold drinks, and live music.
Every night of the week, JoJo offers a terrific selection of live jazz, blues, funk, soul, and R&B.
There are 4 levels with 5 bars at Madam’s Organ, and each level offers a different kind of entertainment. The first floor offers live music every night with the best bands and live acts. For a change of atmosphere, check out Big Daddy’s Love Lounge & Pick-Up Joint on the second level. You’ll find another bar up there, a couple of pool tables (free), and a bunch of lounge chairs.
Keep going up and you’ll find the third level to get away from it all. Still, one more level up and you’re on the Starlit Roof Deck and Tiki Bar (open on select nights)!
Marx Cafe offers a full bar that features carefully-selected craft beers and wines and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine in a warm and casual dining setting. Marx frequently hosts music events, with a mix of DJs and local musicians. They also offer MLB Baseball, NFL, NHL and UEFA Soccer on multiple big screen TVs.
Mason Inn is proud to be a local bar in Glover Park. All are welcome to meet, connect, and unwind there. Weekdays you’ll find drink specials at the bar. Weekends Mason Inn features live music, front and center on their raised stage. Enjoy a pint, wine down with a glass, or sip on a no-frills cocktail served by experienced bartenders in a casual, down to earth atmosphere. The bar is equipped with 9 large-screen TVs and a 100-inch projection screen, all connected to a full sports packages.
MIDLANDS BEER GARDEN
Midlands is “just your average down-to-earth beer garden with a large outdoor AND indoor space with 14 drafts, wine by the bottle and some spirits.” They also have a kitchen serving up sandwiches, picnic baskets featuring different meats, cheeses, bread and yummy spreads. Midlands has 5 TVs and two 100″ projector screens which show DirecTV & Big 10 Network, plus all other sports. Midlands hosts live music one or two times a week, most weeks of the year.
3333 Georgia Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20010
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Mr. Henry’s is a Capitol Hill mainstay. It is a place to relax, meet with friends, soak up the local atmosphere, and enjoy Classic American pub food. Live Jazz is offered at Henry’s Upstairs on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Other performances & events are in planning stages, such as art shows, Bluegrass Thursdays, Folk, Comedy & Burlesque acts. The menu is full of tasty burgers, sandwiches, entrées, salads, and soups. During the summer the patio is the place to be for people-watching and enjoying a perfectly chilled cocktail.
The upstairs restoration has left intact the historic paneling (salvaged from the old Dodge Hotel) and kept the old world look and feel it was known for in the late 60’s when Roberta Flack made her meteoric rise to stardom. Modernization was done where most needed, including new furnishings, a flat-screen TV, and a custom beer tower.
MR. SMITH’S OF GEORGETOWN
Mr. Smith’s is now at its new location across from the Georgetown Waterfront Park. With over 50 years in business, Mr. Smith’s is famous for its Burgers, Wings, Ribs, Champagne Brunch, and Sing-Along Piano Bar.
Mr. Smith’s Piano Bar features Jon Adelson, a legend amongst Georgetown & GW graduates. A true entertainer, Jon has been playing at Mr. Smith’s for over 15 years, and continues to entertain the crowds every Wednesday through Saturday nights.
Among Mr. Smith’s curious facts, the famous Tori Amos started her piano-playing career there when she was only 15 (while being chaperoned by her father). Also, infamous spy Aldrich Ames used Mr. Smith’s current location regularly to meet with Soviet spies during the mid-80’s Cold War.
NOTE: K Street is located underneath the Whitehurst Freeway – this can sometimes confuse GPS.
The Pinch strives to be a destination neighborhood bar. It offers strong drinks, beer for every taste, and food that regularly pops up on “best of DC” lists. The Pinch is a welcoming destination, as well as being a haunt for neighborhood regulars.
In addition to the great food, great drinks and great people, The Pinch always has something going on. It offers four TVs upstairs, a dog-friendly patio, a jukebox at the upstairs bar, and a basement lounge that features everything from live music to trivia to burlesque.
Roofers Union offers classic American fare, as envisioned by Executive Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley, and an inspired bar program. Three levels provide a spacious, comfortable place to gather with friends or neighbors for any occasion. The cozy and relaxed first level includes a cocktail-centric bar menu. The second floor restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows faces 18th Street and offers craft beer, a selection of 10 to 12 wines by the glass, and a wine list which incorporates moderately-priced selections from around the world. Boasting one of the best rooftops in the District, the views at Roofers Union only enhance the fabulous food and drink. Regularly-held special events include live music, wine nights, family nights, and neighborhood nights.
Rumba Café is a Latin American-style restaurant and bar located in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. They offer popular dishes from the folk cultures of Latin America in an artistic and vibrant setting. Both locals and out-of-town fans come to Rumba Cafe for a taste of traditional foods, excellent bar drinks, and top-notch live music. Rumba Café offers live music on Thursdays through Sundays, all with a south-of-the-border style.
Shaw’s Tavern is a gastropub that brings a seasonal menu and innovative atmosphere to the Shaw Neighborhood. The menu offers both a vast array of classic comforts and rustic delicacies. The ambiance combines urban form with country elegance. Entertainment offerings include a piano bar on Wednesdays, trivia nights, and occasionally special live music events.
The Tropicalia is a U Street dance spot, named after an avant-garde 60s-era, Brazilian cultural movement. It labels itself as an international “dance club for grownups” and features bands and DJs with a Rio Funk/ AfroHouse lean. It is decorated with large surrealist art installations and a glass mosaic bar, and features signature cocktails and a variety of imported beers.
The Velvet Lounge is a small-venue bar which offers a mix of live music and DJs on two floors, along with reasonably-priced drinks. Musical offerings can vary widely, from punk rock to alt-folk. The Velvet Lounge is known for having a knack for booking some of the best niche and up-and-coming bands in the District.
The Wonderland Ballroom has served as a neighborhood hang-out for the Columbia Heights community since 2004. It is a bar, a restaurant, a meeting place, a comedy shop and a live music venue.
The outdoor beer garden was chosen as a “Best of DC 2012” destination. Wonderland also offers a community venue for events and fundraisers. The Wonderland also provides space for many of its neighbors’ fundraising events, and is best known for the annual Sundress Party, which raises money every year for a different local charity.