Red Derby

3718 14th St. NW


Tucked away in Columbia Heights, Red Derby is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. Marked only by the red hat painted above its door, this restaurant-bar is notable for its cheap beer (cans only) and great happy hour, where every drink is $1 off. There are also daily specials that should definitely be taken advantage of. Four days a week, they offer discounted special mixed drinks as well as daily food specials — be sure to stop by on Mondays for half-off burgers during happy hour and Wednesdays for burritos. Their rooftop is one of the best in the District, although with the cold weather quickly approaching, it will be harder to capitalize on the outdoor setting. Red Derby is definitely one of the most underrated dive bars in Washington, serving up great food, cheap drinks and a great neighborhood culture that can be otherwise hard to find in Georgetown.



1823 L St. NW


While certainly not the typical image of a dive bar, Recessions provides a great escape from the more run-of-the-mill yuppie D.C. bars. If anything, it embodies the anti-trendiness of dive bars. Placed among the hustle and bustle of Farragut Square, this basement diner is a quiet and quirky space. The interior is a cross between a cheesy ’70s bar — with its exposed fake stone walls — and a grungy’90s club with mirrors everywhere. Recessions is rarely packed, allowing for breathing room and easy conversation. During happy hour, patrons will find $5 appetizers and even cheaper beer, including the massive King Kong beers. However, it does not have to be happy hour for you to take advantage of their great discounts, as all of their food and drinks are very reasonably priced. Recessions is also a pool hall, so pool players will feel right at home at this odd yet charming dive.


The Codmother

1334 U St. NW


Looking for traditional fish and chips in D.C.? The Codmother is the place to go. A dive bar in the U Street corridor right next to the Metro stop, this is the best spot in town to get cheap drinks and listen to your favorite rock and punk hits from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Although there are not many tables, which forces people to stand, the atmosphere is open and welcoming, and mingling with the bartender or other patrons is fun and easy. The dance floor can be either filled with drunken patrons or empty, with people sitting at the bar or at tables chatting and drinking beer. With winter coming up, the warm, cozy lighting will be amazing — as will the fried food. If fish and chips is not up your alley, you can get just about anything else that you can imagine fried. They even serve fried Snickers bars — can’t get more decadent than that.

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