Seeking Washington DC bars and restaurants that are great for groups
January 23, 2012 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Can you list some bars and restaurants in DC that would be good for a group of 10-12, all 21+? I'm open to making reservations, but a) bars probably don't take them and b) it would also be nice to be able to descend on a location or two in a more impromptu fashion as the weekend develops. Neighborhoods and other relevant details within.

A contingent of friends is visiting this weekend, and we'd like to take them out and show them the town. We've got access to cars, buses, metros, and walking, and I think we've got entertainment/tourist-y things covered.

However, we won't be eating or drinking at my tiny place, so I'm looking for meals and drinks from Friday evening through Sunday morning.

Bonus points for places with a fantastic beer list. For instance, I would love to take the group to Churchkey or Red Derby on Saturday afternoon or evening, but I know both get very crowded, standing room is scarce, and I fear a group of 12 would be a bit much. I'd hate to truck everyone down there and then not have a backup plan. Nellie's is also definitely a possibility, though I'd lean towards saving that locale for Sunday brunch.

Neighborhoods in order of preference: Shaw/Eckington/LeDroit/Bloomingdale; U St Corridor; Adams Morgan; H St/Atlas; Columbia Heights/Petworth; Dupont.

I'm also looking at this helpful Yelp list.
posted by juliplease to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (9 answers total)
Lauriol Plaza is the classic choice for large groups in the neighborhoods you're looking at. The Bier Baron (former Brickskellar) can fit large groups too, and has a great beer list (although the ambiance isn't exactly amazing). RFD might work, too, if there are no Caps/Wiz games this weekend.
posted by downing street memo at 11:49 AM on January 23, 2012

Try Meridian Pint on 11th in Columbia Heights maybe? Lots of beers and a fair amount of room. Don't know if they take reservations tho.
posted by Cocodrillo at 11:52 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lauriol Plaza is the classic choice for large groups in the neighborhoods you're looking at.

True, but the wait for a table on a weekend night will be epic.

On the other hand, Utopia isn't too crowded, and I've been there with a decent sized group on a weekend night, and they've been able to seat us. They're more of a cocktail place than a beer place, though.

This is a bit of a tall order for a weekend night, I have to say. If it's good, it's going to be crowded. If you want to stand around and get drinks, there are plenty of options. But if you want to sit down and eat, I think reservations are going to be in order.

You'll have more flexibility in the afternoons, though.
posted by deanc at 12:06 PM on January 23, 2012

The Derby on a Saturday afternoon is generally not crowded at all, and should fit your group easily. It gets a little crowded as the night progresses (post, say,-9:00). You probably won't have trouble at the Black Squirrel so long as they have the third floor open, although the second floor is usually pretty open as well until it gets peak bar time (like 11:00). The good thing with Adams Morgen is if a place gets crowded, you can easily move on. Toledo is generally empty all night on weekends, so it can be a last-straw backup.
posted by General Malaise at 12:12 PM on January 23, 2012

Upstairs at Little Miss Whiskey's
posted by exogenous at 12:41 PM on January 23, 2012

As I recall, the dollar commitment to get the room at RFD is pretty low. We did it for a New Year's shindig at one point for just a couple hundred bucks. I imagine other times are a little lower cost...

Depending on the time there's plenty of stand-around space in Gordon Biersch. I don't love the place or the beer but your party size makes things challenging.

Similarly, Carmines has a lot of stand-around space and is also well-suited for a large seating. and the food's actually pretty good. On the next block the Iron Horse Taproom has space aplenty.

Sorry this is all very Penn Quarter heavy; we usually pick it to meet large groups because of the metro line convergence.

Off that path, there's Science Club; I've never reserved their floor for a weekend night but their price ranges between free and reasonable. We did the Metafilter anniversary meet there some time back. Beer list is not impressive but the veggie burger is fantastic.
posted by phearlez at 12:50 PM on January 23, 2012

Depending on how much you guys are going to drink, you can reserve the "Christmas tree room" at Little Miss Whiskey's for just a bar minimum.
posted by JoanArkham at 12:57 PM on January 23, 2012

Upstairs at Rock and Roll hotel?
posted by semacd at 10:07 PM on January 23, 2012

Response by poster: We ended up as follows:

- Friday: upstairs at Solly's on U St. worked out great

- Saturday: Beau Thai take-out for lunch, early (5pm-ish) dinner reservations at Founding Farmers, then we tested our luck at Meridian Pint after 9pm, where our patience with hot, crowded downstairs eventually landed us a large table upstairs.

- Sunday: brunch at Tonic in Mt. Pleasant

The upstairs room at LMW was high on my list, but the timing just didn't work out. Maybe next time!

Thank you all for the suggestions!
posted by juliplease at 1:58 PM on January 30, 2012

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