Bar or restaurant near Dupont Circle for birthday drinks/apps/dinner
January 18, 2013 9:00 AM   Subscribe

My birthday's coming up, and I'm looking for a place near Dupont Circle (DC) to get together with friends and co-workers after work on a Friday where many of us can have dinner, but which will also smoothly accomodate some people coming in and out for drinks only (and people ordering their apps and/or entrees at different times.) Basically I'd like to be there for at least 2 to 3 hours but for it to be no problem for some people to come late or leave early, and for people to feel equally welcome either to stop by for a few drinks or to arrive at any point, have dinner and stick around to possibly continue elsewhere afterwards.

Other criteria:

-- Room for 10-15 to sit with minimal wait upon arrival around 5:30, either walk-in or if they'll hold tables. (Actually, probably it'll be more like 5-10 at the very beginning, so they'd need to either be willing to give us extra space we're not using yet, or be able to accomodate new arrivals fairly easily-- it's okay if some people have to stand for a few minutes but I don't want new arrivals to have to stand until someone else decides to leave.)
-- Not so loud we can't talk (or at least won't get too loud until a couple hours in.)
-- Great food is a bonus, but really I only care that it's at least decent (and has at least a couple vegetarian options for apps and entrees.)
-- Doesn't have to be cheap, but would be nice if it's not super-expensive (or if it's really pricey, at least have some decent happy hour specials that are available on a Friday.)
-- Willing to go a little ways from Dupont Circle for a place that's really great, but the further away it is, the better it has to be.
-- Bonus for the birthday girl but not nearly as important as the above (I can treat myself another time!): awesome sweet and/or rum-based cocktails, and tasty desserts.

Most of the above is somewhat flexible, so feel free to say "this meets most of your criteria but it might be too expensive for you/too far from Dupont Circle/too noisy/etc."

(Also, I totally love the idea of Board Room but it's a bummer that there's no food there... has anyone ordered food for delivery there, and does that work pretty smoothly? Or maybe I should just try to talk folks into going after we finish up at whereever we go first.)
posted by EmilyClimbs to Food & Drink (9 answers total)
Gazuza. You can make a reservation for an "area" with couches and tables without a formal "reservation for 15 which will not be seated until everyone arrives."
posted by deanc at 9:15 AM on January 18, 2013

At least a couple years ago Lauriol Plaza would work great for this so long as you call ahead in advance and get the rooftop seating.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:47 AM on January 18, 2013

Trio Restaurant is attached to its sister-bar Fox and Hounds. You can eat at Trio and spill over into F&Hs and back as needed quite seamlessly. Bonus: it's fairly cheap!

Warning: Fox and Hounds serves "set-ups" so be prepared for someone (everyone) to become very intoxicated.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:54 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Vapiano is popular for work happy hours because everyone gets their own tab as they come in.
posted by forkisbetter at 10:03 AM on January 18, 2013

Hank's Oyster Bar on 17th and Q Street is fantastic. They have a small, sunken lounge area few steps down from the bar where people can comfortably eat and also pop in and out for drinks. If that doesn't work, they have a bar area and adjacent dining area upstairs.

Bar Pilar on 14th street is set up for dining at high tables that are right next to the bar and also in a back room, and patrons can order drinks at the bar and bring them over. It works well for the group where some are dining and others are drinking. Food is great there too.
posted by 0110 at 10:13 AM on January 18, 2013

Vapiano is great logistically but it's always felt a little cafeteria-like to me, which might be a downside. Bar Pilar might be a little small for 15 at once, but might work out with fewer people? Lauriol Plaza is a great suggestion.

Probably not for this time (it's a little small and formal,) but Firefly does great drinks and it's a very cool bar!
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:49 AM on January 18, 2013

Estadio is one of my favorite restaurants in the area. The food is delicious and is served tapas-style for easy staggered ordering. I've never been with a large party, but according to the website they have a semi-private dining area for groups of 9 or more.

I also second Hank's and Bar Pilar as far as general fantastic-ness. Bar Pilar might be a little small if the back room is taken when you arrive.
posted by Latifolia at 11:54 AM on January 18, 2013

Science Club is great for happy hours - the basement and second floor are perfect for small groups. In fact, if you want it all for yourself, I think you can rent the 2nd floor for something like $100 - $150. No drink/food minimum.
posted by echo0720 at 3:11 PM on January 18, 2013

Try the Front Page as it is awesome and doesn't suck.
posted by John of Michigan at 5:55 PM on January 19, 2013

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