Suffering from cabin fever after last weekend’s record 26″ snowfall? Ready to get out and party all night? “Seek and Ye shall find.” Or you can check in with the Wing Woman and learn DC’s secret hotspots. From the exclusive hearsay venues known only amongst the cool kids to your regular rotation of late night hideouts, I know about them all. Let’s get into my top 4 picks now.Let’s start our secret tour of DC nightlife with the obvious. Mings. Located in DC’s Chinatown among a plethora of direct competitors with identical menus, Ming’s is a standout in terms of quality and atmosphere.
What’s the Secret: Hey! Save the eyeroll. While many may be familiar with the highly trafficked Ming’s, I’m willing to bet not many know that Ming’s is open after hours. But only if you knock.
Why we like it: Well for starters, there’s happy hour everyday. Yes, all seven days of the week. More importantly, if you’ve recently “New Year, New Me’d” Ming’s creep hours will keep you from falling into the jumbo slice/drive thru/four wings and fried rice roulette many of us play after a night of heavy drinking ala Adam’s Morgan or the U Street Corridor.Rumor has it that this basement space, stealthy located beneath the Doi Moi’s cornerstone location on 14th and S streets Northwest, was originally just an awkward storage space that came with Doi Moi’s lease. Lucky for us, the original owner, Mark Kuller, turned the awkward into adventurous with 2 Birds, 1 Stone’s’ windowless yet brightly lit interior and intimate recessed booths. Perfect selfie lighting. Thank me later.
What’s the secret: In addition to the fun hideaway appeal of this bar’s location, inside there are more charms to discover about this clandestine cocktail bar. Look closely or you may miss 2 Birds, 1 Stone’s hidden table for two inset into the wall, monthly hand-illustrated menus and washrooms lined in erotic wallpaper.
Why we like it: 2 Birds, 1 Stone’s lively scene, eclectic playlist, over-sized small plates and back-lit alcoves are perfect for nights you want to hide in plain sight with bae or make this your first stop on a night out on U street.Tucked away from 14th street and handsomely decorated, this intimate spot is perfect for an after dark clank of glasses with a new flame or for that crossroads in the night where you and the crew could either turn up or turn it in.
What’s the secret: You can’t find this spot, and they’ve done this on purpose. This bar is literally the left door of real estate development firm, Lock 7. This makes for a closely seated, exclusive cocktail bar you’ll quickly find yourself referring to as “your spot” after your first visit.
Why we like it: The perfect cocktail bar for when you want to drink like a grown up, amongst grown ups. Left Door’s bar staff is big on showmanship (I mean, they swallow flames for goodness sakes!), and houses one of the best selections for rare spirits in the city. To put it plainly, if there was ever a joke that started “So Ron Burgundy and the Dos Equis man walk into a bar….” Left Door would be that bar.I’m not yet sure why it’s called Atlantic Plumbing Cinema, so that might be its own secrect, but the two-for-one venue is U Street’s newest offering. Atlantic Plumbing Cinema boasts an elite viewing experience with plush leather seats, a full service bar and kitchen and movie themed cocktails.
What’s the Secret: On Sunday’s this spot hosts a late night happy hour starting at 10 pm. True to Atlantic Plumbing Cinema’s hybrid identity as both a bar and movie theater, they also pair its cocktails with an after hours showing of classic cinema.
Why we like it: Crafted as a late night haunt for DC’s night owls and creatives, this secret happy hour is the perfect place to make a cool friend or to have a drink with your favorite bartender on the same side of the bar for once. Check in with them next month for a showing of Love Jones.