You’ll probably visit the capital of the US to see its famous monuments, museums, and government buildings. Indeed, a visit to the Federal City is intellectually stimulating, what with all the historical, scientific, and cultural value it has to offer. And if you want to add an epicurean experience to your trip, the wine bars in Washington DC will be more than willing to welcome you.
The past few decades have seen the city’s wine culture embrace a bolder and more adventurous turn. And thanks to the capital’s proximity to Virginia and Maryland’s wine countries, fine varieties are never in short supply. Today, you don’t have to go out of DC to sample exquisite wines hailed from all over the world.
Here are eight wine bars in Washington DC you might want to visit if you want to end your day with a chill vibe and just the right buzz.
If you’re in the mood for a gastronomic adventure, check out Ambar, which offers Balkan cuisine. Staying true to their Southeast European customs, their dishes are generously flavored with spices. Balkan cuisine is known for meats, and if you can’t decide between chicken skewers and Balkan kebab, there’s a mixed meat platter to give you a bit of everything. They also offer unlimited small plates and selected drinks at $49. This can be a perfect option for any novice looking to explore Balkan flavors.
Their wine list is just as colorful and unique as their menu. Unlike many resto-bars that offer French and Italian wines, their roster mainly includes varieties from Moldova, Macedonia, Slovenia, and other parts of Eastern Europe. Sure, names like Stobi Zilavka and Quadratus Syrah may not be as familiar as your favorite Bordeaux or Riesling. But just ask their staff about possible pairings, and they’ll be happy to assist. You can find Ambar at 523 8th St SE. They also have locations in Belgrade and Clarendon.
ENO Wine Bar
ENO Wine Bar offers the best wine pairings the Mid-Atlantic has to offer. In fact, if you pick something from their wine list, they can suggest pairings with charcuterie, cheeses, and chocolate sourced from local Virginia and Pennsylvania farms. That said, the range of their cheeses is undeniably vast. In fact, it’s divided into several sections, such as Heidi, Cheddar, Goats, and Blues.
The bar’s wine list mostly consists of varieties from US wineries as well as a few Italian and French varieties. In addition to those, they also have exquisite dessert wines such as Sherry and Madeira. Non-wine drinkers in your group won’t have to suffer. They also carry local beers and ciders from the DC and nearby states.
ENO Wine Bar is in Four Seasons Hotel, located at the city’s historic Georgetown. That means a visit to this bar is ideal if you’re staying at the hotel. You won’t have to worry about tipsy finding your way after a few bottles! They also have wine rooms in San Francisco, Intercontinental Chicago, and Ritz-Carlton Laguna, Niguel.
Flight Wine Bar
If you’re looking for an elegant wine bar for a nightcap, then Flight Wine Bar should be on your list. A James Beard Semifinalist for Best Wine Program 2020, this bar makes a mark by combining great food with awesome global wines. It’s a venture of two sommeliers who have traveled far across the globe to source the best varieties. So, you can expect nothing less than a colorfully diverse wine list – a collection of all kinds of delicious.
If their roster of more than 600 wines seems a wee bit overwhelming for you, fret not. They have 22 wine flights, designed to give you a little taste of more varieties. They focus on sourcing from family-owned estates as well as lesser-known varietals and regions. So, you can be assured that your wine tasting session in this bar will be memorable and one-of-a-kind.
Enjoy your wine with their sumptuous dinner offerings that highlight seasonal local ingredients. The interior is cozy and softly-lit and is surely conducive to relaxing after a long day of museum queues and monument crowds. You can find Flight Wine Bar in the city’s historic China Town.
The Pursuit Wine Bar
If you’re looking for wine bars in Washington DC that locals frequent, then pay a visit to The Pursuit Wine Bar & Kitchen. It’s so popular among the drinking public that it’s been named The Best Wine Bar in DC three years in a row by Washington City Paper.
Their classic American cuisine with an Italian and French flair is a hit among diners. You’ll surely enjoy their house-made pasta, small plates, paninis, and small plates with a glass or two of the best pairings from all over the world. Their global wine list includes varieties from the US, South America, Europe, and Africa.
In addition to that, they also have flights that allow guests to sample different wines. Aside from wine-growing region-themed sets, they also have fun sets such as a trio of bubbles and “wine of a different color.” The Pursuit is open for lunch and dinner and is located at 1025 H Street NE.
Dio is a must-visit for fans of natural wine. They take pride in offering varieties that are made from organic or biodynamic farmed grapes. This means that the fruits are grown with as little chemical sprays as possible. Added to that, the juice is left to ferment with little intervention in the cellar. Dio embraces the natural approach and aims to offer the experience to its patrons.
They have a curated wine program with 100 wines, which they offer by the glass through a rotation. They offer these wines along with sumptuous food that is either natural or locally-made in DMV. These include ice cream, spirits, coffee, or tea created by local artisans. They also offer pickles, jams, shrubs, cordials, syrups, and freshly baked bread that they make in-house. Dio is located at 904 H Street, NE.
La Jambe’s owner, Anastasia Mori, is a French charcuterie-lover by heart. In fact, she claims that when other kids asked for candies, she asked for prosciutto! So, it’s not surprising that she found herself as a marketing manager for cured meats, and later, as a charcuterie and wine bar owner.
The bar’s tenet is simple – they want to let guests experience the best of the old world in an intimate space. They aim to expose diners to the French palate through their carefully curated menu of wine, cheese, and of course, charcuterie. That said, all of their wines are from various parts of la République. With a French local in charge, you can be assured they know what they’re doing.
La Jambe has two stores in DC: its Shaw location is at 1550 7th St. while its Union Market branch is at 1309 5th St.
Barcelona Wine Bar
Going to Barcelona Wine Bar is walking into a pub in Barri Gòtic. Their solid menu of tapas with Mediterranean, Spanish, and South American influences is enough to make you stay. Not to mention, they have almost 400 wines on the wine list, so get ready for a night of drinking and munching!
This bar is one of the most prominent Spanish wine programs in the US. If you aren’t up for the challenge of choosing from their 400 bottles, they also have 40 wines served by the glass. If you’re keen on learning more about Spanish wines, ask them about their classes. Highly-qualified instructors will teach you how to think like a sommelier, so it’s surely a fun activity for oenophiles. And you might just be in luck if there’s a scheduled class while you’re in town!
Barcelona Wine Bar is located at 1622 14th Street.
There are nights when you just want a no nonsense, fuss-free wine fix. If such is the case, then be sure to check out The Eastern. This neighborhood bar devotes itself to making wine accessible and fun. But don’t misread their happy, casual vibe with a lack of wine expertise. In fact, their management team is headed by a well-respected Sommelier. If that doesn’t impress you, then maybe their 40 wines by the glass and bottle will.
Their interior has just the right mix of retro, quirky, and hip. The 50-seat interior of the bar has a mid-century design. Aside from that, they also have an alfresco dining area on the patio, with a seating capacity of 20. It’s the perfect backdrop for a relaxed night while sipping your choice of reds, whites, or bubbles.
They also offer a vast assortment of small plates, as well as charcuterie and cheeses to go with your drink. The Eastern is at the heart of Eastern Market on Capitol Hill.
The wine bars in Washington DC are surely brimming with great wine, excellent food, and a fun ambiance to boot. Check out any of these bars and take in the vibe of The District as you pop, clink, and sip.