Dating in the District: 5 Potential First Date Bars

Eloise and I (Tess) are anything but dating experts. Since dating in the advent of dating apps has completely changed the game, we thought it would be fun to start a series that sheds some light on the DC dating scene. We’ll be doing this series every other Friday and topics will range from our favorite dating apps to our favorite date spots, bars, and activities to do around the district. We’re no experts (not even close) but, we thought this could be fun. Let us know if you have any suggestions or posts you’d like to read! So, let’s get started with a dating-must…what bar to go to.

This is a pretty general list, and we think any one on this list can make great first date – whether it is a blind-date, an app-date, a might-be-more-than-friends-date…and anything in-between. They all fit the basic criteria necessary for a good first date place:

  1. Easily accessible (near metro, walkable, etc)
  2. Good drink specials (because we’re all on a budget)
  3. Has enough seating (this is key – there is nothing more stressful than trying to save a seat for someone you barely know)

1. Hanks Oyster Bar Hanks-Oyster-Bar-2_MG_5519-1.jpgRight near Dupont Circle, Happy Hour goes from 3-7pm and offers beer, wine, a signature cocktail, and rail drinks all for $5 (plus $5 snacks, too). It also has a great outdoor space and plenty of seating.

2. Exiles


Is a relatively new bar (less than 5 years old) and it is the epitome of easy-going. There is a ton of seating, good drink specials (rail, wine, and beers from $4-6) and some decent food specials. It isn’t anything fancy, but if you want a lowkey first date at a no-muss, no-fuss kind of place, Exiles would be perfect. Exiles is in a pretty universal location, walkable from almost anywhere on 14th & u, not to mention less than a fifteen minute walk from all the metro lines. Their Happy Hour also runs until 8pm. We’ve reviewed the Happy Hour there, which you can read more about here.

3. Black Jack


Is one of our favorite places in D.C. for not only a first date, but a night out. However, if you are aiming for a weekday first date try heading to Black Jack at 5 or 6 (if you get out of work that early) on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Try your best to get there before 6:15 so you can score some of the lounge seating located at the front of the bar. Their drink specials are good ($3-5 for beer, $5 for wine) and their food specials ($7 pizzas – amazing) are even better. It’s centrally located about a 15-20 minute walk from Dupont metro and u-street, and 14th is dotted with buses that will drop you near by.

4. Ghibellina

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 7.00.47 AMIs great if you’re looking for something a little more upscale, but still want a deal. This is also a pretty busy spot so you might want to get there on the early side to enjoy the $7 cocktails, $3-6 beer, and $6 wine, alongside of $10 pizzas.

5. Taqueria Nacional timthumb.jpgis a fun place right near 14th, although pretty busy. They have a regular happy hour from 4-7:30pm where you can get $5 beer and wine, and for $6 bucks you can get a delicious marg. Not to mention, they have a lot of yummy food (although none of it is on happy hour).

Photo credits: 13, 4, 5