An independent streak a mile long full of restaurants, bars, shopping and more
Deriving its name from two formerly segregated elementary schools, Adams Morgan is a culturally diverse neighborhood brimming with creatives, salsa fans and revelers in this come-as-you-are nightlife hot spot. The main thoroughfare, 18th Street, features a mix of cool cat bars, raucous music venues and Latin-infused lounges. Locals love the neighborhood for its tree-lined streets, late-night scene, quirky boutiques and global cuisine.
Explore Adams Morgan By Day
A must-stop coffee shop
Start your day off in this eclectic DC neighborhood by grabbing a seat in any of the mismatched chairs that dot Tryst coffeehouse. The highlights of this large, laid-back cafe include animal crackers with every coffee drink and patio seating perfect for people-watching along eclectic 18th Street.
Is brunch more your thing?
The restorative powers of a brunch can be witnessed when walking through “AdMo” on a weekend at noon, as you encounter throngs of people waiting to hear their name called at any number of restaurants. The lucky seated at Smoke & Barrel gorge on thoroughly rib-sticking orders of huevos rancheros with braised pork or brisket sandwiches. Perry’s, a few doors down, also attracts gatherers waiting for the first seating of its celebrated drag queen brunch.
Quirky vintage shops galore
The shopping options in Adams Morgan also skew on the funky side. The neighborhood’s brightly colored, independently owned stores cater to your inner fashionista and music lover. Venture to the southernmost tip of Adams Morgan to find trendy design stores Hudson & Crane, as well as And Beige. Inspect vintage fashions at Meeps, a trusty consignment shop, and continue the trendsetting with even more turn-back-the-clock fashions at Mercedes Bien Vintage. Also on the main strip, Violet Boutique is a cost-friendly, fashion forward option for ladies. For more funky shopping ideas throughout the District, be sure to explore these vintage shops.
Vinyl aficionados can get turn on and tune in at Crooked Beat Records, which is fully stocked with all types of music, or venture further up 18th Street to Smash Records, which will help you pad your indie and punk collection. Chill out and listen to tunes at Songbyrd Record Cafe, where on Sunday’s, the needle drops on brand new vinyl that is sold at a used price after only one play.
Explore Adams Morgan By Night
When the sun goes down, everyone from local college students to lovers of live music and suits who like to work hard and play harder flock to Adams Morgan. No matter your preference, there’s something for all walks of life in AdMo.
Enjoy a laid-back scene
Reach the uppermost perch at Roofers Union, a three-level restaurant helmed by talented toque and Top Chef star Marjorie Meek-Bradley, and gaze out at the 18th Street scene. If heights scare you, show off your bravery by taking down an oyster shooter at Pop’s SeaBar, with the requisite coozy-wrapped Tecate tall boy close at hand. Dan's Cafe owns top dive bar honors along 18th Street, where you can order self-serve liquor out of a squeeze bottle and command the music from a vintage jukebox.
Satisfying international eats
Get your culinary passport stamped sampling international fare in Adams Morgan. Explore New American cooking with a French twist at Mintwood Place from chef Cedric Maupilier (see: crispy escargot hush puppies and flavorful beef bourguignon), or if you prefer Asian fare that won’t break the bank, try a Japanese rice bowl from Donburi or a steaming helping of Sakuramen's umami-charged brew. New arrival Tail Up Goat has become a fast favorite among locals for its new takes on classic dishes, such as sumac-infused lamb ribs, lasagna made with goat or octopus ragu over cavatelli.
Dance to live music (or make your own)
For more than 20 years, Madam’s Organ blues bar has been an Adams Morgan nightlife anchor thanks to stiff drinks and live music every night of the week. It’s hard to miss this neighborhood landmark (just look out for the larger than life mural with a redheaded woman on building’s side). Or you can make your own music by showing off your vocal range with your own private room at Muzette. Dance the night away stepping to rhythmic Cuban beats and blaring horn sections at Habana Village. Never danced salsa before? Talented instructors will guide you on Wednesday nights through Saturday nights.
Top if off with a nightcap
Few establishments boast a more robust whiskey list than Jack Rose, which sits at the southern end of 18th Street. Single malt Scotch, blended Scotch, Irish whiskey, domestic whiskey and bourbon – it’s all there. And if you’re looking for plaudits, Esquire magazine named the bar among its “Best Bars in America, 2013.” Hidden in the back of the bar is its craft cocktail-minded speakeasy, Dram & Grain (text ahead for reservations on the weekend or ask the Jack Rose host to be seated there Tuesday through Thursday).
Once you’ve explored Adams Morgan, head to another nearby neighborhood. U Street is filled with more late night revelry, while Dupont Circle is dotted with a few more museums and galleries.