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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Washington DC article click DailyXtraTravel
Washingtonians take pride in their
mobility and adaptability. It seems as if most people here are from
somewhere else, brought to the
nation's capital by jobs in the
government or one of the related
industries or the military. Maybe that's why it's so easy to get to know people in this company town.
There's brass at the Pentagon, but it's
the buff young marines who run
laps near the Navy Yard barracks (in tight brief shorts) you'll want to polish. Perhaps you'll find one of them in the dark corners at the Eagle, or amid the crush of shirtless hunks at the Green Lantern. But don't ask, and don't tell!
Washington is an easy city to navigate,
divided into Northeast,
Northwest, Southeast and Southwest
quadrants. The Capitol building is
at the center, and streets spread out
in a grid pattern. Avenues named
for the states cut through at
The main gay center of gravity is the
Dupont Circle neighborhood. One
of the country's most pleasant gay
districts, Dupont Circle is full of
sidewalk cafes, bars, clubs, shops, and
lots of interesting people.
Within easy walking distance. P Street
Beach is a green oasis alongside
Rock Creek, perfect for daytime tanning
and nighttime liaisons (police
do patrol here, so be careful). Rock
Creek Park runs through much of
the city, on either side of the winding
eponymous stream and parkway
running through the woodlands. The National
Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave) is
here, too, just one Metro stop north of
The Mall is a tourist-thronged expanse
of lawn between the Capitol and the Washington Monument. This the streets here are lined with the many museum buildings of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Vietnam and World War
II memorials are situated between the
Washington Monument and the Lincoln
The Jefferson Memorial, the
National Gallery of Art (401
Constitution Ave), the National Portrait
Gallery (750 9th St NW) and the
Corcoran Gallery (500 17th St NW) are within walking distance.
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2700 F St NW) presents a variety of performances of theater, musicals, modern dance, ballet, and every kind of music at their famous location on the Potomac, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Georgetown waterfront.
Getting here, getting around
Washington has two airports, plus
another that's conveniently close in
Baltimore, Maryland. The Ronald Reagan National Airport (simply National to locals) is small but ideally situated across the
Potomac in Arlington, Virginia. From here the Metro connects you directly to
Washington Dulles International, 26
miles west of downtown, has
Washington Flyer Coaches leaving every 30 minutes for
Metro's West Falls Church station.
has rapid transit rail connections to
Union Station (50 Massachusetts Ave NE) the
arrival point for Amtrak trains, is
also a destination in itself. It's
filled with shops and restaurants. From
here, Metrorail takes you most
anywhere else in the city.
DC's subway system, the Metro, will comfortably get you where you're going. Dupont Circle has a station on the Red Line. Rather
than dealing with heavy traffic and
difficult parking, leave your car
in your hotel's garage. Taxis are
convenient, especially late at night
after Metro closes.
The two Washington gay papers, free at
most gay businesses, are Metro
Weekly and the
Washington Blade, one of the best and most influential gay papers in America (it's name restored after a brief stint as the DC Agenda). Each has news, features and club listings.
City Paper is a weekly
alternative paper with general listings.
the capital city's gay film festival
screens at several different
venues around town. For upcoming October 2010 dates see their website.
Washington DC International Film
Festival is the city's largest annual film festival. Look for dates each April.
Leather & Bears
The Centaur MC leather and motercycle group has events that include the Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend each January, and Olympia, a Labor Day 2010 weekend of fun, held every other year in the countryside of SE Pennsylvania.
The DC Bear
events for bears in DC and
Black Lesbian &
Gay Pride Day brings African American gays and their friends to
celebrate every Memorial Day weekend.
Pride is a ten-day
celebration, this year from Friday, June 4, 2010. The June 12 parade steps
off at 6:30pm, heading past Dupont Circle, and the street fair will be on Sunday June 13th. See details on their website (click link above).
Dupont Circle area
Residence (1824 R St NW;
202-667-6707) elegant B&B,
fitness center, art gallery.
Suites (1735 New Hampshire NW;
202-234-3200) Large suites with
kitchens, near bars, restaurants,
(1515 Rhode Island Ave NW;
202-232-7000) large boutique
hotel, off Scott Circle.
Inn (2120 P St NW; 202-466-
6800) chain hotel, close to gay
House (1808 New Hampshire Ave
202-265-4414) lovely B&B,
rooms with fireplaces and whirlpool
tubs, swimming pool.
House B&B (1309 R St NW; 202-
B&B, near tourist sights and gay
bars, special Sunday breakfast.
Guesthouse (1337 Tenth St NW,
Circle; 202-332 2502) historic
mansion, elegant neighborhood, near
convention center, museums,
Suites (2505 Wisconsin Ave NW,
Glover Park; 202-337-9700) near
Georgetown, great views, all
Bars & clubs
Capitol Hill & SE
Mill/Back Door Pub (1104 8th St
neighborhood institution, Miss Star
Black America pageants.
Banana Cafe and
Piano Bar (500 8th St SE)
piano bar above restaurant, vibrant
colors, cool drinks, Caribbean art.
(525 8th St SE) nation's oldest
lesbian bar, dancing, drag-king
shows, live music, karaoke.
(639 Pennsylvania Ave SE)
country-western dance hall,
mostly men, Sunday drag shows.
Washington (1315 K St. NW) drag
(639 New York Ave NW)
Levi/leather and bear bar, no-attitude
late-night crowd, three floors, cruisy
Green Lantern and
Tool Shed (1335 Green Ct,
1335 L St NW) always cruisy,
tightly packed, especially on shirtless
and underwear nights.
Dupont Circle / Adams Morgan
09 17th St NW) steakhouse of 60 years with popular gay Upstairs Lounge.
22nd St NW) shirts-off dance
club, 18+ crowd, some older
guys and women, shows, after hours
(1639 R St NW) three-floor dance club above Level One restaurant, with 30 Degrees lounge,
mostly men in their 20s and 30s.
DIK Bar at DuPont
Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St
NW) above Dupont
Italian Kitchen, mixed crowd,
laid-back and comfortable vibe.
Duplex Diner (2004 18th St NW) 50's style diner with busy Thursday nights drinks, conversation, and the company of many of DC's most interesting people, nightly from 6pm.
(1805 Connecticut Ave NW)
neighborhood lounge on second
floor, diverse mix.
Fireplace (2161 P St NW) two-level
video bar, cruisy, comfortable,
packed afternoon and evening, mostly
Jack's (1527 17th St NW) restaurant and
bar for everyone.
J.R.'s Bar And
Grill (1519 17th St NW) video
bar, chinos and button-down crowd, mostly guys, showtune sing-alongs.
Lounge (1836 18th St NW) mixed
neighborhood lounge bar with patio connected to Straits of Malaya restaurant.
DC (2122 O St NW) backdoor dance and cruise bar, packed with
energetic men. Drag show Mondays and popular on Wednesdays, when shirtless men drink for free.
(1409 14th St, NW) restaurant with popular Sunday brunch and gay-friendly bar.
(1318 9th St NW) small video bar
and dance club, with 18+ Wednesdays, go-go boys on Thursdays, and Saturday Jello Wrestling.
P St NW), a small and stylish
lounge, has eclectic music, fruity
drinks, and a mostly male crowd.
(1818 New York Ave NE)
Friday at Aqua, gay Latino dancing,
erotic male dancers, drag shows.
Elite (3734 10th St NE) women
Friday, men Saturday, house and
hip-hop dance club, after hours to
For many years Southeast was known for
a cluster of gay stripper bars, but
the area was bulldozed to make way for
a stadium. One of the classics
reopened recently in Southwest, across
South Capitol Street from its
(1824 Half St SW)
flamboyant drag shows, totally
nude male strippers Wednesdays through Sundays, monthly amateur strip contests, Thursdays free drinks for shirtless guys.
U Street corridor
54 (1847 14th
St NW) basement dance club
below restaurant, mixed gay/straight
crowd, eclectic music.
Bar (900 U St NW) big-
screen TV, patio bar, basic,
hearty food, near Howard
8th St NW) high-energy
weekend dance club by Howard University, Fridays 18+, and Saturdays, with cabaret drag shows and after
hours until 4am.
Outlying & occasional events
Bar (555 23rd St S,
Arlington) locals' restaurant and
bar favorite with a diverse crowd, live entertainment and drag shows, beyond the Potomac in N Virginia.
PW's Place at 9:30 (9855 N Washington Blvd, Laurel) gay sports bar with food and internet on Route One, in Maryland, midway between Washington and Baltimore.
Blowoff at 9:30 (815 V St, NW) occasional gay events for men, especially bears.
Mixtape (Mixtapedc.com) a periodic queer dance party that moves around town. Check their website for dates and venues.
Areas around Dupont Circle, especially
along 17th Street from P to R
Streets and throughout the Adams Morgan
area of 18th Street and
Columbia Road NW offer many restaurant
and cafe options of
international cuisines and price range.
A cluster of Asian restaurants
can be found in Chinatown (Metro:
Gallery Place). These are a few of particular interest, gay and otherwise:
Poets (2021 14th St NW, U
Street corridor) restaurant,
bookstore, internet cafe; political, arts, and literary gatherings, weekend brunch to 3pm.
Cafe Luna / Skewers (1633 P St NW) Dupont area Italian-American fare, upstairs dining room for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food; meat or vegetarian, low-fat options.
Cafe Saint-Ex (1847 14th St NW), lunch/brunch and daily dinner with three-course prix fixe options from frequently changing menu. Attached to Gate 54 art deco hangar-like DJ-music lounge.
Diner (2004 18th St NW, Adams
Morgan) gay-fave happy-hour bar
and kitchy diner restaurant with American food of burgers, mac & cheese, open daily.
Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St NW) indoor or sidewalk seating on busy Dupont area restaurant strip, see and been seen.
Kramerbooks & Afterwords (1517 Connecticut Ave NW) Dupont Circle landmark bookstore and cafe, breakfast and morning papers from 7:30am, lunch, dinner, busy 'til after midnight day and night, seven days; indoor and sidewalk seating, live entertainment, full-service bar.
Lafayette Room (One Lafayette Square) elegant Hay-Adams Hotel dining room across from the White House with elaborate Sunday buffet brunch.
La Frontera Cantina (1633 17th St NW) no frills Tex-Mex food and
drinks, sidewalk patio tables.
Old Ebbitt Grill (675 15th St NW) breakfast and lunch with the power elite from 7:30am weekdays, or weekend brunch; richly furnished, great food selection, excellent service.
11 Columbia Rd) American
Contemporary cuisine with Asian
touch in Adams Morgan, also with Sunday brunch and drag shows.
Soho Tea and Coffee (2150 P St NW)
Dupont area Internet
cafe, sandwiches, deserts; all-ages gay hangout, especially on weekends.
Sabores (3435 Connecticut Ave NW) Spanish restaurant serving brunch and dinner, with live music, right by Cleveland Park Metro station
Straits of Malaya (1836 18th St NW) roof top, sidewalk, and dining room seatings, Chinese and Indian accented Malay curries, stir fries, rolls, soups; meat or vegetarian.
(1321 14th Street NW) 24-hour
cruising, steam and sauna, TV
lounges, gym, tanning, 18+.
Glorious Health Club (2120 W Virginia Ave NE) new home of men's club displaced by the stadium, with steam, showers, open 24 hours just off New York Avenue.
Sales (1729 Connecticut
Ave NW, Dupont Circle) adult
video DVDs, magazines and toys.
Rising (1625 Connecticut Ave
Dupont Circle) after 35 years, one of the world's finest gay bookstores closed in January 2010.
Rack (1723 Connecticut Ave NW,
Dupont Circle) fine tailored
leather clothing, accessories, toys,
adult magazines and videos.
Pleasure Place (1710 Connecticut Ave
NW, Dupont Circle) erotic boutique
for many tastes.
Gear (1529-B 14th St NW)
packed with the latest fashions.
Ellicott City in
Maryland between Washington and Baltimore, is a charming little
town full of knick-knack and antique
Harper's Ferry), in
West Virginia, is a picturesque
junction of four states and the site of
the 1859 raid of John Brown.
Mount Vernon, home of
George Washington, open to the
public every day of the year, 16
miles south from Washington on the
banks of the Potomac.
Rehoboth Beach, on the Delaware Atlantic shore, is the favored area gay beach
destination, with many bars,
restaurants and guesthouses.