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March 2010 Email this to a friend

Washington DC

By Staff reports

Leather Rack
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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 angles.

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 Dupont Circle.

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 Memorial..

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 downtown.
Washington Dulles International, 26 miles west of downtown, has Washington Flyer Coaches leaving every 30 minutes for Metro's West Falls Church station. Baltimore/Washington International has rapid transit rail connections to both cities.

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.

Film Events

Reel Affirmations, the capital city's gay film festival screens at several different venues around town. For upcoming October 2010 dates see their website.
The 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 Club organizes events for bears in DC and surrounding areas.

Pride day

Black Lesbian & Gay Pride Day brings African American gays and their friends to celebrate every Memorial Day weekend.
Capital 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
Artists Inn Residence (1824 R St NW; 202-667-6707) elegant B&B, fitness center, art gallery.
Carlyle Suites (1735 New Hampshire NW; 202-234-3200) Large suites with kitchens, near bars, restaurants, shops.
Doubletree (1515 Rhode Island Ave NW; 202-232-7000) large boutique hotel, off Scott Circle.
Residence Inn (2120 P St NW; 202-466- 6800) chain hotel, close to gay venues.
Swann House (1808 New Hampshire Ave NW; 202-265-4414) lovely B&B, rooms with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs, swimming pool.
Willian Lewis House B&B (1309 R St NW; 202- 462-7574) Edwardian-style B&B, near tourist sights and gay bars, special Sunday breakfast.

DC Guesthouse (1337 Tenth St NW, Logan Circle; 202-332 2502) historic mansion, elegant neighborhood, near convention center, museums, monuments.
Savoy Suites (2505 Wisconsin Ave NW, Glover Park; 202-337-9700) near Georgetown, great views, all amenities.

Bars & clubs

Capitol Hill & SE
Bachelor's Mill/Back Door Pub (1104 8th St SE) 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.
Phase 1 (525 8th St SE) nation's oldest lesbian bar, dancing, drag-king shows, live music, karaoke.
Remingtons (639 Pennsylvania Ave SE) country-western dance hall, mostly men, Sunday drag shows.

Academy of Washington (1315 K St. NW) drag shows.
D.C. Eagle (639 New York Ave NW) Levi/leather and bear bar, no-attitude late-night crowd, three floors, cruisy deck.
Green Lantern and Tool Shed (1335 Green Ct, behind 1335 L St NW) always cruisy, tightly packed, especially on shirtless and underwear nights.

Dupont Circle / Adams Morgan
Annie's (16 09 17th St NW) steakhouse of 60 years with popular gay Upstairs Lounge.
Apex (1415 22nd St NW) shirts-off dance club, 18+ crowd, some older guys and women, shows, after hours dancing.
Cobalt (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.
Fab Lounge (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 men.
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.
Larry's Lounge (1836 18th St NW) mixed neighborhood lounge bar with patio connected to Straits of Malaya restaurant.
Omega 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.

Logan Circle
1409 Playbill (1409 14th St, NW) restaurant with popular Sunday brunch and gay-friendly bar.
EFN Lounge (1318 9th St NW) small video bar and dance club, with 18+ Wednesdays, go-go boys on Thursdays, and Saturday Jello Wrestling.
Mova (1435 P St NW), a small and stylish lounge, has eclectic music, fruity drinks, and a mostly male crowd.

Fuego (1818 New York Ave NE) Friday at Aqua, gay Latino dancing, erotic male dancers, drag shows.
Delta Elite (3734 10th St NE) women Friday, men Saturday, house and hip-hop dance club, after hours to 5am.

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 old location.
Ziegfeld's/Secrets (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
Cafe Saint-Ex/Gate 54 (1847 14th St NW) basement dance club below restaurant, mixed gay/straight crowd, eclectic music.
Nellie's Sports Bar (900 U St NW) big- screen TV, patio bar, basic, hearty food, near Howard University.
Town (2009 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
Freddie's Beach 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:

Busboys and 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.
Duplex 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.
Perry's (18 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.

Crew Club (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.

Capitol Video Sales (1729 Connecticut Ave NW, Dupont Circle) adult video DVDs, magazines and toys.
Lambda Rising (1625 Connecticut Ave NW, Dupont Circle) after 35 years, one of the world's finest gay bookstores closed in January 2010.
Leather 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.
Universal Gear (1529-B 14th St NW) packed with the latest fashions.

Side Trips
Ellicott City in Maryland between Washington and Baltimore, is a charming little town full of knick-knack and antique stores.
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.

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