Whether or not you voted for President Barack Obama, the weekend leading up to his inauguration on Monday, January 21, is going to be one hell of a party. Metro planners are estimating a crowd of 500,000 to 800,000 visitors. So where should you go to celebrate in style? We rounded up five new spots.
Where to Get Groomed
2010 18th St., NW
First things first: Get yourself spruced up. Yes, the antique leather chairs and mounted buffalo head may make it seem like you have walked through a masculine time warp, but rest assured that your haircut will be thoroughly modern. Take note: It's walk-ins only at this slick take on an old-school barbershop, where you can get a cut and a straight-razor shave complete with hot lather and towels. After getting all cleaned up, browse through the pop-up shop stocked by the local menswear label Mutiny.
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Where to Eat
5335 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Talk about ambitious. Former Top Chef contestant Bryan Voltaggio has fit a wood-burning oven, a chocolate shop, a butcher, a bakery, and a raw bar into one glass-enclosed, 14,000-square-foot space. The menu is expansive, including everything from cannellini-bean-and-lardo-topped pizza to a roasted saddle of venison served with juniper and crisp oysters. Bonus points for the housemade sodas and raspberry-thyme bonbons.
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*The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel
1127 Connecticut Ave., NW*
Replacing Town & Country, a beloved D.C. institution in the Mayflower Hotel, Edgar Bar & Kitchen is a gorgeous American brasserie with its sights set on the power-lunching crowd. The 166-seat restaurant, named after former regular J. Edgar Hoover, is decked out in leather booths, antique mirrors, and polished brass, courtesy of the famous New York City design firm AvroKO. Bourbon cocktails and beer-steamed mussels? Yeah, that's a pairing that transcends party lines.
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Where to Drink
212 7th St., SE
One of the most exclusive bars in D.C., this speakeasy requires reservations via a phone number it won't give out. (Hint: Try calling its sister establishments, Suna and Acqua Al 2. Walk-ins are accepted late if room is available.) If you make it through the unmarked entrance, you'll see a room full of dark corners, shelves of old books, and bartenders carefully crafting cocktails like the Bon Chretien, made with Williams pear eau de vie, ginger, and barrel-aged maple.
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1017 7th St., NW
Don't feel like sipping in secret? Drink to the president's Hawaiian heritage at Hogo, the brand-new tiki spot from Tom Brown, owner of the Passenger two doors down. You'll find 75 different kinds of rum on the drink menu, plus Caribbean cocktails like Blackheart's Punch (Cruzan Blackstrap rum, cinnamon syrup, Fever Tree tonic water, and lime). Kitsch isn't limited to the drinks. Things you'll find at Hogo: a giant portrait of Steve Zissou, a zombie-Elvis painting, and the hood of a '39 Pontiac. In the back room, you'll find a bare-bones diner counter where guest chefs serve food until 2:30 a.m.
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.
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