play with pride

7 tips to dine, dance & drink your way through Washington, D.C.

Drag queen performance in Washington, D.C.

GayCities headed to Washington, D.C. to check out boutique properties in anticipation of Capital Pride.

We laid our heads to rest (if that’s what we’re calling it these days) at The Lyle Hotel and The Thompson, two stunning properties that embrace the aesthetic of a beautifully furnished studio apartment. But staying near all that DC has to offer is a great reminder that you’re not home; you’re on vacation!

Whether you’re visiting DC for Pride or a weekend getaway, here are some of our favorite finds to discover all things queer in our nation’s capital.

Number Nine

Number Nine

Plush bar serving creative cocktails 1435 P St NW · Washington, DC 20005
(202) 299-0999

DC has a distinct vibe, and with a 2 a.m. closing time versus later nights in other cities, plan your outing accordingly. After canvassing most of the gay bars, we found refuge in Number Nine and ended up frequenting the duplex bar every night (upstairs has a video bar, but not of the adult film variety). Expect an upscale, metropolitan vibe, even though it’s the same owners as Trade, a no-nonsense dive bar.

Uproar Lounge 

Uproar Lounge & Restaurant

Cozy bear bar 639 Florida Ave NW · Washington, DC 20001
(202) 462-4464

Bears need love, too! If you’re looking for a diverse, more mature, burlier crowd, head to Uproar Lounge, including the rooftop, where shirts are bound to come off. To keep all the big boys happy, it also offers a selection of bites.

El Secreto de Rosita

El Secreto De Rosita

Stylish Peruvian eatery 1624 U St NW · Washington, DC 20009
(202) 234-8400

El Secreto de Rosita might actually be its eye-catching staff. But if you’re on a date, their food is equally as tasty. Executive chef Cristian Granada blends the best of traditional Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, resulting in a seafood lover’s delight! The religious-themed decor creates an alluring atmosphere, which may keep you on your best behavior unless you like to be watched.

El Secreto De Rosito in Washington, D.C.
Our absolutely top choice for date night – cute waiters and all. (Photo: Rosita)

Floriana Restaurant


Romantic Italian bistro 1602 17th St NW · Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-5937

Speaking of residential aesthetics, if you feel at home at Floriana, it’s because it used to be a townhouse! This three-floor restaurant, decorated with Christmas lights throughout the interior, has been a favorite restaurant in DC since 1979. Homemade pasta is the specialty.

Cafe Riggs

Café Riggs

Art Deco Parisian escape 900 F St NW · Washington, DC 20004
(202) 788-2800

Not much is gayer than enjoying breakfast at a Parisian brasserie, but that also requires a hefty plane ticket and a passport. Take the easy way out, plan brunch at Café Riggs, and get ready to dine in fashionable elegance. The space extends outdoors onto the patio, offering al fresco dining in the heart of Penn Quarter. No matter what you order, get a side of hash browns for the best carb-loading the city has to offer. 

Café Riggs, Washington, D.C.
The aesthetic of Cafe Riggs channels the grand brasseries of Europe.

Licht Café 

Licht Cafe

Comfy & gentle hideaway 1520 U St NW · Washington, DC 20009
(202) 630-4669

A gay bar in the guise of a stylish cafe, Licht Café was a welcomed addition to DC’s U Street in 2022. Its small, cozy atmosphere serves a laidback, chill evening, with low-level music perfect for having romantic or platonic conversation.



Fancy eats with hidden treats 1731 New Hampshire Ave NW · Washington, DC 20009
(202) 964-6790

Lyle’s wants you to know its name if a Saturday drag brunch is the game. Located inside the namesake hotel, the restaurant hosts a weekly show reflective of DC queer culture. The music and performances will dominate the room, so save the gossip for another time. But, honey, during this brunch, you’re dancing if you’re not eating. 

Lyle's Cafe
Lyle’s didn’t play around during its drag brunch taking place on 2022’s Capital Pride weekend. (Photo: Lyles)

From our friends at INTO: What the owners of DC’s Thirst Lounge want you to know about queer nightlife.

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