down in dc

Go wild in the US capital at these popular gay bars

Three handsome men smile at the camera while posing in front of a crowded bar. Photo via JR's Bar

Our nation’s capital is steeped in politics, protests, and the fight for equal rights for all. The LGBTQ+ community of DC is passionate, driven, and has a healthy slice of East Coast edge. There is so much to see and do while you’re in town that we’ve compiled a list of the most popular spots to grab a drink after a long day of sightseeing and demonstrating. 

Play ball

Nellie’s Sports Bar

DC’s gay sports bar and more 900 U St NW · Washington, DC 20001
(202) 332-6355

This popular sports bar is always packed with an energetic, mixed crowd. Stop by for some great food, engaging conversation, and to support your favorite team! Make no mistake, this is, first and foremost, a sports bar, but the drag brunches, bingo, and music draw a huge crowd. 

A local favorite

JR’s Bar

Serving since 1986 1519 17th St NW · Washington, DC 20036
(202) 328-0090

For nearly 40 years, JR’s has been cultivating a fun and welcoming atmosphere for the local LGBTQ+ scene. This neighborhood hangout attracts many Hill staffers looking to let off some steam. The Showtunes Singalong night is always crowded. Grab some friends and head up to the loft area for exceptional people-watching. 

Superheroes and sidekicks get flirty

Green Lantern

Off the beaten path 1335 Green Ct NW · Washington, DC 20005
(202) 347-4533

There is never a shortage of eye candy to enjoy during a night out at DC’s sexiest bar, Green Lantern. Hit the dance floor with a strong drink or catch one of the many thrilling-themed nights. From underwear night to karaoke, there’s something for everyone! While the bar is hidden down an alley, the action is upstairs.

Curl up by the fire

The Fireplace

A neighborhood institution 2161 P St NW · Washington, DC 20037
(202) 293-1293

This cozy local bar serves up strong drinks and a friendly atmosphere. Attracting a primarily Black crowd, The Fireplace offers a relaxed space for folks to come and unwind after a long day of politicking. This low-key dive is an unassuming spot for a casual drink and light conversation. 

Pasta and partying!

DuPont Italian Kitchen

Bar is on the second floor 1637 17th St NW · Washington, DC 20009
(202) 328-3222

Above the ideally located restaurant serving classic Italian fare, DIK Bar offers tasty cocktails and a fun environment to drink them. Treat yourself to a night out all in one spot: Enjoy a heaping bowl of carbonara or chicken parmesan before heading upstairs for a night of drinks and friendly conversation. 

Yummy food and funny queens

Freddie’s Beach Bar

Beachy vibes 555 23rd St S · Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 685-0555

Freddie’s is a local favorite across the river in the heart of Arlington, providing a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ people and their straight allies. Enjoy a straightforward bite before catching one of the popular drag shows or karaoke nights. 

Sports and dancing all in one


Lounge with dancing and live sports 915 U St NW · Washington, DC 20001


Let’s have a kiki! This popular bar has something for everyone. Catch the game before heading to the other side for drinks and dancing. With nightly events, including drag shows, DJ sets, and karaoke nights, there is never a dull moment at this popular watering hole. 

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