1739 N Street NW. , Washington D.C. , 20036, United States
Tel: 1+ 202.331.8528
Website: Not supplied
Hours: Mon - Fri 11:30am - 12:30am; Sat 11am - 12:30am; Sun 10:30am - 11pm
Door: Open door
Style: Hotel bar
Price guide: Middling
Food: Plates & dishes
Ninety-year-old hotel Tabard Inn is an unusual space to find a quality cocktail programme - or a fine dining restaurant. The small hotel is decorated in DC's idea of quirky: a combination of political and food art filling the wall space, and mismatched vintage furniture covering the floors. Many of the guest rooms open up to hallways and convert into event rooms, revealing the property's heavy focus on entertaining.
The bar is a few steps down from the entry level, located between a series of living room-styled lounges and the black-and-white checker-floored dining room with an outdoor patio. The view from a barstool, however, resembles that of a tiny British country inn, with its low wooden ceiling and crammed shelves. If you entered the hotel on this level, you might expect to step around the bar to get to the rooms upstairs.
While our visit was during the end of the lunch rush, with well-dressed Washington power players filling every table and several of the private dining rooms, later at night many drinkers migrate to those living room-style lounges where a cigar by the fireplace would feel in order if that were permitted.
Cocktails here are subtle in flavour and quite dry (all the better for pairing with food), but with interesting ingredients like buckwheat honey and tea in several selections. The menu is also divided around the meal, into "pre-prandial," "anytime," and "post-prandial" sections, with a mix of classics and originals. While our early visit makes it difficult to predict the vibe of the bar as a nightlife destination, it is certainly a worthwhile place to find a good drink.