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For the better part of our lives, themed birthday parties and planned activities came easy. But busy work schedules and the task of assembling your crew can make finding places to go for your birthday feel like more of a chore.
Not everyone has the same idea of what a fun birthday celebration looks like, but everyone can agree eating at one of DC’s best restaurants is a great way to spend a night in the city. That’s why we scoped out the best restaurant birthday to celebrate so that you’re one step closer to raising a glass to the year ahead.
The Best Birthday Restaurants for a Low-Key Evening
18th Street Lounge | 1212 18th St. NW
Get back to the basics at the 18th Street Lounge and Addendum Bar. For a low-key, intimate atmosphere, the lounge and bar crafts cocktails to bring out the true flavors of a spirit rather than masking it with a trend-of-the-moment flavor. Pick a spot to sip and socialize in the Gold Room, Jazz Bar, or Studio Bar for a private event. For a new twist on a classic cocktail make sure to try something on The Ampersand Collection. Trust us, this is best restaurant birthday approved.
Harold Black Restaurant & Lounge | 212 7th St. SE
Turn back time and enter this speakeasy through their stealthy sliding door. The intimate atmosphere of the lounge is a perfect low-key destination.
The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown| 3100 South St. NW
If you’re looking for a quiet, low-key gathering of friends, bring them to the bar at the Ritz in Georgetown. This isn’t the best place to have a blowout. So if that’s what you’re looking for go elsewhere. The perfect spot for local beers or eclectic cocktails.
Ghibellina | 1610 14th St. NW
Both intimate and open, Ghibellina has simple gourmet pizza that beckons people to gather. Whether you want to host a few friends or an event with up to 60 people, the marble-topped bar overlooking 14th Street is the perfect place for craft cocktails, delicious bites, and great conversations. Ghibellina has an extensive cocktail, wine, and beer menu. It’s also on my personal list of best restaurant birthday locations.
Sotto | Lower Level of 1610 14th St. NW
Easy to miss, but a gem once found. Right below Ghibellina this underground bar is dark and perfect for a gathering of old and new friends alike. Enjoy for a limited time their V.E.P. cocktail— a traditional Green Chartreuse with an extra long aging in oak casks.
The Best Birthday Restaurants for Foodies
Cafe Citron | 1343 Connecticut Ave. NW
Reserve their upstairs loft space so you and your party can escape for an unforgettable Latin Fusion experience complete with an outdoor patio that brings your birthday celebration one step closer to a European excursion without leaving the metro area. Want to make it a wallet friendly celebration? Go during happy hour for specials like Tequila Tuesdays & Mojito Thursdays.
The Riggsby | 1731 New Hampshire Ave. NW
The Riggsby makes the list for best restaurant birthday due to its great food and traditional atmosphere. This spot is connected to the Carlyle Hotel to accommodate out of town friends who traveled to the city for your celebration. The Riggsby Libations cocktail list includes a mixology creation for everyone including the bourbon based Last Frontier or gin spiked Midsummer’s Night.
Donovan House | 1155 14th St. NW
Taste small Asian-inspired plates or indulge in a spirit while admiring the DC skyline. Experience new heights by tasting the Daily Sake, Yuzu Sparkling Sake, or Typhoon Sake.
Russia House | 1800 Connecticut Ave. NW
If your goal is a dimly-lit, sloppy drunk kind of night, with a dash of danger– Russia House in D.C.’s DuPont neighborhood is the plan. (Best restaurant birthday location? Yep!) Each level of the house offers unique vibes starting at the cozy rooms on the ground and reaching The Winter Palace on the third floor.
Del Mar DC | 791 Wharf St. SW
Check out DC’s newest entertainment locations at The Wharf. This Spanish inspired restaurant brings coastal Spain to DC’s riverfront. It’s absolutely stunning inside and the customer service is unmatched.
RPM | 650 K St. NW
Enjoy authentic Italian small plates in this chic and modern restaurant. The atmosphere is sexy and the service is always top notch. This is not the choice for large groups, however. Try the Isaac– an Italian beer, with a unique combination of fruity apricot, pear, fig, and a hint of spice.
DBGB | 931 H St. NW
Design your birthday to your exact specifications at DBGB Kitchen and Bar. With a variety of floorplan layouts and different views of the city, this restaurant serves up a sweet combination of French cuisine in the heart of DC. Try a new cocktail every day. Ask for the cocktail du jour for only $5.
Union Market | 1309 5th St. NW
Explore the market’s gourmet international cuisines in this unique eatery. Instagramable walls surrounding the building and their summer drive-in movies mean there’s lots to explore.
Maketto | 1351 H St. NE
Invite 60 of your closest friends to enjoy this restaurant’s interpretation of Cambodian and Taiwanese cuisine. This venue is perfect if your ideal party environment is welcoming, warm, and feels like home. There’s also a beautiful, green outdoor space perfect for clear summer nights.
Le Diplomate | 1601 14th St. NW
Grab your favorite people and enjoy this DC staple. Best for small parties, this Parisian-inspired brasserie boasts a popular brunch complete with Frose.
Pinstripes | 1064 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Authentic Italian-American cuisine paired with bowling and bocce. Celebrate your day in Georgetown with a variety of entertainment. Perfect for large groups.
The Best Birthday Restaurant for a Themed Day
Dirty Bar | 1223 Connecticut Ave. NW
Dust off your fishnets and feathers and head to Dirty Bar– the only nightclub in DC offering a nod to Moulin Rogue and its larger-than-life burlesque themed attractions. Not to mention–there is a giant birdcage. This is the place to go if you truly want to experience something different for your birthday.
Marvin | 2007 14th St. NW
Inspired by Motown Legend, Marvin Gaye, this neighborhood bistro and roof deck bar illuminates the diverse and vibrant Shaw neighborhood community while serving unique cocktails and cuisine. Check out these Motown-inspired cocktails: Casanova, Before I Let Go, or the Daily Drink Feature.
The Gibson | 2009 14th St. NW
A cozy spot to sneak away for a private birthday celebration. The Prohibition-era inspired cocktails and outdoor patio provide a perfectly quaint atmosphere.
The Best Birthday Restaurant for When You’re Feeling Formal
Darlington House | 1610 20th St. NW
Whether your squad is looking for a place to enjoy a casual dinner or you want to ring in a new birthday with 150 of your closest friends, the Darlington House is the perfect fit. The Dining Room serves quality farm to table recipes that are sure to make your party special. This spot is also home to the Circle Bar and Cantina Pub, so there is something for everyone.
The Watergate Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge | 2650 Virginia Ave. NW
For one of the best views of the city, head to the top of the gate for panoramic views of the Kennedy Center, Potomac River, Washington Monument, and more of DC’s skyline.
Rosewood Hotel | 1050 31st St. NW
Located in the heart of Georgetown, the Rosewood Hotel features the historic C&O Canal as the perfect background to snap a picture while the rooftop bar provides the ideal spot to view the city. Enjoy a fine dining experience coupled with professionally crafted cocktails with rare varieties of the finest spirits.
The Smith | 901 F St. NW
Enjoy private dining with friends in a space inspired by Union Station’s ceiling design, including a hexagonal coffered ceiling and private bar. This casual, yet stylish restaurant is a tasteful way to celebrate your birthday in a pleasant atmosphere.
Del Friscos Double Eagle SteakHouse | 950 I St. NW
Raise a glass and indulge in the luxurious hospitality. Celebrate your birthday in sophisticated style with family and friends. You can’t go wrong with a cocktail named The VIP: Svedka Clementine– vodka infused with fresh Hawaiian pineapple.
The Restaurants for Cocktail Lovers
The Wonderland Ballroom | 1101 Kenyon St. NW
Enjoy the bohemian beer garden and the live music at this neighborhood favorite.
Teddy & The Bully Bar | 1200 19th St. NW
Inspired by Theodore Roosevelt, Teddy & The Bully Bar has an atmosphere that envelops visitors with natural elements, rich history, and ornate details to represent a few of the many hats Teddy Roosevelt wore during his time as President and throughout his life. For a beautiful birthday location with great food and palpable energy, this spot has you covered. Featuring classic and modern cocktails, The Bully Bar serves a variety of cocktails inspired by “the Golden Era” of cocktail history. As an homage to Teddy Roosevelt, we recommend ordering the Roosevelt Island Punch, which serves 2-8 people.
The Front Page | 1333 New Hampshire Ave.
An oldie, but goodie, The Front Page has weathered many storms in DC, but still emerges as Voted Best Happy Hour in DC. On weekdays from 4-8 PM, The Front Page dishes out specialty cocktails and unique tastings you won’t find anywhere else in the city. The “Best Happy Hour” must serve the best drinks. Try any of the signature cocktails including Tommy’s Margarita, The Mule, or even a Pumpkin Martini.
Bar DuPont | 1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW
If you want to be in the center of the action or just enjoy old-fashion people watching, Bar DuPont offers the best of both. You can reserve a space near back of the bar for an optimal view of the floor to ceiling glass windows displaying the hustle and bustle of DuPont Circle. Try a signature cocktail including The Cayugan: a mix of rittenhouse rye whiskey, apple cider liqueur, domaine de canton, lemon, ginger beer and bitters.
618 Cocktail and Whiskey Lounge| 618 H St. NW
The name says it all. Exclusive whisky that you’ll want to try. They have a liquor shelf that is kept under lock and key. Bring in your bottle of specialty whiskey and after paying a one time fee, you can enjoy it whenever you want.
Jack Rose | 2007 18th St. NW
Reserve the small upstairs room complete with a fireplace and balcony or enjoy craft cocktails from some of Washington’s best bartenders at Dram and Grain– a small bar inside of Jack Rose. With whisky bottles lining the walls, you’ll want to try the JR Private Barrels for $23.
Churchkey | 1337 14th St. NW
This is for the friend who is always dragging you to try a new microbrew. With over 5 casks, 50 drafts, and 500 bottles of beer, Churchkey is the place to experience the full spectrum of beer tasting. Again, you can choose from 500 different bottles of beer.
Featured photo by Pablo Raya
Want even more recommendations on the best of DC? Grab our complimentary guide: 83 (Cheap & Chic) Things to Do in DC