5 Historical Bars of Washington, D.C.

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5 Historical Bars of Washington, D.C.

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The Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of Samuel Gonzales.)

Get a dose of history and visit some of the oldest bars in Washington, D.C. Being one of the older cities in the United States, it's no surprise that D.C. is home to bars that have seen a lot over the years. Here are five of the most well-known:

Off the Record

800 16th St. NW

This bar is located about a block from the White House and is known for its red velvet walls and booths. You will frequently find noteworthy politicians and journalists here. Famous regulars who have visited the bar in the past have their faces permanently drawn on the walls as caricatures. This historical bar is located downtown in the lower levels of the famous Hay-Adams hotel, designed in 1927. You can expect to see classy businessmen and women listening to tranquil melodious jazz and instrumental music.

Old Ebbitt Grill

675 15th St. NW

Now located just a couple blocks from the White House, this bar was once visited by President Theodore Roosevelt. Other presidents who have spent time in this bar include Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, and Warren Harding. The Old Ebbitt was established in 1856, and over the years, it moved locations several times. It's still a part of the D.C. social life, with annual events such as its Oyster Riot, one of the "greatest parties of the year in Washington."

The Tombs

1226 36th St. NW

A big attraction for local Georgetown University students, The Tombs was built in the early 1960s. It has since evolved into a burger-serving sports bar that sees mostly young people in their early to mid-20s with a few older folks from around the neighborhood. It's a busy spot around the university's graduation days. The interior is dark and features posters depicting images of the World War I era. Though it shares bathrooms with the bar, the restaurant above The Tombs, Restaurant 1789, serves more elegant food and caters to a different crowd.

Madam's Organ Blues Bar

2461 18th St. NW

This bar has existed for the past 70 years. Its name comes from two schools that used to be a part of its neighborhood back in the days of segregation, the Morgan School and the Adams School. The neighborhood, Adams Morgan, also got its name from the two schools. Today, the bar brings people together with its catchphrase: "Where the beautiful people go to get ugly." The outside of the bar is known for its huge, hard-to-miss mural of a redheaded lady on the side wall. The mural is so special that the bar gives a discount on a particular drink if you happen to have red hair.

The Round Robin & Scotch Bar

1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

This next bar is inside one of D.C.'s most legendary and fanciest hotels, the Willard Intercontinental, which Ulysses S. Grant frequented in his time. Julia Ward Howe is said to have written "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in the Willard, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech was worked on here. Around 1850, Sen. Henry Clay introduced the famous mint julep cocktail at the Round Robin.

Samuel Gonzales is a resident of the Washington, D.C., area who has been living in Northern Virginia for the past 15 years.

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