Georgetown bars: a lively night out close to home

The Guards

The Guards, though located in Georgetown, attracts plenty of GW students. This 40-year-old bar has a historic feel with its old stone fireplace and wooden ceiling. While The Guards does not offer the cheap drink specials that are staples of many popular student bars, the ambience more than makes up for it.

The Griffin room, which is usually packed, is hidden downstairs, with a huge brick fireplace taking up one wall of the open space and a glass ceiling with colored lights illuminating the dance floor.

“(The Griffin room) is a lot of fun. It’s high energy; it’s a fun crowd; it’s loud and vibrant,” manager Terry Cullen said.

The most popular nights to find students in the Griffin room are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, when the dance floor is open and the DJ is playing.

2915 M St., N.W.


Only a block past The Guards is Garrett’s Restaurant and Railroad Tavern. Garrett’s has three full bars and an Internet jukebox, which offers access to more than 100,000 different song titles.

Mike Usera, who has been bartending at Garrett’s for eight years, said that about 50 percent of the bar’s clientele on the weekends are GW students.

“Garrett’s is a cool place to hang out, listen to the jukebox, and you don’t have to worry about fights breaking out,” Usera said. “It’s pretty low-key.”

Like The Guards, Garrett’s is a weekend hangout despite drink specials Sunday through Thursday. Another bonus, Usera said, “Saturday around 1 a.m., you might see the bartender do the worm on the bar.”

3003 M St., N.W.

Georgetown Waterfront

In the early fall months and late spring, students can be found pushing their way through the busy waterfront area to reach Tony & Joe’s and Nick’s Riverside Grill, two bars in the area. Each establishment provides a small, gazebo-style bar overlooking the Potomac River and the Arlington skyline. It is the only riverside bar space in all of Northwest D.C. Both also overlook a three-story fountain that makes for a nice backdrop.

The two bars have become popular spots for “senior nights” hosted by GW’s senior class council to bring the entire senior class together.

Perhaps the one drawback of the waterfront is the price – drinks tend to be more expensive than at many other bars.

Tony & Joe’s | 3000 K St., N.W.

Nick’s Riverside Grill | 3050 K St., N.W.

(and on your way to Georgetown, be sure to stop by…)

51st State

51st State, located down the block from McFadden’s, is another GW favorite. With wooden booths from the 1920s and antique imported bars on each of the tavern’s two floors, the atmosphere is that of a small-town sports bar – cozy and inviting. With six plasma screens and 16 beers on tap, there are a wide variety of drafts to sample while watching the big game.

2512 L St., N.W.

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