Where to eat & drink in the district


The Inaugural Parade is a celebration dating back to 1789. George Washington began his journey from Mount Vernon to New York, where he was sworn in. The parade got shorter over the years, as the swearing-in ceremony shifted to the Capitol, giving Washingtonians more time to drink afterward. We’re not ones to break tradition.

Sign of the Whale, just off campus, will host a 57th Presidential Inauguration VIP Party on Sunday with a free open bar from 9 to 10 p.m. Pick up open bar tickets at Sign in advance.

If you’re not attending GW’s ball, or if you’re looking for a pregame and afterparty, Brightest Young Things is hosting their Inauguration Spectacular 2013 at Bohemian Caverns / LIV Nightclub / Tap & Parlour complex on U Street. The all-day affair will run from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., with lasers, patriotic eating contests and give-aways. Buy a ticket in advance online for $15 or at the door for $20-$25, depending on your time of entry.

The city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration passed a measure last summer allowing approved bars to stay open until 4 a.m. on select nights and holidays, like inauguration, so you can party until dawn.

DuPont Circle boasts more than 25 establishments that will stay open late-night hours, including Public Bar, Sign of the Whale, Lucky Bar and Buffalo Billiards.

U Street will also be crowded, with over a dozen bars open late, including El Centro, The Brixton, Alero and Town Danceboutique.

On K Street, Lima, Eden, Barcode and Lotus will all stay open late.

Foggy Bottom will be quiet Monday night, with most establishments closing relatively early, including McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon, which will be open until midnight. For a night that matches the classic occassion, head to the Ritz-Carlton or the Fairmont Washington Hotel on M Street in your gown or tuxedo. Both hotels will also extend their bar hours.

Lisa Miller


The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, a spot on the National Mall for the Presidential Inauguration.

Yet even the most dutifully organized of attendees still need to grab a bite before a long session of vigilantly securing your patch of grass by the Capitol building. Here’s a definitive guide to restaurant hours during D.C.’s most definitive event.

GW Delicatessen

A GW campus staple, GW Deli opens at 6:30 a.m., fresh with aromas of bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches and toasted bagels.

If the line proves daunting – the Deli’s line is frequently long, a testament to its deliciousness – head down to the 24-hour E Street CVS to grab a morning snack. The convenience store offers breakfast options like fruit, individual cereal bowls and yogurt, and is open 24 hours every day of the week.

Whole Foods Market

Also conducive to eager early-risers is Whole Foods Market, which opens daily at 7 a.m. If you’re looking for a filling start to the day, head here to grab traditional breakfast must-haves, from French toast and bacon to pancakes and maple syrup.

Breakfast & Brunch

If you’re up for heading to the National Mall but not up for early-hour snacking, Founding Farmers, FoBoGro and Carvings all open at 9 a.m., offering breakfast and brunch options before President Barack Obama’s swearing-in and the Inaugural Parade. Make a point to reserve a table ahead of time at sit-down restaurants like Founding Farmers and The Hamilton, where seats are coveted and waiting times are notoriously long.

For brunchers, Foggy Bottom may prove your best bet. Circa and Tonic Restaurant will open at 11 a.m., serving as perfect food locales for after the inaugural festivities.

Karolina Ramos

This article was updated Jan. 18, 2013 to reflect the following:
A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration as the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Association.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.