Best dive bar: Dan’s Cafe

Media Credit: Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Best dive bar
Location: 2315 18th St. NW
Readers’ pick: Lucky Bar

Imagine a small bar in Adam’s Morgan where you can get $20 squirt bottles full of booze, pool tables with green plastic coverings to spare them from accidents and music featuring your favorites from a 70s and 80s smash hits playlist on Spotify.

Apparently, that’s exactly what the owners of Dan’s Cafe had in mind when they set up shop on 18th Street. A hole in the wall that you might miss if you walk by too quickly or overlook it during your pre-game, this weekends-only spot is a dive bar in the truest sense of the word – cash only and staffed with bartenders who can barely tolerate their clientele.

Keep a close eye on your friends and possessions in this dark dive as it’s crowded, loud and sticky in the main room.

Drinking at Dan’s Cafe is simple: Tell them the kind of liquor and mixer you want, and the bartenders will mix the two with ice in a squirt bottle – like the ones you’d get ketchup or mustard in at a diner – and pass along however many shot glasses you want. Fork over your $25 and you’ll get $5 back if you return the bottle intact, making the bar an economic way to get sloshed on a Saturday. Cans of Sprite, Diet Coke and other choice soft drinks and juices are your mixers and the cheapest liquor money can buy lives behind the bar.

If you want something from the top shelf in a fancy glass, you’ll want to go somewhere else. But if you want a rowdy place to get weekend libations on a budget and in a creative way, Dan’s will set you up.

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