The U Street Corridor, the birthplace of Duke Ellington and a frequent haunt of jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, and Louis Armstrong, was a cultural powerhouse in the 1920s and 1930s.
Today, you’ll find numerous bars and live music venues in the area:
- 9:30 Club
815 V St NW
Located just a few blocks down from the U Street Metro stop, this famed music venue pulls in some of the biggest local and international acts, including the likes of Clean Bandit, Betty Who, and Animal Collective. The menu consists of wraps, tacos, and burgers, and there’s an extensive beer selection. The venue’s packed most nights of the week, and the shows are almost always sold out, so get your tickets early.
2007 14th St NW
A mainstay of the local bar and club scene, this venue was named for soul singer Marvin Gaye, who was a DC native. This dining hotspot serves soul food with a Belgian spin, along with an extensive selection of wines and cocktails. Grab a few drinks with friends after a long week. There’s a roof deck where you can get some fresh air and a dance floor that gets crowded on weekends.
- The Gibson
2009 14th St NW
Here you’ll find some of the best cocktails in DC. This intimate speakeasy can only be accessed through a door with no signage. It’s ideal for couples, cocktail aficionados, and those looking for an elegant and inconspicuous Friday night hang out.
Walk-ins can enjoy the patio and bar seats, but the small dimly-lit tables must be booked in advance. The place can be reserved for parties and private events. The Gibson also offers mixology classes.
- U Street Music Hall
1115 U St NW
This DJ-owned basement dance club and music venue can accommodate up to 500 guests and boasts one of the best sound systems in DC. Electrifying indie acts like Dragonette and Sleigh Bells have performed here, while DJ sets featuring the music of Little Boots and Nightmares on Wax give guests something to dance to on the cork-cushioned dance floor. Booth and bar seating is limited, so book a table in advance or come in early if you want to grab some chairs.
- Howard Theatre
This historic theater has been refurbished and restored to its former glory. Catch some of the hottest R&B. rap, and gospel artists at the Howard. Morris Day, Brian McKnight, Boyz II Men, Ja Rule, and T.I. have performed here, as well as the Harlem Gospel Choir and Howard Gospel Choir of Howard University.
The Howard also serves fantastic food. Mediterranean hummus, pulled pork sandwich, and nachos are just some of the offerings. The theater also has an impressive wine list.
- Bar Pilar
1833 14th St NW
This trendy bar and restaurant is one of DC’s hottest late night spots. Named after the American novelist Ernest Hemingway’s prized boat, Pilar serves New American cuisine and an excellent selection of artisanal cocktails. Enjoy a three-course dinner before heading to the theatre or stick around and catch up with friends and family. Pilar’s elegant but inviting interiors make it perfect for romantic dates, anniversaries, and get-togethers.
For more information on U-Street’s nightlife, visit the Washington DC website.