A D.C. landmark, the Off The Record bar–located underneath the lobby of the stately Hay-Adams Hotel–boasts a scene inside this Federalist-style pub more interesting to watch than what’s going on upstairs. John Boswell–the shot-glass maestro–knows all, tells little, but has a good repertoire of declassified stories and quick quips. Boswell stirs countless martinis for those at his comfy U-shaped bar, or in the red upholstered banquettes, at $14 for top-shelf brands. Nice supply of great bourbons and single malt Scotches. Best of all, you can eat at the bar and meet great conversationalists on adjoining stools, each with a strong opinion.
800 16th St. NW
(202) 638-6600
www.hayadams.com