Whether you’re at the Verizon Center to catch a Capitals game, cheer on the Hoyas or Wizards, or sing along with your favorite band on tour, don’t resign yourself to stale French Fries and overpriced stadium hot dogs.
Check out our picks for food and drinks nearby that might even rival the show itself.
The Vibe: Your favorite neighborhood brasserie in the heart of Paris, only with friendlier waiters
Best for: Hopeless Romantics, Cheese Enthusiasts, Wine Nerds
From the soft, intimate lighting to buttery brown leather couches to ceiling-high glass wine bottle racks, everything about Proof says date night. Leave the world behind at chef Haidar Karoum’s romantic hideout where you can cozy up in a booth with your date and explore the Mediterranean-inspired menu and vast wine list.
Our recommendation? Craft a personalized cheese and charcuterie platter from a panoply of choices like a sharp Vermont blue, a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth Italian Taleggio, or a salty, paper-thin slice of Uruguayan bresaola.
The Vibe: Prohibition-era glamour at Jay Gatsby’s house in West Egg
Best for: Nostalgia Buffs, Literature Lovers
The Roaring Twenties are alive and kicking at this ritzy Gallery Place speakeasy, which features old-school cocktails, briny Maryland oysters and homemade gelato. Hidden beneath a wrought-iron staircase on F Street, this Art Deco bar is the perfect place to feed your Great Gatsby obsession. Hide out on a barstool, do your best Hemingway impression, order a drink or three and see if you can score an invite to Gatsby’s mansion.
The Vibe: A Barcelona tapas bar at midnight
Best for: Big Groups, Families, World Travelers
Executive chef Jose Andres is a DC treasure, and this legendary Spanish tapas joint will show you exactly why. With outposts as far away as Las Vegas, Jaleo is the top spot if you’re craving garlicky patatas bravas, a fruity red wine sangria, or a steaming platter of Andres’ Catalan paella prepared tableside. Having trouble deciding who gets the last bacon-wrapped date? Challenge your friends to a game at one of the glassed-in foosball tables (you read that right) to determine the lucky tapa winner.
The Vibe: Street Food Vendor in Mexico City
Best for: Thrill-Seekers, Sun-Worshippers, Jet-Setters
Summer might be long gone, but our craving for guacamole and salt-rimmed margaritas is still strong. Another Jose Andres-manned restaurant, Oyamel’s menu brims with flavorful Latin American cuisine featuring seven different types of ceviche, chili oil cactus salad, hominy soup, and Hudson Valley duck leg with mole sauce. Adventurous eaters are sure to love the chapulinas—sauteed grasshopper tacos with guacamole, shallots, and tequila.
The Vibe: The good old USA, except every night is Superbowl
Best for: Football Die-hards, Beer Fiends, Fantasy Sports Lovers
We’re pretty sure sports heaven looks something like this Gallery Place tavern, which has more than 40 flat-panel TVs and a giant 11-foot projection screen. Best of all, Redline offers personalized table taps in eight of its booths, which lets customers pour their own beers at the table, no wait required.
The Vibe: Touring Tokyo with Anthony Bourdain
Best for: Ramen Fans, Instagram All-Stars
Ranked one of Bon Appetit’s top 50 best new restaurants in 2013, Daikaya is a food-lover’s paradise. The eatery is split into two levels, each with their own menu. The no-reservations Sapporo-ramen bar downstairs is always packed full of noodle enthusiasts slurping up heavenly bowls of the Japanese delicacy. The second floor doles out tantalizing East Asian-inspired small plates like crispy Adobo-fried quail and grilled avocado with ponzu. Make sure your have your iPhone on hand to snap pictures of the restaurant’s stunning, manga-studded interior, which co-owner Yama Jewayni described as “the house of a Japanese gangster in 1972”.
The Vibe: Old Havana at sunset
Best for: History Geeks, Dancing Queens
Cuba may be the year’s hottest travel destination, but that doesn’t mean you need to book a ticket to Havana to sample some of the delectable cuisine Americans have been missing out on all these years. Cuba Libre’s kitschy-cool decor, which evokes Old Havana, will transport your tastebuds to the tropical island in no time. Order one of its sugar-sweet namesake cocktails, indulge in dishes like coconut crab fritters and spinach and Manchego cheese puffs, or show off your dancing chops at the restaurant’s weekly salsa and bachata nights.