The Washington Post
Beautiful on the inside: 5 good-looking bars
After years of rough reclaimed wood, dark leather and stark Edison bulbs, Washington’s restaurants and bars have taken on a fresher, brighter look. At these fun destinations, the decor is almost as much of an attraction as the menu.
Columbia Room Punch Garden
The Columbia Room was named “Best American Cocktail Bar” at the 2017 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards due in large part to its three- and five-course tasting menus. But that’s not the only way to experience the Blagden Alley gem: In warm weather, you shouldn’t miss the no-reservations Punch Garden, where guests can relax on the rooftop surrounded by greenery and weathered brick, sipping the Bubble Bath (sparkling wine, gin, fino sherry, lavender, lemon and bitter orange) or the Ivy Walls Punch (vodka, sake, Grand Marnier, lime, cucumber and pistachio). 124 Blagden Alley NW.
The hidden location of this rooftop cocktail spot in the heart of Barracks Row is part of its appeal, as is the extensive menu with dozens of gins, each paired with the perfect tonic, and a summerfriendly list of rosés. But don’t think the herbs and green plants growing in pots are just for decoration: Bartenders pluck fresh thyme, basil and lavender to garnish your cocktail. 514 Eighth St. SE (enter through the alley — follow the chicken footprints).
Everything about Colada Shop screams “Weekend in Havana”: the note-perfect daiquiris and Hotel Nacional cocktails; a soundtrack packed with bolero and Son Cubano grooves; and Technicolor decor that matches bright orange and sea-foam-green with hanging plants and intensely patterned tiles. Head up to the new rooftop deck for extra seats and a small, festive bar. 1405 T St. NW.