Off The Record
May 11, 2018
It’s easy to imagine where the name of this stylish venue came from. In a city obsessed with power playing, the appeal of a place where one could vent or confide without fear of it coming back to bite you must be considerable. Whether Off the Record really is the place to go to be ß-seen and not heardß- is ripe for debate, but, even if you put that aside, the elegant bar of the Hay-Adams Hotel has an awful lot going for it. It’s a smart space, unashamedly upscale but comfortable if somewhat clubby in that typical DC fashion, something borne out by the sharply suited crowd of lobbyists, journalists and other assorted movers and shakers, a mix of hotel guests and regulars drawn by the ambience. The cherry red walls are hung with political caricatures and the staff are the picture of discretion, gliding about the room with a perfectly mixed Manhattan or a rich glass of Burgundy in hand. Well-made cocktails tend to be smart twists on the classics try the Lemon Basil Martini or the David’s Washingtonian (Absolut citron vodka, Chambord, Limoncello and a frothy sour blend). There’s a decent selection of wines (in keeping with the ‘we can keep a secret’ theme of the bar, they also have an Under The Radar list you have to ask for specifically) and a nice list of bourbons and single malt scotches. Food includes pizza, sandwiches and quesadillas, with burgers and steaks for all those Capitol Hill carnivores, as well as cheese and charcuterie plates that are perfect for sharing. Open from 11.30am till around midnight every night.