Beyond the museums, monuments and memorials, the capitals’ rich history is woven into the restaurants, pubs and eateries that have withstood the test of time. Like the rest of us, come knock off time, Washington DC’s foreign dignitaries, lawmakers, visionaries and congressmen can often be found enjoying a meal (and a sneaky beer!) at one of the many presidential dining institutions. From heritage taverns to old-world pubs, DC’s historic dining scene is as stately as the city itself, meaning you too can dine like the elite - you just never know who you might run into!

The Monocle

107 D St NE, Washington, DC

Just steps from the White House, The Monocle is a favourite among members of Congress, senators and politicians, and a great spot to rub shoulders with the ‘who’s who’ in DC politics. Power lunches are the name of the game here, with the tender cuts of perfectly-marbled steaks and succulent seafood sure to hit the spot after a busy day of sightseeing, and you just never know who you might be dining next to in this stately eatery!


2627, 1226 36th St NW, Washington, DC

1789, the year that George Washington was elected as president, the year that the Constitution of America was adopted, and the year from which this former Federal-style home-turned-culinary hotspot takes its name. Boasting six intimate dining rooms and serving refined seasonal cuisine, this quintessential DC dining experience is a popular choice among DC’s elite. Throw on your best attire and head along for an evening of fine dining, fit for a President!

Old Ebbitt Grill

675 15th St NW, Washington, DC

A boarding house-turned-saloon, Washington DC’s Old Ebbitt is an iconic tradition in the political city, with the hangout proving popular amongst political insiders, journalists and celebrities alike. Day or night, the Victorian-era restaurant and living museum is a non-stop hive of activity. Located just steps from the White House, it’s the perfect pit-stop for a dose of history, along with an ice-cold beer. Pull up a stool at the bar and soak up the lively atmosphere, decades of history, and of course, the unique decor – in particular the walrus head, which was reputedly bagged out by Theodore Roosevelt.

Ben’s Chilli Bowl

1213 U Street NW, Washington, DC

Home to DC’s signature half-smoke, Ben’s is a local dining institution and a must-visit when in Washington, DC. Frequented by foodie aficionados, celebrities and statesmen, there is almost always a line – but the rich spicy chilli is worth the wait, and a bit of celeb-spotting will quickly pass the time! Obama has been known to stop by on several occasions, dining there multiple times before and during his presidency, so if it’s good enough for the (former!) President of the United States, it’s good enough for us!

Occidental Grill & Seafood

1046, 1475 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC

Known as the place “Where Statesmen Dine”, the Occidental is honourable, at times scandalous, yet always good fun, and a playground for the who’s who of DC. Along with rich wood panelling and plush leather seating, portraits of congressmen, celebrities, athletes and literary greats line the walls and set the scene in the Presidential dining area that ABC correspondent John Scali and Soviet spy Alexander Fomin are said to have used in 1962 when making the famous ode that brought the Cuban Missile Crisis to an end. Amongst the famous faces, swanky decor and high-end cuisine, it’s impossible not to feel like a pretty big deal.

Gadsby’s Tavern

138 N Royal St, Alexandria

Dating back to the 18th century, these historic digs were once the hub of political and social life in Alexandria, and an institution for good old pub grub and ice cold bevvies. From George Washington to his predecessors, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe, this 20th century pub remains a steady fan-favourite with the Congress crowd. Boasting classic American fare, including George Washington’s favourite grilled duck breast, as well as fantastic entertainment, and waiters dressed in Colonial-era costumes, it’s easy to see why it’s still a top choice!