For years Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle have been the district’s neighborhoods de jour. But ask any local and they’ll tell you U Street is the city’s hidden gem. Once a bastion of music and nightlife, the corridor succomed to the city’s tumultuous political history in the 1960s and 70s. But recent years have seen a new wave of restaurants, luxury apartments, and bars reinvigorate the popular street. Live jazz venues, low-key beer taverns, an emerging food scene--what’s not to love about U Street?History U Street is steeped in a rich African-American culture that saw some of jazz music’s biggest legends--Duke Ellington grew up here, and stars like Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald were D.C regulars--mingle on what came to be known as Black Broadway. After the 1968 riots, the neighborhood fell into disrepair, but a vibrant scene has blossomed again in recent years. Bars Next to Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, U Street is one of the most popular nightlife destinations in the city. JoJo Restaurant & Bar maintains the neighborhood’s historical spirit with a cool vibe and live jazz and blues throughout the week. The Saloon is a laid-back bar with an extensive beer menu and a non-fratty crowd (no shots or standing room!) A swankier scene unfolds at the Penthouse Pool and Lounge, the cabana-fringed rooftop club overlooking the Washington Monument is a summer haven for stylish locals. Restaurants
U Street’s restaurant landscape mixes old and new. Tico is a tapas joint with walls adorned in street art, a killer happy hour ($4 tacos, $5 beers), and a collection of nearly 100 tequilas. Order the crab tostada with smoked avocado and gazpacho sauce and the chimichurri-topped homemade chorizo. Nearby, chef Nathan Beauchamp sources local ingredients for his forward-thinking American menu at the year-old Fainting Goat. True to its name, the highlights include goat po’ boys and goat cheese fondue. Any trip to U Street should include a stop at the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl. Dating back to 1958, it’s a neighborhood landmark that dishes out old-school hot dogs and burgers piled in heaps of housemade chili.