Concierge Guide: Downtown DC

Washington, DC will always be home for Carr Workplaces, having started there way back in 2003 before the term ‘coworking’ existed. In the ensuing years we’ve risen to become the city’s leading flexible office space provider with 16 locations and counting in the greater metropolitan area. Right in Downtown we have 5 locations all within a few blocks of each other, the Willard, City Center, Pennsylvania Avenue, K Street, and Dupont Circle, so we’re overdue for a Concierge Guide highlighting what we love in the heart of the Nation’s Capital. Drum roll… 

If nothing else, Downtown DC epitomizes American history and stateliness. The city was designed to show off its many monuments and seats of federal government, and, later, its museums. Adopting the wide-boulevards and planned aesthetic of 1700’s Versailles, and the neoclassical architectural style reminiscent of Ancient Rome and Greece, DC impresses visitors immediately, and to spend any time downtown is a treat. The ideal place to start is the very building adjacent to Carr Workplaces’ Willard Offices, the Willard Hotel. The ‘residence of presidents’ has a 200year history and a stunning interior, the likes of which is hard to come by in even the fanciest of hotels. You needn’t stay at the Willard, though, to appreciate its high ceilings, marble columns and ornate décor.

The stately Round Robin Bar has been a place to rub shoulders with DC’s political elite since the mid-19th century as well as featuring great drinks such as a Negroni that’s aged for three months in a bourbon barrel and a Mint Julep inspired by a recipe from 19th century Kentucky statesman, Henry Clay.  

At different times of the year, you can enjoy a decadent afternoon tea at the Willard, and feel like you have stepped back in time 100 years as you sip bubbly and nibble finger sandwiches.

Also at the Willard is the Occidental, which is considered a pioneer of farm-to-table cuisine and offers a modern twist on American classics 

The Willard sits front and center to the iconic museums and monuments that line the Washington Mall. You could easily spend a week taking in the exhibits (free-of-charge, mind you) and historical sights but here are a couple note-worthy picks. The Washington Monument was recently reopened for those wanting to take in the city from its apex.

And the National Museum of African American History and Culture was opened in 2016, detailing the African American experience from slavery to present times. While free, due to its popularity, advance reservations for tickets are often required since there’s a cap on how many people can visit each day.  

Exploring the Mall will fire up your appetite, but fortunately nearby restaurants abound. The views from POV Rooftop Bar in the W Hotel make this popular spot worth a visit and their seafood-centric menu with items like lobster fried rice make the sights that much better.  

Being a diverse city with a large international population, DC has always been quick to embrace a wide breadth of cuisine.  To enjoy one of the city’s latest dining trends, please visit Butter Chicken Company, which, you guessed it, focuses on that Indian specialty, butter chicken. An $11 tray allows you to pick an entrée (also available are other world-famous Indian exports like chicken tikka masala, vegetable biryani and saag paneer) and two sides. Since opening in 2019 there have been lunch lines around the corner and BCC closes shop each day when they sell out of their roughly 300 servings, so get there early.  

If brunch is your thing (isn’t it everyone’s?) check out The Riggsby, which is tucked inside Dupont Circle’s Carlyle Hotel. They feature a different omelet every week along with duck confit hash, and, if you’re not already tempted, bottles of bubbly are always half-off during brunch.  

With Concierge Guides, we like to turn you on to places that aren’t in every tourism guide, or in this case, that even many locals don’t know about, so we’re happy to direct your attention to Abe’s, a true gem hidden in plain sight. Sitting inside of an actual gift shop is one of the city’s best Vietnamese restaurants with a full menu of classics like banh mi sandwiches, lemongrass chicken and pho to restore both your energy and faith in humanity.  

While there is a major corporate hotel on almost every Downtown DC block, we recommend checking into or simply checking out Eaton Workshop. Part hotel, part incubator for art and culture, Eaton is always abuzz with hip activity. There’s a gorgeous rooftop bar with regular live music, a radio station, regular film screenings and artist talks, and a true wellness center with yoga and meditation classes throughout the day. In short, you could build a visit to DC all around Eaton or just meet someone interesting at the bar to tell about your DC adventures.

  

Related Posts