Best Bar to Hear Yourself Think

The Saloon
1207 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009, (202) 462-2640

Bars are for boozing and socializing, right? Pick the wrong one, and you can drain your wallet on crappy beer and strain your voice while trying to scream over the din. The Saloon is where you want to be. This cozy basement bar has a great selection of brews, featuring bottles from Wisconsin to Austria, including the powerhouse Urbock 23°, a high-alcohol golden bock that’s served in a small, winelike glass. But the bar’s main draw is its ambience. There’s an explicit no-standing rule. “I don’t want someone leaning over you while you’re trying to drink,” says owner Kamal “Commy” Jahanbein. Obnoxiousness isn’t tolerated, either. If groups become too noisy, they’re shown the door. “We learn to be happy with the small amount of business we get here.” The focus, he adds, is all “on having a place for people to communicate.”

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