Best Place to Go at 2 a.m. When There's Still a G-D Line at Ben's

Best: Home
Various locations
2nd Best: El Tamarindo
1785 Florida Ave. NW, (202) 328-3660
Obama giveth and Obama taketh: The visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl by D.C.’s biggest celebrity gave the half-smoke institution its biggest uptick in 50 years. But that uptick also took from us the practice of strolling in there around 2 a.m. for something to both soak up the booze and regret in the morning. Real D.C.’ers are not going to wait in line, for chrissake. Faced with one stretching around the corner, the best option is to go home, of course, and eat some saltines. If that’s just too sensible, walk a few blocks to El Tamarindo. The place is typically bustling after last call, but with two large dining rooms, getting a table isn’t a problem. Also: pollo al cilantro is better for you than chili fries. If you do need grease, you can find it here: Chimichangas, enchiladas, or huevos rancheros will scratch that itch. Also, if you just can’t help yourself, you can probably still get that margarita nightcap you’d do better without. The downside: El Tamarindo charges the late-night crowd for the chips and salsa it gives away at more respectable hours. Want to know how late things go? “Don’t worry. We are open,” says a server on a recent visit (5 a.m., according to the Web site).