In 2015, CNN Money reported that Americans were working roughly 47 hours a week, which when given that the average work week is expected to be 40 hours, means that there’s a lot of overtime happening. The push towards overtime means that there’s less time for many things, cooking at home included in that list. Thus, if you’re wondering why cities like Washington, DC appear to be over-run with fast casual dining options offering everything from salads to rice bowls to noodle soups, burritos and more, that’s why. However, how big of a business DC’s ability to ever-so-briefly stop working and eat an impressive diversity of meals is becoming is what’s truly amazing.

Sweetgreen’s farm-to-table salads are delicious enough for the company to have existed for nearly a decade, raise $95 million in venture capital funding and spawn a seven-year old music festival. As well, not too far behind is five-year old Cava Grill, which, as an offshoot of the Cava Mezze restaurant has just followed Sweetgreen into New York City and has $60 million in VC funding to spend. As well, established fast-casual industry leader Chipotle launched Shophouse, a Southeast-Asian inspired sister concept, in the area three years ago.

Even iconic and veteran DC chef Jose Andres is in on the fun, his all-vegetarian Beefsteak entry now entering it’s second year in the fast-casual sweepstakes and already having national locations. Andres’ acclaim has attracted pop-star power to his brand as his funders include the likes of actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Upstarts like Philadelphia hoagie-inspired Taylor Gourmet, urban-chic “Chipotle for Pizza” & Pizza and sushi-as-burrito operation Buredo are making swift and impressive moves as well.

DC’s downtown park system turning into a lunch-time smorgasbord should be added to this mix as well. There’s now 240-plus food trucks in operation in the Nation’s Capital, offering everything from lobster roll sandwiches to barbecue items, grilled Halal-style meats and much more. Food trucks with brick-and-mortar locations like District Taco are notable, too. When the San Francisco Business Journal reveals that food-truck entrepreneurs are making a half-million dollars a year in earnings, there’s an impressive movement happening.

Fast casual is even interrupting DC’s traditional sit-down and not-so-fast restaurant boom. In Asia, ramen shops are the ultimate in fast dining, as the shops do an impressive level of in-and-out dining by business people needing incredibly swift dining options during weeks of work that oftentimes expand far past the new American 47 hour-per-week expectation. Now, especially in DC of late, traditionally fast ramen is becoming the height of experience-driven fast-casual eating. There’s roughly a dozen ramen-specific restaurants now in the DC Metropolitan area, a number that’s certain to grow.

When well-regarded publications like Zagat’s food guide says that “perhaps more than any [American] market, Washingtonians can’t get enough of fast-casual” and Eater notes that both “home-grown” and “enthusiastic entrants from elsewhere” are highlighting DC’s “nicer than fast-food, but not quite full-service” offerings, and can name over a dozen eateries not noted in this article, fast-casual has not just arrived in Washington, DC, moreover, it’s likely here to stay.

El Centro D. F.

By amelia in dc bars, DC Lounges, DC Nightclubs and Nightlife Guide, DC Nightlife
Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 5:39pm. (Updated: 1/28/15 at 1:45pm) Add comments

El Centro DF, Washington DC

  • Venue Type: Restaurant/Lounge/Tequila Bar
  • Amenities: Full Lunch/Dinner menu, tequila bar, happy hour, rooftop bar, Saturday and Sunday brunch
  • Hours
    • Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11:00am – 4:00pm
    • Dinner: Monday – Friday: 4:00pm – 11:00pm
      Saturday & Sunday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm
    • Late Night: Thursday: 11:00pm – 2:00 am
      Friday – Saturday: 11:00pm – 3:00am
    • Rooftop: Monday – Friday: 5:00pm – 9:00pm
      Saturday & Sunday: 4:00pm – 9:00pm
    • Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am – 3:00pm
    • Happy Hour: 4-7pm Daily (only available at the bar)
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Location: U Street
  • Address: 1819 14th Street Northwest
  • Contact: 202.328.3131
  • Website:




Enjoy quality Mexican cuisine? Love a lively atmosphere? Do you like tequila? Featured recently in The Washingtonian, Washington City Paper, on ABC 7, and Food Network, this Zagat top-rated bar is a must see. With over 200 different tequilas and mezcals at the ready, El Centro is sure to be the new home of your favorite hang out.

“Chef Richard Sandoval invites you to gather, dine and raise a glass at El Centro, D.F. Authentic Mexican comfort food and fine Tequilas are served in three vibrant spaces.” (from And let me tell you: Rich knows what he’s doing. Big portions of delicious and perfectly prepared food, paired expertly with a variety of mixed drinks and cocktails.






All images courtesy of

The Gryphon

By amelia in dc bars, DC Lounges, DC Nightclubs and Nightlife Guide, DC Nightlife, DC Restaurants, Happy Hours
Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 4:42pm. (Updated: 1/28/15 at 1:37pm) Add comments

The Gryphon, Washington DC

  • Venue Type: Restaurant/Lounge, more specifically: a Meat & Raw Bar Social House
  • Amenities: Full menu, full bar, private events, Sunday brunch
  • Hours
    • Tuesday -Friday : 4:00PM to 1:30am
    • Saturday-Sunday: 11:30AM to 1:30am
  • Dress Code: Dressy Casual
  • Location: Dupont Circle
  • Address: 1337 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
  • Contact: 202.827.8980
  • Website:





The Gryphon, Washington DC

Created by the founders of Lost Society, a swanky steakhouse on 14th and U, The Gryphon promises a new take on socializing and eating. “Just as Lost Society changed the traditional perception of a steakhouse, the Gryphon is designed to change the perception of dining with friends, family and neighbors. ” (from

A self-proclaimed “Social House”, it offers a menu specializing in finely cooked meats and one of DC’s best raw bars. And, as far as nightlife goes, they also offer a wide variety of specialy cocktails and wines in addition to a full bar.

If you want a night to sit back, relax, and enjoy a few high quality drinks with the company of good friends in a comfortable yet modernly stylish atmosphere, The Gryphon is definitely the place for you.





Images courtesy of and


By amelia in dc bars, DC Lounges, DC Nightclubs and Nightlife Guide, DC Nightlife, DC Restaurants
Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 2:36pm. (Updated: 1/28/15 at 1:36pm) Add comments

Manor, Washington DC

  • Venue Type: Restaurant/Lounge
  • Amenities: Full menu, full bar, private events, Sunday brunch, happy hour, DJs, specialty drinks
  • Hours
    • Restaurant Hours:
      Monday thru Friday: 3pm – 12am
      Saturday: 5pm – 12am
      Sunday: CLOSED
      Sunday Brunch Coming Soon

      Happy Hour, Dinner & Late Bites until 12am

    • Lounge Hours:
      Monday: 10pm – 2am
      Tuesday: 10pm – 2am
      Wednesday: 10pm – 2am
      Thursday: 10pm – 2am
      Friday: 10pm – 3am
      Saturday: 10pm – 3am
      Sunday: CLOSED
  • Dress Code: Dressy Casual
  • Location: Dupont Circle
  • Address: 1327 Connecticut Ave NW
  • Contact: 202.506.7776
  • Website:




Manor, Washington DC

The Manor DC, located in the heart of Dupont Circle brings glitz, glamour and the most talented DJ’s to cozy up with in your very own loft hideaway.

A Restaurant and Lounge by day that transforms to a modern, sleek nightclub by night.  The Manor is the newest D.C. spot to enjoy lunch, delicious happy-hour specials and dinner later accompanied by your favorite beats and cocktails created by one of DC’s top Mixologists.” (from

Manor has everything you could ask for in a lounge: Delicious menu, great drinks, cool atmosphere, and a great location (not to mention the awesome view of Connecticut Ave out the 2nd story floor-to-ceiling windows).





All images courtesy of

Dining Area
Main Dining Area
  • Venue type: Restaurant/ lounge
  • Amenities: Happy hour, Sunday brunch, Full menu, Happy hour menu, Full bar, Private events, Bottle service.
  • Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 11pm- 2 am Friday- Saturday: 10 pm- 3 am
  • Cover charge: None
  • Dress code: Fashionable
  • Age requirement:  21+ on the weekend
  • Location: McPherson Square
  • Address: 1300 I street NW Washington DC 20005
  • Contact: 202-682-9500
  • Website:



Richard Sandoval’s newest DC hotspot is an upscale Latin restaurant serving authentic cuisine during the day, with full bars in both the dining and downstairs lounge areas. Everything in Toro Toro is perfectly Latin themed, from the furnishings to the Day of the Dead bottled beers. Boasting burning amber onyx walls, lush black leather couches, a lit-up bar, glowing orange countertops, and state-of-the art lighting system, Toro Toro creates an ambience of pure elegance.

On the main floor, you can enjoy the quiet, classy atmosphere at the bar, or candle-lit table to unwind from a long day. The happy hour includes reasonably priced and tasty appetizers and cocktails, featuring Latin-inspired dishes such as their chipotle hummus and smoked guacamole.

Located on the bottom level, the 5,000 sqft late night lounge provides an intimate and vibrant setting for guests to dance and converse.VIP tables are placed conveniently by the dance floor with comfy and chic couches for guests. Candles are lit next to plush booths to enhance the intimate ambience. Another notable aspect of this floor is the state-of-the art lighting system, with its beautiful array of bright colors and patterns. The flashing lights are perfectly timed to create a high-energy and sensual vibe on the dancefloor. The beautiful upscale interior is complimented with tasty, Latin-inspired drinks, exceptional service, and uplifting house music.

I would recommend Toro Toro for private events and celebrations. Tables provide an intimate setting for guests to enjoy delicious drinks and for you to have a great time with friends. They also come with excellent service. The VIP hostesses were very attentive and made sure to keep our table stocked throughout the night.

For bottle service specials and rates, call 202.682.9500. Toro Toro is also available for private events.

Written by Roma Moradian and Sana Alloo


Toro Toro Bar

VIP Seating

Toro Toro



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Illumination: 9.16.16 at Ultrabar

By adeja in DC Clubs, DC Events, DC Lounges, Dc Nightclubs, DC Nightlife, Ultrabar DC
Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 3:20pm. (Updated: 9/19/16 at 11:41am) Add comments

Break out all the neon you own and picture all the blacklights you can because another round of our Illumination Black Light Party is here!

Back To School Party: 9.2.16 at Ultrabar

By adeja in DC Clubs, DC Events, DC Lounges, Ultrabar DC
Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 2:11pm. (Updated: 9/05/16 at 10:33am) Add comments

Kick the Fall semester off the right way at Ultrabar this Friday September 2 at our Back to School End of Summer Blowout!

Cocktail Dresses & Champagne: 08.12.16 at Ultrabar

By adeja in DC Clubs, DC Events, DC Lounges
Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 12:21pm. (Updated: 8/15/16 at 11:55am) Add comments

Champagne Showers at Ultrabar this Friday August 12th!

Holy Stoli: 8.19.16 at Ultrabar

By adeja in DC Clubs, DC Events, DC Lounges, Dc Nightclubs, Ultrabar DC
Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 11:57am. (Updated: 8/21/16 at 7:16pm) Add comments

Start your weekend off at Ultrabar -this Friday! Stoli Open Bar 10-11 and Stoli Drink Specials All Night Long!

Little Black Dress Party: 9.9.16 at Ultrabar

By adeja in DC Clubs, DC Lounges, Dc Nightclubs, DC Nightlife, Ultrabar DC
Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 10:33am. (Updated: 9/12/16 at 12:17pm) Add comments

Every fashion-savvy girl has one – break yours out this Friday at our Little Black Dress Party – only at Ultrabar!

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