Maneuver through the Hay-Adams hotel lobby, down a back staircase and into Off the Record, a swanky lounge and bar replete with all of the red leather, velvet and mahogany you’d expect. Off the Record pulls in everyone from political A-listers to everyday Washingtonians and curious tourists who managed to get a good tip of where to go. The bar’s motto is that it’s a place “to be seen and not heard,” so try not to gawk at any House members who may or may not be avoiding its staffers by hiding away in a nook of the dark bar.
THE DRINK TO DRINK: The monstrous nine-ounce house Manhattan is as surefire a successful drink order as there is in this town.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: The bar has a small but diverse dining menu, although you might wind up simply snacking on the complimentary tray of snacks delivered with your drinks.