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Entertainment & Nightlife in Washington

From buttoned-down political appointees who have just arrived to laid-back folks who've lived here their whole lives, Washingtonians have plenty of options when they head out for a night on the town. Most places are clustered in several key areas, making a night of bar-hopping relatively easy. Georgetown has dozens of bars, nightclubs and restaurants at the intersection of Wisconsin and M streets. A host of small live-music venues line the 18th Street strip in Adams-Morgan between Columbia Road and Kalorama Avenue. The stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue between 2nd and 4th streets has a half-dozen Capitol Hill bars. For a high-powered happy hour, head to the intersection of 19th and M streets NW, near lawyer- and lobbyist-filled downtown.

Although locals are likely to tell you that the party scene hasn't changed much over the past several years, the truth is that it's constantly changing. For example, theatre-goers seeking post-show entertainment once had to head to nearby Dupont Circle, but no more: the 14th Street strip near P Street has developed an eclectic, thriving nightlife of its own. And thanks to an ongoing revival, the Penn Quarter is burgeoning with squeaky clean, new bars.

The city's suburbs have a nightlife of their own, in part thanks to Washington's Metro system, which runs until 3am on weekends. Near the Bethesda stop in downtown Bethesda, Maryland, there's a vibrant club scene. In Northern Virginia, where droves of young people in search of cheaper rent have decamped, bars and clubs heat up the areas surrounding the Clarendon and Ballston Metro stations.

To check out the local scene, consult Friday's 'Weekend' section in the Washington Post and the free weekly Washington CityPaper. It's also a good idea to call clubs ahead of time and reservations are advised for clubs that feature comedy or live music.

Most pubs and bars in DC have cover charges for bands and DJs, especially those performing on Friday and Saturday. Expect to pay from $5 to $15 for most dance clubs. Jazz and comedy clubs often have higher cover charges along with drink minimums.





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