Little Black Book

The Radio Guy's Guide to D.C.'s Adams Morgan

by Jack Inslee
Tail Photo courtesy of Tail Up Goat.

Washington D.C.'s Adams Morgan neighborhood has long been a bastion for the cool and creative. To give us the grand tour, we phoned up Jack Inslee, founder and executive director of Full Service Radio, a community-driven internet radio station and podcast network broadcast out of The Line DC hotel lobby. 

WASHINGTON D.C. – Adams Morgan has everything I could ask for in an urban neighborhood. International food, late-night happenings, and independent retail are a few of the things that give this unique nook of D.C. its character. The area gets its name from two formerly segregated elementary schools — Thomas P. Morgan Elementary School and John Quincy Adams Elementary School — that worked together to desegregate. That spirit of unity is still alive and well here. These are my favorite spots.

SongByrd Music House and Record Cafe
2475 18th St. N.W.; +1-202-450-2917
The cultural hub, record store, cafe, and music venue has a little bit of of everything. Some of the best shows and concerts in D.C. are hosted in the event space downstairs The cafe is also the perfect place to come and get work done, enjoy a bite, and browse an extensive selection of records.

Loves Me Not
2436 18th St. N.W.; no phone
A new DIY art gallery, performance space, and cocktail bar full of creative energy. Located on the second floor of funky pizza chain Mellow Mushroom, it’s a nice taste of D.C.’s underground creative community.

Photo courtesy of SongByrd Music House and Record Cafe.
Photo courtesy of Idle Time Books.

Idle Time Books
2467 18th St. N.W.; +1-202-232-4774
An independently owned relic of a book store with an eclectic and meticulously organized selection of literary treasures. If you're lucky, you'll get to meet owner Val Morgan, who lives upstairs and has run the charming shop for over 30 years. She’s a great local fixture I’ve profiled on Full Service Radio, which you can listen to here.

Commonwealth
1781 Florida Ave. N.W.; +1-202-265-1830
A can't miss stop for designer streetwear enthusiasts and sneakerheads. The urban skater vibes make this place feel like a slice of LA in D.C.

Tail Up Goat
1827 Adams Mill Rd. N.W.; +1-202-986-9600
The Michelin-starred restaurant does refined, eclectic food and offers a vast selection of forward-thinking drinks. Unique takes on Mediterranean cuisine, a top-notch bread program, and one of the better wine lists in the city make it a must for foodie travelers.

Lapis
1847 Columbia Rd. N.W.; +1-202-299-9630
This Afghan bistro is my favorite low-key brunch spot in Adams Morgan, but it’s just as good for dinner. From the home-cooking to visual delights from art to decor, it’s a perfect date spot.

Photo courtesy of Tail Up Goat.
Photo courtesy of Lapis.
Photo courtesy of The Diner.

The Diner
2453 18th St. N.W.; +1-202-232-8800
A 24/7 joint where you'll find yourself on a hungover morning or at the end of a long night out. Everything you'd expect at a classic diner is here, including some seriously satiating milkshakes.

Jack Rose
2007 18th St. N.W.; +1-202-588-7388
If there's one reason to come to Jack Rose, it's for whiskey. They claim to have the largest collection in the Western Hemisphere, and their bar staff will happily help you navigate the intimidating list. To pair with your pick, there’s an open-air terrace, a collection of hand-rolled cigars, and a solid menu of classic American fare.

Madam’s Organ Blues Bar
2461 18th St. N.W.; +1-202-667-5370
Get rowdy at this historic bar that was once a children's store that became the world's first Toys R' Us! Catch some live bluegrass and soak in the stories of a place that was once a sanctuary for Bad Brains, Fugazi, and other legendary punk and hardcore bands.

Pop's SeaBar
1817 Columbia Rd. N.W.; +1-202-534-3933
A casual beach-themed seafood dive. It’s the perfect place to escape and get lost in some oysters or peel-and-eat shrimp.

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