By DCBeer Contributor Jessie Szalay
From time to time, DCBeer likes to focus on bars that catch our readers' attention. Today we focus on Columbia Heights' Red Derby.
A neighborhood bar in the truest sense, The Red Derby welcomes all with a warm atmosphere, funky decor, eclectic music, and DC’s best selection of canned beer. Solely carrying cans helps keep prices down at this red-walled, cash-only bar (there’s an ATM onsite), and has enabled owners David and Sasha Leventry to cultivate a collection that allows drinkers on any budget to try unique brews. With nearly 60 beers in stock including seven craft IPAs, you can sip everything from $3 Natty Boh to $8 Tokyo Black. Unsure if you want the easy but surprising ginger of Pork Slap or the toasty sweetness of Coconut Porter? Ask a friendly staffer—most likely a regular-turned-bartender—who will happily chat with you.
There’s daily happy hour, drink specials, and the especially efficient should try a $5 combo of Stroh’s and a shot of whiskey. Weekend brunch offers $2 mimosas, bloodies, and screwdrivers, and shouldn’t be missed—especially when seated at the popular rooftop that has wintertime heaters and a fantastic view of the historic neighborhood. The menu features comfort food with a twist; savor the mac ‘n cheese wedges or the enormous Derby burger with arugula, avocado, and sprouts.
Whether you chat at the bar, play board games or Buck Hunter in the back room, or attend the Sunday night community meetings, you’ll feel welcome. You can go all out at the famed events—annual Prom, Dia de los Muertos party, New Year's Eve—and give back, too: proceeds benefit Dash, a local nonprofit. It doesn’t get much more neighborhood than that.
Photo by MattHurst