Dan’s Cafe is a dive bar in the truest sense of the word. Not a cafe at all, the place is a time warp – owned by the same family for many years, it seemingly hasn’t changed in decades. That’s kind of appealing in Adams Morgan, where even the popular, older bars change every few years and most places are constantly trying to find a new angle to get people to come in.
But not Dan’s. The staff is unfriendly at best, everything is dingy and yellowed, the fake plastic bricks are peeling off the walls and dim old beer signs hang from the ceiling. It looks like an abandoned building on the outside; I was shocked the first time I saw it was an actual, operating bar.
So why do I like it? It’s got character. It’s not like anywhere else and is cheaper than almost any bar in the city. Beer flows freely and “mixed” drinks are interesting: they’ll give you a small bottle of booze, a can of Coke or juice, limes and a bucket of ice and you make them yourself – for $12. If you want shots, they mix them in a squeeze bottle and give you shot glasses and you go to town. You don’t see that very often.
When I’m in the mood for a hilarious, cheap, and often crowded and sweaty time, this is the spot. I always take visitors there and we have a blast.