Look at the reviews for Bar Charley and everyone mentions the cocktails. That’s because the list at Bar Charley is creative, portions are generous and prices are decent — and because this place has soul. Set in a speakeasy type ground floor space with exposed brick, comfy banquette seating and low lighting, there’s a small bar and dining room inside with a spacious outdoor patio. Sit outside under the string lights if you’ve a crowd, and pick your poison: the bartender mixes some creative one-offs as well as old standbys from a deep list of craft liquors.
The 11-page drinks menu features multiple versions of Manhattans and Martinis (10 each!). Conversely, the food offerings occupy a half page. But this doesn’t mean eats are an afterthought: there’s something for everything, and the small menu ensures all are done right. The Charley burger was perfectly pink, with just the right amount of fries, the steak just a little crisp outside, but also cooked to our liking. Appetizers include charcuterie, wings and crispy Brussels sprouts, and if you’re off the red meat, there are fish entrees, as well as duck. Bar Charley is a cocktail destination with the heart of a neighborhood bar: the natives are friendly and children are welcome. Masks required as per DC law.