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a male bartender with glasses and an apron pours a cocktail while another looks on, with shelves of liqueurs in the back

The Best Places to Eat & Drink in DC's Ivy City Neighborhood

You’ll find award-winning restaurants, local distilleries and even a winery and brewery in this up-and-coming DC neighborhood.

You’ll find award-winning restaurants, local distilleries and even a winery and brewery in this up-and-coming DC neighborhood.

Ivy City is a small, historic neighborhood north of Union Market with a high concentration of restaurants and craft distilleries. It was originally developed as a post-Civil War community for African Americans, and featured a popular racetrack, as well as the Hecht Company department store warehouse. The recent redevelopment of the historic Hecht Warehouse has served as a catalyst for the neighborhood’s reemergence, resulting in the arrival of retailers like Nike – who opened its first East Coast community store there – and a convergence of creative chefs, brewers, winemakers and distillers. Dig in to the best places to eat and drink and start planning your Ivy City foodie adventure.

Don’t forget your Bib (Gourmand)

The tantalizing scent of savory smoked fish radiates at all hours from the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse, making this Bib Gourmand recipient – awarded for great food at a good value – a neighborhood must-visit. The delightful smokehouse fish board topped with five different smoked fishes, two bagels and all the fixin’s is a crowd favorite, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you to try the shrimp po’ boy or tender crab cake sandwich with hand-cut fries that are to die for. The downstairs market, open Tuesday through Thursday, also offers up raw and ready-to-eat seafood, which includes some of the city’s best bagels and lox.

Date night delights

Gravitas: slanted angle view of dish with green sauce on blue plate with glass of wine and wood table


Nearby, chef Matt Baker has turned a former tomato cannery into Gravitas, an award-winning farm-to-table restaurant highlighting the delicious bounty of the Chesapeake in a modern space with plenty of exposed brick. You can choose your own culinary adventure with the flexible five- or seven-course tasting menu options, allowing you to sample a range of Baker’s popular dishes (think yellowfin sashimi and an exceptional chocolate ganache that snakes across your plate). Green thumbs can get their kicks sipping on cocktails upstairs at the Conservatory, which includes a greenhouse and garden alive with flowers, fruits and vegetables.

For a more casual night out, check out Via Ghibellina. The owners once shared a flat on their spot's namesake street in Florence, which inspired them to open a locale with true Tuscan fare, including pizza served with pinking shears to cut your own slices.

trio of colorful cocktails on a vibrant tile tabletop


Next door, Vera celebrates the convergence of Lebanese and Mexican cultures in Veracruz. Fueled by a rich history of immigration, the resulting culinary combination is a thoughtfully curated, vibrant dishes spanning ghanoush with salsa to corn gelato with sweet tahini. With disco balls hanging from the ceiling, the spot is always lively, especially on weekends thanks to Arabic-Latin "party brunch" and late-night DJ sets. 

Sip from the source at these spots

The District is home to a thriving scene of distilleries, wineries, breweries and cideries – many of which can be found in Ivy City. You can get into the DC spirit at any of these places to drink.

Republic Restoratives, a women-owned business built on the belief that the power of a cocktail can bring communities together, is the first Ivy City distillery that you’ll see when entering the neighborhood from New York Avenue NE. The Ivy Room bar is the perfect place to sip a house-made cocktail, and you can’t go wrong with any of the distillery’s handcrafted spirits: Civic Vodka, Borough Bourbon and Rodham Rye.

a male bartender with glasses and an apron pours a cocktail while another looks on, with shelves of liqueurs in the back

Don Ciccio & Figli

In their tasting room and showcase bar, Don Ciccio & Figli, producers of Italian herbal liqueurs, delight tasters with recipes that have been handed down through generations. The assortment of colorful liquori, often ordered on a sweet-to-bitter scale, is also accompanied by house-made vino amaro, cordials and Etesia spirits. 

Justin Cox and Will Durgin met at Vanderbilt University as two thirsty engineering scholars with a discerning taste for beer. Years later, the duo formed Atlas Brew Works to bring beer back to the neighborhood. They’ve succeeded with their popular growlers to-go set-up and an ever-changing stable of boutique brews you’ll find nowhere else. 

Other Half Brewing's tap room in Ivy City is conveniently located next to the northeastern brewery's largest production facility, but have no fear – there is still plenty of space for patrons to find a comfortable seat. With options inside, on the covered patio or on the rooftop, you can try one of their famous IPAs in a different setting each time. 

Take stock of all there is to see and do in Ivy City and beyond