What to expect: Formal and classic yet balanced with a boutiquish and intimate atmosphere. Walk out the front door to see Lafayette Park and the White House.
Where to spend your dollars: The basement bar, Off the Record, attracts politicos from the White House and the nearby World Bank. “Always sit at the bar,” says John Boswell, the friendly 12-year veteran bartender. “The half-moon shape tends to get people into conversations.” Patrons stick to the classics―martinis, Manhattans, and wines.
The inside story: The Sunday morning talk show hosts and hotel guests rub elbows at the extravagant late-morning brunch in The Lafayette dining room ($65, reservations required).
16th and H Streets NW.; www.hayadams.com or (202) 638-6600