Nightlife, Restaurants

Raise a Glass to Romanovs at Russia House in Washington, DC

November 3, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC, US – The Russian culture is known for many qualities, but hospitality is perhaps one of its most celebrated. And nowhere does an Eastern European flair for entertaining come into more vivid relief than at Russia House, where it’s set against a ritzy, glitzy backdrop of theatrical décor. Washington, DC’s vodka wellspring (no joke—its collection is the biggest in the city) is revered more for its red curtains than its red tape, and despite all signs of snobbishness—gilded mirrors, caviar plates, vodka tasting menu—this restaurant, bar, and lounge in Dupont Circle is friendly and warm, imperial only in its source of inspiration.

The experience at this extravagant eatery is widely considered among the best in town. While Russia House is not the cheapest sardine in the tin, it’s certainly not the most exorbitant of DC’s hotter tables. We’re impressed at its reasonable prices for caviar, which start at USD 90. And counter to one unflattering stereotype—that of the Soviet poker face—servers here flash smiles as fat as the cheese and poppy-seed blini.

But don’t let the lounge’s inviting atmosphere distract you from its more sultry pleasures. The décor in this dynastic dining room sizzles with exotic intrigue, from studded velvet to stained and polished French doors to flashes of red on carpet, walls, and loveseats. Bars pop up multiple times throughout the four floors, including at the “New Hermitage” and “Tsar Bar.” There’s also a chocolate-hued “Winter Palace” available for private dining.

In fact, the joint regularly hosts events: each Thursday, when the imminent end of the DC work week calls for an intimate concert upstairs, and on the fourth Saturday of each month, when the Piano Bar hosts elaborate vodka tastings. The real crowd-pleaser, though, is the weekly techno party, so big and rowdy that crowds on the top two levels overflow, shots of blueberry-infused vodka in hand, and unite in delirium with diners flushed and tipsy on the open-‘til-2:00am dining decks.

Now that’s what we call empire.

Read more about Russia House in our Washington, DC Guide.

Russia House
1800 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC

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