Clyde's of Georgetown is the legendary saloon that launched a series of popular D.C. eateries. Ever since opening its doors in 1963, Clyde’s has been a favorite among residents of Northwest Washington and was a catalyst in turning the neighborhood into the dynamic art and food scene it is today. Clyde's opened the same summer as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. It was a summer of change and redemption for both Washington D.C. and the country as a whole.
A loosening of local liquor laws the previous year allowed drinkers to be served standing up at a bar instead of seated at a table. This prompted founding partner Stuart Davidson to open Clyde’s. He wanted the establishment to be known as a bar first and foremost because he frequently remarked that it was more fun to "eat in a saloon than drink in a restaurant."
Many of the guests at Clyde's are multi-decade regulars. Having a fun saloon atmosphere does not mean the food plays second fiddle though; the menu is unpretentious and focused on flavor above flair. One of the local favorites at Clyde's is the crispy roasted chicken, a semi-boneless half-chicken with caramelized radicchio and fresh mozzarella gratin, plated with farro and broccolini, and topped with a charred scallion vinaigrette. In the summertime, the most popular item is the classic BLT, made with local beefsteak tomatoes, red leaf lettuce, bacon, and mayonnaise on toasted country white bread. Clyde's hosts one of the best happy hours in town including $3 draft beer as well as half-priced wine every Sunday. Clyde's is a Georgetown institution and is still one of the best places in the city to enjoy the good life.
Cover photo courtesy of amilari via Unsplash.