Washington D.C.

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If you weren't invited to the latest embassy parties, don't worry. Every major hotel lounge, conservative or modish, sets the scene for affairs, business and otherwise. The nation's, indeed the world's, lifeblood, courses through the Washington bar scene.

Washington D.C. Nightlife

Bar Rouge

Trance, acid jazz, and visual effects streaming from a digital monitor form the background for the beautiful crowd as they gossip over small dishes and exotic cocktails.

1315 16th St., DC, 202-232-8000, www.rougehotel.com
Tags: gay and lesbian | nightlife | lounge | dancing | dj

Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL)

Located near historic DuPont Circle, this red-hot D.C. nightspot occupies Teddy Roosevelt's former mansion and is furnished in vintage antiques. DJs spin a hybrid of down tempo dub and exotic lounge music. It feels like a sophisticated A-list house party at an ambassador's private residence, complete with cocktails, supermodels, D.C. power players, and a very tight velvet rope!

1212 18th St. NW, DC, 202-466-3922, www.eighteenthstreetlounge.com
Tags: nightlife | editor pick | smart splurge | trendy | history | nightclub

Helix Lounge

The décor is as eclectic as the clientele. Chameleon-esque colored lights and techno pulse over the whimsical, multi-textured space. Stop by for the celebrated happy hour (5am-7pm) when burgers, beers, and cocktails are half price.

1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC, 202-462-9001, www.hotelhelix.com
Tags: nightlife | lounge

PostScript Bar

This clubby, masculine lounge has navy damask walls, chenille upholstered barstools, leather club chairs, mahogany furnishings, and President Madison's letters on the walls.

15th and M Sts. NW, DC, 202-862-1600, www.themadisondc.com
Tags: nightlife | lounge

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