We Love Drinks: Tabard Inn

Tabard Inn Cocktail

"Tabard Inn Cocktail" with lemon zest and thyme leaves...

When the weather gets frigid, I begin my never-ending quest for a drinks spot with “hygge.” This is one of those totally untranslatable Danish words – encompassing a feeling of warmth, cosiness, and social cheer, hopefully accented by music and free of pretension – the feeling you get on a cold night, halfway through a mulled cider or a hot toddy, sinking into a soft divan before a fireplace, surrounded by jazz aficionados – wait a minute, here’s a much easier translation:

“Hygge” = Tabard Inn.

Tabard Inn is a classic small hotel, neither swank nor modern nor cold, with an antique-filled, lived-in look, like a grandmother with a twinkle in her eye. It’s hard to go wrong with drinks in the firelit front room, but you can also snuggle up in one of the many nooks upstairs or at the bar in the dining room.  It’s the sort of place my girlfriends and I go when we want “proper cocktails” in a quiet comfortable corner – reminding me of my favorite place for drinks in NYC, the Algonquin Hotel.

Last Sunday was one of those nights, with a brisk wind driving us to thoughts of mulled cider before the fireplace.

Lounge at Tabard Inn

The front room of the Tabard Inn, by firelight

Of course, as luck would have it by the time we arrived the front room was packed with people enjoying jazz bassist Victor Dvoskin, some even sitting on the floor, but an hour later or so we were able to finagle sofa seats and soak up his great last set, with saxophonist Richie Cole. Victor plays at Tabard every Sunday from 7:30pm to 10:30pm, and it was obvious from the many regulars’ conversations afterwards that he inspires quite a following. The crowd was multi-generational and diverse too, something that you don’t often find in DC’s very segregated nightlife scenes.

By the time we were ready to go, we were warmed not only by cocktails and firelight but by music and conversation as well. That’s good hygge, and it will definitely keep me going back to Tabard Inn for more.

1739 N Street NW
Washington, DC 20036


As one of the founding editors of We Love DC, Jenn’s passions are theater and cocktails. After two decades in the city, she’s loved every quirky, mundane, elegant, rude minute of her DC life. A proud advocate for DC’s talented drinks scene, she’s judged the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s ARTINI contest, the DC Rickey Month contest, the Jefferson Hotel’s Quill Cocktail competition, and is a founding member of LUPEC DC. A graduate of Catholic University’s drama program, she toured the country as a member of National Players, and has been both an actor and a costume designer before jumping the aisle to theater criticism. Writing for We Love DC restored her happiness after a life-threatening illness, and she’s grateful to you, dear readers. Send your suggestions to jenn (at) welovedc (dot) com and follow her on Twitter.

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8 thoughts on “We Love Drinks: Tabard Inn

  1. They have doughnuts? Oh my gosh. That would have taken the night past hygge into nirvana! Definitely will indulge next time, thanks Katie!

  2. Oh Jenn, what would we do without each other? ;) The doughnuts are freshly fried and coated in sugar and cinnamon. YUMMM.

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