Although 14th Street is only one block away from the actual traffic circle for which the neighborhood is named—where the roads of 13th Street circumscribe a grassy patch, park benches and a statue of Civil War Major General John. A Logan—the thoroughfare has transformed into the lifeblood of Logan Circle, the aorta along which culinary and retail flow is pumped back into its fully oxygenized residents.
If you had the chance to stroll along 14th Street Northwest in the Washington, D.C. of just 10 years ago, you’d encounter a crop of pawn shops, liquor stores and a Popeye’s fried chicken restaurant…and that’s about it. Today, however, this corridor forms the heart of the longstanding neighborhood of Logan Circle, an area of Northwest D.C. that underwent a palpable makeover during the past decade. With a restaurant for every palate and a bar for every imbiber, Logan Circle’s facelift has succeeded in presenting a fresh new appearance while maintaining its inherent understated personality.
Logan Circle is surrounded on all sides by four of the District’s most sought-after neighborhoods: alternative and hip Shaw to the east, eclectic and artsy U Street/Adams Morgan to the north, professional party haven Dupont Circle to the west and the 9-to-5 vortex that is Downtown to the south. Nestled nicely in the middle, Logan Circle is an amalgam of its neighbors. The central thoroughfare conveniently caters to both pedestrians and cyclists who hop from last week’s latest café to this week’s newest restaurant.
Staring from the southern end of the corridor, find The Pig (1320 14th Street NW). Chefs here not only collect menu ingredients directly from their own farm in La Plata, Md., but they also use every part of the namesake animal, particularly in their tasting menu that can highlight everything from trotter to hock to ears.
On a sunny afternoon, it’s tough to find a better terrace than that of Le Diplomate (1601 14th Street NW), a bistro that is seemingly transplanted directly from Paris’ Left Bank. Escargots, pâté and steak frites grace the classic French menu, all washed down with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a few bites of crème brulée.
On Monday nights, grab two-for-one oysters at Pearl Dive (1612 14th Street NW), a spirited oyster bar with a Southern twang. Old Black Salt oysters from the Rappahannock River in neighboring Virginia are served in a handful of styles: Rockefeller, with spinach, bacon and aioli; Angels on Horseback wrapped in bacon; and Tchoupitoulas, an oyster confit served with blue crab, tasso ham and corn.
Closer to the U Street crossroads is Tico (1926 14th Street NW), a vibrant Latin American–inspired spot that brings Latin street food to the dining table. Savor Mexico City street tacos filled with suadero (milk-braised cuts of meat), the broth of which is used to make the popular lunchtime dish Tico Ramen. At dinner, feast on mezcal-smoked turkey legs or Peruvian chargrilled octopus before sampling tequila at the bar.
ChurchKey (1337 14th Street NW) is arguably one of the pioneers of the city’s fast-growing craft beer scene. Daily changing taps fill the two-sided menu, where each quaff description is joined by alcohol content info and the shape of the vessel in which it is served. Truffle grilled cheese sandwiches and mac-and-cheese bites with marinara dipping sauce coat the stomach before another round of brews.
With a bevvy of black-and-gold bottles from which to choose, Black Whiskey (1410 14th Street NW) is a whiskey lover’s dream. The second-story bar emits a simplicity that can only be found in a whiskey joint: a free pool table, a handful of TVs and a bar wall lined with glowing bottles.
When hankering for a refined cocktail experience, descend into Sotto (1610 14th Street NW). Live music rings through the chic basement bar from Tuesdays to Saturdays, and signature cocktails up the ante among Logan Circle libations. The barrel-aged “Corpse Reviver No. 2” features gin, Lillet Blanc (a white wine aperitif), Combier liqueur and lemon, while the “Melodrama” mixes tequila with Lillet Blanc, persimmon honey and lime.
At Barcelona Wine Bar (1622 14th Street NW), escape to the Mediterranean coast of Spain simply by taking your place in a bar stool. Barcelona boasts an impressive collection of Spanish wines and serves traditional tapas dishes alongside its vintages, such as fuet (dry-cured pork sausage) and jamón-and-manchego croquettes.
With a repertoire of home goods ranging from classic to quirky, Miss Pixie’s (1626 14th Street NW) sells furnishings “and whatnot.” Incoming shipments arrive every Tuesday and Wednesday, so it’s rare to visit without espying something new. The knowledgeable staff can help shoppers date vintage furniture and recommend items for a cohesive home collection.
Accessories abound at local chain Lou Lou (1802 14th Street NW), a boutique that sells wallets, handbags, scarves, jewelry and other outfit elements for every occasion. Lou Lou’s website features a “Look of the Week,” with seasonal pieces to inspire a future shopping trip.
Hosts and hostesses can stock up on kitchenware and other entertaining accoutrement at Salt & Sundry (1625 14th Street NW). Since 2012, this small shop sells the ingredients for a perfect party, such as table linens, cocktail mixers and even furniture. Salt & Sundry also hosts food and drink demonstrations for hopeful home entertainers.
In business since 1993, the Black Cat (1811 14th Street NW) has survived the recent renaissance along 14th Street, in large part due to its consistent billing of local and national artists that draw concertgoers of all genres. Two stages (the back stage and the main stage) are accompanied by the Red Room Bar where patrons can enjoy a billiards or beer break in between sets.
Comprised of four intimate stages, the Studio Theatre (1501 14th Street NW) has been bringing the best in contemporary plays to Logan Circle since the late 1980s. The non-profit performing arts center also offers acting, movement and voice classes, and students have the opportunity to audition for in-house plays.
From the outside, it is difficult to discern what may be found beyond the doors of New Vegas Lounge (1415 P Street NW), but the small, neon-lit venue charges a nominal fee for access to some of Logan Circle’s best live music. The resident Out of Town Blues Band takes the stage on Friday and Saturday nights and keeps the party going with blues and funk favorites.