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5 College Sophomore

Nightlife: There is a TON to do in DC, and American is a really great distance from it all.

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: It is easy to find something fun to do!

3 College Student

Nightlife: its pretty hard to find a party on campus, its really not a party school. but its also in D.C, and close to other party schools so its not impossible to find a party

3 College Freshman

Nightlife: There's usually a frat party if you're looking for one, especially in the fall. Frat parties can be a great time but they get boring quickly. Less open parties in the spring, but you can still find one. Bars in DC are annoyingly strict with ID, clubs less so. Lots of 18+ nights at clubs, but they're usually not so great. Metro isn't open that late which is also annoying.

3 College Sophomore

Nightlife: There are a handful of people who are club goers, and have tight relationships with owners and such. You seem them at the clubs at VIP tables poppin bottles. Then there are the typical frat parties. Fall semester specifically, because freshman are not yet in greek life, is an interesting time for parties.Most frat houses are relatively far from campus, so you have to wait in a crowd of people by the dorms to get rides form frat brothers.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 192nd
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 1181st
    Tamest Party Scenes
  • 1263rd
    Best Drink Prices

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Jesse MacDonald
Law & Society
View all previous student authors

D.C. nightlife is active and exciting enough to wear the most energetic students out. Students will never run out of places to explore when it comes to clubbing and bar hopping. The most interesting places require only a short Metro ride, though there are some spots in Tenleytown for AU students. Clubs will usually admit 18-year-olds, but there are a number of spots that are strictly 21-and-up. 

Welcome Week is probably the most fun for nightlife around campus. There are open fraternity parties every night, so take advantage. These parties are a lot of fun and great places to meet people or go with new friends. Later in the semester, a lot of parties become closed admission. Those who aren’t big on dancing and drinking can keep themselves amused, too. Movie theaters, comedy clubs, shows, and concerts abound, as do restaurants and coffeehouses. It is impossible to be bored in the vibrant city of D.C.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Adams Morgan
  • Dupont Circle
  • U Street
Other Places to Check Out
  • The Barking Dog
  • Black Cat
  • Bravo! Bravo!
  • Café Citron
  • The Dancing Crab
  • Eighteenth Street Lounge
  • ESPN Zone
  • Front Page
  • Grand Central
  • Guapo's Restaurant
  • Lotus
  • Madhatter
  • Malt Shop
  • Midtown
  • Murphy's
  • Nanny O'Briens
  • Old Glory
  • Prince Café
  • The Reserve
  • Shadow Room
  • Teaism
  • The Zoo Bar Café
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Card games (A$$hole)
  • Century club
  • Power hour
  • Quarters
Useful Resources for Nightlife
Closing Time
2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
Recessions Lounge
Organization Parties
Fraternity and sorority parties make up much of the scene for underclassmen, but they are not the iconic frat parties you'll see in the movies. AU organizations don't have houses and may only have a floor in a residence hall. Parties are held off campus in private houses.

Club ListingsWhat's This?


Music at Love includes international, hip-hop, and dance; dress is upscale, and the club features several levels, a diverse crowd, and often has theme nights throughout the week.

1350 Okie St. NE

Washington, D.C.

(202) 636-9030


FUR has three rooms-the main room or "the arena," a martini lounge, a mafia room, and the mink lounge. Dress sophisticated and chic-there is a dress code.

33 Patterson St. NE

Washington, D.C.

(202) 842-3401

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Madam's Organ

One of Adams Morgan's most popular bars, Madam's has cheap drinks, food, pool tables, live music, and a hip, laid-back attitude.

2461 18 St. NW

Washington, D.C.

(202) 667-5370

The Improv

The Improv has stand-up comedy acts that attract big-name stars to perform-popular with college students and young people, with lots of good appetizers and a two-drink minimum.

1140 Connecticut Ave. NW

Washington, D.C.

(202) 296-7008

Marx Café

This spot attracts young hipsters with its Communist décor, reggae and Spanish rock music, and great tapas.

3203 Mount Pleasant St. NW

Washington, D.C.

(202) 518-7600

Recessions Lounge

Recessions is a very cheap downtown bar in the basement of the Commerce Building-a great after-work spot. Features nightly drink specials and cheap food.

1823 L St. NW

Washington, D.C.

(202) 296-6686

Pure Lounge

1326 U St. NW

Washington, D.C.

(202) 290-7058


Located in Dupont Circle, Apex is a popular destination among AU students. Apex is the longest-running gay dance club in the district.

1415 22nd St. NW

Washington, D.C.

(202) 296-0505

9:30 Club

The 9:30 Club is one of the best venues around to see some of the biggest up-and-coming artists perform.

815 V St. NW

Washington, D.C.

(202) 265-0930


Asylum features industrial/metal music, cheap beer, and great burgers and fries.

2471 18 St. NW

Washington, D.C.

(202) 319-9353

Heaven and Hell

A popular college dance spot, Heaven has an `80s night and techno music, and Hell has a more low-key bar scene with theme drinks like the red-hot 666 shot.

2327 18 St. NW

Washington, D.C.

(202) 667-4355

Hawk and Dove

Attracts Capitol Hill staffers and military types; H&D has six rooms, a dance floor, and late-night breakfast and food specials.

329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

Washington, D.C.

(202) 543-3300

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

DC Improv

Many bars and clubs, especially in Dupont Circle, are 18-and-up, so even younger students can have a good time out in the city. DC Improv shows are open to those 18-and-up.

1140 Connecticut Ave. NW

Washington, D.C.

(202) 296-7008

Student Polls

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 12 responses

  • 20% Phi Sigma Kappa or Pike Fraternities
  • 13% Clubs
  • 13% Georgetown
  • 10% Rugby House
  • 10% Frisbee House
  • 10% The Berks
  • 10% EI (not technically a frat)
  • 10% Local clubs hosted by frats
  • 3% Zeta Psi

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 81 responses

Very poor
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 82 responses

  • 0% There are no good options.
  • 4% Use a designated driver.
  • 11% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 65% Public transportation.
  • 15% Taxis.
  • 6% Walk.

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 85 responses

  • 6% Parties? What parties?
  • 6% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 55% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 31% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 2% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 12 responses

  • 67% Welcome Week!
  • 17% Sig Ep Bid Party
  • 8% Homecoming
  • 8% Founder's Day
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