The Folger Theatre on Capitol Hill performs modern reworkings of Shakespeare classics. As the bard’s bastion in D.C., Folger Shakespeare Library is one of the foremost research centers in the world. Folger Theatre has staged over half of the plays in William’s First Folio, earning numerous Helen Hayes Awards and a reputation for fresh interpretation. The three tiered Elizabethan Theatre transports patrons back to Renaissance days with wooden balconies, carved oak columns and a sky canopy – all faithful reproductions of venues from Shakespeare’s time.
Thankfully, the theater-going experience has improved a bit since 1599 when you might have been a groundling munching on an apple, ducking cannon fire. Now you can be a sophisticated bon vivant taking in the arts after an inspiring meal at many of the first-rate surrounding restaurants. There is some apt Shakespeare line about entertainment, food and love that would segue nicely here… oh well, let’s just play on!
If you plan on spending time at Folger, check out these neighboring restaurants for a meal or drink.
Seated Senate-side, The Monocle’s unassuming but signature yellow façade and green canopy have served pols and Washingtonians since 1960. Pictures of President Kennedy, Nixon and other famed lawmakers give an idea of the Monocle’s storied clientele and history. Though a favorite eatery of the power-hungry, the Monocle does not forget its common touch when it comes to the menu. Patrons can expect a choice but simple fine-dining staples. Seafood lovers will enjoy an almost exclusively pescatarian appetizer menu. The shared seafood platter offers oysters, curried oysters, grilled shrimp and crab toast. Turf options abound as well with all the juicy, standard cuts. Set your sights on The Monocle when looking for a white-table cloth experience.
Open Monday-Friday 11:30 AM-10 PM
107 D Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Right before Union Station along Massachusetts Avenue NE sits a splendid row of alfresco restaurants. Café Berlin is one of the gems here serving German cuisine made from scratch. Native Deutschland chefs provide an authentic Bavarian menu that will more than take care of any carnivorous cravings. In the open-air seating area, guests can look out on Capitol Hill comings-and-goings while also enjoying some privacy from enclosing hedges. Beer aesthetes will have wide eyes at the Berlin’s vast, unpronounceable collection of Bocks and Hefeweizens. From the dinner menu, I recommend ordering the Rinderroulache, braised beef rolled into a log and stuffed with bacon, carrots, caramelized unions and kosher pickles. Sides of dumplings and sautéed red cabbage give the meaty entrée a sweet counterbalance.
Open Monday-Thursday 11:30 AM- 10 PM; Friday-Saturday 11:30 AM-11 PM; Sunday 11 AM-10 PM
322 Massachusetts Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Good Stuff Eatery
Ten minutes till curtain and you’re a starving but uncompromising foodie? Head, quickly, to Good Stuff Eatery on Pennsylvania Avenue. Owned by the same folks behind We the Pizza and Bearnaise, Good Stuff Eatery was the Mendelsohn Family’s flagship concept, a American burger-fry joint where topflight ingredients ensure that quality is not sacrificed for expedience. Applewood bacon, Vermont cheddar, ruby tomato, cremini mushrooms are just a few of the toppings making regular appearances on Good Stuff’s burgers. Spud heads, though, will have a difficult time even moving onto the burger after few of crisp and sea salted fries. A dipping bar with unfairly rich sauces renders the fry, good as it is, almost irrelevant.
Open Monday-Saturday 11 AM-10 PM
303 Pennsylvania Ave S.E.
Hawk ‘n’ Dove
Undergoing the most divisive renovation in recent restaurant memory, the Hawk ‘n’ Dove, once an unapologetic, but charming, dive bar now a sleek well-lighted place with chandeliers, still holds a prominent place in the Capitol Hill bar scene and is the perfect spot to grab a post-show nip. A bar menu with wood-fired pizza will also make a strong contender for second-dinner.
Open Monday-Thursday 11 AM- 12 AM; Friday 11 AM- 3 AM; Saturday 10 AM- 3 AM; Sunday 10 AM-12 AM
329 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003
What are your favorite restaurants around Folger?