Dylan Byers’ D.C.: The Ultimate Beltway Insider’s Favorite Local Spots

Yeah, Dylan Byers is a big part of D.C.’s must-read site, Politico. He gabs on phones with actual, true-life bigwigs and reports on rumors, trends, and emerging stories which not only crystallize issues for this town’s Capitol Hill crowd, but often affect them. No wonder we put him in our 30 Under 30 D.C. roundup earlier this year.
But on another level, Byers is just another 27-year-old Beltway professional, with the same appetites and interests as the rest of us. Between reporting on the halls of power, he’s doing the same things you are — seeking out the best watering holes, looking for new dinner spots, and hunting down awesome places for brunch.
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So, we tapped the 30 Under 30 alum to whip up a guide to his favorite D.C. haunts and hangs. Click on for a political insider’s idea of a good night out.
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Photographed by Sebastian Marin.
My ‘Hood

“I've been living in Eastern Market (on Capitol Hill) since moving to Washington in November 2011. I came to D.C. from New York rather abruptly and my friends' parents (one of whom is an absolutely incredible cook) were kind enough to put me up in their basement; three weeks later, I found an apartment around the corner and moved in. It’s one of Washington's most charming neighborhoods; it's got all that lovely, quiet, tree-lined, townhouse, Georgetown stuff, but without all the pretense. The best part is the market itself, which has been going since 1873 and is where I do all my grocery shopping.”
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Photo: Courtesy of P&C Market.
Shopping List

“What I love around here are all the amazing culinary spots: P&C Market has a bunch of specialty food items and Hill's Kitchen has all the cooking gear you need. Then there are about half a dozen wine and liquor stores; the great secret is that the one at 323 Penn, which looks like the kind of place that would sell nothing but box wine and Jack Daniels, is actually undergoing a quiet renaissance, bringing in great California wines and an extensive Bourbon selection.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Ambar.
Neighborhood Fare

“Eastern Market has benefitted from a boom in restaurants since I arrived, including Hank's Oyster Bar for brunch (smoked-salmon Reuben with coleslaw) and Ambar, a really wonderful Balkan — yes, Balkan — restaurant (try the wild mushroom salad, the cheese pie, and the grilled duck breast). But my most frequented spots are Montmartre for simple-but-delicious French fare, and its sister spot, Seventh Hill Pizza.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Diego's Hair Salon.
Local Institution

“Other than Eastern Market, my favorite part of town is the area that runs from Dupont Circle to 14th Street. The center of that for me is Diego D'Ambrosio's barber shop, a Washington institution where the walls are lined with signed portraits of presidents, senators, congressmen, and Supreme Court justices, and where there's a welcome sense of Italian hospitality — which is all too rare in Washington.”
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Photographed by Laura Miller.
D.C. Distractions

“This will sound a little touristy, but I think the best thing to do in Washington at night is walk the Mall, from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial. (If there's anything D.C. does right, it's monument lighting.) If the Hirshhorn has an outdoor installation up, that's a must. Then there's The Passenger, which is the bar everyone I know inevitably ends up at.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Ben's Chill Bowl.
The Best Beltway Bites

“The best dinner in Washington is Rasika, which gives both Tamarind (in New York) and Vij's (in Vancouver) a run for best Indian in North America. My must-get starter is the Sev Batata Puri, and I always get a side of the Butternut Squash Bharta. Daikaya Izakaya is the best spot for a group and for cocktails. Other favorites: Mintwood Place (start with suckling-pig croquettes with mole sauce); Birch & Barley (all dishes are paired with beer, from a 600-plus beer list); and, of course, Ben's Chili Bowl (love the half-smoke)!”
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