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Circle Bistro - One Washington Circle Hotel (202) 293-5390; One Washington Circle, NW, Washington, DC
The lounge area has become a hub for solos residents, Kennedy Center patrons, destination diners, and out-of-towners. Richly upholstered red-striped sofas and oversized chairs allow guests to gather around the fireplace or catch a game on the wide-screen television. (The magazine rack, specially for solo diners, is stocked better than Barnes & Noble!)
Dividing the lounge from the bar, a waist-level, 12-seater communal table for sipping, draws a convivial crowd. (During warmer months, guests flock to Circle Bistros outdoor patio, secluded from the city sidewalks by ivy-covered walls and pleasantly lit for evening relaxation.)
(Notable: alternative to the bread basket is a paper cone filled with frito misto cleanly fried potatoes, squid, chicken and zucchini, etc. accompanied by enticing dips.)
Neighborhood: Located in DCs West End, just blocks from the Kennedy Center, fashionable Georgetown, and hip Dupont Circle at the intersection of K Street, 23rd Street, and New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Five tables that flank the windows (You can't miss the 8' diptych of William Wegman's reclining weimaraner dog.) offer prime seating for solo diners. Walk-ins professionals, 30 years and up from the surrounding residential area are fast discovering them.
Neighborhood: Nestled in the freshly renovated River Inn two blocks from the Kennedy Center Foggy Bottom neighborhood
Kramerbooks & Afterwards Cafe (202) 387-1462; 1517 Connecticut Ave., NW; Washington, District of Columbia.
Opened in 1976, it's THE place in town to meet on a blind date. If he or she fails to show, you can count on the support of a familiar staff as you fortify yourself with a meal and a book. (Perhaps that's why it has been mentioned in numerous novels!)
When it gets busy (often!) and the small, food bar is filled, solos are asked if they mind shared seating.
Since opening in fall 2002, Firefly has been a haven for locals, many of whom frequent Firefly as often as three times a week. To reward its loyal patrons, Firefly has introduced the Firefly VIP Lunch Club. Request a VIP lunch card from your hostess or server. After eight lunches, Firefly will buy your ninth lunch with their compliments! Best of all, guests are encouraged to start over after they have enjoyed their ninth lunch on the house.
Seating options for solo diners: Many two-tops, plus a cozy lounge with big chairs and low tables. There is also a bar area that features high top tables and stools.
Your fellow solo diners: Because Firefly is attached to Hotel Madera, the mix is very much 50/50. (also 50/50 for female and male) Firefly attracts a great hotel crowd AND a huge local clientele. Lunch is more business, dinner is more neighbors.
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle
This solo-diner nirvana also features growing devotees of solo dining at the ground-floor bar, seating 15.