In my experience, about 10% of bars with true “bar food” offer anything that’s gluten free. Even if there is something that’s edible, like chicken wings, bar food is one of the riskiest types of fare for celiacs. It’s typically fried, made in a rush, and kitchens are less likely to make substitutions. If I’m absolutely starving at a bar I typically order nachos, after checking that the chips come from a package and are made from corn, and any toppings are also gluten free. But who wants to go through that hassle when you’re at a bar trying to relax?
That’s why I’m all about going to bars that allow you to bring your own food. In DC, it’s possible for bars to get a “tavern license,” which allows them to sell booze and not food. Then you can order delivery from nearby restaurants that you know you can eat at safely, or bring in your own food, whether it be a bag of popcorn or a box of cereal and milk.
For celiacs, that means that you can 1) ensure that your food is completely gluten free and 2) avoid that whole rigmarole of talking to servers and chefs to figure out what you can eat.
Here are some BYOF options in DC:
- Board Room (Dupont)
- World of Beers (Arlington)
- Rocket Bar (Chinatown)
- Iron Horse (Chinatown)
- Jackpot Bar (Chinatown)
- Bedrock Billiards (Adam’s Morgan)
- Dacha Beer Garden (Shaw)
- Atomic Billiards (Cleveland Park)
Let me know if I’m missing any! Cheers!