Nearly 50 Years After the 1968 D.C. riots all but destroyed H Street, the area is enjoying a fast return to its glory days as an entertainment hub thanks to the H Street Main Street revitalization efforts. By day, locals and visitors shop the boutiques and galleries, while a thriving bar and dining scene feeds the nightlife. In a testament to the area’s continued growth, the city chose H Street as the first line for the DC Streetcar, a citywide trolley system slated to debut at the end of 2013. Here’s our top seven spots along the bustling street.
1. Toki Underground
Open the subtly marked door next to The Pug bar and head upstairs into this ramen noodle emporium decorated with murals by local artist Kelly Towles. Here, chefs serve up creative updates on the Asian soup staple at a wallet-friendly $10. 1234 H Street NE; 202/388-3086
2. Atlas Arcade
The younger brother of upscale cocktail bar Church & State opened last year with classic arcade games such as Donkey Kong, Street Fighter, and Pac-Man accompanying the craft beer menu that includes regional favorites like DC Brau and Lost Rhino from Virginia. 1236 H Street NE; 202/399-2323
3. Hunted House
Fans of mid-century modern furniture love the shop‘s vignettes made up of sleek cocktail tables, 1950s bar carts, vintage luggage and picnic baskets, angular floor lamps, and pod-style love seats that owner Mark Johnson finds on daily trips to estate sales and auctions. 510 H Street NE; 202/549-7493
4. H Street Country Club
Think: Chuck E. Cheese’s minus the kids and with tequila—35 varieties in fact. The main attraction in this 8,800-square-foot space is a D.C.-themed mini golf course, which you can play while enjoying Mexican dishes developed by renowned chef Ann Cashion. We like the Steak Tampiqueño ($19)—grilled skirt steak with black beans and sliced poblano peppers. 1335 H Street NE; 202/399-4722
5. Redrocks Pizzeria
With two locations in Virginia and one in Columbia Heights, Redrocks Pizzeria expanded its pizza domain when it moved into H Street this year. The main draw: perfectly crispy wood-fire pizzas ($10 and up) with toppings like boar sausage, crimini mushrooms, and Manila clams. Don’t miss the bartenders’ ode to the ‘hood, the H Street Derby—a refreshing rye whiskey sipper with muddled grapefruit and rosemary-honey syrup ($9). 1348 H Street NE; 202/621-7300
6. Atlas Theater
The 1938 Art Deco theater was one of the few buildings that survived the riots, but the area’s deterioration caused the Atlas to shut its doors in 1974. Since reopening seven years ago, the theater has become a beacon for contemporary and experimental live arts in D.C. with its lineup of Capital City Symphony concerts, modern dance and theater performances, and jazz and world music shows. 1333 H Street NE; 202/399-7993
7. Boundary Road
This industrial-chic restaurant features an ever-changing menu of items such as the foie gras PB&J ($15) and braised bison short ribs ($26). Equally inventive are cocktails like the Industrial ($10) with Fernet, Becherovka liqueur, and lime. 414 H Street NE; 202/450-3265
Did we mention your favorite H Street spot? Let us know in the comments below.