· By Herb Lester

Round Robin Bar at the Willard Hotel, Washington DC

Extracted from Mister Lester Goes To Washington. Buy yours here.

The Willard is a postcard-perfect restored Beaux-Arts hotel replete with potted palms, marble columns, velvets and silks. If you can tear yourself away from the lobby (the term “lobbyist” was reportedly coined for the political operatives who worked this room), visit the Round Robin, which through several renovations and reincarnations has served presidents, potentates and other elite since 1850. Settle in at the circular marble bar among Washington’s nabobs and you will be as marinated in American history as a cherry in an Old Fashioned. They say that Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky introduced the mint julep to Washington at the Round Robin, or perhaps more accurately insisted the recipe should start with his home state’s bourbon whiskey. This is a gold nugget in a city full of sophisticated bars.

Round Robin Bar Willard Hotel, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20004
Tel: 202 637 7348
Mon-Sat: 12noon–1am; Sun: 12noon–12midnight

Photo of Willard Hotel exterior: Flickr user David