Nocturne

4.7
88 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Cocktail Bar
Innovative cocktail bar offering unique cocktails in a secluded, intimate space below Sugar Shack Donuts. Located in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC.
What 88 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.6
value
Noise · Quiet
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic date spot. Already planning on returning!

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ES
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The drinks were great and all came with their own back story that had a strong theme trying them together. Very unique drinks and a memorable experience.

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L
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 4food 1service 4ambience 4

Very interesting bar!!! Had a great experience, and loved the passion behind the cocktails! There is only one thing I would recommend, adding better snack/appetizer selections.

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OT
Nashville
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best experience we have every had at a bar. The passion behind every cocktail is mind blowing . This is a must go to when you are in DC.

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EG
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

Our visit had a rocky start -- Nocturne is located in the basement of a donut shop through which visitors must enter, but the donut shop was closed and locked. We spent 15 minutes in the rain calling the bar, with no answer. When Brandon finally came to let us in, we said "we've been standing confused out here trying to call you guys for 15 minutes," and his response was "it's all good" and he offered no apology. I'm in my early 20s and usually try to be chill, roll with the punches, and avoid commenting on service-related problems, but this was just too rude to ignore. The experience then improved in the very cool atmosphere of the bar, and we enjoyed our drinks, especially Ojos del Pina and Garden Of. The only drink we didn't like was Xoco Loco.

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T
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As always, had a great time at Nocturne. Celebrated the new year there and Hakim and his team. They did a great job of entertaining and explaining the menu and each drink. the ambiance was great and the cocktails were exotic, unique and tasted great.

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LK
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hakim and Xavier are so engaging and personable. The cocktails are very elaborate and really require a passionate and knowledgeable person behind the bar to really connect with the guests and cultivate their experience. Hakim your cocktails are amazing! And Xavier is an amazing conductor!

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OT
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

It’s a shame what happened to this place: it went from a very good spot in the city, to a mediocre bar. The drinks created by the new bartender are bad (tried the entire menu), and the service is terrible. I asked for a non-sweet drink, and he made a drink with one the main ingredients being sugar. When I pointed out that the the drink was sweet, the bartender said I was wrong, that all his drinks were balanced. No apologies, no effort to make it better. When explained that everybody has a different palate, and pointed out the drinks I normally enjoyed, he just walked away without saying anything. Really bad service and drinks will translate in this place dying soon

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MC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

This is a great experience when you feel like having an upscale evening or impressing friends!

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RR
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The bar /restaurant was by far one of the best experiences ever. I had the opportunity to explore this restaurant GEM several months ago. Hakeem and Nate are some of the best mixologist in DC. I highly recommend this establishment. Thank you for enhancing my pallet. I was able to take a trip to the Scandinavian forest and back. I wish you all great success.

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OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hakim is amazing. Makes nocturne the best place to have a date (and unbelievable, creative drinks) in DC. Can’t wait to come back.

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 13, 2018
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

Great anniversary spot!

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AA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hakim and Nate were amazing. The entire experience was phenomenal.

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MB
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience at Nocturne- the craft cocktails are delicious and the bartender did a great job explaining the drinks and the inspiration behind them. Will definitely come back for another date night and have already told friends they need to check it out

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LT
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorite gems in DC! Will absolutely be back!

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JB
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Tough to find and access, but worth it! Especially for the crazy amazing drinks

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T
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nocturne is an awesome bar. The ambiance, service and cocktails are fantastic and Hakim has done an amazing job with the cocktail menu. He also has amazing stories behind every drink and his hard work is clear in the great tasting unique cocktail experience. I will continue to come back to this awesome spot tucked away in Shaw

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MF
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

I love the underground atmosphere of this bar, the drinks were great and the bartenders were awesome. The bar was pretty quiet and very few people inside because it was so small. I would recommend this bar to a friend and if your looking for more of a lively night life you can always go to any of the other bars on the street after enjoying the drinks here.

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P
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing drinks and great service!

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TG
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Arrival instructions were not given so there was confusion upon arrival on where exactly to wait for an escort. Service was great and drink menu was delicious and unique.

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great drinks and experience, I highly recommend it!

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was incredible. Very cozy, a great place for date night. The bar tender was very informative and the drinks were spectacular.

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great spot, truly stands out compared to the greater DC bar scene. Bartenders, Hakim and Bianca, did an outstanding job making some of the most unique and well thought out cocktails I’ve had in the city. The bar itself has a relaxed vibe, while small it provides a an environment good for both private conversations as well as opportunity to converse with fellow bar goers. Would recommend for special occasions, date night, or get togethers.

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D
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent unusual cocktails. Go see Hakim he will make sure that you will be taken care of. If you like alcohol forward or something a little sweeter this the place for you. Reservations are highly recommended the bar is very small but once you are in you feel like family.

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JS
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cocktails are off the charts, cannot wait to return unbelievable.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Grrat place to have unique cocktails and fantastic unique glassware that they serve in

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PF
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome underground speakeasy with a cool retro vibe, a huge selection of unique cocktails with fresh ingredients, and outstanding service.

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OT
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cool menu. Knowledgeable staff (Julian was great). Excellent for those who enjoy trying new and unique beverages.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2018
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

Thanks , great experience!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 2

It’s worth visiting, but don’t get your hopes up.

The doughnut shop speakeasy concept is cool, but the execution is weak. Imagine a Duncan Doughnut employee, walking you to the back of the store, so he can unlock the bathroom. Sounds exciting? Not really. Instead of a bathroom, its an elevator, but it was just as special. I recommend they either improve this part of the experience, or just get rid of it.

The bar is poured concrete with paint on it (which is fine, but they should do something with the lighting or change the paint color, so its as obvious. From a atmosphere perspective, the highlight is a nice backlit stone bartop. The shelving of the bottles behind the bar is purely functional (with no concept of atmosphere).

All of this makes sense when you meet the bartenders. Almost religiously enthusiastic about their craft, but not very personable. When asked to make a recommendation, the bartender refused. It was odd, considering most craft cocktail bars will gladly make a suggestion based upon your pallet. The bartender had an interesting belief that, ‘by not making recommendations, it would force the customer to engage in the experience’. Interesting approach, but I don’t think it appeals to everyone all the time.

Drinks were extremely creative with complex flavors. Of the drinks we had, 8 in total, not one stood out when compared to their craft cocktail competitors. The problem was, creative and complex doesn’t mean better. The drinks were not balanced. They were close, but not just right. Oddly, you’d think they would have a drink the ties in the doughnut shop above. Maybe a hot toddy paired with a doughnut for dipping?

Snacks were good. There was no food pairing (like it said on its web page).

Everything about Nocturne was just OK. As I said, worth visiting, but don’t get your hopes up.

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D
Cornwall
1 review
Dined on August 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Quite stunning hidden bar. Hard to find, harder to leave. Alcoholic joy from first to last!!!

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CO
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 1, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

If you do not have an open mind, do not go. That is my only disclaimer. Be willing to experiment and challenge your taste buds and you will have an amazing time. The menu is easy to read and the cocktails while not huge have amazing and deep flavor profiles. If you have questions, ask the bartender and of course as stated earlier have an open mind

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LL
Washington DC
32 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 1

Horrible tasting drinks. I am adventurous but this was terrible.

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BP
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2018
Overall 5food 1service 5ambience 3

Awesome drinks and out of the box flavors! Had to ask what is this and what is that but that the point. Always trying new experiences is good for the soul.

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EB
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 1ambience 4

I came here for my birthday and overall didn’t love it. They don’t do anything special for your special occasions even if it’s in their notes.

Chris was our bartender and was super rude. When we asked questions about the menu he was snide and unhelpful. He was very soft spoken and hard to hear with blaring music.

The atmosphere was cool but the music was blaring which is not what you want for a speakeasy.

Drinks were very interesting and I liked the variety. For a minimum of $35 I think they can do full size drinks and not 3/4 the size of an average drink.

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S
1 review
Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 3ambience 2

Please be informed it is very small quarters. I worried given the "special" interest by reservation which is limited to 2 hours was shortening on the spot; because the greeters on the first level were busy. Rightfully so, they have their job to do and are not at fault if the shop is busy. Nevertheless, there should be a Nocturne greeter/hostess upstairs to field all of us who arrive and were waiting to "check in". You all should know the cocktail menu is interesting; though the pours are sample size basically. Otherwise it's a fun end to a nice date night.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

Extremely disappointing drinks; bad service

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2018
Overall 4food 1service 2ambience 5

This was fun experience and that’s how you need to loom at it. It was very pricey. We did a 4 flight sample of drinks for 3, remember they are sample size, and it was $178 with the tip. The donut store above was fantastic and the girl there was super nice. We had a blast with our daughter sampling the unusual concoctions. The only downer was the bartender we had was not nice or fun. He was pretty grouchy as a matter of fact and the bartender should have been the best part. The other bartender that was helping other people was so nice and fun. It was a fun night out with our daughter interning in dc but it was a one off for sure

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N
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really off the wall place, some of the most obscure spirits evah!

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AM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 27, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

Some cool drinks, but the service was only so-so even when we were the only two people there. Wish they would have talked ingredients more or been more attentive. There are better cocktail bars for the price.

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