A toast to the start of summer in D.C. -- LGBT style

LGBT popular shows such as Real World DC (with the overexposed token queer, Mike Manning), Real Housewives of DC (party crashing anyone?) and Top Chef DC (highlighting the city’s growing foodie scene) have helped peak a global GLBT travel interest in our nation’s capital. Much like its new TV persona, DC is a happening place for the latest and greatest hotel, restaurant, nightlife, and overall social trends.

Sou’Wester. The gay-friendly Mandarin Oriental DC recently welcomed acclaimed Chef Eddie Moran to partake in the growing regional trend of mid-Atlantic comfort food with Sou'Wester, a decadent eating extravaganza celebrated by power brokers, policy makers, and DC socialites. This is one restaurant where the gay boys don’t count carbs and fat grams; in fact, they shovel in the cornbread, the oysters, the Grilled North Carolina Shrimp Cheddar Cheese Grits, and the Sautéed Chesapeake Bay Rockfish like a gluttonous Kirstie Allie captured binging on a tabloid cover (pre-Dancing with the Stars, of course).

Hank’s Oyster Bar. Somewhere between white-gloved service and street-side pupusas in Mt. Pleasant, DC’s mid-priced eateries impress with hearty portions, creative cuisine, and great ambiance. Hank's Oyster Bar, for example, is 110% sensational seafood rapture. “Small plates” like the Griddled Crabcake, the Steamed Blue Bay Mussels, and the BBQ’d oysters broiled in Tabasco, butter, and breadcrumbs are what America’s foodie revolution is all about – amazing, fresh ingredients, fierce ingenuity, and unbelievable taste. The “large plates” impress, too. The Lobster Roll is oh so New England fabulous and the Bouillabaisse is a favorite of DC’s snobbiest French expats.

Duplex Diner. Duplex Diner specializes in fruity, liquid dinners, but also has some grease pit favorites. This is a gay-charged hangout often patronized by straights, climaxing on Thursdays when the who’s-who of LGBT DC pack the house.

Happy Hour just about anywhere. Balancing time between lobbying, networking, and socializing, DC gays are kings and queens of the elongated happy hour – an early evening drunken stupor where professional and personal boundaries blur and powerful relationships are fortified. One of the coolest places for happy hour is the rooftop bar at the W DC, which peers over the White House. A bit later than happier hour, but no less amazing, is the fabulous Tuesday rooftop pool party at the Donovan House.

–Paul Rubio of AmazingGayTravel.com

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