Sauf Haus Beer Hall & Garten - opened this past summer and it is right off Dupont Circle. Thank god because Dupont is a dry zone for any good place to grab a drink and I always have to rack my brain and then inevitably end up suggesting someplace on 14th street because Dupont is so boring! The Sauf Haus though is a great place for a laid-back post-work drink. I actually have only had beers so I can't speak to anything else, but on that front they meet expectations with good beer selection and generous pourings. Of note, keep going upstairs, the best part is the rooftop - though inside by the windows is a good spot too.
Alphonse - opened late summer and we went with Josh and Erin. We all agreed it was solid and definitely hit the spot. And credit to the restaurant for going all in on the italian theme - red, white and black throughout. We also got a sneak peak at Nonna's Kitchen which has since opened on the second floor right above (here is a WashPost article about it). All in, a solid choice on U Street to hit the pizza/italian fix if you are wanting it.
Chaplin's - is tucked over in Shaw and I kind of fell in love with it. Ali and I met up there a couple weeks ago for a weeknight drink and ramen. In the cold right now, nothing could have hit the spot better. And the feel in there is working. There is an upstairs as well. It has personality but not too much...low key and doesn't have a chip on its shoulder - feels like a modern neighborhood bar/hold in the wall. Definitely recommend it.
El Camino - over in Bloomingdale remains to be seen. Here is a link to an Eater piece about it. We went here with Em last month. The chips were a great start. The guacomole didn't have quite enough flavor. My margarita was a margarita - it passed the test but it wasn't anything more. Our food was solid - my tacos were fine. The inside is well laid out, great ceiling, nice long bar. So the jury is out on this one. DC has a lot of plain, fine, nothing to write home about California inspired taco places at this point...though the good news is that it is right next door to Boundary Stone - so I would say, hit two birds with one trip over to Bloomingdale if you go!
Ocopa - doesn't have a website, so here is a WashPost piece on it. Ben and I went to try it out right after it opened and we have been meaning to swing back again. Here's the thing, I really didn't like the way they laid it out and more specifically, the chairs. I know, I know, that sounds small and petty - and admittedly the food makes you forget, but the chairs are odd and not super comfortable. Nonetheless, this place is serving up great food and reviews are raving about them. So get yourself over to H street, ignore the chairs and terrible lay out and enjoy what you're there for!
Chez Billy - saving the best for last! This might be our new favorite place in DC. We went here last Friday for a date night and it won. We loved it. Up in Petworth - about a block from the metro - it is just, for lack of a better description, really cool. The inside was brilliantly designed. The bar is awesome. Our food was spot on. The service was fantastic. They have two huge fireplaces which Ben immediatly started talking about and has mentioned twice since. It was cozy but also spaced out. Just a cool, laid back, why can't every restaurant be like this?! Good stuff - get yourself up to Petworth the next time you need a pick me up!