Image by David Wilson and licensed under Creative Commons.

Disclaimer: The District Ninja team does not endorse nor recommend the use of Metro Transit while intoxicated. Common sense clearly shows that drinking coupled with metro use can be very dangerous (and in the case of the video, also quite hilarious (they all lived)). Escalator wipe outs are not the only by product of intoxicated metro use. You may even get a free musical show paying homage to artists like Lil John. With that, we recognize that there is a distinction between being cautious and using the Metro after “a few drinks” versus being so intoxicated you should not be in public. Sure, the Metro Transit Police reported a 30% decrease in alcohol-related police citations for charges like public intoxication between 2013 and 2014, there are still plain clothes officers regularly monitoring stations. Also, while Thrillist put out a similar map in May 2014, D.C.’s bar and nightclub scene continues to evolve so, we thought it was time to take another look.  

We have all been there, 2:30am rolls around, you’re looking at your watch (or in my case, cell phone), and you turn to your friend or a stranger and say “Shoot, do you know what time the last metro leaves?.” Then you realize you’re going to be on the final Metro, a place of mysticism and wonder.  Sometimes ridden by those who are not interested in paying Uber Surge rates or those going so far into the ‘burbs that they cannot afford to take a Cab/Uber and come in both nights on the same weekend. Nothing saps your buzz like looking up at that time/departure screen (if you’re lucky enough that it’s even showing a time) and seeing you have a whopping 19 minutes left until the next train. The final metro is a bladder-testing experience every twenty-something person in the District has experienced for one reason or another.

This familiar experience was discussed during our bi-weekly Ninja Brain Storm. In the spirit of the new year, we discussed how we could help the struggles of the weekend bar/club goers with Data and Maps! The idea was almost too obvious: Find the bars that are closest to the metro! So we set out on a hunt through the OCTO Open Data D.C. Data sets and like magic! We had both the liquor license locations data set (as classified by the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Agency (ABRA)) and the Metro Station Entrances.  We cleaned up the liquor license location data set by removing liquor stores, expired licenses and licenses still pending. Sadly, sometimes the licensee is a mysterious LLC so we removed those when possible and got very interesting results.

To help see things by metro-line, we put together a definitive guide of walkable bars/clubs grouped by metroline with walkable stations.


If you click the visual above it will bring you to Tableau Public, an amazing visualization tool and one of our in-house standards for creating visual analytics. If you go see the interactive version on their site, you can mouse over each bar listing and see the address and metro stop associated with it. Hovering your mouse over the visualization itself will show you that Green/Yellow Lines dominate the walkable bar title by a significant margin with 56 bars/taverns/clubs along them. The Red Line follows with 47 and Blue/Orange ranks last with 30.

If you are interested in specific metro stations more than metro lines we have you covered there as well. Check out our Metro Station Graph below:

For clarity purposes, we have broken the data into the subcategories of Bar’s and Nightclubs. This allows us to see that, without much surprise to a D.C. local, U Street is by far the place to go for walkable Bar’s with easy access from U Street Metro. The second highest concentration of bars is Shaw/Howard Station. That said, U street seems relatively light in the Nightclub tally, so if clubs are your thing McPherson Square, is you stop of choice.

This last visualization is a heatmap which shows you where the bars and nightclubs within stumbling metro distance are located by Ward. The goal here was to give you an overall view of what pockets of D.C. house the most bars and nightclubs within ‘a stumbles distance’. The concentrations become even more interesting when you compared them to the 2013 D.C. Index reported ward binge drinking rates. For example, you can see that the significant share of the the bars and clubs by a metro are in Wards 1 and 2. Ward 1 reported the highest binge drinking rate in 2013 with 34.6% of people stating they drank five (for men) or four (for women) drinks on a single occasion. Ward 2 ranked second in the District with 29.6% reporting the same. Of course, we aren’t suggesting causation or correlation, but it’s still interesting to consider the areas with the highest amount of stumbling bars and nightclubs are those with the highest reported rates of binge drinking.

Bar Heatmap

We hope you enjoyed this piece! After all, with Los Angeles and Phoenix publishing entries about the most convenient bars to public transit, how could D.C. not join in the fun.

Until next time!

Transit Friendly District Part I: The Most Stumble Friendly Metros
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One thought on “Transit Friendly District Part I: The Most Stumble Friendly Metros

  • December 29, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Love the article. Very informative,in the same time funny


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