A scourge as old as time, hangovers have been chastising the fun-loving for centuries. There are plenty of theories on how best to recover from a night of overindulgence – from old wives’ tales to collegiate legends to tried-and-tested methods of recuperation – but the reality is, everyone has their own uniquely tailored coping mechanism (usually the result of years of painstaking ‘research’). When rolling waves of nausea and a brain-jarring headache make getting out of bed seem like a Sisyphean ordeal, try these scientifically-tested remedies for quelling that obnoxiously stubborn hangover.
The Hearty (and Greasy) Breakfast
Sometimes, the best hangover cure is a sprawling breakfast smorgasbord – heavy on the carbs, grease, and deep-fried elements. In the capital, one of the best spots for the aforementioned spread is the Florida Avenue Grill. Proclaimed to be the ‘oldest soul food restaurant in the world,’ the eatery opened in 1944 – the brainchild of Lacey Wilson, who financed the grill’s opening with his shoeshine tips. The beloved Florida Avenue institution has stood the test of time – weathering economic tumult, and even the riots of 1968 — and is still one the best places to tough out an energy-sapping hangover. Opt for classic spreads like Miss Bertha’s Breakfast Special, or novelties like the Fish Cakes & Grits Breakfast. Another perfect go-to? The Diner in Adams Morgan. Hearty hangover antidotes include options like biscuits and gravy, bread pudding French toast, and corn beef hash. Just craving a world-class donut (with a side of fried chicken)? Give your liver a little competition for the title of least-healthy-bodily organ, and swing by Astro Donuts & Fried Chicken for an artery-clogging, hangover-slaying combo. The donut selection includes flavors like Peach Melba, chocolate caramel macchiato, crème brulee.
Spicy Bloody Marys
The ‘hair of the dog’ strategy works especially well for revelers who have not yet slid into the full dredges of a hangover. During this pre-hangover sweet spot, a nice, peppery Bloody Mary can prove the ultimate life-sustaining elixir. At Bar Pilar – a place named after Ernest Hemingway’s 38-foot fishing boat (a guy who knew a thing or two about a hangover) – brunch libations include the standard Bloody Mary and the Bloody Maria – made with jalapeño-infused tequila and a Togarashi-spiced glass rim. Need a jolt of caffeine too? Slurp down the Dunkin’ with O’Doyle – a frozen Irish coffee, topped with crumbled Oreos. Meanwhile, Red Derby in Columbia Heights offers some of the city’s most affordable (late) morning cocktails – including $3 Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Screwdrivers and Harvey Wallbangers during weekend brunch (from 11 am – 3 pm).
The curative properties of pho are indubitable – and the iconic soup’s rich history is also a testament to Vietnamese ingenuity. Conceived in the early 20th century, as an inventive way for local cooks to repurpose the more challenging cuts of beef shunned by French colonists in Vietnam – pho would ultimately emerge as the country’s national dish. Like comfort food for the soul, the perfect herb and spice infused broth and heap of noodles offer a route to recovery for even the most insufferable hangovers. There are plenty of places in the capital area to recuperate with a generous bowl of the trademark Vietnamese soup, like Pho 14 – which even serves up a vegetarian broth made with Fuji apples (locations in Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, and Van Ness). Out in the suburbs, Falls Church’s Pho 75 (3103 Graham Road) is regularly touted as one of the region’s best.
Sometimes a greasy burger, piled high with fixins’, patties swimming in condiments, just hits the spot. While the battle for best burger in DC is contentious – and full of formidable competitors – in the throes of a grueling hangover, there are plenty of patty-piled creations sure to do just the trick. One of the obvious no-brainers is Ray’s Hell Burger, serving up tailor-made burgers crafted from the top notch ground meat from Ray’s The Steaks. In Dupont Circle, East London inspired Duke’s Grocery ironically serves up one of the city’s best slices of Americana – the aptly named Brunchie Burger, loaded with indulgences like gouda, house-made dill pickles, melt-in-your-mouth grilled onions, and sweet chili sauce. Or, for a high-end, hangover-obliterating burger, head to Southwest and hit Osteria Morini for the White Label burger – a masterpiece concocted with dry aged beef, pancetta, pickled cucumber, and creamy Scamorza cheese, with the option to add a fried egg to the pile. Just outside the city in Arlington, Cowboy Café is home to one of the region’s most generously-portioned burgers. Recover at the beloved dive bar with options like The Barnyard, a one-pound, two-patty burger loaded with barbecued pork, bacon, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg.