331½ Pennsylvania Ave. SE
HOURS: Daily 8 a.m.-1 a.m.
The Food Network hailed the Tune Inn as one of DC’s greatest “dives,” understandable for the duct-taped vinyl booths, walls adorned with taxidermy, and NASCAR on the TVs. But it’s a clean place with rib-sticking food—cheeseburgers, fried okra, chicken fingers—that’s artery-clogging and delicious along with beer that’s cold and arrives quickly, served in plastic pitchers.
A hideaway from DC’s pretentiousness, the Tune attracts politicians and Hill heavies seeking a simple meal and a beer in a down-home space.
A bipartisan crowd revels here: Political strategist and Tulane University professor James Carville and wife Mary Matalin were allegedly heading here for their first date when they found no room at the Inn; instead they went next door to the now-closed Hawk ’n’ Dove.
The 2010 election saw the Tune Inn robbed of its unofficial “mayor,” perennial customer Gene Taylor, the perfectly coiffed, perpetually tan representative from Mississippi who got washed away with the incoming Republican tide.
Newcomers need to check any airs they may have at the door.