We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Finding the public entrance to Fiola was tricky enough the first time. Pennsylvania Avenue? Pshaw! Locating the back door where VIPs sneak in sounds even more complicated: “Drive through the brick alley connecting Pennsylvania Ave. and C St. alongside Fiola. Exit in the courtyard between the office buildings, and the door is a few steps down the corridor on the left.”

Dining Bisnow today explores the seedy underworld of secret entrances to D.C. restaurants, the unmarked back doors used by politicians, lobbyists, dignitaries—-even the random comedian like Kathy Griffin.

It’s a D.C. thing, says Fiola’s Maria Trabocchi: “People in New York prefer to be seen. In DC, people like to be more private and rightfully so.

Photo courtesy of Dining Bisnow