The beer-and-barbecue joint American Ice Company has drawn crowds by wulinqing


									                                             The beer-and-barbecue
                                        joint American Ice Company
                                            has drawn crowds since
                                               opening in December.

62 | Washingtonian february 2011   february 2011 Washingtonian | 63
                                                                        on paper are delicious. We like       useful guide because the menu
                                    Creative CoCktails                  the bar snacks, too, especially       involves unusual components-
                                                                        the tuna sliders, burgers, and        —think elderflower, ginger cur-
                                   The Columbia Room                    house-made hot dogs.                  rant wine, and absinthe. Owner
                                   1021 Seventh St., NW;                                                      Erik Holzherr is usually behind
                                   202-393-0220                         PX                                    the bar, ready to help. And
                                   For proof of how far Wash-           728 King St., Alexandria;             though the drinks are serious,
                                   ington’s craft-cocktail scene        703-299-8385                          the crowd—a laid-back mix of
                                   has come, reserve a spot at          Many a speakeasy-style bar            hipsters and young profession-
                                   this ten-seat lair. The bookish      has popped up since this one          als—is not.
                                   Derek Brown offers a three-          cracked open its signless door
                                   course cocktail tasting menu         in 2006, but PX still feels the
                                   ($64; two drinks are set, one        most civilized. The tiny rooms                Bring a Date
                                   custom-designed) and a small         are chandeliered and salon-like,
                                   food pairing—as well as bits         reservations are all but essential,   Degrees
                                   of his vast mental compen-           and there are rules: no stand-        Ritz-Carlton, 3100 South St.,
                                   dium of liquor-related data. He      ing at the bar or wearing ripped      NW; 202-912-4111
                                   approaches drinks as a great         jeans (even if they’re J Brand).      Need to get warm on a winter
                                   chef does: Ingredients change        But here’s why it’s worth it:         night? The roaring fireplace of
                                   with the seasons, he’s fanatical     Proprietor Todd Thrasher’s            the Georgetown Ritz’s indus-
                                   about detail (you’ll see an assis-   drinks are some of the area’s         trial-chic lobby and its dimly lit
                                   tant hand-carving ice), and rec-     best and weave in unusual             bar, Degrees, is a perfect spot
                                   ipes are based on—but not tied       elements, from turmeric to            for a quiet nightcap. Every eve-
                                   to—tradition.                        tobacco. He’s just as good with       ning from 5 to 9, the lobby
                                                                        classics such as the Manhattan.       area offers an all-you-can-eat
                                   The Gibson                                                                 artisanal-cheese special for $12.
                                   2009 14th St. NW; 202-232-2156       Sidebar
                                   We forgive this faux speak-          8081 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring;     Napoleon Bistro & Lounge
                                   easy for being a little preten-      301-565-9700                          1847 Columbia Rd., NW;
                                   tious, with its unmarked door,       The newest addition to Jackie         202-299-9630.
                                   $15 drinks, and occasionally         Greenbaum’s growing empire            While red-and-black walls,           BehinD the Bar
                                   rude service. It’s still a great     is this hip lounge—vintage fur-       gold-framed mirrors, and             Duane sylvestre
                                   bar. The setting is gorgeous—        niture, chandeliers—which             crystal chandeliers add a            BourBon Steak
                                   dark wood, richly upholstered        shares a former auto-parts            flashy air of glamour to this
                                   booths, flickering candlelight.      warehouse with the restaura-          bar and restaurant in Adams
                                   And the drinks, a mix of old         teur’s flagship, Jackie’s. Bar-       Morgan, half-off Champagne
                                   classics and new inventions,         tenders in suit vests draw on a       cocktails, wine, and appetiz-        Why you BeCame a BartenDer: “The bar is like a stage. I can inter-
                                   are among the best in town.          list of nearly 30 cocktails, cover-   ers during happy hour (5 to 8        act with people, serve them, give them instant gratification. I’m an
                                   In warmer months, head to            ing the classic-to-creative spec-     daily) make for a wallet-friendly    only child, so maybe I like the attention, too.”
                                   the back patio, where you can        trum. There’s a sidecar and a         date spot. Try a Bellini (Cham-
                                                                                                                                                   most potent Drink on your menu: “Gin martini made with Old Raj
                                   sample boozy floats made with        Jack Rose but also drinks called      pagne and peach purée) or a
                                                                                                                                                   gin. It’s high-proof gin stirred with a little vermouth—it doesn’t get
                                   artisanal gelato. The Gibson         Bombayboozled and Every-              French 75 (gin, Champagne,
                                                                                                                                                   much more potent than that. Or a Sazerac made with 100-proof rye.”
                                   has a no-standing policy, so         thing’s Better With Bacon. Bar        lemon juice, and syrup). The
                                   make a reservation.                  food here means house-made            bar menu includes hearty slid-       Favorite Drink to have at home: “A simple rum sling, which is rum
                                                                        potato chips with toasted-nori        ers with shoestring onion rings      with water. Angostura puts out a single-barrel reserve that I’ve only
                                   PS 7’s                               salt and a great replica of a Chi-    and gooey ham-and-cheese             found duty-free when I travel home to Trinidad. I usually enjoy my
                                   777 I St., NW; 202-742-8550          cago-style hot dog, a nod to the      croquettes. On weekends, the         birthday with a bottle of that close by.”
                                   Ordering cocktails in this sleek     chef’s hometown.                      Champagne bar and lounge             Best CoCktail you’ve ever CreateD: “The Red Rum cocktail—
                                   restaurant/lounge can require                                              downstairs turns into a busy         Chairman’s Reserve rum infused with sorrel, Velvet Falernum from
                                   a leap of faith. Bartender Gina      Wisdom                                dance space.                         Barbados, Angostura from Trinidad, lime, egg white, and nutmeg. It’s
                                   Chersevani likes to get creative     1432 Pennsylvania Ave., SE;                                                like the Caribbean in a glass.”
                                   with ingredients such as beets,      202-543-2323                          Quill                                hoW muCh money you make on a typiCal night: “You feel good if
                                   Miller High Life, and milk           The drink menu at this craft-         The Jefferson, 1200 16th St.,        you can work a shift and make $35 an hour after tips. If you can make
                                   soaked in children’s cereal. She     cocktail lounge in Southeast          NW; 202-448-2300                     $50 an hour, great. If you’re making less than $20, you start question-
                                   always pulls it off, and even the    DC is serious business. Each          Inside the recently renovated        ing your purpose in life.”
                                   drinks that don’t sound good         creation is rated on several          Jefferson hotel, Quill is a series
                                                                                                                                                   Best tip: “A pair of tickets to a Janet Jackson concert, $150 in cash,
                                                                        scales: Does the cocktail have        of small rooms. You can sidle
                                                                                                                                                   and a very nice note.”
                                   Ingredients in Bourbon Steak’s       berry or citrus notes? Does           up to the gleaming yellow
                                   Blood and Sand include Johnnie       it taste like straight bourbon        glass bar or grab a seat in the
                                   Walker Black and cherries.           or go down like candy? It’s a         lounge, where 18th-century

64 | Washingtonian february 2011                                                                                                                                                february 2011 Washingtonian | 65
                                                                               maps line the walls and a pia-        of a well-worn private club,        breathing room on packed            Bourbon Steak                      magnet for boldface names—         Tunks—known for such down-
                                                                               nist plays Tuesday through Sat-       with dim lighting, a crackling      weekend nights when the bar         Four Seasons Hotel, 2800           and their stardust has lent the    town DC restaurants as DC
                                                                               urday from 9 to midnight. In          fire, and antique sofas. It’s the   expands into the building’s         Pennsylvania Ave., NW;             atmosphere a permanent buzz.       Coast and Acadiana—has put
                                                                               the Book Room, there’s a fire-        kind of place that makes you        second floor.                       202-944-2026                       It’s not your typical power        together a bar-food menu that
                                                                               place and sofas. Suited bar-          want to sip a glass of sherry,                                          In addition to a wide variety of   spot. Instead of photos of         encourages grazing and shar-
                                                                               tenders pass out cloth napkins        but bartender Chantal Tseng’s       Black’s Bar and Kitchen             bourbons and delicious steaks,     famous customers, there’s a        ing: lobster and crabcake slid-
                                                                               and swoop in to refill bowls of       craft cocktails, such as the hot    7750 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda;       the bar at the Four Seasons        pop-art image of chef/owner        ers, sushi rolls, oyster shooters,
                                                                               olives and nuts. House cocktails      mulled cider with spiced rum,       301-652-5525                        offers some of the area’s best-    Michel Richard’s laughing          and a full raw bar. Try a flight
                                                                               ($15 each) include such good          are worth trying. The light         With its long glass bar, pale       executed cocktails (as well as     face, and the bar menu includes    of three sakes ($10) or sip
                                                                               seasonal creations as the Spar-       fare—miniature duck sand-           maple walls, and black-pebble-      a variety of nonalcoholic ones     Budweiser as well as a cocktail    on a Dirty CEO, made with
                                                                               kling Clementine, made with           wiches, mushroom quesa-             studded patio, this Modern          for teetotalers). Beyond drinks,   with plum-infused brandy. As       Smirnoff vodka, olive juice, and
                                                                               Prosecco and freshly squeezed         dillas—is good, too. Sunday         American restaurant and bar         there’s a lively late-night and    for those suits? They’re likely    blue-cheese-stuffed olives.
                                                                               juice.                                nights, there’s live jazz.          feels like a luxury spa—with the    post-theater scene and plen-       eating with their fingers, pop-
                                                                                                                                                         addition of four screens tuned      tiful bar food that will satiate   ping gougères (cheese puffs) and   The Source
                                                                               Redwood                               Vermilion                           to sports and a raw bar by the      any appetite—from the falafel      putting back slices of bacon-      575 Pennsylvania Ave., NW;
                                                                               7121 Bethesda La., Bethesda;          1120 King St., Alexandria;          door. An after-work crowd           burger for vegetarians to the      and-onion tart.                    202-637-6100
                                                                               301-656-5515                          703-684-9669                        files in for happy hour (week-      heritage-turkey burger and the                                        The bar at Wolfgang Puck’s
                                                                               Downtown Bethesda is packed           In the back bar of this Old         days 4 to 7), when martinis are     delectable steak burger.           PassionFish                        Asian fusion restaurant leaves a
                                                                               with places to watch a Skins          Town restaurant, you’ll find        $6, glasses of wine are $5, and                                        11960 Democracy Dr., Reston;       lasting impression. With floor-
                                                                               game, but a quieter scene can         small lounge tables flanked by      draft beers start at $2.75. There   Central                            703-230-3474                       to-ceiling windows, low-slung
                                                                               be hard to find. The roomy            cushion-covered benches and         are also excellent deals on sea-    1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW;        On weekends, the long,             leather chairs and couches, and
                                                                               lounge inside this Modern             dozens of overstuffed pillows.      food—two-for-one Chesapeake         202-626-0015                       curved bar in this sprawl-         a two-story glass wine rack, it’s
                                                                               American restaurant fits the          A low-hanging pendant light         Bay oysters, 50-cent shrimp,        Since opening in 2007, this        ing Reston Town Center sea-        formal without being stuffy—a
                                                                               bill, with its long Carrera-          casts a warm glow. During cold      and half-price mussels and          blond-wood restaurant and its      food restaurant is a mecca for     great place to bring a date. The
                                                                               marble bar and scattering of          months, the seasonal drink list     calamari.                           long granite bar have been a       young professionals. Chef Jeff     excellent small-plates menu
                                                                               cushy armchairs. You’ll find          includes a few warm concoc-
                                                                               unusual drinks such as the Ten-       tions, such as an apple-pie cock-
                                                                               nessee Cider, which mixes Jack        tail with whipped cream and
                                                                               Daniel’s with cider and ginger        cobbler-crumb topping. There
                                                                               beer. A nice lineup of nibbles        are also a dozen beers on tap
                                                                                 includes shareable flatbreads,      and nearly 20 craft brews by the
                                                                                  cheese boards, and freshly         bottle. Tuesday and Wednes-
                                                          BehinD the Bar          fried potato chips with cool       day at 9:30, the bar hosts local
                                                        Jim heWes                 and creamy onion dip. Week-        musicians.
                                                            round roBin Bar
                                                                                  days from 4 to 7, much of it is
                                                                                                                           eat anD Drink
 years BehinD the Bar: “Forty.”                                                St. Regis Bar
 Drink oF ChoiCe: “Whiskey.”                                                   923 16th St., NW; 202-509-8000        Bar Pilar
 Drink you make the most on a saturDay night: “Mint juleps. I call             The term “casual elegance”            1833 14th St., NW; 202-265-1751
 them snow cones for big kids.”                                                gets thrown around a lot, but         Every neighborhood should
                                                                               it applies at this bar, the lounge    be lucky enough to have a
 Drink you hate making: “Piña coladas or any drink using a blender.
                                                                               off the lobby of the St. Regis        place like this Hemingway-
 I’d rather crack the ice by hand, the way they did it 100 years ago.”
                                                                               hotel and next to the restaurant      inspired bar. Its exposed
 on the neW sChool oF mixologists: “I feel at times that the indus-            Adour. Velvet chairs arranged         brick and chalkboard menus
 try has passed me by. They’re doing emulsions, foams, all of these            around small tables and a fire-       are charming, its cocktail list
 bells and whistles. When a bartender tells me he’s making his own             place give the room an inviting       is creative without being eso-
 bitters, his own tonic, I say to myself: ‘I’d rather have that bottle         charm, but the vaulted ceil-          teric, and it has an authen-
 of Schweppes than something some guy cooked up on the back                    ings and grand windows impart         tic vintage feel. Thanks to
 burner two weeks ago.’ ”                                                      an air of importance. Some of         talented young chef Justin
 hangover Cure: “Bitters and soda with ginger. I keep fresh ginger             the specialty drinks are on the       Bittner, the small plates are
 behind the bar and grind it up. It’ll make you cry, but it’s great for your   sweeter side, so a classic cocktail   as much a reason to show
 stomach. Works every time.”                                                   is a safe bet.                        up as the drinks. The menu
 Worst piCkup line: “A very attractive woman sits down at the bar.                                                   changes regularly, but a
 One by one, the guys tell me to get her a drink. A guy walks over to          Tabard Inn                            constant is a plate of crispy
 her, talks with her for a couple minutes, and then they leave. Later          1739 N St., NW; 202-331-8528          potatoes with malt aïoli—
 I said, ‘What’d you say to her?’ and he goes, ‘I just told her I’m a          You’d be hard pressed to find         a favorite of nearby chefs,                                                                                                                          The gleaming yellow
 lawyer.’ ”                                                                    a cozier spot on a chilly eve-        who regularly show up for a                                                                                                                          glass bar at Quill is a
                                                                               ning. The lounge here feels           nightcap. Good news: Come                                                                                                                            quiet spot for a date.
                                                                               like the wood-paneled library         spring, there’ll be more

66 | Washingtonian february 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                            february 2011 Washingtonian | 67
includes prime-beef sliders and    which are some very good            Slipp of CityZen is the consul-     floor-to-ceiling plate-glass win-    tables perfect for making new        cold beer—under one of the
lollipop-shaped crispy chicken     Malbecs and Barberas. The           tant on the all-organic-and-        dows, and a rotating panel of        friends. The knowledgeable bar-      bright-blue umbrellas and
wings that are so good you’ll be   small-plates menu includes          biodynamic wine list.               images from the Smithsonian          tenders will guide you through       watch the sun go down.
licking your fingers; weekdays     standouts such as grilled bread                                         above the bar. Chef Haidar           the 25 tongue-twisting German
from 4 to 6, you can get any       with avocado and crushed pis-       Evo Bistro                          Karoum serves up classics such       beers available in bottles and       Poste                              BehinD the Bar
three items for $20.               tachios and pan-fried pork          1313 Old Chain Bridge Rd.,          as veal carpaccio as well as high-   drafts. And bread, mustard, and      Hotel Monaco, 555 Eighth St.,      xan Calomaris
                                   schnitzel with a savory ginger      McLean; 703-288-4422                brow twists on lowbrow food:         cheese have never seemed like        NW; 202-783-6060                   Mie n Yu and the GuardS

                                   consommé.                           At this neighborhood favorite,      a Wagyu-beef Philly cheese-          such an inspiring combination        There’s an Old World
         Fine Wine                                                     families and small groups can       steak and a shrimp burger that’s     as they do in Biergarten Haus’s      European feel to the patio
                                   Dickson Wine Bar                    feast on a Mediterranean menu       good enough to have war-             pretzel rolls, an excellent drink-   at Poste, starting with an
Cork                               903 U St., NW; 202-332-1779         with something for everyone—        ranted a visit from Michelle         ing snack.                           arched carved-marble entry-
1720 14th St., NW; 202-265-2675    Housed in a former art gal-         from soups and sandwiches to        Obama.                                                                    way from the 1840s. The out-
This crowded wine bar draws        lery, this wine bar exudes cool-    marinated anchovies and paella.                                          Cantina Marina                       door space, framed by soaring
a mixture of neighborhood          ness. Unlabeled wine bottles        The dramatic marble bar is          Ripple                               600 Water St., SW; 202-554-8396      limestone walls, is home to
regulars, inked rockers in         of various sizes lie horizontally   framed by an Enomatic wine          3417 Connecticut Ave., NW;           Located on the Southwest DC          a collection of seed beds and
denim tuxedos, and bleached        along the walls of all three sto-   dispenser with more than 50         202-244-7995                         waterfront, Cantina Marina is        potted plants. Bartenders use
blondes in fur coats and red       ries. Flatbreads and bánh mì are    taps, and the wine list is coded    Named after a Grateful Dead          the kind of place Jimmy Buf-         the herbs for infusing liqueurs
stiletto heels. Owners Khalid      among bestsellers on the menu,      according to grape guru Robert      song, Ripple evokes a hippie         fett would like. Sunset views,       and muddling into cocktails.
Pitts and Diane Gross show-        though when ribs are the black-     Parker, Wine Spectator, and the     vibe with mosaics, bright            barbecue shrimp, and cold            Weekdays from 4 to 7, the
case Old World wines, among        board special, get them. Jarad      International Wine Review.          colors, and low lighting. Tables     Coronas keep its patio bar           courtyard is chockablock with
                                                                       With a shop next door, it’s easy    for two line the walls in front,     packed with a lively crowd           young professionals looking
                                                                       to bring home a favorite pour.      while curtains section off dens      in the warmer months. With           for a bargain: Truffle fries,
                                                                       Wednesday night is half price       for private groups in back.          yachts drifting down the             wine, and beer are $5.
                                                                       on all bottles. Expect a crowd.     Pastas and soups are lovely, pre-    channel and the Washington
                                                                                                           pared by chef Teddy Diggs.           Monument in the distance,            The Reef
                                                                       Grapeseed                           The crowd is mostly neighbor-        it’s a tempting escape from          2446 18th St., NW; 202-518-3800
                                                                       4865 Cordell Ave., Bethesda;        hood folks and couples doing         the 9-to-5 grind.                    While the jungle decor and fish
                                                                       301-986-9592                        dinner and a movie at the                                                 tanks on the first and second
                                                                       More than 80 wines at this airy     Uptown.                              Marvin                               floors of this Adams Morgan
                                                                       restaurant and bar are avail-                                            2007 14th St., NW; 202-797-7171      bar can seem a bit like Disney
                                                                       able by the glass. With a selec-                                         Maybe it’s the cozy bistro           World for big kids, the popular
                                                                       tion that travels from the Loire        Drink al FresCo                  seating. Or the impeccably           hangout has at least one feature
                                                                       Valley to Linden, Virginia, the                                          dressed staff. But more than         everyone can get behind: the
                                                                       range appeals to wine aficio-       Beacon Bar & Grill Sky Bar           three years after opening,           year-round roof deck. Enclosed
                                                                       nados as well as locavores. The     1615 Rhode Island Ave., NW;          Marvin remains the undis-            with heat lamps and a tent
                                                                       blond-wood bistro is a haven        202-872-1126                         puted cool kid of the U Street       during the colder months, the
                                                                       for an after-work crowd as well     The rooftop bar at this down-        bar scene. An homage to              mosaic-decorated third-floor
                                                                       as those on break from the kids,    town DC hotel has become             Marvin Gaye’s self-imposed           bar feels like spring break in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         on getting hit on at the Bar: “Guys ask for my number. Or ask if
                                                                       though plenty would cite it as a    a choice after-work destina-         exile in Europe, the bar offers      Key West. It’s also one of DC’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         my wedding ring is fake. I usually just smile and ask them how they
                                                                       special-occasion place, too. Jeff   tion, but its higher prices have     a lengthy list of Belgian beers      last remaining sanctuaries for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         feel about babysitting.”
                                                                       Heineman’s menu showcases           helped keep the crowds on the        and serves up crowd-pleas-           social smokers.
                                                                       American cuisine and fresh          small side. Premium drinks are       ing dishes such as chicken and                                           What a guy shoulD orDer For a girl to impress her: “Cham-
                                                                       ingredients—the goat-cheese-        served, to match the premium         waffles. The spacious out-           Tabaq Bistro                        pagne that’s at least $40 a bottle.”
                                                                       stuffed piquillo peppers and        views of the skyline. The roof-      side deck, which gets jammed         1336 U St., NW; 202-265-0965        least Favorite Drink to make: “An old fashioned involves mud-
                                                                       fried chicken livers with pepper    top typically opens in May, and      in spring and summer, is the         Though this restaurant and          dling, bitters, sugar, all kinds of gross stuff, then it’s stuck on your
                                                                       jelly are favorites.                while the summer heat may            closest you’ll come to expe-         lounge occupies four levels,        skin for the rest of the night. A mojito is up there for high mainte-
                                                                                                           have you rubbing a cold gin          riencing a Brooklyn rooftop          the real draw is its fourth-        nance, too. That’s a note to anyone who goes to a bar: If you order
                                                                       Proof                               and tonic on your forehead, on       party in DC.                         story roof deck. From this          a mojito, you’re automatically blacklisted.”
                                                                       775 G St., NW; 202-737-7663         cooler evenings the breeze is                                             perch high above U Street,          CeleBrities you’ve serveD: “Laura Bush, Tom Daschle, Robert De
                                                                       Proof is a mecca for wine con-      sublime.                             Nick’s Riverside Grille              patrons enjoy a panoramic           Niro, Woody Harrelson. They’ll spend a lot more money if you don’t
                                                                       noisseurs, and proprietor Mark                                           3050 K St., NW; 202-342-3535         view that stretches from the        fawn over them.”
                                                                       Kuller is among Washington’s        Biergarten Haus                      The best thing about this res-       Capitol to the Washington
                                                                       most knowledgeable wine             1355 H St., NE; 202-388-4053         taurant and bar in George-           Monument. On warm days,             most memoraBle Conversation: “When a customer’s wife went
                                                                       geeks. The see-and-be-seen          While the craft-beer renaissance     town is its location. Nick’s         the glass roof retracts so you      to the restroom, he said, ‘Please don’t tell my wife I was here with
                                                                       dining room has walnut floors,      has brought scores of good beer      outdoor patio spills onto            can feel the breeze. A good         someone else earlier.’ I said, ‘That’s why I didn’t say ‘Nice to see
                                                                                                           bars to town, this one has some-     Washington Harbour’s board-          selection of specialty mar-         you again.’ ”
                                                                                                           thing the rest lack: a spacious      walk and is a great place to         tinis and mojitos muddled
                                                                       During happy hour, Black’s Bar
                                                                       and Kitchen offers good deals on    year-round patio with an out-        watch the boat and bike traf-        with fruit purées is a welcome
                                                                       seafood, including two-for-one      side bar, occasional live music,     fic on a summer afternoon.           reward after the steep climb
                                                                       Chesapeake Bay oysters.             and long communal hardwood           Grab a spot—and an ice-              up three flights of stairs.

68 | Washingtonian february 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                      february 2011 Washingtonian | 69
  Cool throWBaCks
                                   “Preppy” is the watchword at
                                   this hot spot near Union Station
                                   where the byword is “seafood
                                                                      a nice counterpoint to the bar-
                                                                      tenders’ strong Manhattans and
                                                                      dry martinis. History seems
                                                                                                             Ebbitt’s excellent raw bar is
                                                                                                             half off.
                                                                                                                                                  make Birreria Paradiso feel more
                                                                                                                                                  like a ski lodge than a basement-
                                                                                                                                                  level bar on Georgetown’s bus-
                                                                                                                                                                                       hottest beer bar in DC. Make
                                                                                                                                                                                       it through the crowds to the
                                                                                                                                                                                       bar and you can sip from a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dirt Cheap Drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A 50-cent beer, a $5 martini, half-price
Fairfax Lounge                     specialties and strong drinks.”    ever present: The walls are            Round Robin                          tling M Street. A mix of students    carefully curated selection—
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            appetizers, and other bargains
Fairfax at Embassy Row, 2100       The tiled floor, wicker chairs,    packed with caricatures of polit-      Willard InterContinental,            and older clientele come for         about 50 drafts, more than
Massachusetts Ave., NW;            and fishing theme give the bar a   icos past, and often the booths        1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW;          the perfectly charred Neapoli-       500 bottles, and five cask ales.     You don’t have to drain your bank account to have a great
202-293-2100                       New England vibe. Senate staff-    and chairs are filled with politi-     202-637-7348                         tan pies and an extensive beer       The staff shares beer director       night out—you just have to know where to find the best deals.
Clubby. Wood-paneled. Sub-         ers and lobbyists pack the place   cos present.                           The Willard hotel has a claim        list. Among the 200 bottles and      Greg Engert’s deep knowl-               At Recessions (1823 L St., NW, lower level; 202-296-6686),
dued. The Fairfax Lounge is        during happy hour (weekdays                                               on history as few other local        16 drafts, you’ll find Pilsners,     edge and is a reliable guide.        a no-frills bar in downtown DC, 28-ounce “King Kong” drafts
quintessential Washington—and      4:30 to 7:30) for discounts on     Old Ebbitt Grill                       establishments do: It’s literally    stouts, and off-kilter selections    And with 17-foot ceilings, spar-     are $4 during happy hour, Monday through Friday 5 to 8.
everything you’d expect from       drinks, raw oysters, barbecue      675 15th St., NW; 202-347-4800         where lobbying started during        such as a beer with 18 percent       kling chandeliers, and love-            Start doing your rain dance: Adams Morgan dive Toledo
an establishment that has hosted   shrimp, gumbo, and Maryland        If you can fight your way              the Grant administration—and         alcohol. Even non-beer drink-        seat style booths, the space is      Lounge (2435 18th St., NW; 202-986-5416) rewards patrons
Washington’s power set for gen-    crabcakes. Wash it all down with   through the tourists in                more recently where Jon Stew-        ers are bound to find a satisfying   just as appealing as the beer        with $2 drafts when the wet stuff is coming down.
erations. On any night, you’re     a hefty martini.                   the entryway, chances are              art’s team stayed during the         offering among the ciders and        menu. Despite the exclusive             Happy hour at Chef Geoff’s Downtown (1301 Pennsylva-
likely to spot politicos mixing                                       you’ll find a seat at one of           comic’s rally on the Mall. So it’s   lambics.                             vibe, ChurchKey has populist         nia Ave., NW; 202-464-4461) is a reader favorite. Wednesday
with out-of-towners, who prob-     Off the Record                     Old Ebbitt’s four bars. The            little surprise that the Round                                            touches in both food (fried mac      through Sunday from 3 to 7 and Monday and Tuesday from 3
ably have no idea that the guy     Hay-Adams, 16th and H sts.,        155-year-old saloon has his-           Robin’s circular bar, just off the   Black Squirrel                       and cheese, rich risotto balls)      to closing, you can get 33.8-ounce mugs of beer for $7.95, long-
sitting next to them used to be    NW; 202-638-6600                   tory (the walrus head on the           lobby, is a classic too, offering    2427 18th St., NW; 202-232-1011      and prices (four-ounce glasses       necks for $2.95, and wine for $5.95. Burgers and pizza are dis-
a presidential speechwriter. But   With the closing of Town &         wall was reportedly snagged            the area’s best mint julep.          With hard-to-find craft labels       start at $1.50).                     counted, too, and on Monday wine bottles are half price.
maybe you’ll know.                 Country at the Mayflower, the      by Teddy Roosevelt), but                                                    such as Lost Abbey and Fat                                                   Feeling lucky? On Thursday night at the Mighty Pint (1831
                                   Hay-Adams reigns as the clas-      beyond the Beaux Arts facade                                                Tire, this Adams Morgan pub is       Franklins                            M St., NW; 202-466-3010), bartenders flip a coin and let you
Johnny’s Half Shell                sic old-school hotel bar. Dark     and bustling, bow-tied wait-                  Beer heaven                   a place for serious beer drinkers.   5123 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville;    call heads or tails. Get it right and your drink’s on the house. Also
400 N. Capitol St., NW;            paneling and suede envelop         ers is a solid cocktail list, a rea-                                        There are 17 seasonal taps—          301-927-2740                         on Thursday: Mug Night at Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson
202-737-0400                       patrons in the subterranean bar,   sonably priced menu, and one           Birreria Paradiso                    and plans to add 32 more—            Few bars are as distinctive or as    Blvd., Arlington; 703-276-9693). Buy a mug for $5 and get
                                   encouraging good conversation      of the best Bloody Marys in            3282 M St., NW; 202-337-1245         plus about 100 bottled options.      fun as the one at Mike Frank-        refills of Yuengling, Miller Lite, or Blue Moon for just $2.
Ballston’s Rustico carries a
dizzying array of beers—440 to
                                   and discreet glances. Bowls of     Washington. During happy               Exposed-wood beams, a fire-          If you feel overwhelmed, bar-        lin’s two-story restaurant/             Head to Asylum (2471 18th St., NW; 202-319-9353) on
be exact.                          nuts and spicy Sriracha peas are   hour (weekdays 3 to 6), Old            place, and stacks of kindling        tenders can help you decide, or      microbrewery/general store,          Saturday night for the Asylum Insanity Light Countdown. Draft
                                                                                                                                                  you can find recommendations         where knowledgeable brew-            pours of the house beer are 50 cents starting at 5; they go up by
                                                                                                                                                  in the menu’s “staff picks” sec-     hounds flock to savor the            50 cents every hour until 11. My Brother’s Place (237 Second
                                                                                                                                                  tion. With three specialty beer      changing lineup of handcrafted       St., NW; 202-347-1350), a dive near Capitol Hill, hosts a simi-
                                                                                                                                                  cocktails, mixed-drink fiends        stouts, porters, lagers, and         lar deal: During Beat the Clock Fridays, domestic drafts are 75
                                                                                                                                                  aren’t left out. And neither are     creamy Belgian-style knockoffs.      cents starting at 4 and go up by a quarter every hour until 9.
                                                                                                                                                  those with wheat allergies—          The drinking has never been             Prefer wine instead? Every day from 5 to 7, the wine bar Vino-
                                                                                                                                                  gluten-free beer and cider are       better (a credit to beermaster       teca (1940 11th St., NW; 202-332-9463) offers 20 wines by
                                                                                                                                                  available.                           Mike Roy’s leaner, less hoppy        the glass for $5 each.
                                                                                                                                                                                       style), and chef Marc Heck-             Panache (1753 Pinnacle Dr., McLean; 703-748-1919),
                                                                                                                                                  Brasserie Beck                       rotte’s menu of creative com-        a nice lounge in Tysons Corner, has deals galore. Monday
                                                                                                                                                  1101 K St., NW; 202-408-1717         fort food is a good fit with the     through Friday from 4 to 8 and Saturday from 5 to 8, you can
                                                                                                                                                  Dark wood paneling and wicker        suds. We’re partial to the skillet   get martinis, cocktails, and wine for $5 and beer—ten labels
                                                                                                                                                  barstools combine with a soar-       of roasted mussels, the hanger       are available—for $4. A $5 food menu includes a trio of sliders
                                                                                                                                                  ing ceiling and exposed duct-        steak and fries, and any of the      with fries and steamed mussels. Monday and Tuesday, bottles
                                                                                                                                                  work to give this beer spot          wood-fired pizzas.                   of wine are half price.
                                                                                                                                                  a cool, old-meets-new vibe.                                                  Ris (2275 L St., NW; 202-730-2500), an upscale eatery
                                                                                                                                                  Resist the urge to play it safe      Granville Moore’s                    and bar in DC’s West End, is good for an after-work date. The
                                                                                                                                                  and instead take advantage of        1238 H St., NE; 202-399-2546         Rush Hour bar menu, 4 to 6:30 weekdays, offers selected beers,
                                                                                                                                                  the long menu, which includes        This trove of Belgian and            wines, and cocktails for $4 to $6. Four shareable food options
                                                                                                                                                  13 pages of bottles plus another     craft beers is tucked in a row-      plus a daily small-plate special go for $6.30 each. Monday’s
                                                                                                                                                  page and a half of drafts. Gen-      house that gives way to homey        mini-meatloaf is a crowd favorite.
                                                                                                                                                  eral manager Thor Cheston,           wooden tables and cheer-                Bartenders at Bethesda’s Rock Bottom Brewery (7900 Nor-
                                                                                                                                                  the beer sommelier, is happy to      ful Belgian flags draped over        folk Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-1311) serve house-brewed beers
                                                                                                                                                  answer questions and offer sam-      the walls. Don’t let whimsical       for $1.75 Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 5:30 to 7.
                                                                                                                                                  ples before you commit. Belgian      names such as Fish Paralyzer         Late-night specials—$3 beers and a $1 discount on premium
                                                                                                                                                  fare—such as frites and mussels      fool you; lots of the more than      cocktails—begin every night at 11.
                                                                                                                                                  prepared several ways—is a per-      50 beers on Granville Moore’s           Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 at CarPool (4000 Fairfax
                                                                                                                                                  fect complement to the brew.         list pack a wallop. For some-        Dr., Arlington; 703-532-7665), you can get cheap draft beer:
                                                                                                                                                                                       thing different, try St. Feuillien   $2.75 for Miller Lite and $3.50 for Peroni, Blue Moon Sea-
                                                                                                                                                  ChurchKey                            Brune—with fruit, licorice, and      sonal, Magic Hat, Sierra Nevada, and Yuengling. The Ballston
                                                                                                                                                  1337 14th St., NW; 202-567-2576      malty flavors, it’s reminiscent      billiards bar also serves up half-price appetizers such as Buffalo
                                                                                                                                                  Since opening in fall 2009,          of a good Scotch. Fortunately,       wings, quesadillas, and mini-tacos.                —Emily lEaman
                                                                                                                                                  ChurchKey has become the             the moules frites come in gigan-

70 | Washingtonian february 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                       february 2011 Washingtonian | 71
                                                                               tic portions, so you can fill up     Circle.) Categories such as          bar at Masa 14, which offers        impressive beer list make even      draw awaits upstairs: a quirky     downstairs bar; customers who
                                                                               before stumbling back out onto       “soft and silky” as well as beer-    well over 100 varieties. Forget     the toughest loss easier to bear.   nine-hole putt-putt golf course    call ahead can have a seated
                                                                               H Street.                            and-food pairings help make          your college days of shooting it                                        ($7 per person) with only-         meal in the upstairs dining area.
                                                                                                                    the brew lists accessible. If you    while holding your nose. Here,      H Street Country Club               in-Washington obstacles like
                                                                               Mad Fox Brewing                      don’t want to spring for, say, a     tequila is meant to be enjoyed,     1335 H St., NE; 202-399-4722        National Cathedral, K Street       Nellie’s Sports Bar
                                                                               Company                              $12 pint of Malédiction stout,       either alone or mixed into one      Yes, this tongue-in-cheek prep-     lawyers made of Legos, and         900 U St., NW; 202-332-6355
                                                                               444 W. Broad St., Suite 1,           you can sample it—as well as         of Washington’s best margari-       ster bar has skeeball, shuffle-     Ben’s Chili Bowl. If you have to   As DC’s gay nightlife has
                                                                               Falls Church; 703-942-6840           most of the other 30-plus beers      tas—Masa 14’s version is a wel-     board, pool tables, margaritas,     wait for your tee time, you can    gravitated from Dupont and
                                                                               The stainless-steel tanks at the     on draft—in a four-ounce tast-       come break from the syrupy          and comfy booths. But the real      enjoy the Tex-Mex menu at the      Logan circles to U Street,
                                                                               front door are the first sign        ing pour.                            messes at most bars, with El
                                                                               that this place is serious about                                          Jimador blanco as the star and
                                                                               beer. Owner Bill Madden, for-                                             fresh lime juice as backup. Be
                                                                                                                                                                                                 There’s an eco-bent at
                                                                               merly of Capitol City Brewing           explore a liquor                  sure to sample from the Latin-          the stylish Dickson Wine
                                                                               Company, makes every draft                                                Asian fusion menu, too. Flat-           Bar, where rows of
                                                                               in-house. The roster includes        Againn                               breads, temaki sushi hand rolls,        recycled bottles cover
                                                                                                                                                                                                 the walls.
                                                                               seasonal brews and cask ales         1099 New York Ave., NW;              and the crunchy shrimp are
                                                                               representing German, English,        202-639-9830                         good bets.
                                                                               Belgian, and American styles.        The name may be Gaelic (and
                                                                               The best way to explore the          pronounced “a-gwen”) but             Russia House
                                                                               selection is a sampling of four      this gastropub’s specialty is all    1800 Connecticut Ave., NW;
                                                                               four-ounce beers for $6. One of      Scotch: Row after row of nearly      202-234-9433
                                                                               our favorites: the Festivus Ale, a   100 varieties fill the walls, and    A crowd of Eastern Euro-
                                                                               cinnamon-spiced English-style        private “Scotch lockers” store       pean expats frequents this
                                                                               winter warmer with a dark, rich      regular patrons’ favorites.          red-splashed Dupont Circle
                                                                               body.                                While novices will find famil-       restaurant and lounge. Special-
                                                                                                                    iar classics, even aficionados can   ties include martinis, caviar,
                                                                               Mussel Bar                           explore widely, including Com-       Eastern European beers and, of
                                                                               7262 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda;        pass Box’s new range of excel-       course, vodka—the list features
                                                                               301-215-7817                         lent blends, some special old        more than 150 varieties, which
                                                                               Despite the name, the “bar”          Scotches such as a 40-year-old       the knowledgeable and friendly
                                                                                 section of Mussel Bar—             Bunnahabhain, and such hard-         staff is happy to help you navi-
                                                         BehinD the Bar          chef Robert Wiedmaier’s            to-find bottles as Alchemist         gate. Order it in a cocktail, as
                                                     DreW sWiFt                  newest restaurant—isn’t that       Bruichladdich.                       a shot, or on the rocks. Vodka
                                 Meridian Pint (haS alSo worked at the reef,     big, but the sturdy wooden                                              flights, two-ounce pours of
                                        Bedrock BilliardS, and churchkeY)
                                                                                 chairs, chalkboards, and open      Bourbon                              six vodkas, are a good way to
                                                                                kitchen make it an inviting         2348 Wisconsin Ave., NW,             explore the menu. Weekdays
                                                                               spot to sample the long list of      202-625-7770; 2321 18th St., NW,     from 5 to 7, all house martinis
 hoW to get a BartenDer’s attention: “Have your order organized
                                                                               Belgian beers. During happy          202-332-0800                         are half off.
 in your head, have money or a credit card in your hand, wait patiently,
                                                                               hour (Monday through Friday          These sibling bars in Glover
 and watch the bartender’s eyes. The worst thing that you can do
                                                                               4:30 to 6:30), Brabo Pils, a         Park and Adams Morgan are
 is tap a credit card, knock your glass on the bar, whistle, or wave
                                                                               fruity golden lager, and Stella      temples to those most Ameri-             gooD For games
 money in the air. I see that and I’m thinking, ‘I’m going to put that off
                                                                               Artois go for $2.75. The menu        can of spirits, bourbon and
 for as long as humanly possible.’ ”
                                                                               includes eight varieties of mus-     rye. Outfitted in raw brick          Breadsoda
 pet peeves: “Don’t run your card every time you get a drink. Just             sels (try the creamy Chimay          and brushed steel, they appeal       2233 Wisconsin Ave., NW;
 start a tab—and remember to close it.”                                        variety with Old Bay, shallots,      to both old-fashioned drink-         202-333-7445
 Best tip: “A thousand bucks. I had four big oil guys from Texas come          and bacon) and wood-fired            ers and cocktail revivalists.        Whether players or a fans,
 into the Reef. They bought the five people to the left of them and the        pizzas.                              The extensive lists are worth        sports enthusiasts will feel com-
 five people to the right of them dinner and drinks. Everybody ordered                                              a boozy browse, and the bar-         fortable here. The day’s big
 steak.”                                                                       Rustico                              tenders know how to pour a           sporting event—anything from
 Favorite night oF the Week at the Bar: “I like Thursdays. People              827 Slaters La., Alexandria,         good Manhattan or Sazerac.           college football to World Cup
 are getting ready for the weekend. It’s busy but without the amateur
                                                                               703-224-5051; 4075 Wilson Blvd.,     There’s also a nice draft-beer       soccer—is up on the jumbo
 hour of a Friday or Saturday night.”
                                                                               Arlington, 571-384-1820              list and a tasty menu of com-        screen, drawing an interna-
                                                                               Greg Engert is the area’s            fort-food classics including         tional and homegrown crowd.
 hangover Cure: “A shot of Jameson.”                                           authority on all things sudsy        tater tots, mac and cheese, and      Along with tables for billiards
 memoraBle ConFessions: “I’ve heard them all: ‘I’m cheating on my              and hoppy, and this Slaters          fries smothered in Old Bay.          and shuffleboard, the base-
 spouse,’ ‘My spouse is cheating on me,’ ‘I’m in love with this person         Lane pizza hangout and its                                                ment-level bar offers a spread
 and they hate me.’ You are a therapist and a babysitter and a best            newer, sleeker Ballston sib-         Masa 14                              of childhood rainy-day staples
 friend rolled into one.”                                                      ling are where he shows his          1825 14th St., NW; 202-328-1414      such as Scrabble and Yahtzee.
                                                                               knowledge. (He also oversees         If tequila is your passion, belly    Your team didn’t win? Bread-
                                                                               ChurchKey in DC’s Logan              up to the 68-foot concrete           soda’s artisanal sandwiches and

72 | Washingtonian february 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                             february 2011 Washingtonian | 73
Nellie’s has become an                                                                               room for shuffleboards, pool                                           conversation. Meanwhile, the
                                                                                                                                          Cozy anD Casual
                                   And the Winners Are . . .
anchor. The bar is unpre-                                                                            tables, darts, arcade games,                                           bar menu—which includes lol-
tentious, making it a rarity                                                                         and a whopping 31 flat-screen                                          lipop lamb chops and fish and
among gay bars in town.            Where can you find the best happy hour, sports bar, and           TVs.                              American Ice Company                 chips—is a pleasant improve-
Wednesday trivia night draws       Bloody Mary? We asked readers to                                                  917 V St., NW; 202-758-3562          ment over Ireland’s traditional
big crowds of beer-swill-          name their favorites.                                             Toyland                           This effortlessly cool beer-and-     pub fare.
ing, corn-dog-eating contes-       Happy-hour specials: Chef Geoff’s, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave.,        421 H St., NE; 202-450-4075       barbecue joint gets our vote
tants vying for the unofficial     NW, 202-464-4461; 3201 New Mexico Ave., NW, 202-237-7800;         The Jetsons would feel at         for best new bar. Before open-       Liberty Tavern
honor of most outlandish           8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, 571-282-6003                          home at this funky retro bar.     ing the thick metal door, you        3195 Wilson Blvd., Arlington;
team name. And the rooftop         Sports bar: Nellie’s, 900 U St., NW; 202-332-6355                 Vinyl stools line the Cadillac-   walk through a walled-in out-        703-465-9360
has become a prime destina-        Beer list: ChurchKey, 1337 14th St., NW; 202-567-2576
                                                                                                     blue bar while vintage details    door patio with large commu-         The rustic downstairs bar of
tion in warmer months for                                                                            such as framed pinup art,         nal tables. Inside the space—a       this popular Clarendon res-
happy hours, weekend bend-         Wine list: Proof, 775 G St., NW; 202-737-7663                     black-and-white-movie post-       former industrial warehouse—         taurant has a ski-lodge vibe
ers, and the pre-dance crowd.      Martini: The Gibson, 2009 14th St., NW; 202-232-2156              ers, and kitschy mismatched       are brick walls, concrete            with thick wooden tables and
Another rarity in Washington:      Margarita: Lauriol Plaza, 1835 18th St., NW; 202-387-0035         glasses abound. Reach for a       floors, and flickering candles       leather couches. The food is
The crowd is mixed, with gays                                                                        Slinky or Magic 8 Ball, which     on wooden tables. Metal bar-         excellent—the bar menu offers
and lesbians, whites and non-      Mojito: Cuba Libre, 801 Ninth St., NW, Suite A; 202-408-1600      double as decor, or chal-         stools look as if they belong in a   everything from crispy clams
whites, and the hot and not-       Bloody Mary: Logan Tavern, 1423 P St., NW; 202-332-3710           lenge your friends to Opera-      woodworker’s shop. Craft beers       to the restaurant’s signature
so-much all mingling easily.                                                                         tion, Trouble, or one of the      such as Goose Island 312 and         pizzas. A popular happy hour
                                                                                                     other board games available.      Smuttynose Brown are served          (Monday through Thursday 4
Spider Kelly’s                   self waiting in a line of young     transforming the former hole-   The drink menu boasts nearly      in Mason jars. There’s also a        to 7, Friday 2 to 7) serves up
3181 Wilson Blvd., Arlington;    prepsters. The crowds come          in-the-wall into a cavernous    40 bottled craft beers and 10     handful of wines by the glass        half-price glasses of wine, $5                                                                      The Sav U’R
703-312-8888                     for good reason. Last year,         space with a dining room,       house cocktails—the brain-        and a full bar. And, as at any       margaritas, and selected drafts                                                                 Cereal at PS 7’s
Arrive after 10:30 on a Friday   Spider Kelly’s expanded into        94-foot bar, couch-filled       child of former Acadiana bar-     good barbecue spot, the food         for $3.                                                                                          is like a lighter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           take on eggnog.
night and you may find your-     three adjacent storefronts,         lounge areas, and enough        tender Erin Edwards.              comes on paper plates.
                                                                                                                                                                            Looking Glass Lounge
                                                                                                                                       2761 Washington Blvd.,
                                                                                                                                       Arlington; 703-778-5051
                                                                                                                                                                            3634 Georgia Ave., NW;
                                                                                                                                                                            With pressed-tin ceilings, glass
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Mix It Up
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Tired of the same old martinis and
                                                                                                                                       Many nights, this darkly lit,        chandeliers, and mismatched          Manhattans? Here are five of the area’s
                                                                                                                                       faux-antique gastropub—part          stools, Looking Glass Lounge         most interesting cocktails.
                                                                                                                                       of the adjacent restaurant Tal-      is a relaxed neighborhood bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Smoker’s Delight at PX/Restaurant Eve. One of bartender Todd
                                                                                                                                       lula—is a mecca for Clarendon        that’s cool because it doesn’t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Thrasher’s most popular cocktails, the Smoker’s Delight combines a
                                                                                                                                       twentysomethings. There’s a          try too hard. Brick walls are        tobacco tea—180-degree water infused for an hour with Old Virginia
                                                                                                                                       big blackboard menu of small         covered in antique-style mir-        tobacco and a honey/water mixture—with bourbon, lemon juice, honey,
                                                                                                                                       plates and beers on draft, but       rors, old posters, and framed        and water. “You get the aromas of the tobacco first,” says Thrasher. “Then
                                                                                                                                       the real draw is the wine list,      paintings, and a jukebox plays       when you taste it, you get the burn in your throat like a cigar.”
                                                                                                                                       with more than 50 bottles            a mix of jazz, classic rock, and         Sav U’R Cereal at PS 7’s. Gina Chersevani’s ode to the cereal-milk-
                                                                                                                                       available in tasting pours, full     punk. The small beer selec-          flavored ice cream at New York’s Momofuku is based on milk infused with
                                                                                                                                       glasses, and ten-ounce beakers.      tion includes such unexpected        the kids’ cereal Cap’n Crunch. The beverage is updated for adults with Old
                                                                                                                                       Weekend mornings, the mood           options as Lancaster Milk Stout      Overholt rye bourbon and St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram and garnished with
                                                                                                                                       winds down for kid-friendly          and Wild Blue Blueberry Lager.       two pieces of regular Cap’n Crunch and one piece of Crunch Berries.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Cheers Professor at Againn. Mixologist JP Caceres pays homage
                                                                                                                                       brunches with screenings of          And don’t miss the dangerously
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, one of the first American craft-cocktail bar-
                                                                                                                                       Pixar and Disney movies.             delicious fried dill-pickle spears   tenders, with this play on a Manhattan. Caceres mixes brown butter with
                                                                                                                                                                            with ranch dip.                      St. Germain elderflower liqueur before adding rye whiskey, Punt e Mes
                                                                                                                                       Irish Inn at Glen Echo                                                    vermouth, orange bitters, and bacon-infused maraschino cherries. Says
                                                                                                                                       6119 Tulane Ave., Glen Echo;         Lyon Hall                            Caceres: “Everybody loves butter and bacon.”
                                                                                                                                       301-229-6600                         3100 N. Washington Blvd.,                Russian Bathhouse at Sidebar. The menu at Jackie Greenbaum’s
                                                                                                                                       From its roots as a tavern that      Arlington; 703-741-7636              Silver Spring speakeasy features this spicy blend of horseradish-infused
                                                                                                                                       served its first drink in 1931,      The radiant blue sign atop this      vodka, vermouth, and fresh dill. In keeping with the name, it comes with
                                                                                                                                       the Irish Inn at Glen Echo has       brasserie by the Clarendon           a demitasse spoon of black caviar. “I don’t like sweet drinks,” says bar
                                                                                                                                       become an area institution.          Metro shines like a beacon for       manager Gordon Banks. “I think about flavors that work in food, and I try
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 to incorporate them into drinks.”
                                                                                                                                       With plaid booths, a 30-foot         the area’s well-dressed after-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Michelada at ChurchKey. Beer director Greg Engert isn’t usually a fan
                                                                                                                                       oak bar, several Irish favor-        work crowd. Inside you’ll find       of beer in cocktails, but he made an exception for the Michelada, a fusion
                                                                                                                                       ites on tap, and live music          polished-wood tables, globe          of a Mexican beer cocktail and a Bloody Mary. Engert mixes tomato and
                                                                                                           flock to Spider Kelly’s     three nights a week, it’s every-     lights, and a convivial conversa-    lime juices with soy, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauces, then tops it all
                                                                                                             in Clarendon to play      thing you’d expect from a pub        tional din. Each of the 20 draft     off with a Kölsch beer from Cologne or a smoked rauchbier from Bamberg:
                                                                                                          billiards, shuffleboard,     in Dublin—without the bar            beers comes in its own unique        “The Kölsch offers a light, refreshing sweetness that keeps the drink bright;
                                                                                                               and arcade games.
                                                                                                                                       fights: The older, neighbor-         glass. Wine lovers will find lots    the smoked beer adds almost a bacon saltiness.”         —SOPHIE GILBERT
                                                                                                                                       hood crowd is there to make          of good choices among the 20

74 | Washingtonian february 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                february 2011 Washingtonian | 75
                                                                                by-the-glass offerings, most of      an experience as peeling back        pensed by salty bartenders who      Little Miss Whiskey’s
                                                                                which are French.                    the foil on an airplane meal to      know most of their custom-          Golden Dollar
                                                                                                                     find filet mignon. The regularly     ers by name. The reliable roster    1104 H St., NE; no phone
                                                                                Restaurant Eve                       changing list of brews is around     of bar-food standards—wings,        Behind the unmarked door of
                                                                                110 S. Pitt St., Alexandria;         300 deep, with options ranging       chili dogs, gravy fries—taste       this two-story bar, walls cov-
                                                                                703-706-0450                         from domestic microbrews to          pretty good. And the jukebox        ered in fleurs-de-lis and lion
                                                                                Getting into the bistro or tasting   Trappist Belgian beers. Burgers      blares sing-along favorites from    crests glow under the purplish
                                                                                room at this Old Town destina-       are formed from organic beef,        “Freebird” to “Midnight Train       haze of a black light. Upstairs,
                                                                                tion isn’t easy. And come prime      and potato chips and tater tots      to Georgia.” No glitz or glam-      bar hoppers can get close in the
                                                                                time, the sofas in the walk-in-      are house-made. But every-           our, but therein lies the charm.    cushion-filled lounge room or
                                                                                friendly bar/lounge get pretty       thing’s served in plastic baskets,                                       let their hair down on the adja-
                                                                                crowded, too. The softly lit         of course.                                                               cent dance floor, where it’s not
                                                                                room can take on the feel of a                                              musiC anD DanCing                 unusual to see a DJ bust a move
                                                                                cocktail party—there are many        The Red Derby                                                            with the fun-loving crowd.
                                                                                regulars—with the affable, smart     3718 14th St., NW; 202-291-5000      Gate 54 at Café Saint-Ex            Wednesday nights alternate
                                                                                bartenders serving as hosts.         At the Red Derby, a gilt statue      1847 14th St., NW; 202-265-7839     between costumed karaoke and
                                                                                Sommelier/cocktail guru Todd         presides over the bar, Flash-        That line inching along the         Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, an ’80s
                                                                                Thrasher is behind the cock-         dance and other cornball clas-       back wall of Café Saint-Ex at       dance party. Cash only.
                                                                                tail menu, and in keeping with       sics play in the corner, and all     midnight isn’t for the bath-
                                                                                the restaurant’s ethos, many of      the beers come in cans. Drink-       room—it’s to head downstairs        New Vegas Lounge
                                                                                his ingredients are made from        ing at this Columbia Heights         to Gate 54, the restaurant’s        1415 P St., NW; 202-483-3971
                                                                                scratch. The gin and house-          hangout feels like being back        airplane-hangar-inspired sub-       Motown lovers can get up close
                                                                                made tonic is especially good.       at the kids’ table: You can play     terranean bar. On Friday and        and personal with their favorite
                                                                                                                     Jenga while chatting with the        Saturday nights, recent college     soul hits every weekend at this
                                                                                                                     mostly neighborhood regulars.        graduates and hip neighbor-         Logan Circle lounge. Friday
                                                                                          Fun Dives                  Although 35 beers include such       hood regulars pack the dance        and Saturday nights, the seven-
                                                                                                                     hard-to-find options as Wex-         space for a feel-good mix of        piece Out of Town Blues Band
                                                                                Hank Dietle’s Tavern                 ford Irish Crème and Young’s         Motown and ’80s tunes. Week-        plays hits by James Brown,
                                                                                11010 Rockville Pike, Rockville;     Double Chocolate Stout, much         nights bring a more subdued         Sam Cooke, and the Temp-
                                                                                301-881-8711                         of the crowd is downing $2           set who come to hear up-and-        tations for a crowd of preppy
                                                                                 If you’re the type to complain      cans of Schlitz and Natty Boh.       coming DJs experiment with          young professionals as well
                                                                                  about creaking floors and rick-                                         everything from country to          as cool older couples looking
                                                           BehinD the Bar         ety chairs, steer away from        Tune Inn                             Scandinavian electro-rock.          to relive the concerts of their
                                                      Chris allen                 this blue-collar roadhouse.        331½ Pennsylvania Ave., SE;                                              youth. Open since 1971, Vegas            A well-dressed
                                                         hank dietle’S tavern                                                                                                                                                          crowd sidles up to
                                                                                  In business since the 1950s,       202-543-2725                         Galaxy Hut                          was redone in 2002 (hence
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       the 68-foot concrete
                                                                                 Dietle’s welcomes a mixture         Even after the November elec-        2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington;       the “New”) with a tiled seat-            bar at Masa 14 for
                                                                                of friendly locals and, on week-     tions knocked several regulars       703-525-8646                        ing area and handsome wooden             margaritas, sake,
 pet peeves: “Number one is drinking and driving. I cut people off all          ends, a younger crowd. There’s       out of office—including Mis-         Funky artwork, old-school           bar. Cover charge $10.                   and more.
 the time. And fighting—if you fight here, you’re barred for life.”             a pinball machine, an old pool       sissippi Democrat Gene Taylor,       Galaga and Pac-Man arcade
 Why you like BartenDing: “We have eight or ten stools at the                   table, and a few video games,        whom some considered to be           tabletops, a stellar beer selec-    Patty Boom Boom
 bar. You can go down the bar and you have a drywall guy, an auto               but the true entertainment lies      the chairman of the Tune Inn         tion with 20 rotating taps—         1359 U St., NW; 202-629-1712
 mechanic, an investment broker, a car salesman. We get such a wide             in knocking back a few cold          Caucus—this legendary Capi-          it doesn’t get much cooler          This urban version of a laid-back      Rock & Roll Hotel                    Wonderland Ballroom
 range of people, and everybody gets along. That’s what makes it                ones with friends or striking up     tol Hill haunt remains packed        than Galaxy Hut. A makeshift        island bar draws die-hard danc-        1353 H St., NE; 202-388-7625         1101 Kenyon St., NW;
 such a nice room.”                                                             a conversation with the unas-        with neighborhood folks and          wall of empty kegs encircles        ers never ready to call it a night.    With winged guitars flying           202-232-5263
 in your FriDge at home: “Miller High Life and Miller Lite.”                    suming gentleman next to you         congressional staffers. With         the outdoor patio, where the        Reggae, dub-step, and dance-           across the ceiling and a             Once the exclusive hangout
                                                                                at the bar. Cash only, nothing       stuffed deer heads on the walls      crowd spills over on the bar’s      hall pound out of the sound            hodgepodge of vintage                of in-the-know cool kids, this
 on preDiCting Who’s going to Be a gooD tipper: “It absolutely
                                                                                remotely resembling a dress          and Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap,        busy weekend nights. Cram in        system. Everyone sips on Red           couches lining the side              Columbia Heights corner
 doesn’t depend on what they’re dressed like. I have regular work-
                                                                                code, and $1.25 bags of Dor-         the beer-and-whiskey joint is a      on Sundays and Mondays for          Stripe and boozy rum punches           rooms, this gritty two-story         bar now draws a wider mix—
 ing guys that tip nice and guys that pull up in Porsches that don’t tip
                                                                                itos—if you ask nicely.              good spot for late-night cheese      live music—mostly local indie       made with Jamaican spirits. If all     music space seems miles away         for better or for worse. What
                                                                                                                     fries and one last drink before      bands such as the Torches and       that grooving gets your stomach        from buttoned-up Washing-            brings the crowds? Good DJs
 memoraBle ConFessions: “You hear a lot of relationship stuff. You              Quarry House Tavern                  heading home.                        More Humans. Hungry? The            rumbling (and trust us, it will),      ton. Free DJ dance nights            spinning dance tunes from
 get the sad stuff. When you’re a bartender, you see people at their            8401 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring;                                         chili dogs are fantastic. Five-     try the spicy empanada-like            at the upstairs bar bang out         the ’80s and ’90s, an inter-
 best and at their worst. I think the key is being a good listener. But if I    301-587-8350                         Vienna Inn                           dollar cover charge on live-        Jamaican patties at the down-          songs you can sing along to,         esting selection of beers—
 gave you details, I wouldn’t be a very good bartender.”                        This 77-year-old basement            120 Maple Ave. E., Vienna;           music nights.                       stairs deli, served after last call.   but the venue’s hipster flag         including bottles of the
 Favorite Bars other than Dietle’s: “Outta the Way Cafe and J.J.                watering hole meets lots of          703-938-9548                                                                                                    flies highest at quirky events       hard-to-find Belgian brew
 Muldoon’s. Both of those bars have been around a long time. What I             dive-bar criteria—low ceilings,      Last year, this bar celebrated                                                                                  such as dirty-word spelling          Delirium Tremens—a quirky
 look for in a bar is nice people.”                                             graffitied bathrooms, sticky         its 50th anniversary, and it’s                                                                                  bees, Twin Peaks parties, and        dive-bar atmosphere, and a
                                                                                                                                                                   ON THE WEB
                                                                                floors, a vintage jukebox. That      easy to see why the locals are                To see our favorite drink at each of the 75 great bars, go        indie concerts by the barrel-        large beer-garden-style patio
                                                                                makes paging through the beer        still coming back. Frosted                    to                                ful. The cover charge for live       that’s strung with Christmas
                                                                                and food menus as unexpected         mugs of cheap beer are dis-                                                                                     music varies.                        lights.                      W

76 | Washingtonian february 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    february 2011 Washingtonian | 77

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