— UNDER HEAVY CONSTRUCTION—
[Just like 18th Street, HA!]
Apparently, my break-down of DC has proven pretty useful to friends and visitors, so I’ve decided to start highlighting them. I will describe the areas I know well, and key in any specific places under the neighborhood heading.
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS/ PETWORTH
I am utterly and unapologetically biased here. My little corner of NW, home of two years and counting, stole my heart from the first visit. Actually two different neighborhoods, but often spoken as one. In addition to the following bars, there are a number of fantastic restaurants. Highly recommend: Red Rocks, Maple, Pho 14, Thaitanic. Full of great dives, kickass people, and genuine atmosphere. Home.
Wonderland Ballroom: Everyone will tell you to go here. Do it. We’re there most nights after work, and always have the corner booth and constant service. It feels like our Industry Clubhouse during the week. Weekends turn into a crazy hipster dance party, so expect to breath in more moisture than oxygen, and to be covered in sweat, beer, and craziness within minutes.
Meridian Pint: Oh, so many beer taps… makes my knees go weak. Then you read the beer list, and full swoons come on. So really, the cute bartenders only have to tap me, and I turn into a puddle of happiness.
Red Derby: I have a serious crush on this bar. All beer’s in cans, but they’ve a whole list written in chalk on the wall. Their drinks are strong, and staff are genuine. On top of damn funny, and willing to serve back whatever you dish out. They have shelving full of board games, including Jenga and Cards Against Humanity. Best attitude, best place.
Kangaroo Boxing Club: great on non-game nights. If you like sports [especially Michigan], knock yourself out. I’m always there with coworkers after our bars close for a chill end to the night. Limited patio space.
Room 11: class and quality in an intimate, enjoyable setting.
The Pinch: Industry favorite.
Looking Glass: When we feel like adventuring a little farther.
Blue Banana: surprisingly great music venue.
DC Reynolds: I love every experience I’ve had here, and am always confused why I don’t go more often.
My kind of nightlife. Just blocks south of home and a wide variety of atmospheres, it fits any mood. Far too many restaurants to quickly list, but quick shoutout to Ben’s Chili Bowl/Next Door, Desperados, and [that italian place w autumn?]. U Street has more vibrancy and genuine DC life than most areas full of clubs and drunk yuppies. Home of DC jazz, DJs, gogo, rap, and blues. A long line of hidden gems and proud social landmarks.
Marvin: Not Marvin’s, just Marvin. The Marvin Gaye namesake works to make its idol proud with a great balance between Motown and gogo, and local spin artists.
Black Cat: favorite venue.
Saint-Ex: great vibe, if not overcrowded. Similar to Wonderland, you go for a sweaty hipster dance party in the basement or a fight to win the bartender’s attention on the main floor.
U St Music Hall
The only reason to go to NorthEast. Ever. I wish it were closer, because I profoundly love so much about it. Unfortunately, the distance issue makes my visits less common. It’s more like a pilgrimage. Notable eateries: Dangerously Delicious, Sticky Rice, [that belgian place w clyde?]. Genuinely is worth the transit hassel, given the music, drinks, and clientele. Don’t miss out.
Rock & Roll Hotel
H St Country Club
Little Miss Whiskey’s
Insanity, shoved in a liquor bottle, shaken, and poured over lost memories. Always served steamy, on a dance floor. But seriously, it gets crazy. Great food: Mellow Mushroom, Barrel, and ? Bourbon reportedly has stellar brunch. Also has a number of hookah bars; my favorite is Salwa Cafe, but Soussi and Tangier are legit. A lively, fun time during the week; oppressively busy on weekends. Summertime sees street traffic virtually shut down by 11, for all the drunks wandering around. Work hard to find the hidden gems.
Madam’s Organ: local landmark
Shenanigans/Leaky Faucet/etc/ terrible decision
The ever-important social hub for politicos, financiers, lawyers, and anyone else that has the $20+ cover charge and possible table service the area has to offer. Dress code is enforced, so you better shine your shoes and straighten those collars, boys– the only jeans-and-t’s hoping to get in here better be designer.
18th Street Lounge: Hands down my favorite Dupont spot. This DJ-owned-and-managed bar offers a mix of local talent both spinning tracks on the second floor and in live bands on the third.
Current Sushi: An early favorite of my DC life, since the close group of friends I first made here had one of the group on staff. It’s a sushi place during the day and through the night, with the second floor opening on nights and weekends as a dance club.
Midtown: In the mood for sensory overload? This is where you go for an absurdly wild night of liquor, dancing, and large crowds.
Mad Hatter: I have spent many a crazy night here. Wild combo of college-bar-meets-Dupont-club.
Lucky Bar: I have had limited experience here. The Happy Hour is great during the week, highly recommend it. Beyond that, I’ve been once and got the distinct impression that it is heavily populated by bros and sorostitutes, and I didn’t like it. I reserve the right to pull a 180 on this, pending further investigation. Contribute your testimonies if you feel I’ve been unfair. No cover from what I’ve seen, and absolutely no dress code [think frat party day-kegger].
Dirty Martini: Sadly, I haven’t been, other than to run in and say hello to a friend working the bar. I liked the decor, and felt a similar vibe to Current. More details to come.
Mostly visited for the movie theater, National Portrait Gallery, or the myriad of sports and game bars. Also, pretty choice happy hour deals. I recommend eating at the little Thai place behind Gallery Place, Oatemel, or ?