DC Bar News – Week in Review – July 24th-30th

Before I get to this week’s news, I just wanted to highlight one of my favorite things about running this blog: helping folks find good bars based on their interests. I was glad to help someone from out of town, over Twitter, find several bars to stop by in Dupont appropriate for 30 year old folks who like beer.  If you need help planning your night out or suggestions for happy hour, please feel free to tweet me @barredindc or send me an e-mail to barredindc@gmail.com.

On to this week’s news:

  • Bar News
    • As exclusively reported (haha, but seriously, no one else has reported this) by Barred in DC, the hilarious, middle-of-nowhere Capitol Hill/Judiciary Square dive My Brother’s Placesite of many Saturday nights out for its $15 all-you-can-drink fests over the years, is changing its name to My Place on August 1st, with a grand opening two weeks later.  It’s hard not to see a connection between this name change and its recent liquor license suspension (July 18th-August 1st & $10,000 fine).
    • Huge news for northern Dupont/lower Adams Morgan: Bar Charley, from Jackie Greenbaum, who owns the great Silver Spring spots Quarry House Tavern, Jackie’s, and Sidebar, along with El Chucho in Columbia Heights, will be opening August 22nd (Barred in DC estimate-September 5th) in the old cursed Cajun Experience space near 18th and S NW just south of the hordes that frequent Lauriol Plaza. Sounds like a great affordable spot, both for drinks and food.  PoPville first scuttlebutted this in May. (Tom Sietsma/WaPo)
    • Great profile by Jessica Sidman (Young & Hungry) on Steve Davis, the rocket scientist/owner of the recently opened Dupont wackery Thomas Foolery. Definitely recommended.
    • Another nice story by Young & Hungry (this time by Jenny Rogers) about the now-shuttered 18th Amendment, the Capitol Hill off-the-radar spot that was home to a local rugby club, who now must find a new spot to go after games.
    • As reported first by Barred in DC back in March, El Centro D.F. will be opening its second location in Georgetown in the old Third Edition space. Eater has new details.
    • ABRA cancelled the protest hearing for Bin 1301 Wine Bar, a new spot trying to open in the old ice cream place in the Ellington apartment building at 13th and U; the new bar has apparently agreed to a settlement agreement with the ANC or neighbors. (ABRA)
    • PoPville reports more details about a new beer garden to open in Shaw. Dacha Beer Garden has applied for a liquor license (I’ve found that the local ANC has agreed to a settlement agreement that ABRA may approve at this week’s meeting) to have an open-air bar at 7th & Q NW (currently home to an empty parking lot.
    • Gordon Biersch (Penn Quarter location) will continue its Tuesday 25th anniversary special through the end of August. Every beer in the bar is $2.50 from 5-9p Tuesdays. (Twitter)
    • Tiki Thursday happy hour starts Thursday at Jack Rose. 1/2 off tiki cocktails & polynesian bites, along with $2 off drafts from 5-10p. (Twitter)
    • Building permit issued by the city to set up party area (like The Bullpen) behind Nationals Park near the water. (WBJ)
    • Fritz Hahn of Going Out Gurus with a tremendous post about D.C. area’s best old bars, including Martin’s Tavern and Tune Inn in DC, Quarry House Tavern and Hank Dietle’s Tavern in Maryland, and JV’s Restaurant in Falls Church,VA. I’ve been to all except the latter; all of the others are awesome-recommend hitting Rockville Pike to check out Hank’s.
  • Barred in DC Activity: 
    • New review of DNV Rooftop Lounge
    • Zengo (Chinatown)
    • Irish Channel (Chinatown)
    • DNV Rooftop Lounge (Downtown)
    • Hogo (Mt. Vernon Square/Shaw)
    • Vendetta (H Street)
    • Smith Commons (H Street)
    • H Street Country Club (H Street)

DNV Rooftop Lounge

DNV Rooftop Lounge, website, Facebook, Twitter, 1155 14th St. NW (on Thomas Circle near M St. NW), opens at 5p (weekdays) 7p (weekends) closes at 1a, est. 2008 (renovated 2013) [Yelp, WaPo, Thrillist]

View overlooking DC
View overlooking DC

High atop the Donovan House, a Kimpton Hotels property located on Thomas Circle and 14th Street (in somewhat of a no-man’s land between downtown and the Logan Circle/14th Street neighborhood), is the DNV Rooftop Lounge.  This newly renovated and renamed spot (DNV evokes the name of the hotel, but also is said to stand for “Damn Nice View”) surrounds a pool (though you can’t swim while the bar is open) and is located 14 floors above the city with a sweeping 180-degree view of DC to the north.

The bar at the beginning of happy hour
The bar at the beginning of happy hour

Although you wonder where the $300,000 that reportedly cost the hotel to renovate the space went, DNV lives up to its billing as one of the best rooftops to get a drink in the city. Featured at the main bar (there is a smaller satellite bar near the pool) is a refreshing Pimm’s Cup on tap, pricey “towers” filled with cocktails for a group to share, and two frozen drink machines.

Seating between pool and main bar
Seating between pool and main bar

Go for the weekday happy hour, which runs from 5-7p. The draft Sapporo beer is $5, all the wines are $7, and select cocktails are around $6 (half-off the mostly $12 cocktails).  At a recent happy hour on a beautiful mid-80s summer day, the HH cocktails were the Pimm’s Cup, both sangrias (get the White Rabbit Sangria, with chardonnay, acai berry vodka, pineapple, orange), and a frozen drink made by the bartenders.  The latter-although the concoction wasn’t ready until half-way through the happy hour- it was well worth the wait and rivaled Estadio’s slushitos for the best frozen drink in the city.

The pool + satellite bar + more seating
The pool + satellite bar + more seating
One of DNV's terrific frozen drinks
One of DNV’s terrific frozen drinks

To get a seat at the bar or around the pool during happy hour, make sure you get there by 5:30; otherwise the place gets a bit crowded.  If you get there before the bar opens, the downstairs Zentan restaurant (which supplies the Asian-influenced food upstairs) has a happy hour with decent food specials from 3-7p.

Barred in DC Rating: 4/5

DC Bar News – Week in Review – July 17th-23rd

Again, thank you to everyone who made the first ever Barred in DC Bus Bar Tour a smashing success.  Read the recap to see what you missed.

  • Bar News
    •  The wackiest bar in DC, Thomas Foolery, opened on this Wednesday (the 17th) at 2029 P St. NW (in the short-lived Zeke’s Donutz, before that-Tangysweet) in Dupont. WaPo’s GoG’s Fritz Hahn already has a mini-review, explaining that it’s fun, but is gimmicky and will be a haven for the bocce & kickball-playing crowd.  I was a bit surprised, as the kickballers I knew wouldn’t really like this space (not sticky floor/beer pong  enough), but he seemed insistent in this entertaining Twitter exchange I had with him. Thrillist also had a preview/review.
    • More details about Duke’s Grocery, a new “East London Style Cafe” across 17th St in the old vegan Cafe Green space from Young & Hungry. Excited about the addition to the neighborhood, this will fit the mid-range for 17th Street’s straight crowd between upscaleness of Hank’s Oyster Bar and Fox & Hounds.
    • Big news for Nats fans-Nationals Park has begun selling the local microbrews (DC Brau, Port City, 3 Stars and Mad Fox Brewing) behind Section 139 (right field lower level). $9 for 16 oz. isn’t that bad (3 Stars is almost always $8 for a pint every bar I goto, which is why I’ve rarely had it).  (DCist, InTheCapital)
    • 18th Amendment, a little-known bar between Eastern Market and Capitol Hill on Pennsylvania Ave. NW, is closing this Saturday the 27th.  I stopped by once back in 2007 when I ran a Summer Series Happy Hour; easily the worst of the summer, only one other person made it so we improvised and went back to Dupotn. (PoPville)
    • Current is now RoseBar. The Dupont lounge/club officially changed its name; the new name has been used in some form to describe different parties for awhile now. (Twitter)
    • Rendering of The Spot on H, a new cozy spot at 12th/H NE with nice roof deck released by PoPville.
    • DCist listed its 16 favorite cocktails in DC. Drinks include the terrific Orange-Thyme G&T (the best G&T I’ve ever had) at Estadio, the Adult Milkshake at Ted’s Bulletin, along with others at Bourbon, Rumba Cafe, Nage, Hank’s Oyster Bar, The Passenger, Tabard Inn, Bar Pilar, Ripple, Room 11, El Chucho, The Pig, and Jack Rose.
    • Fritz Hahn writes about the stellar view and chill vibe at the new rooftop at Avery’s Bar and Lounge, located near 14th and H NE.
    • Bourbon in Glover Park celebrated its 10 year anniversary with free beer and bourbon on Monday, the 22nd. Good details about the bar’s history (which I visited maybe back once in 2005 and had my first experience with bourbon on the rocks-I promptly put the glass down like a man and asked for Coke). Fritz Hahn has good details on Bourbon’s history and this event.
    • National Margarita Day is tomorrow (Wednesday July 24th). Tortilla Coast will be serving its house frozen margarita for $5 all day. My guide about Cinco De Mayo in DC may give you some ideas of other places to find a good margarita.
    • ABRA News
      • Bin 1301 Wine Bar, a new spot trying to open in the old ice cream place in the Ellington apartment building at 13th and U has its liquor license (tavern) protest hearing on Wednesday, July 24th. According to an earlier story by PoPville, this place will serve Mexican food and will be cozy, with room for about 60 people.
      • Justin’s Cafe in Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront is in trouble for apparently violating its settlement agreement, possibly for having a substantial increase in capacity. ABRA will issue an order within 3 months. This place is very popular before Nats games, though I’ve never been.
      • My Brother’s Placeshockingly cited for two instances of serving minors without checking IDs. Must pay a $10,000 fine and be closed from July 18th-August 1st.
      • Capitale (formerly K Street) changed its name without ABRA approval and ABRA may penalize them; order within 3 months.
      • Dickson Wine Bar is approved to have summer garden. Not sure exactly where it’ll be.
      • The five-day suspension on Shenanigans was upheld and will be served in late August. The Adams Morgan bar was cited for serving underage drinkers; the bar hilariously cited the First Amendment and said it was targeted for being Irish-themed on St. Paddy’s Day.
      • Duffy’s sidewalk cafe (seating 40 folks) was approved, subject to the ABRA-imposed restriction that it close at 11p on weekdays, midnight on weekends.
  • Barred in DC Activity: 
    • Hosted the Barred in DC 90/92/96 Bus Bar Tour, which included stops at
      • Molly Malone’s (Eastern Market)
      • Boundary Road (H Street)
      • Solly’s U Street Tavern (U Street)
      • The Black Squirrel (Adams Morgan)
      • Mellow Mushroom (Adams Morgan) (bonus stop)

Recap of Barred in DC 90/92/96 Bus Bar Tour

The first ever Barred in DC Bus Bar Tour yesterday was a smashing success. Thank you all so much for coming out.  Friends got a chance to catch up with another and meet new people at Molly Malone’s in Eastern Market/Barracks Row (the Weistaphaner Heffeweisbier was tremendous), Boundary Road on H Street ($16 bottomless brunch rum/OJ-based punch was a hit, nearly everyone got it), Solly’s on U Street (lots of excellent local beers like DC Brau and Port City Optimal Wit), and The Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan (we had the run of the basement bar and sampled lots of their great beers and burgers and even stayed an extra hour), followed up with a bonus stop at the Mellow Mushroom across the street.  The tour started strong, and really picked up steam at Solly’s where we almost doubled in size, and even picked up a random dude who just moved to the area. We had 3 attendees from Baltimore and 1 all the way from San Fran.  Thanks again for making it such a great time-hope to see you at the next one-likely early December!

Some pics below:

Starting the crawl at Molly Malone's
Starting the crawl at Molly Malone’s
Molly's Malones before the bar tour starts
Molly’s Malones before the bar tour starts
Riding the 92 bus to the next stop
Riding the 92 bus to the next stop

Enjoying the brunch punch at Boundary RoadEnjoying the brunch punch at Boundary Road

Some attendees, including one from San Fran
Some attendees, including one from San Fran
Solid decor at Solly's
Solid decor at Solly’s
Party time
Party time

Basement bar at The Black SquirrelBasement bar at The Black Squirrel

The lady in the middle came up with the blog's name
The lady in the middle came up with the blog’s name

DC Bar News – Week in Review – July 8th – July 16th

Don’t forget to RSVP and check out the details for the first-ever Barred in DC bar crawl, this one the 90/92/96 Bus Bar Crawl on July 20th from 1-7p. Specials at a couple of places, special bus/door prize available.

  • Bar News
    •  The wackiest bar in DC opens this Wednesday (the 17th) at 2029 P St. NW (in the short-lived Zeke’s Donutz, before that-Tangysweet) in Dupont. Thomas Foolery, from Steve Davis (an old roommate of a friend)-the rocket scientist who’s brought wackiness to 17th Street’s Mr. Yogato-will feature walkie-talkies, games, bottled beers and sodas, grilled cheese sandwiches and cookies, mini-cocktail bars among its craziness. Lots of negative chatter in comments and on Twitter, but I think this becomes a moderate success. Will be open till midnight on weekdays and 2a on Fri-Sat. (Young & Hungry, PoPville)
    • Duke’s Grocery, a new “East London Style Cafe” will be coming to 17th St in the old vegan Cafe Green space, reports PoPville (from a tip from moi). Will be a coffee shop, bakery, market, cafe, and bar.
    • Libertine opened up last week in the old Toledo Lounge (a once beloved neighborhood joint) from the Black Squirrel owners in Adams Morgan. Thirty types of absinthe, beer flights, $13 draft cocktail flights (sounds interesting), & seafood are offered. (Best Bites Blog, PoPville, Young & Hungry)
    • Bardo was resurrected on Monday the 15th on the far east side of H St. NE. Very bare bones (including porta potties and a blah beer list), this is the successor to a legendary spot in Clarendon (which I knew very well in its later incarnation as Dr. Dremo’s from 2004-08). (DCist, December 2012 Young & Hungry article with details)
    • The owners of Kangaroo Boxing Club will open yet another bar in the now-exploding Shaw hood at 1537 7th St. NW (7th and P), called Ivy and Coney. Lots of props for the owners on being non-committal on when it’ll open (Sept 2013-June 2016); otherwise I will guess March 2014. (Young & Hungry)
    • ANC 2B votes to protest the liquor license (tavern, meaning no food required) of National Tap Room; delays opening of new bar south of Dupont Circle on Connecticut Ave. NW. PoP earlier reported that this will be a sports bar.
    • GoG’s Fritz Hahn has a tremendous article about the burgeoning/excellent DC beer culture in the Post’s magazine.
    • Hahn also provides the details about Sol’s new second floor bar + back patio.
    • Girl Meets Food has a solid post about happy hours that start early for all the furloughed folks out there.  Includes Azur, Graffiato, Del Campo, 701, Star and Shamrock, , Cities, Poste, The Mighty Pint, the Boxcar Tavern, Hot n Juicy, Cantina Marina, Ceiba, & Solly’s Tavern.
  • Barred in DC Activity: 
    • After a long hiatus, published a review about the nwe fried chicken & donuts bar GBD (Dupont)
    • DC
      • Local Sixteen (U Street): great $5 drinks + food happy hour that, most importantly, extends to 8p and includes the rooftop bar
    • Chicago
      • DMK Burger Bar (Lakeview): burger spot with typically great list of beers, friendly bartenders
      • The Barrelhouse Flat (Lincoln Park): classiest bar I’ve been to in Chicago, great cocktails, incredulous that this was the late night rock bar Deja Vu that I spent several post 3am nights in Chicago
      • Rose’s Lounge (Lincoln Park): awesome/hilarious dive, Old Style on tap, like a grandmother’s basement
      • Delilah’s (Lincoln Park): punk rock bar that I’ve been to several times, solid fun crowd. A stop on the Chicago Beer Experience Lincoln Park/Lakeview tour
      • Happy Village (Ukranian Village): quintessential awesome neighborhood dive bar, with great oasis of patio, 
      • Chicago Beer Experience’s awesome Bucktown/Lincoln Park Beer Tasting and Bar Tour – highly, highly recommended
        • Lottie’s Pub (Bucktown): cool pub with a lot of history, opened in 1934, skeleton found in basement, gangsters, basement bar has view of goats and ducks at petting zoo
        • Lemming’s Tavern (Bucktown): very cool Schlitz-themed bar with memorabilia and great beer list
        • Silver Cloud Bar & Grill (Bucktown): another neighborhood spot with amazing comfort food, sampled the chicken pot pie made with phyllo dough-whough (whoa)
        • Emporium Arcade Bar (Wicker Park): arcade-themed bar with great beers


GBD, website, Facebook, Twitter, 1323 Connecticut Ave. NW (just southeast of Dupont Circle), opens at 8a (weekdays) 10a (weekends) closed 2-4:30p everyday, no dinner Mon., HH 4:30-7 Tue-Sat., 9p-close Sun., est. 2013 [Yelp, WaPo, Washington City Paper]

Fried chicken, doughnuts, and beer are three things that are stellar on their own. Still, one place dares to put them all together—GBD (Golden Brown Delicious).  This new Dupont Circle joint, from the same folks who brought you the uber-popular Churchkey and Birch & Barley, is located in sliver of a storefront previously (ironically) occupied by Yola, the yogurt parfait + coffee shop (operated by a young, idealistic fellow UVa alum, as chronicled in this illuminating Washington City Paper story in Oct 2012). GBD mostly lives up to its hype as a welcome change from the meat markets that make up Dupont/Midtown—though the anticipated throngs have not yet materialized.

GBD's cool sign
GBD’s cool sign

Open nearly all day and night (save for mid-afternoon and Monday nights), GBD offers great doughnuts all day, solid-but-not-great fried chicken (at its best, it is still underseasoned), the best biscuit (crème fraiche) in the city, a variety of beers (helpfully organized as fried chicken or doughnut beers), and tasty punches (a recent visit found bourbon, gin, and vodka punches) in a low-key environment that inspires one to just chill and let the Luther-induced food coma slowly take you over (in case you don’t know, the Luther is a sandwich made up of a donut sliced in half with a piece of fried chicken and bacon in between; it’s delicious and heart attack-y as it sounds).

Bar & Front area at GBD
Bar & Front area at GBD

GBD contains two rooms: the front area includes bar stools by the front bay window (good for people watching) and the only bar; the back contains tables and a few booths. Most crowded during the great happy hour ($3-5 beers & punches from 4:30-7p Tues-Sat., along with an industry happy hour after 9p on Sun.), GBD has sadly been relatively empty the times I’ve stopped by after midnight on the weekends (10-15 people in the entire place). No one likes a crowded bar, but more patrons would definitely add a needed jolt of energy late night and keep this place sustainable long-term. A well-advertised late night happy hour (drinks and/or food) may be a good idea. Still, GBD is a solid place to get good eats and beers in a more Metro-accessible location.

Barred in DC Rating: 4/5

Fried chicken and the awesome GBD biscuit
Fried chicken and the awesome GBD biscuit

DC Bar News – Week(s) in Review – June 25th – July 7th

Don’t forget to RSVP and check out the details for the first-ever Barred in DC bar crawl, this one the 90/92/96 Bus Bar Crawl on July 20th from 1-7p. Hope you had fun over the 4th!

  • Bar News
    • Kabin, the new ski-themed lounge, opened up in Dupont on Saturday, June 29th (near Cafe Citron). Marion Barry (yep, that Marion Barry) is a fan. (Eater).
    • Standard, tired of a trademark dispute with a similarly-named beer garden in NYC, changes its name to Garden District (the name of the old plants + garden store that occupied the space before the great 14th street beer garden moved in (Tom Sietsma/WaPo)
    • BlackJack (Logan Circle) announces a Speakeasy menu with a few $10 cocktails. Ask for the cocktails by name, as they’re not on in any menu.
    • One of the new Italian spots in DC (and one of the best looking spaces of any bar or restaurant in town), Ghibellina (Logan Circle) tweaks their already great happy hour by adding food-1/2 off pizzas. Happy hour (for now) is 4:30-6:30p Tues-Sun. Their pizzas are pretty pricey usually, but this will make them a great option to pair with their cheap drinks. (WaPo/GoG)
    • InTheCapital compiles an awesome, handy spreadsheet of DC happy hours. WaPo’s GOG wrote up a solid analysis of this list.
    • Fritz Hahn (WaPo/GoG) has a story about the newest DC bar fad: cocktails on tap. Hogo, Mockingbird Hill, Bar Pilar, Range, & El Chucho have these mixed drinks on tap.
    • Yelp publishes awesome heat map (using key words from Yelp reviews) of major US cities, including DC. Find out where hipsters, yuppies and frat superstars hang out. (Yelp Wordmap)
    • Compass Rose, a new bar with a global food theme, set to open at 14th and T (on the T side), gets it liquor license finally. Hopes to open in October (Barred in DC guess – mid-November) (Twitter)
  • Barred in DC Activity: 
    • Wrote a post on celebrating the 4th at DC bars
    • Hill Country Backyard Barbecue (Penn Quarter/Chinatown)
    • Bottom Line (Downtown)
    • Trio’s Fox & Hound’s (Dupont Circle)
    • Ghibellina (Logan Circle)
    • Black Whiskey (Logan Circle)
    • Oyamel (Penn Quarter/Chinatown)
    • El Centro D.F. (Logan Circle)
    • Bar Pilar (Logan Circle)
    • Darlington House (Dupont Circle)
    • Madam’s Organ (Adams Morgan)
    • Jack Rose (Adams Morgan)