Lucky Bar

Awning in front of Lucky Bar
Awning in front of Lucky Bar

Lucky BarwebsiteFacebookTwitter,  1221 Connecticut Ave. NW (at 18th & M), opens at 3p on weekdays (unless soccer event), typically 8a or earlier on weekends , HH 3-8 M-W, 3-close Th, 3-10p F, est. 1997 [Yelp, WaPo, Frommers]

Arguably the best soccer bar in D.C. (though Fado may quibble), Lucky Bar has been treating futbol fans and 23 year olds to good times for nearly two decades. More divey than a true dive, this Joe Englert spot sports nearly 25 TVs on 3 levels in its location in the raucous triangle of 18th/M/Connecticut.

For soccer fans, the bar opens quite early, often on weekends before booze can even be served at 8am and similarly early on weekdays during the World Cup and other big competitions. Every conceivable game around the world is available here, and fans who want to catch the big matches have to show up early or strategically (i.e., right when previous games end) to even get a seat.

First Floor Bar
First Floor Bar

For everyone else, this spot is a less crowded (compared to neighbors Sign of the Whale &  Madhatter) meat market for the younger set (especially popular on Thursdays).  A green awning covering a handful outdoor seating fronts the bar. Behind, the first floor is the most divey of the levels; it is a narrow space mostly taken up by a long bar and some booths.  Located at the rear, up a few steps, is the more expansive main bar area.  Booths, couches, pool tables, lots of tvs, and a smaller bar in the far corner make up this  larger space.  A seemingly impromptu dance floor often (but not always) materializes late at night ; it should be noted that this is definitely a sticky-floor-kind-of-bar.  If you’re hungry for some nuts after dancing, put in a few quarters in a vending machine at the back of this floor, and you’ll be rewarded.

2nd floor main bar area
2nd floor main bar area
Second floor bar
Second floor bar

Leading upstairs near the nut machine is perhaps the most harrowing/steep (at least if you’ve had a few too many Bud Lights) stairs in any DC bar; bargoers making it to the summit will be rewarded with a more private-feeling space and another bar, along with the only bathrooms in all of Lucky Bar. Just be careful walking back down to the 2nd floor.

Legendary stairs to 3rd floor
Legendary stairs to 3rd floor

Although the smell of the adjacent Julia’s Empanadas (Lucky Bar + couple Jamaican empanadas was definitely a common combo of mine in the mid-2000s) permeates the bar, good times can be had . Even if you’re not a soccer fan, the extended happy hour (3-8pm M-W with $2.50-$3.75/pint & $3.50 rail drinks) is cheap, and drafts (even the local craft beers like DC Brau, Chocolate City & Atlas) are $4 until 10p on Fridays.  On Thursdays, the most popular night, happy hour runs all night-usually $3-4 pints & cocktails, $12 pitchers and food specials. Beer and rail drinks are always relatively cheap at all hours too.

Third Floor Bar
Third Floor Bar

Barred in DC Rating: 3/5

DC Bar News Roundup – November 5th-18th

Recapping DC bar news for the past two weeks:

  • First, don’t forget to read the details about December 7th’s Barred in DC Circulator Bus Bar Tour here.
  • If you haven’t already, check out my story about the ANC protest of Bar Charley‘s request to be open until 2a/3a. Story includes closing times for the neighboring establishments and the nuances of why the ANC decided to protest despite being in favor of the later closing times. SALM has a few more details.
  • Bar Announcements
    • El Ray (U Street) (917 U St. NW) (ETA late December 2013) –  taqueria from Hilton Bros (Marvin, 18th St Lounge, Local 16, etc.) set among shipping containers. Will have a retractable roof & multiple bars. Next to Dodge City (PoPville)
    • Right Proper Brewing (Shaw) (624 T St. NW) (website, Facebook, Twitter) (ETA early December 2013) – brewpub set to open with 8 draft beers, including 2 house beers. 65 seat dining area with lounge/bar area in front (WCP)
    • All Souls Bar (Shaw) (725 T St. NW) (website, Facebook) (ETA late November 2013) – neighborhood 40-seat spot with limited menu set to open after years-long fight (Eater)
    • Alibi Restaurant & Lounge (Capitol Hill) (237 2nd St. NW) (ETA December 2013) – “British American pub” opening in the old hilarious dive My Brother’s Place spot (apparently from same owners). Sounds like it will be a complete 180 with chandeliers and good food. News originally first reported by Barred in DC over a month ago. (PoPville)
    • Seven Faces Barroom (Bloomingdale) (251 Florida Ave. NW at S) (ETA May-June 2014) – 1200 square foot, 85-person tavern from bartenders from Range, Ripple, & Velvet Lounge.
    • Sky Lounge (U Street) (913 U St. NW) (ETA unknown) – not much information on this place; just spotted that they’ve applied for a liquor license. ABRA tells me that it’s a transfer from a previous tavern licensee. Some digging uncovers a settlement agreement with “MBB” (perhaps previous licensee) and some PoPville discussion about the building being gutted.
    • Casual Mexican Richard Sandoval Restaurant/Bar (Shaw) (1547 7th St. NW at P) (ETA unknown) – Casual Mexican concept, not another El Centro as PoPville reported (EaterPoPville)
    • Not opening- Kiji Club, a new planned cocktail bar from Daikaya owners, will not open after all, mostly b/c Daikaya has a great cocktail program (WCP/Y&H)
    • The Getaway likely closing by end of November. Never made it to this Columbia Heights spot. A PoPville commenter says the bank foreclosed on the property. (PoPville)
  • Other News
    • Sticky Rice began serving its 2 week liquor license suspension on Nov. 13th for interfering with an ABRA investigation. Sticky Rice did file a motion for reconsideration of the suspension, but it was denied. Still open & serving sushi; apparently hosting AA meetings.
    • Riverfront at the Ball Park denied liquor license by ABRA despite support by local ANC; ABRA thought DC cops couldn’t police 6 acre area (technically capacity of 12000 people) and worried about sound emanating from the open air bar affecting the houses 1.5 blocks away. Was going to be bocce and kickball venue. Very bizarre ruling from ABRA (PoPville)
    • Dacha Beer Garden‘s attempts to build permanent structure has ran into the historic preservation roadblock. Lots of good info from WBJ. Dacha has turned to Facebook to drum up support for its plans.  Dacha’s last day for the season was Sunday. (WBJ, WCP)
    • Opportunity for new tavern license (or existing restaurant transferred to tavern license) in Georgetown. By law, Georgetown can only have 6 tavern licenses. According to the Post, Gypsy Sally’s (new music venue) and Smith Point have applied to have their licenses converted into the much less restrictive restaurant license.  There are 68 on-premises liquor licensees in Georgetown; only five have a tavern license: Rhino Bar, Chadwick’s El Centro D.F., Modern & Blue Gin (latter is currently closed) (Post, ABRA)
    • ANC 2F entered into settlement agreement (ABRA approval pending) with The American, new gastropub in Blagden Alley inside block bordered by 9th/10th/M Streets. The ANC voted to oppose termination of settlement agreement with The Park at 14th (SALM)
    • Two new bars (Ivy and Coney and The Pub and the People) received $85,000 each in DC grants as part of the Great Streets Small Business Capital Improvement Program. Jessica Sidman (Y&H/WCP) has a great look at whether this is a worthwhile use of tax dollars. PoPville first reported about Ivy and Coney’s grant using to fund a retractable roof deck (which spawned a good discussion in the comments).
    • Great new nightly specials from RedRocks H Street. Includes 1/2 price pizzas Tuesdays & HH all night long Wed. ($1 off drafts, $5 mixed drinks) (GoG/Post)
    • BYT’s rolls out its The Least Douchey Bars in DC for 2013 (hate to admit-haven’t frequented many of these, I’ve bolded those I’ve been to: Shaw (A&D, Hogo), Dupont (Bar Charley, The Bier Baron TavernEastern Market (Beuchert’s Saloon,) Logan Circle/U Street (Black Whiskey, Satellite RoomBloomingdale (Boundary Stone, Showtime Lounge), NW DC (Comet Pizza & Ping Pong), Petworth/Park View (DC Reynolds, The Looking Glass Lounge, Petworth Citizen) Woodley Park (The Gin Joint) H Street (Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club,  The Pug), Columbia Heights (Meridian Pint, The Pinch,  Adams Morgan (The Pharmacy Bar), Mount Pleasant (The Raven Grill), Capitol Hill (Wisdom). Check the link for 2012’s list too (BYT)
    • 10 new happy hours to try including 7 in DC: The Heights, Kapnos, Mi Cocina, Mintwood Place, ParkView Patio, The W Hotel Living Room, Zentan (Washingtonian/Best Bites)
    • Young & Hungry spotlights a few new wine spots, including Eno Wine Bar, Barcelona Wine Bar, & Vin de Chez (pop up at Union Market)
    • ANC 2B protest renewals for Bistro Bistro & The Fireplace, Barcode (peace quiet/parking issues) & Public Bar’s request to terminate settlement agreement. ANC is fine with Public Bar’s request to be open at 11am.
    • Fiola/Casa Luca head mixologist/bartender Jeff Faile moving the Neighborhood Restaurant Group to head group’s cocktail program (Post)
    • ABRA to decide what to do about 17th Street liquor license moratorium this Wednesday afternoon.
    • 22 year old man from Silver Spring stabbed to death Sunday night outside Midtown in Dupont. A cop was also kicked (DCist)
    • Thrillist lists 47 coolest bars and restaurants in DC (really 43 in DC)
    • No new lease yet for TruOrleans space on H Street (WCP)
  • Barred in DC Activity
    • Lots of bars in Memphis – too many to count or remember
    • GBD  – still cheapest best happy hour in city, goes till 8p, $3-4-5 beers, $3 punches, often $3-4 food items
    • Lucky Bar – solid Friday HH goes till 8 includes $4 drafts (includes local drafts such as Chocolate City and Atlas on recent visit)
    • Garden District – spent a terrific Sunday afternoon here; catch it before it closes December 7th
    • Blackjack – swung by for solid Sunday HH
    • Ghibellina – although limited time (only 4:30-6:30p), this might have best food & drink combo deals for HH. $3-4.50 20 oz beers, $5 wines, cheap cocktails,~$8 pizzas
    • Pearl Dive Oyster Bar – hung out on the great patio outside
    • Duke’s Grocery – terrific neighborhood bar with great sandwiches
    • The Board Room DC – had some solid cheap cocktails
    • Maddy’s Bar and Grille – watched some Thursday night football here, definitely impressed by the sports bar atmosphere, will bump up their rating 1/2 star

Barred in DC Circulator Bus Bar Tour – Sat. December 7th – 2-8pm

Two participants on the first Barred in DC Bus Bar Tour
Two participants on the first Barred in DC Bus Bar Tour

Fresh off the success of the first Barred in DC Bus Tour (recap), Barred in DC will be hosting and leading yet another free bar tour using public transportation on Saturday, December 7th, from 2pm until 8pm. This time we will be using the D.C. Circulator bus, taking the Woodley Park – Adams Morgan – McPherson Square Metro route. We’ll start off in Downtown near K Street, go up to U Street, and end up in Adams Morgan.

As it will be the last day of the college football regular season, I will combining 3 of my favorite things (bars, public transport & college football) – everyone is encouraged to don their favorite team’s or alma mater’s apparel or colors. Of course, everybody is welcome; if you’re not a sports fan, feel free to wear whatever or your favorite band/novelist/artist/designer apparel.

Additional details, including the stops can be found at this page, which will be continually updated until the event. Hope to see you on December 7th!

ANC 2B Votes to Protest Bar Charley’s Request for Later Operating Hours

Bar Charley
Bar Charley

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B voted last night (Wed. Nov. 13) to formally protest Bar Charley’s request for expanded interior operating hours. This protest will be made despite the statement of Will Stephens, a local ANC2B commissioner, who posted on his official blog (incredibly helpful Q&A here) that he would propose that the ANC support the application. According to both a Barred in DC correspondent who attended the meeting and Kevin O’Connor, another ANC2B commissioner, the protest is being lodged primarily because both the notoriously NIMBY Dupont Circle Citizens Association (read about DCCA’s fights with Hank’s Oyster Bar here) and a group of 5 or more neighbors were planning to protest anyways, not because the ANC necessarily disagreed with the request. According to O’Connor, the ANC “thought it best to be at the table” and that Bar Charley’s “owners welcomed the idea.”

Bar Charley is requesting permission to be open two three hours later each night, until 2am on weekdays and 3am on weekends. Currently, the affordable cocktail bar next to Lauriol Plaza in Dupont has been operating under the closing hours of the previous establishment in the space (The Cajun Experience)-11pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends (Bar Charley is not requesting to extend its hours on its back patio (11pm/midnight)). Despite claims by some neighbors, these hours are not unprecedented for the restaurants and bars on that stretch of 18th Street in Dupont, as noted below. The ABRA status hearing to formally lodge protests will be held December 9th; expect a settlement agreement to be reached between Bar Charley and one of the protestants to be reached before any actual protest hearing takes place.

Closing Hours for Restaurants/Bars between S and Willard on 18th Street (Source: ABRA)

  • Plum Blossom – Sun-Thurs: 11pm / Fri-Sat: midnight
  • The Regent Thai – midnight
  • Larry’s Lounge – Sun-Thurs: 2am / Fri-Sat: 3am
  • Mum Mum – Sun-Thurs: 2am / Fri-Sat: 3am
  • Lauriol Plaza – Sun-Thurs: 1am / Fri-Sat: 2am
  • Bar Charley – Sun-Thurs: 11pm / Fri-Sat: midnight
  • Mandu – midnight
  • Rosemary Thyme’s – Sun-Mon: 10pm / Tues-Thurs: 11pm / Fri-Sat: midnight

DC Bar News – Week(s) in Review – October 22nd – November 4th

Read the news I broke about the new bar in Brookland (Brookland’s Finest) receiving an unrestricted liquor license, despite ANC protest, my roundup of news about the opening of The Arsenel/Bluejacket, and my review of Jack Rose.

Other news:

  • Openings
    • The Arsenel/Bluejacket Brewery (Navy Yard) ( websiteFacebookTwitter,) – (300 Tingey St. SE) – eagerly awaited brewery/bar opened near Nats Park on Tuesday October 29th
    • Park View Patio (Petworth) (Twiiter, Facebook, website ) (3632 Georgia Ave. NW at Princeton Place) – sports-ish bar with a huge back patio soft-opened up Halloween night (will open for good Thursday) in the old Blue Banana space. From Reed Landry, the owner of the preppy spots George and Mason Inn, and others, including a partner from the K Street club Capitale. (WaPo, UrbanDaddy, New Columbia Heights, PoPville, Park View, D.C.)
  • New Bar Announcements
    • New Neighborhood Bar at 14th/W: PoPville reports “that the owners of Federal and Palace5ive (2216 14th St, NW) are opening a neighborhood tavern in the former Dynasty Ethiopian Restaurant space” and that it will be “a very chill spot with beer in cans.”
    • Barrel (Capitol Hill) (613 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) (ETA: late 2013/early 2014) – new Southern-themed bourbon-and-beer bar from folks behind Union Pub & 201. Likely in old 18th Amendment spot (WCP, Capitol Hill Corner)
  • DC Beerathon – Saturday November 9th – Noon – 3am
    • Great event held by one of the owner’s of Duke’s Grocery, went last year and had a great time
    • 26 12 oz beers at 26 different bars + food specials
    • $69 with fees
    • Check-in at Madhatter (Dupont) or Black Jack (U/Logan Circle) between Noon and 3pm to get ticket and wristband which are good until bars close
    • Bars & beers include (check back to see all bars, subject to change):  Madhatter (New Belgium – Fat Tire), Rumors (TBD), Front Page (Harpoon Brewery – Winter Warmer), Buffalo Billiards (Founder’s All Day IPA), The Board Room DC (Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat), Maddy’s Bar and Grille (Batch 19), Black Jack (Port City Revival Stout), Stoney’s (Widmer Brothers – Alchemy Ale) Black Whiskey (DC Brau – Public Ale), Ulah Bistro (Peroni)
    • A portion of ticket sales will benefit Ranger Lead the Way Fund and Dreams For Kids DC.
  • Other Bar News
    • Indulj Restaurant & Lounge (U Street) – ANC 1B liquor committee recommends that the ANC protest its liquor license renewal due to the multiple license infractions, along with a shooting outside the bar that led to bar’s closure last Dec. (Short Articles About Long Meetings)
    • Kapnos – Greek eatery from Mike Isabella at 14th/W announces new happy hour: 5-7p M-F $5 drafts, $6 draft wines, $7 draft lemonade cocktails, $5 snacks (WaPo)
    • Bar Di Bari – Hybrid bar/coffee spot, rumored to be closed, actually will just shutter doors on Mondays during winter (PoPville)
    • Ivy and Coney – Detroit/Chicago themed Shaw spot gets $85,000 grant from city to add fully retractable roof. Commenters hotly debate whether this both lessens the cool/neighborhoodness of the bar and whether this grant is advisable (PoPville)
    • Love – Northeast club shut down due to over $100,000 in unpaid taxes (WaPo)
    • Bar Charley – announces all night (till close at 11p) Monday HH; $6 burgers, bison sloppy joes & tuna burgers (1/2 off normal price), $5 Tiki Taps ($2 off), wines by glass as low as $4 (Facebook)
    • The Guards – Politico CEO bought old sign from legendary Georgetown spot that recently closed for $5,000 (WBJ, WCP)
    • Secret Lounge and Sports Bar in Shaw apparently closed. (PoPville)
    • Deadspin with a great breakdown on why your drink at a bar costs what it does.
    • Eater DC has a great list of its 16 favorite happy hours: Piola, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chef Geoff’s Downtown, Sushi Taro, Vinoteca, Black Jack, DC Reynolds, Urbana, The Palm, Boqueria, DGS Delicatessen (I wrote about its HH earlier this year), Poste, Mad Hatter, Tonic at Quigley’s, Vidalia, & GBD. I’ve been to all of these spots (except Piola, and never HH at The Palm and Boqueria); definitely recommend GBD, Chef Geoff’s, Sushi Taro, Black Jack, DC Reynolds, DGS, Vidalia and GBD. The 1/2 price pizza HH at Ghibellina is the one big oversight, IMO.
  •  Barred in DC activity
    • Iota (Arlington): perhaps only hispter bar in Clarendon. Really cool vibe for friend’s concert (Bombadil)
    • Glen’s Garden Market (Dupont)
    • Whole Foods P Street (U St/Logan)
    • GBD (Dupont)
    • The Board Room DC (Dupont)
    • Bar Charley (Dupont)
    • Duke’s Grocery (Dupont)
    • Barcelona Wine Bar (U St/Logan): new mini-chainlet (based of CT), on 14th near R. Really cool space, very popular with upper 20s/early 30somethings, drinks are pretty cheap for 14th
    • Black Whiskey (U St/Logan): good $10 whiskey cocktails and free pool

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

Jack Rose

Jack Rose Dining Saloon, website, Facebook, Twitter, 2007 18th St. NW, opens at 5p everyday, HH 5-7:30p M-F, est. 2011 [Yelp, WaPo, Washington City Paper, Washingtonian]

Jack Rose, located at the far southern end of Adams Morgan at its border with Dupont and U Street, is my favorite non-dive bar in DC. With frequent events at any of its 5 bars spread over 3 floors, the whiskey-and-beer-centric bar from Bill Thomas (owner of both locations of Bourbon) is a great place to drink all week long.

2nd Floor Open-Air Terrace With Roof Closed
2nd Floor Open-Air Terrace With Roof Closed

My visits to Jack Rose are usually spent at its second-floor Open-Air Terrace bar, reached by the stairwell that greets visitors at the front entrance (the folks who make up the fast-moving line that often forms on weekends are typically waiting to go up here). This expansive rooftop space, carved out of the second floor of a former boxing gym, can be enjoyed all year long; the long bar that occupies one side of the space is covered by a permanent roof, while the other half, with high-top tables, can be covered by removable glass panels when it rains or the temperature goes down.  The wall to the north provides a great view of 18th Street and the rest of the Adams Morgan neighborhood (sometimes clear plastic panels are hung to protect folks from wind and cold) .  A host of craft beers (mostly $7-8) and cocktails can be ordered from the friendly and knowledgeable bartenders, who do a great job of taking orders even when the place gets crowded, as it often does on weekend nights from 10p-1a. The crowd upstairs skews slightly younger than the rest of Jack Rose; but the lack of cheap beer (often only 1 light beer available) and other typical 18th Street specialties (I overheard a bro and his young lady friend lamenting the lack of Red Bull on a recent visit) means that this bar isn’t overrun with 22 year olds like the rest of the hood further north. Tasty bites cooked on the wood-fired grill upstairs can be ordered earlier in the evening if hungry.

Second Floor Open-Air Roof Terrace Bar
Second Floor Open-Air Roof Terrace Bar

Two more smaller bars also make up the second floor. To the front sits the enclosed Balcony Room, which contains a wood-burning fireplace, its own bar and outdoor veranda overlooking 18th Street, and often serves as the location for private events; while in the back, past the restrooms, is the cozier open-air seasonal Tiki Bar (at least during late summer/early fall 2013), with décor and drinks to match, along with an unique view to the east and south .

Seasonal 2nd Floor Back Tiki Bar
Seasonal 2nd Floor Back Tiki Bar

The more sedate Dining Room on the first floor is impressive for the shelves and shelves of booze (mostly bourbon and other types of whiskey) that line its walls, evoking the coolest library ever. Many of the reported 1,600 different kinds (“the largest publicly available collection of whiskey in North America” according to one report) of whiskey that Jack Rose possesses are on these shelves.  Because it’s more relaxed than upstairs, this is a better place to sample some of the amazing spirits on offer. A dining area makes up two-thirds of the room, separated by a railing/partition from the long bar makes up the rest; I could do without this partition, which forces patrons at the bar to squeeze into a smaller space when crowded.

First Floor Dining Room and Walls of Liquor
First Floor Dining Room and Walls of Liquor

Those looking for an even more intimate whiskey experience should check out the recently opened Whiskey Cellar, reached by going down the stairs at the back of the Dining Room. This cozy basement space is only open Thursday-Saturday evenings, but is quickly becoming a favorite spot to sample whiskey (bourbon on tap is offered) and spend time in an even more relaxed environment.

Basement Whiskey Cellar
Basement Whiskey Cellar
Whiskeys on Tap in Whiskey Cellar
Whiskeys on Tap in Whiskey Cellar

If you visit, you’ll frequently spot an older gentleman who looks like Father Christmas with a long hair and beard; this June 2011 Washingtonian profile on this man, Harvey Fry, who supplied around 1/3 of the whiskeys for the bar, is well worth the read. Also, Jack Rose makes great use of social media to advertise its many events; I’m an especially fan of the colorful, informative posters it produces to provide event details.

Although the place (especially upstairs) can get crowded, the lines that often form on weekends are an annoyance, and (most selfishly) it opened up right after I lived less than a football field away (you can spot my house’s old rooftop from the Balcony Room), Jack Rose is well worth a visit.

Barred in DC Rating: 4.5/5

Young lady doing push-ups randomly at Jack Rose's St. Patrick's Day Celebration
Young lady doing push-ups randomly at Jack Rose’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration