Bar Charley

The bar at Bar Charley
The bar at Bar Charley

Bar CharleyFacebookTwitter,  1825 18th St. NW (at Swann/T), opens at 4p on weekdays, 10a on weekends, closes at 11p Sun-Thu, midnight Fri-Sat, HH 4-6:30p M-F, est. 2013 [Post (Sietsma), Post (Hahn), InTheCapital, PoPville, Forking DC, EaterYelp]

A welcome respite from the circus that is the nearby Lauriol Plaza, Bar Charley is one of my favorite places to grab a cocktail in DC. This new spot in the north part of Dupont, from the folks behind the popular Silver Spring establishment Jackie’s and El Chucho in Colombia Heights, is well worth a visit, whether you’re a neighbor or come from afar.

The dining area at Bar Charley
The dining area

The space, previously home to the short-lived Cajun Experience, is a few steps down from street-level but feels comfortable and neighorhoody without being divey. Although there are no TVs, a rarity for DC bars that I like to frequent, the absence contributes positively to the pleasant and casual, yet upscale vibe. To the left of the entrance is the establishment’s cozy bar area where folks can grab a stool or stand up while ordering from one of two bartenders, who often come out from behind the 10-seat bar to take orders and serve drinks. You can usually find me posting up on one of the 5 stools next to the bay window opposite the bar; this is a good spot to have a group consisting of both people who like to stand (me) and those who prefer sitting (most people). The rest of Bar Charley is made up of the main dining area to the right of the entrance: comfortable seating along one of the exposed brick walls; a communal table in the center of the room; and a large, semi-secluded booth in front of another bay window. In warmer months, visitors can enjoy food and drinks out on the back patio.

Back patio at Bar Charley
Back patio

The stars of the show are the cocktails created by co-owner Gordon Banks. The menu includes the quite economical (for DC standards) classic cocktails ($8 for a Sazerac, Jack Rose, Monk Buck, and fantastic Old Fashioned), on-tap Tiki drinks ($7 for a Mai Tai and Suffering Bastard served in tiki-themed ceramic cups), and more standard-priced creative concoctions (such as the Quack-Quack-erac, made with a duck fat wash and the Stepdad which involves a blowtorch). While the pretty solid wine list, both by the bottle and glass, serves as an ample co-star, the beer list, despite nary a macrobrew, is at best a fledgling starlet. Three drafts don’t rotate as often as I would like and many of the bottles on list are $15-25 large format bottles.

Tiki drinks at Bar Charley
Tiki drinks

Although it has only been open since September, Bar Charley has quickly generated a tremendous amount of buzz (both positive and negative). The spot has already appeared in the Post FOUR times (including critiques by bar guru Fritz Hahn and dining expert Tom Sietsma), and Bar Charley’s request to be open normal DC bar hours (2a weekdays, 3a weekends), has quickly become a source of controversy in its hood, as previously documented by this blog here. Many neighbors vehemently oppose the hours extension, though I personally know several proponents of it.

One of the fancier cocktails
One of the fancier cocktails

Since later hours of operation have not yet been approved, when you stop by for a drink (which you must do), make sure you go on the early side, as Bar Charley closes at 11p sharp weekdays and midnight Friday and Saturday nights.

Barred in DC Rating: 4.5/5

View of the bar with dining room in background
View of the bar with dining room in background
The dining room at Bar Charley
another view of Bar Charley dining area
Bartender making an excellent cocktail at Bar Charley
Bartender making an excellent cocktail at Bar Charley
Bar Charley from 18th Street
Bar Charley from 18th Street
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A New Restaurant on the Hill Applies for Late Hours, Hilarity Ensues

What happens when a new Capitol Hill Italian restaurant seeks permission to serve alcohol after midnight? An ABRA protest hearing is held, resulting in one of the most entertaining transcripts I’ve ever read. Those interested in Bar Charley‘s recent request for similar hours may find it illuminating on how that process will go.

Background

Romeo and Juliet, opening in the old White Tiger Indian restaurant space at 301 Massachusetts Ave. NE (a few blocks from Union Station), recently applied for a restaurant liquor license, seeking permission to serve booze the maximum hours (until 2am on weekdays, 3a on weekends), though without an entertainment endorsement. Although this spot is on a commercial strip (to be fair, residences border on 3rd Street), the space was occupied by restaurants with liquor licenses in the past (White Tiger opened in 1997 until it closed in mid-2012), and bars like 201 Lounge and Union Pub are on the next block, nearby residents were not happy. Compounding the neighbor’s fears that the place would become a nightclub was the discovery that the owner, Michael Romeo Rehman, is behind nightclubs such as Dirty Martini, Fur Lounge, Lotus Lounge, Tattoo Lounge, and Midtown. As with most new liquor license applications in DC, the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 6C in this case) protested the application on the grounds of disturbance to the peace, order and quiet of the community. Unlike most protests, however, a settlement agreement was not executed, and a protest hearing was held December 11th.

December 11th Hearing

The whole transcript is worth a read if you have time and are interested in what matters in alcohol licensing issues, but thought I’d highlight a few of the more entertaining portions.

To start off, Rehman (owner of Romeo and Juliet) explains why he decided to open the restaurant (p.50):

I’m in the nightclub business. I own nightclubs and I am getting old. A night club is a young man’s game … I want to do a nice restaurant … I wanted to go to a neighborhood where there is neighbors everywhere.
…And most people know all my establishments, the outside is always very, very clean. I keep my places very, very clean, that’s one thing I’m known for.

Rehman goes on to emphasize how it was set up to be a restaurant only, not a nightclub or a bar. There is some “W{ho’s On First”-type confusion that arises when Rehman describes portable service stations to be used by the wait staff as bars (p.119-124, 134-142) that is fairly painfully entertaining and goes on for awhile.

Frank Ortiz, the general manager (with experience working at restaurants including Dirty Martini, Jaleo, Cafe Atlantico, Zaytinya, Cafe du Parc, and Mio), followed up with more specific testimony about the nature of the restaurant and explains that the restaurant would be fine with more limited hours for the outside patio (11p weekdays and midnight weekends for the 3rd Street patio closer to residents and midnight weekdays and 1a weekends for the Mass. Ave. patio) and the interior (1a weekdays and 2a weekends).

The real entertaining part of the hearing starts once the ANC calls local neighbors as witnesses (beginning around p. 245). Betsy Gardner, a nurse who lives a few doors down, quotes extensively DC’s noise ordinance and then goes into depth about the detrimental medical effects on lack of sleep (p. 248-254), and summarizes with a few fairly reasonable thoughts:

If you grant these very late hours for the serving of alcohol in this residential neighborhood with its particular architecture, lot arrangement and street parameters of the locality, you are going to be consigning its immediate residents to nights of inadequate sleep, a clear risk to their health and safety, not to mention quality of life.

The next witness, Kay Elsasser, who lives 1.5 blocks away, complains that the Architect of the Capitol wasn’t notified; she’s worried about the children and impressionable minors who frequent the nearby Senate Daycare Center and the Senate Page School and Dormitory (p. 281-284).

The star of this show is Nancy McCall, a long-time resident who lives 1.5 blocks away. She begins her testimony by quoting Shakespeare (p. 294):

If you would permit me with a little literary reference, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” A famous line from William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. And taking literary license, a nightclub is a nightclub by any other name.

She continues by pointing out Rehman’s ownership of the nightclubs listed above and explains her issues with nightclubs (p. 295-96):

Nightclubs have no place in a residential neighborhood. We are a neighborhood where most residents head off to bed about the time that the current restaurants on the 300 Block of Massachusetts Avenue close. They close at 10:30 on weeknights and 11:00 on weekends.

… We are also a neighborhood where most residents rise within several hours of the requested closing hours at 301 Massachusetts Avenue. We often get up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning to hit the gym, walk our dogs, get ready for work or take our –get our kids ready for school. It’s an early-rising, early-to-bed neighborhood.

McCall goes on by hilariously citing Yelp(!) reviews as evidence that this place will be a loud nightclub (p. 296-298):

When do we sleep if the Romeo & Juliet restaurant is similar to the Michael Romeo Group’s other establishments? A Yelp review of the current four Michael Romeo Group establishments give a noise rating of loud or very loud.

…How safe will we feel walking in our neighborhood late at night or very early in the morning if the environment around Romeo & Juliet restaurant becomes similar to the Michael Romeo Group’s other establishment, Fur? We have been told that Romeo & Juliet will serve small plates along with alcohol. Is it a restaurant or is it a nightclub? The request before you suggests a nightclub, if one looks at on-line reviews of the Michael Romeo Group’s business model for their current establishments. I cite four that provide clear evidence that the proposed “restaurant” will not be appropriate for our neighborhood and will cause disturbance to the peace, order and quiet to our residential neighborhood when the nightclub crowd arrives at 10:00 p.m.

Citing LM of Washington, DC, November 14, 2008, one star rating of Lotus on Yelp. “My poor marks for Lotus are mostly for its role as a restaurant, but I would also go ahead and not recommend it as a club. Obnoxious music, lighting while most of the patrons are still in the middle of dinner and unpleasant service when we were waiting for our check, because Lotus was about to turn into a club and someone had bought our table for the night.”

TripAdvisor had one review of Lotus with the heading, No Longer a Restaurant, with a short brief review “It is now a liquor store. I remember it was once, at some point, but no longer.” Paul on DCSocialite.com, August 28, 2009, Tattoo.

At this point, the Romeo & Juliet’s lawyer (the top liquor license attorney in town, Andrew Kline) objects, stating that this is irrelevant and the ABRA commissioners ask who these reviewers are. McCall, perhaps with a straight face, calls these reviewers “impartial … who [have] no bearing to this hearing” (p. 300); this does not sway the commissioners, who decide to strike these reviews from the record.

Kline then cross-examines McCall, asking her about her definition of a nightclub (Kline appears to be trying to show that a restaurant/bar without an entertainment endorsement which would allow live music and a DJ can’t operate like a nightclub). According to McCall (p. 305-306):

In my eyes, a nightclub is a place where they serve primarily alcohol, music by DJs. The current ones today they are pretty hip. You’re not going there for dinner. You are going there to party and drink. And when I was younger, I went into some establishments probably that were nightclubs, because I certainly didn’t go there for dinner.

My favorite part of the transcript is next (p. 307):

KLINE: So music would be entertainment, music by a DJ most specifically, correct?
MCCALL: It depends if you are asking me about the legal definition of an entertainment, whatever that thing is that you say you haven’t applied for. Now, I find entertainment to be listening to The Sound of Music … on television.
KLINE: So you hear … The Sound of Music in lots of nightclubs in [DC]?
MCCALL: I do in my home.
KLINE: But not at nightclubs, correct?
MCCALL: I have not heard The Sound of Music in nightclubs.
KLINE: And you wouldn’t expect to hear The Sound of Music in nightclubs, would you?
MCCALL: It depends. Maybe if I went to Austria.

[I hope Tattoo Lounge decides to play The Sound of Music one day.] McCall, under questioning by the Board, shows that she mistakenly believes that all of the local restaurants don’t have permission to serve alcohol past midnight and that DC has a restaurant liquor license that limits hours to 11p on weekdays and midnight on weekends (probably a common misconception by DC residents). She later explains that she would be okay with having restricted hours for the first year and loosening afterwards.

She concludes by speaking about the real problem, young hungry Hill staffers who love outdoor drinking (p. 325-26):

…the Hill staffers will definitely then walk through the neighborhood when the weather is nice and they are out on the patio, that’s when you would get a lot more noise, because just sitting outside drinking … and munching on something appeals very much to the Hill staffers. And then they permeate through the neighborhoods very, very loud. And I mean, I would like to see a successful restaurant, but it’s a dual-edged sword for the neighborhood.

… Because that outdoor patio is fun to sit on. It is enjoyable, but it can seat a lot of people and then if you appeal to the Hill staffers with these tapas and drinks and drink specials, they are all going to come walking through the neighborhood.

The last witness, Becky Halkias, who also lives about a block or so away, mostly just complains about parking, which is not even an issue that the ANC protested about (p. 333, 349):

…I am not comfortable if I can’t find a parking place on my street.
…My concern is people coming out and walk — you know, if they are parking — I mean, if they are coming out later and they would be parking on the street by my house, it would be — if they are noisy under that or my safety, if they are taking up the parking places and I have to go further away… It is challenging even now to get. You know, when I come home at night at 7:00, I have to wait sometimes for 45 minutes to get a parking space in front of my own house.

[I presume that she wouldn’t have to wait 45 minutes if she parked on the next block instead of waiting for a space in front of her house.] She also refers to a “gang slaying” at Fur Nightclub, but her testimony is quickly cut off by Kline and the Board.

After Halkias’ testimony, both Kline and the ANC commissioner (Karen Wirt) present closing arguments; Kline points out that it’s hard to operate a nightclub without an entertainment endorsement, while Wirt emphasizes that the late hours are problematic (p. 358):

The concern of most of my constituents today is a concern about the draw of people from the outside coming into our neighborhood. Our neighborhood is a quiet neighborhood, not a bar strip. We ask ABRA to deny these late hours, because if you grant them, other restaurants on Massachusetts Avenue could do the same and you will,essentially, have turned our neighborhood into a bar strip. You will change the dynamic of the quiet peaceful residential neighborhood, which has been that way for more than 100 years. And there is no reason to change our quality of life, so that one establishment can profit. We are long-term residents,families with children who need to sleep at night, so they can go to school and to go work in the morning.

She concludes with a fun equation:

Liquor plus patrons drinking late nights equals trouble and noise which subtracts from the peace, order and quiet of the neighborhood.

The ABRA Board stated that it will issue a decision by mid-February.

Recap of the Barred in DC Shrawl (Shaw Bar Crawl) + Pictures

Many of the Shrawl Attendees
Many of the Shrawl Attendees

Despite only being announced less than 48 hours beforehand, Friday’s Barred in DC Shrawl, a bar crawl of 4 new spots in the Shaw neighborhood, was quite successful.  Around 15 crawlers joined Barred in DC to check out these new bars along 7th Street NW, all less than 6 weeks old, for the first time. Contributing to the buzz was Fritz Hahn’s article in the Post about a DIY Shaw bar crawl that coincidentally came out the afternoon after the Shrawl was announced and featured the same exact four stops (Fritz later gave the heads up to his Twitter followers about the event, very cool). Thanks also to the 20+ Tweeters who tweeted or RT’d out details of the Shrawl, and to U Street Buzz for creating a logo for the event out of nowhere.  It was great times and hope everyone can make the next Barred in DC bar crawl!

Some details and pictures of the Shrawl below:

Ivy and Coney

Some of the Chicago/Detroit-themed decor at Ivy and Coney
Some of the Chicago/Detroit-themed decor at Ivy and Coney
Cozy back room at Ivy and Coney
Cozy back room at Ivy and Coney
Front room at Ivy and Coney
Front room at Ivy and Coney
Cash-only bar at Ivy and Coney
Cash-only bar at Ivy and Coney

First stop was Ivy and Coney, a new cash-only neighborhood dive from the Kangaroo Boxing Club owners at 7th and Q. This second-floor walk-up is tiny, not much bigger than my 650 square foot condo. The Chicago/Detroit theme is pervasive, with fake autographed pictures, murals and the limited drink/food menu styled as a Wrigley Field scoreboard. I was excited to order a Vernor’s Ginger Soda (popular in Michigan, where I went to law school) and gin (a “Vergin”); I was given a bottle of Vernor’s to mix with a glass of gin-definitely worth trying out if you haven’t before.  I also sampled a shot of Malort, much to the surprise of several of the friendly people sitting at the bar (“You’re so brave”). Verdict: not so bad, especially if you like absinthe;ask for a chaser of ginger ale.  The selection of beer includes a few cheap $3 cans (e.g Stroh’s) and a few $6 drafts (Bell’s Two Hearted); all liquor is $6 (limited selection of liquor can be seen behind the bar). You can also grab a Chicago or Coney hot dog if you’re hungry. Despite the cash-only policy, some bargoers were taking advantage of an old-school bar tab policy; leave your driver’s license with the bartender and you can run a tab to settle up at the end of the night.  Be sure to check out the cozy back room; another TV with an Nintendo can be found here. Although some of the Shrawlers weren’t a huge fan of the limited selection, cash-only policy and crowded scene, I hope to check it out again on a less-crowded weeknight or for a Chicago or Michigan sports event in the future.

Southern Efficiency

Southern Efficiency
Southern Efficiency
The Shrawl Crawlers at Southern Efficiency
The Shrawl Crawlers at Southern Efficiency
The Stone Fence comes in a mason jar with a lid. Cool
The Stone Fence comes in a mason jar with a lid. Cool
Barred in DC along with two biggest fans
Barred in DC along with two biggest fans

After an hour at Ivy and Coney, the Shrawl ambled up 7th Street a few blocks (encountering an entertaining neighborhood drunk who accompanied us much of the way) to Southern Efficiency, the new Southern whiskey + food spot (one of the triumvirate of adjacent bars from Derek Brown). This place was even smaller than Ivy and Coney, just one room in a brightly lit space. The drinks were a hit here; most of us sampled the white whiskey + smoked cola drink on tap or the Stone Fence cocktail served in a mason jar with a lid. Both were $7 and tasty. A pretty large selection of bourbon and Southern beers somewhat unique to the area were also on the menu.  A tip-the door to the back leads to the bathrooms shared by Eat the Rich; if you want to also try some oysters or the cocktails-by-the-pitcher next door, it would be very easy to do so. Looking forward to coming back to checking these places out, along with the sherry spot Mockingbird Hill, to complete the Derek Brown Bar Crawl.

Right Proper Brewing Company

Awesome decor at Right Proper
Awesome decor at Right Proper
Right Proper front dining area
Right Proper front dining area
Front bar at Right Proper
Front bar at Right Proper
Photobombing Barred in DC
Photobombing Barred in DC

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Brewing Equipment Behind the Bar
Brewing Equipment Behind the Bar

We then proceeded around the corner on T Street to the third stop of the Shrawl-Right Proper Brewing Company. Quite a departure from the first two spots, Right Proper occupies an expansive space with multiple bars. Well-priced ($4-6) beers made in-house can be had here; I tried The Duke and a honey beer (The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull) that were both very good. We also sampled some onion strings; I’ve heard the fried chicken sandwich is also worth having. The reaction from the Shrawlers was fairly divided; everyone enjoyed the beer (even those non-beer fans among us), but some thought the place was too sprawling and somewhat antiseptic while others (like myself) felt Right Proper nailed the brewpub concept quite well. One tip-Right Proper was still buzzing when we left around 12:30, with no signs of closing down, well past the midnight posted closing time, so feel free to come late.

All Souls Bar

Shrawlers at All Souls

All Souls
All Souls
We found some honorary random Shrawlers who we saw earlier in the night
We found some honorary random Shrawlers who we saw earlier in the night
Shrawlers conversing in the corner of a corner bar
Shrawlers conversing in the corner of a corner bar
Bar at All Souls
Bar at All Souls
Shrawler Bros
Shrawler Bros

The final stop of the night, just steps away across 7th Street from Right Proper, All Souls Corner Bar was a solid conclusion to the Shrawl. Similar to the first two bars, All Souls is another cozy spot; the sole room contains a large curved bar (originally from Jaleo, where the owner once worked). I liked the lighting and the low-key vibe of this spot. The drink list is short yet solid; a number of wines (the owner is a big fan of sparkling wine), beers and three $9-11 cocktails (numbered #1, #2, & #3), along with the All Souls combo (a glass of Rose + shot of Maker’s). The Barcelona sidecar (with cava) was terrific. Definitely coming back soon.

Barred in DC Shrawl (Shaw Bar Crawl) – Friday, January 17th – 9PM

Terrible Word Art by Author
Terrible Word Art by Author

To explore the plethora of options that have suddenly appeared in the Shaw neighborhood, Barred in DC will be hosting a semi-impromptu Shrawl (term blatantly stolen from BestThingOnTheMenu, sorry guys) this Friday, January 17th, starting at 9pm. Unlike the potential bar crawls helpfully described by Fritz Hahn (GoG/Post) and Jessica Sidman (Y&H/WCP) (and followed by BTMenu), this will not be exclusively a Derek Brown-bar excursion, though we plan on stopping by one of his new spots. [1/16 UPDATE: Today, Fritz posted a detailed DIY Shaw bar crawl with the same 4 bars as the Shrawl-amazing timing.]

Everyone is very welcome, including those of you who read this blog/follow Barred in DC on Twitter but I’ve never met (be on the lookout for someone who sort of looks like an Indian (think-spelling bee) Russell Wilson, I’ve been told).

Take the Green Line Metro to the Shaw/Howard stop, a G2 Metrobus from Georgetown or Dupont (along P St. NW), a 70 Metrobus from Chinatown, a G8 from Downtown, cab/Uber/walk from wherever you are.  Feel free to stop by anytime along the way.

Details (times approximate; stops subject to change):

Ivy and Coney – 1537 7th St. NW (at Q) – 9-10p

Southern Efficiency 1841 7th St. NW (at T) – 10-11p

Right Proper Brewing Company – 624 T St. NW – 11p-midnight

All Souls Bar – 725 T St. NW – midnight-whenever

  • Neighborhood 40-seat bar with cool, curved bar originally from Jaleo
  • Small list of beer, wine, cocktails and solid sparkling wine
  • opened Dec. 8th
  • Reviews from PoPvilleEaterWCP

DC Bar News Roundup – January 2nd-14th

First news round-up of 2014, hope you follow me on Twitter (now with more followers than accounts followed!) and Facebook.

  • Bar Openings
    • El Rey (U Street) – 919 U St. NW – opened Fri. Jan. 10th – (Facebook, Twitter, website) taqueria & beer garden from Hilton Brothers, made up a shipping containers and a patio with a retractable roof. 3100 square foot space. Lots of tacos and beers. (PoPville, WCP, Washingtonian, UrbanDaddy, WBJ, BYT, Eater, Post, Zagat)
    • Jackpot Tavern (Chinatown/PQ) – 726 7th St. NW (at H) – opened Fri. Jan. 3rd (Facebook) – low-key neighborhood spot from folks behind Iron Horse & Rocket Bar, but without any games and food. Solid beers and a fancy cocktail menu. (WCP, PoPville)
    • RiRa Irish Pub (Georgetown) – 3123-3125 M St. NW – (Twitter, Facebook, website) – opened Tues. Dec 31st – Only Irish bar in Georgetown opens in the old Mie n Yu spot. Chainlet (about 10 US locations, including one in Clarendon). Very nice space, I predict it will be a hit, though this bar opening has been completely under the radar. (PoPville, Eater)
  • Bar Announcements
    • Compass Rose (U Street) – 1346 T St. NW (Twitter)  ETA early February 2014 – Street food + bar posts “Coming Soon” sign, hope to open early February. Has been delayed since fall (PoPville, Twitter)
    • The Alibi (Capitol Hill) – (Facebook, Twitter, websiteETA early February 2014 – new British-themed spot in old My Brothers’ Place. News of new opening date exclusively reported by Barred in DC
    • The Royal (Ledroit Park) – 501 Florida Ave. – ETA early summer – neighborhood spot with 40 seats in early 19th century building from Vinoteca owner (Washingtonian, WCP)
    • Bar di Bari (14th and R) to be replaced with new concept called Red Light (WCP)
    • DC Eagle – legendary gay bar to open in space east of the Anacostia River at Minnesota Ave. & Benning Road. Huge space in old warehouse accommodating 800, 4-piece bands, dancing, open-mike nights (WCP, Blade)
  • Other News
    • As first reported by Barred in DC, the owner of Madam’s Organ is not a fan of the nearby Tryst. One of the comments on PoPville purports to be from Bill Duggan, the owner of Madam’ Organ. DC Reynolds chimes in with a characteristically entertaining Tweet. (Washingtonian, PoPville)
    • Thrillist has entertaining list of DC’s Bad Decision Bars. Lot of overlap with the douchiest bars, though some actual solid spots. McFadden’s, Rumors, Madam’s Organ, Cafe St. Ex (Gate 54-downstairs bar), Smith Point, Little Miss Whiskey’s, Sign of the Whale, Public Bar, Cafe Asia, Local 16, Lucky Bar, & Wonderland Ballroom make up the list.  (Thrillist)
    • BYT with a review of new Shaw spot Ivy & Coney
    • The Post with a review of the new RiRa Georgetown, predicts it will be popular for happy hour.
    • Duffy’s kicking off a new Monday happy hour: $1 PBR 16 oz. cans (Post)
    • ANC2B supported beer/wine liquor license for Amsterdam Falafelshop to open on 14th St. (Twitter)\
    • Neighborhood meeting this Wednesday, January 15th to discuss Bar Charley‘s request to have extended hours (Twitter)
    • Post reviews two new music venues in very different spots: Gypsy Sally’s (Americana music off K Street in Georgetown) & Tree House Lounge (in Trinidad near Galludet, not really near H Street)
    • Tom Sietsma reviews Bluejacket/The Arsenel; good reviews for space & beers, not so much food.
    • BYT with a roundup of H Street happy hour spots.
  • Barred in DC Activity
    • GBD (Dupont) – had some $3-4 great cheap beers and punch, along with some $3.50 catfish nuggets at happy hour
    • Jack Rose (AdMo) –
    • The Pinch  (ColHi) – stop 1 of upper Columbia Heights bar crawl, my first trip to a 14th Street Columbia Heights bar. Very friendly Twitter feed. Interesting spot-definitely divey from outside, first floor is like a neighborhood bar (Stoney’s-ish), while the basement (at least night I was there) is like a wild college frat party (dark lights, dance floor, etc.) $4 Yuengling bottles regular price is pretty solid.
    • Mad Momo’s (ColHi) – stop 2 of ColHi bar crawl, very chill, yet nice, spot; seems more of a restaurant space than a late-night bar. Very cool patio and roof deck
    • Red Derby (ColHi) – last stop of mini-ColHi bar crawl, awesome dive bar, sad I haven’t been sooner. Narrow first floor and nice roof deck (heated during winter). Canned beers and cash only (at least upstairs).
    • Trusty’s Full-Serve Bar (Hill East/Potomac Ave.) – Holy shit, this is an awesome bar, especially the second floor-the bar upstairs is fashioned out of a school bus (order drinks through the open windows. One side of the upstairs is lined with school bus seats and cup holders. Draft beers are served in mason jars (they apparently started doing this before it was cool) and lots of craft can beers. Definitely a dive with a neighborhood feel and a mixed crowd (old, young, black, white, etc.). Worth a trip
    • Wisdom (Hill East/Potomac Ave.) – shabby chic-decor cocktail bar in residential neighborhood near the Potomac Ave. Metro; friendly bartenders, lots of cool little nooks; $8 Bluecoat American gin cocktails from 6-8p weekdays for happy hour and lots of other craft cocktails
    • Bar Charley (Dupont) – very nice Thursday night crowd here at this cocktail bar; enjoyed the Monk Buck $8 cocktail and a gratis Old Overholt Rye shot
    • Duke’s Grocery (Dupont) – nightcap here, very chill and cool after midnight
    • Glen’s Garden Market (Dupont) – had a great $4 Chocolate Stout from Southern Tier
    • Jack Rose (AdMo) – stopped by the upstairs terrace for the terrific NFL playoffs special. $5 beer, whiskey & c0cktails, along with 1/2 price bites. Definitely plan on making it to the DC Brau tap takeover (13 $5 beers) this Sunday for the NFC & AFC title games

DC Bar News Roundup – December 18th-January 1st

Happy New Year! Hope you enjoyed New Year’s Eve with the help of Barred in DC’s most popular post ever (over 2500 hits)-the comprehensive list of NYE events at DC bars. Thanks to those Google searchers, three different Reddit threads, and a Yelper who led all those folks to this site.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. On to the last DC bar news for 2013

  • Bar Openings
    • Southern Efficiency (Shaw) – 1841 7th St. NW (at T) – (Twitter, FacebookOpened Sat. Dec. 21st – the 3rd in the trilogy of adjacent bars (Mockingbird Hill & Eat the Rich) from Derek Brown focusing on bourbon and Tennessee whiskey and Southern food. There is a whiskey and smoked Cola on tap and you can also spend $5 to have peanuts in a glass of Coke (WashingtonianInTheCapitalZagatPost, Eater, WCP, PoPville, BYT)
    • Ivy & Coney (Shaw) – 1537 7th St. NW (at P) – (Twitter, Facebook, websiteSoft opened Sat. Dec. 28th, Officially opened Wed. Jan 1st – eagerly awaited tiny 2nd floor Detroit and Chicago-themed neighborhood spot from the Kangaroo Boxing Club folks. Cheap beer and hot dogs. Amazingly cash-only as a throwback. Rooftop deck coming in summer or fall. (Post, PoPville)
    • Simple Bar and Grill (Brightwood) – 5828 Georgia Ave. NW (at Military/Missouri) – Opened Tues. Dec. 31st – neighborhood bar and grill (PoPville)
    • RiRa Irish Pub (Georgetown) – 3123-3125 M St. NW – (Twitter, Facebook, websiteOpened Tues. Dec 31st – Only Irish bar in Georgetown opens in the old Mie n Yu spot. Chainlet (about 10 US locations, including one in Clarendon). Very nice space, I predict it will be a hit, though this bar opening has been completely under the radar. (PoPville, Eater)
    • New Town Kitchen & Bar (U Street) – 1336 U St. NW (Facebook, Twitter, website) – Soft opened Sat. Dec. 15th, Officially opened Mon. Dec. 17th- New American spot opens in old Tabaq Bistro space, accommodates 600 (PoPville)
  • Bar Announcements
    • Cause (U Street) – Officially closes for good on Friday Dec. 27th, vindicating Barred in DC and my anonymous source who reported the bar was closing back in August. The “philanthropub” just didn’t turn any profit. (WCP, DCist, PoPville)
    • The Getaway (Columbia Heights) – closed NYE, as earlier reported. Everything being auctioned off (PoPville)
    • El Rey  (U Street) – 919 U St. NW – ETA early January 2014 – taqueria & beer garden from Hilton Brothers, made up a shipping containers with a retractable roof. Gets detailed write-up (with picture graphics) of construction process from the Post, which is definitely worth checking out.
    • Bin 1301 (U Street) -1301 U St. NW – new wine bar in old U Scream ice cream shop gets a construction permit (PoPville)
    • Ultramint Sports Bar & Hookah (Petworth) -713 Kennedy St. NW – 15-seat tavern/sports bar with hookah gets construction permit (WBJ)
  • Other News
    • The Derek Brown Shaw Bar Crawl-the top two bar writers in DC both describe an ideal bar crawl for the 3 new Derek Brown spots at 7th/T (Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich & Southern Efficiency)
    • Eat the Rich (Shaw) reviewed by Tom Sietsma of the Post
    • The Passenger, Bar7, and Hogo in Shaw/Mount Vernon Square likely temporarily (at least) set to close by May due to construction of adjacent building (WCP)
    • The Big Hunt named one of the best 19 dive bars in America by Maxim Magazine. Well-deserved.
    • InTheCapital lists the best happy hours on Barracks Row in Eastern Market
    • Pretty cool PBR mural outside Solly’s U Street Tavern
    • New chef and menu at Bar Charley (Post). Also, Bar Charley is not a gay bar-hope this satisfies the random Google searcher who found this website.
    • The Argonaut gets approval for new patio layout to be covered with retractable greenhouse
    • BYT’s 2013 Food roundup is worth reading
  • Barred in DC Activity
    • Estadio (U Street/Logan) – enjoyed a Pistachio Slushito, some tastes of Sherry and Madeira and a well-priced Sangria at the bar here. Fun bartender Mick too.
    • Clyde’s of Gallery Place (Chinatown/Penn Quarter) – enjoyed a few drinks at this sprawling bar’s daily 3-6p HH ($2.50 PBR, $4 Yuengling, $5 Absolut vodka drinks) on a recent Saturday before catching a movie. Favorite moment was the 40-something man quietly asking the bartender for a “Three Wise Men” shot (“I’ll pay in cash, real quick”) while wife in restroom.
    • 1905 (U Street) – Enjoyed the best rooftop bar in DC (though bar itself wasn’t open, had to go down to main bar to grab drinks) on an unseasonably warm December night
    • Thomas Foolery (Dupont) – Last ThurstDay of 2013 held at this goofy spot. Definitely had a Sweet tart-flavored shot of vodka with candy in it and some cookies
    • El Centro D.F. (U Street/Logan) – Checked out the covered (in the winter) rooftop bar, good crowd/spot for dancing on 14th Street (much more relaxed than the basement dance party)
    • 2 Birds 1 Stone (U Street/Logan) – My first trip to the new cocktail bar under Doi Moi. Fashionable crowd in a fashionable space. Had the $8 punch, which was a hot mulled cider that was quite good. Will need to sample one of the $14 cocktails at a future date.
    • Duke’s Grocery (Dupont) – Had a blast here for a lower key (but still bustling/fun) New Year’s Eve in the upstairs bar.