Barred in DC Five Year Anniversary Party – Union Trust – Tuesday March 6th

Terrible Graphic by Author

To mark, if not celebrate, a half decade of ignominy since Barred in DC was officially launched on March 6, 2013, a happy hour (and longer) celebration will be held at Union Trust Bar (740 15th Street, NW, south of H, next to Joe’s Stone Crab) next Tuesday, March 6th, with festivities kicking off at 5:30p and lasting till late, in case you don’t get out of work early. If you haven’t heard or been, Union Trust is the new spot that opened downtown in late November from Tony and Solly, the guys (“bar impresarios” is too strong) behind beloved/terrible bars The Pug and Solly’s, respectively, as well as Brookland’s Finest.

After 240+ blog posts, 260,000 hits (literally half of of that on 4 boxing posts, rest bots and family members probably, though my parents still don’t know about this thing), a whopping $220 in net ad revenue, 14,400 tweets, and (improbably) nearly 4,200 Twitter followers, it makes some sense to commemorate Barred in DC’s “contribution” to DC bar news and life as well as thank the many of you followers who have interacted with the blog and Twitter account, which makes it so worthwhile.

Reasons to come (bulleted of course):

  • Happy hour specials ($5 draft beers, prosecco, wines and Jameson) till 7p
  • Pizza (come early, limited supplies til it runs out; see above low ad revenue)
  • A prize drawing or two
  • Pitch your story idea
  • A bunch of more important reasons
  • Meet Barred in DC (updated photo below)
Not Barred in DC, but he’s an Indian dude, so probably close enough
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Mackey’s Replaces Laughing Man Tavern on St. Paddy’s Day

Mackey’s Public House New Location

As first reported by Barred in DC (and then by PoPville), The Laughing Man Tavern has been transformed into Mackey’s Pyblic House at 1306 G St. NW, the bar announced on its Facebook account just two days after ABRA approved its name change. The Irish pub, which was in Dupont/Midtown from 1999 until just a few weeks ago, opened in just in time for St. Paddy’s Day (see an exhaustive list of activities here). The Laughing Man originally opened in January 2009.

Mackey’s to Replace Laughing Man Tavern

Mackey’s Public House is set to replace Laughing Man Tavern at 13th and G Streets, Barred in DC has learned. Jessica Sidman reported on February 10th that the pub had lost its lease near 19th and L and was moving to a larger space in Metro Center, though the specific address was not announced.

On Wednesday, ABRA approved a “stock transfer” for the two bars (see page 20), and District Karaoke, which has held its Monday night karaoke league at Mackey’s for years, announced the news on its Facebook page.

A person who answered the phone at Laughing Man confirmed that Mackey’s indeed was moving there.

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

J&G Steakhouse – Wine Bar & Patio

J&G Steakhouse – Wine Bar & Patio, website, Facebook, Twitter, 515 15th St. NW (15th and Pennsylvania near G), open 5-11p (Sun-Thu) 4p-midnight (Fri.-Sat.) + lunch non-Sunday, est. 2009 [Yelp]

View of the Patio and the Treasury Building
View of the Patio and the Treasury Building

[Update 6/22/13: Wine Bar and newly constructed bar upstairs to be renamed Bar 515, opening in mid-September] The W Washington hotel, with a location a block from the White House, is a popular spot for celebrities (I think I saw a Jonas brother one time) and presidential fundraisers.  It also is famous for perhaps the best view in all of the District(of the Monument and the Mall and the White House) in its rooftop P.O.V. Lounge bar; surprisingly, I actually still have not made it there in its current incarnation (I once had an awkward summer associate outing when it was the decidedly less hip Hotel Washington).

J&G Wine Bar
J&G Wine Bar

Down below, you can find one of the best steakhouses in DC, the J&G Steakhouse, where tucked under the dining room, somewhat below the ground level, is one of the more pleasant surprises in downtown DC, the Wine Bar.  It’s a nice, cozy, rarely crowded spot with a small bar with about 6 seats, a long communal table in the middle, a few tables off to the side, and more bar stools along a railing that faces the patio.  Speaking of which, J&G’s Patio (which sort of seems to be claimed by both the J&G Restaurant and its Wine Bar), is one of the nicest non-roofdeck patios in the city.

Umbrellas and tables on the patio
Umbrellas and tables on the patio

Facing both 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, this expansive space has several tables with umbrellas along with small firepits surrounded by brown couches.  Owing to its location right in tourist central, there are often more tourists here than the typical DC spot, as the patio is hard to resist, but it’s rarely crowded (these pictures are misleading as they were taken at the Spring Patio Launch Party) and the Patio often hosts barbecues and parties to coincide with big events like July 4th.

Another view of the Patio
Another view of the Patio

Not really a late night spot (good for happy hour or early evening), the Patio and Wine Bar are solid, nicer choices downtown with solid cocktails and wines (though the beers are the standard Stella/Amstel/Heineken bottled kind of crap).

Barred in DC Rating: 3.5/5

 

BlackFinn

BlackFinn, website, Facebook, Twitter, 1620 I St. NW, 202-429-4350, opens at 11a everyday, HH 4-7p weekdays, est. 2009 [Yelp, WaPo, Tripadvisor]
Blackfinn

Unlike most non-lounge/club bars in downtown DC (which really doesn’t exist as a neighborhood, but it’s roughly between 11th and 21st streets between E and L Streets for the purposes of Barredindc), BlackFinn draws a solid crowd for both weekday happy hour and on weekend nights. This faintly upscale standard spot, which has other locations in Bethesda and elsewhere around the country, opened in fall 2009.

Decent-sized patio (see pic above) fronts the traffic of I Street, though you can spot the greenery of Farragut Square catty-corner. Somewhat bizarre revolving doors allows you entry into the bar, which splits into three areas: one long bar on the right with high table tops and several booths (see below pic), a fairly small dining area on the left which is inevitably empty on weekends and late nights, and another bar in the back where tables are often pushed to the side for a dance floor on weekends (see pic further below).  Lots of brown wood in this spot.

Front bar area at Blackfinn
Front bar area at Blackfinn

With a number of tvs, this is a decent spot to get away from the office to watch a mid-day soccer match or conference basketball game, though not the best place on weekends, (despite being my alma mater UVa’s DC watch location) especially late evenings when they switch to the DJ and clear out tables for dancing and meat marketing. The bargoers on weekends are decidedly different than the rest of the week, a surprisingly attractive rowdyish crowd (with your fair share of VA folks since it’s so close to the Orange/Blue Line) that makes the place feel like a less-crowded SOTW or Madhatter.

Back bar area at BlackFinn
Back bar area at BlackFinn

There’s nothing particularly unique (remember it’s part of a chain) about this bar itself, but I do give them points for having Dogfish Head and DC Brau on tap.

Barred in DC Rating: 3/5