The Sovereign Opens Thursday in Georgetown

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The Sovereign, website, Facebook, Twitter, 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW (essentially “32nd” and M), the Belgian bistro and beer spot in Georgetown from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group folks (Churchkey, GBD, Iron Gate, The Partisan, etc.), is set to officially open to the public this Thursday, February 4th.

The cozy two story bar (84 seat dining room on ground floor with 57 seats upstairs) features rare Belgian and Belgian-style beer as well as cocktails featuring genever (Dutch gin). The dark and moody spot is down a lantern lit alley (think Iron Gate) just off the northwestern corner of Wisconsin and M Street NW a few steps south of El Centro Georgetown (the signage is pretty noticeable walking by the alley on Wisconsin). 50 beers will be on draft (like Churchkey) and 300 more bottles will be available. The more formal first floor features many romantic booths as well as a chill bar area while the second, more lit, floor features a lot of great standing areas/high-top tables to rest your drink on along with two TVs. Although there’s not much natural light in the place, the vibe is still great and expect this to be popular, even though it is in Georgetown and was previously home to the unmemorable Champs and Blue Gin.

At a preview event Monday night, NRG beer director Greg Engert personally passed around pours of one of his favorite beers, the Saison D’Epeautre from the Blaugies brewery in Hainaut, Belgium. This fantastic brew is a reflection of the quality of beer at The Sovereign – I sampled a variety of Belgian beers styles including saison, pale ale with figs (acquired taste), stout, porter, and blonde ale.

For more details, I highly recommend (the slightly esoteric for non-beer dilettantes, but still great) 3 part interview on Dcbeer.com by Dcbeerbill; those with less time should check out Fritz Hahn’s piece in the Post.

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Limited drink menu for preview night.
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Smith Point

Smith PointwebsiteFacebookTwitter1338 Wisconsin Ave. NW (at O St. NW), 202-333-9003, open 10:30a-3p Fri-Sat, est. 2000 [Yelp, Complex City Guide, Washington City Paper]

Possibly the most infamous bar in DC (surpassing even McFadden’s), Smith Point is the closest thing to a UVa frat party in DC.  Opened way up Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown back in 2000, Smith Point had its heyday during the Bush years, but still serves as a fun, yet douchey late night spot in Georgetown (I’ve never been there before 1am, and I don’t think it opens before 10:30p).  Technically, Smith Point is a club with members, so I’ve only been able to get in as a guest of a friend who was a member when he lived nearby (with a steep $10-20 cover due to the many guests he would bring in). Guests (maybe everyone) must enter on an unmarked gate (usually with a line, see picture below) on O Street, which leads into an long, narrowish patio area.  Once you’ve gone through the patio area, you’ll enter onto the dark, sticky frat party dance floor, with the bar in the back.

The entertaining, drunk, and exceedingly preppy crowd drinks vodka tonics and Jack/cokes and bottles of Bud Light (don’t think there’s anything on raft); even the Bush twins and other famous Republicans were apparently frequent guests back in the 2000s, but no longer.  My friend no longer lives in Georgetown so not sure if I’ll ever make it back here, but you can’t consider yourself a DC bar expert without spending 1:30-3am on a Saturday night (followed by the Five Guys catty corner across Wisconsin Ave.) at Smith Point.

Barred in DC Rating: 2.5/5