Want to Have a Bar Crawl in DC? Don’t Do It in H Street and Adams Morgan – Part 2

Read Part 1 Here

Yesterday, I wrote about how a BYT Zombie Takeover event in October 2012 led to thousands of dollars in fines for H Street establishments. I discussed how bars in DC often enter into voluntary/settlement agreements with neighbors that contain restrictions on how they do business. Nearly every single bar on H Street has a voluntary agreement that prevents them from participating in bar/pub crawls. I also looked into what constitutes such a crawl, which is actually defined in DC’s regulations. Today, I’ll look into why neighbors don’t like bar crawls and reveal how the ABRA investigators discovered the zombies and their illicit bar crawling.

Why ban bar crawls?

So, what’s the deal with bar crawls? Luckily for me, the ANC 6A’s website provides official insights into its negative stance towards crawls. Earlier last year, a member of ANC 6A’s alcohol licensing committee explained that “in the 90s, there were some ‘really bad’ bar crawls [on H Street], which led the ANC to decide to oppose these types events across the board.” (Aside: there were bars on H Street in the 90s???). Late in 2012, the same committee rejected a request from Atlas Flats, a new apartment building in the neighborhood, that several bars be granted a one-day exception to participate in a promotional bar crawl; the committee didn’t want to open the floodgates for more exceptions. Earlier, in May 2008, this ANC unanimously rejected a request to amend the standard agreement to allow pub crawls even for charity events, finding little “enthusiasm from the committee or the audience” and that

[b]usiness owners … said they view pub/bar crawls as a way to promote cheap liquor or beer and excessive drinking. One stated he doesn’t ever want to be attached to anything called a pub crawl and doesn’t want to [be] shanghaied into reducing prices.

After I posted Part 1 of this story, Jay Williams, an ANC 6A commissioner responded, explaining in a series of Tweets that “ANC 6A is exploring way to relax this restriction. [A]lso, we’ve tried our best to work with organizers to not run afoul of [definition] of pub crawl … but too many organizers just set up the event and let bars deal with fallout.”

Local residents have also, unsurprisingly, expressed their dismay with bar crawls. In one 2001 Washington Times article about the problematic Adams Morgan Bar Crawl (which stopped being held soon after the article was published), one local neighbor colorfully explained, referring to bar crawl attendees:

As far as I’m concerned, these guys are a plague on the land. They promote filth, dirty trash, loud noise and disturbance to people who don’t happen to be drunk.

In fact, a recent decision shows that this disfavor towards bar crawls has been taken into account by ABRA itself. A new bar in Adams Morgan, Libertine, recently refused to negotiate a settlement agreement with its neighbors when requesting later hours for its sidewalk patio, taking its chances with ABRA as the neighbors protested the request. In September 2013, ABRA denied this protest, granting Libertine’s request. However, in a potentially far-reaching decision, ABRA ruled, as an express condition of the bar’s liquor license, that it could not participate in bar crawls, one of the restrictions sought by the neighbors in the settlement agreement. This was included explicitly to address the neighbors’ “specific concerns regarding noise that may be considered generic to establishments in Adams Morgan and that may reasonably be anticipated to disturb the neighborhood in the same manner [which] involve pub crawls and amplified music which historically have disturbed the peace, order, and quiet in the neighborhood.”

What happened in the BYT H Street Zombie Takeover?

Credit: BYT & Eventbrite.com

So how did a fun little zombie event by BYT turn into so many headaches for H Street bars? According to investigative reports, ABRA received an anonymous tip a week before the Zombie Takeover that BYT was promoting a bar crawl without pre-approval. After confirming that BYT had not obtained this approval, ABRA investigators went “undercover” (which sounds like the lamest undercover operation in the history of law enforcement); a pair of investigators bought tickets from BYT, and, using the coupon book and wristband given to them after that purchase, stopped by many participating bars (Dangerously Delicious, Rock and Roll Hotel, Atlas Arcade, SOVA, Church and State, Little Miss Whiskey’s, The Queen Vic, Red Palace, Smith Commons, and Sticky Rice all participated) to get (but not consume) the shot or drink they were entitled to. Another pair of investigators went to these same bars later in the night to cite these bars for violating its settlement agreement. Most of the bars cited settled with ABRA staff for fairly modest $250, $500, or $750 fines, though (likely because of its repeated previous violations) the now-defunct RedPalace (recently replaced by Vendetta) was fined a whopping $2,000. Interestingly, while The Queen Vic agreed to a settlement agreement with ANC 6A when it opened back in 2010, the agreement was never submitted to and approved by ABRA until last summer, and the bar escaped any sanctions. At the time of the publication of this story, BYT had not responded to my e-mail request for comment.

One bar, the hipster dance spot Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar, however, did not agree to settle with ABRA staff and pay the $500 fine ABRA requested. Tomorrow, I’ll explore why it fought back and what happened when it did.


Want to Have a Bar Crawl in DC? Don’t Do It in H Street and Adams Morgan – Part 1

Image adapted by author from http://www.intoxicatedabroad.com/2010/05/pub-crawls.html
Image adapted by author from http://www.intoxicatedabroad.com/2010/05/pub-crawls.html

On October 18, 2012, the webzine/party promoter Brightest Young Things (BYT) staged one of its typically eccentric, hipster events. Inspired by Halloween, the “Zombie H Street Takeover” invited attendees to pay around ten bucks to dress up in zombie costumes and enjoy food and drink deals from 11 different H Street establishments. Many drink deals included sponsor Bulleit bourbon (“A Shot of Bulleit (to the brain)” was a common deal). Sounds like a win-win for everyone, right? H Street bars could benefit from a good crowd on a Thursday evening and attendees took advantage of solid drink and food deals while getting to pay homage to the undead. Unfortunately, for the participating bars, the Zombie Takeover was essentially illegal, resulting in fines for the bars of more than $5,000. Say what? While planning the first Barred in DC Bus Bar Tour last summer, I learned a surprising fact from one bar who declined to host the tour: bar crawls are basically outlawed on H Street (and I discovered quickly, also in Adams Morgan).

This week I’m going to explore why your favorite H Street or Adams Morgan neighborhood bar will never be a part of a bar crawl. Today, I’ll dive into the “settlement” or “voluntary” agreement that most bars in DC end up entering into just to do business, which, in some cases, restrict bars from participating in bar crawls. Tomorrow, I’ll explain why neighbors often restrict these bar crawls. On Thursday, I’ll dive into why one bar, Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar, fought back, challenged ABRA, and lost.

How are bar crawls outlawed?

Applicant agrees not to promote or participate in bar or pub “crawls” or any other event of this nature.

Nearly every single bar on H Street east of 7th Street NE has agreed to this restriction, which is contained in the standard Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A settlement agreement, and dates to as early as 2004. Many bars in Adams Morgan have agreed to similar language in their agreements with the neighborhood. Why would a bar willingly agree to such a restriction? To simplify things a bit, in DC, if you are a bar or a restaurant and you want to serve booze, you need to obtain a liquor license from the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). Before granting a license, groups of neighbors and/or the local ANC (which serves as an elected neighborhood council) have the chance to protest the granting of the license (usually because it would impact the “peace, order, and quiet of the neighborhood”). If protested, ABRA will hold a hearing, giving “great weight” to any opinion made by the local ANC, and decide whether to grant or deny the license. To avoid the protest & hearing, however, bars and restaurants often agree to a settlement agreement (until recently they were given the misnomer “voluntary agreement”) where the bar agrees, in exchange for the neighbors or ANC dropping or not filing a protest, to a host of restrictions (e.g. hours for the patio, signage, when trash can be taken out) that essentially become part of the terms and conditions of the license and as a result–any violation can lead to consequences (e.g. fines) enforced by ABRA.

So, to avoid delays and the possibility of being without a liquor license, bars in ANC 6A, which includes nearly every H Street bar east of 7th Street NE, many Adams Morgan bars, and a few others in DC have agreed to not promote or participate in bar crawls.

What is the legal definition of a pub crawl?

Now that we’ve discussed settlement agreements and some of the restrictions contained in them, you may have more questions, like how is a bar/pub crawl defined? Or how does ABRA know that an illegal bar crawl has taken place? One could imagine some undercover investigators hanging out on the streets, being on the lookout for wristbands or joining up with any large group of folks going to bars. Luckily, those kinds of wasted resources aren’t necessary because DC’s municipal regulations have a section titled, I kid you not, “PUB CRAWLS.” This section requires that a promoter/organizer obtain ABRA approval (the form can be found here) for any crawl in which more than 200 folks are attending and defines a pub crawl as

an organized group of establishments within walking distance which offer discounted alcoholic drinks during a specified time period.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss why neighborhoods have issues with bar crawls and explore what transpired in the BYT zombie crawl.

Read Part 2

Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras in DC – 2014

Recreate this Mardi Gras Scene in DC
Recreate this Mardi Gras Scene in DC

Many DC bars and restaurants will be celebrating Mardi Gras this upcoming Tuesday, March 4th. Here’s a round-up of those events, including the more grown-up ones highlighted by the Post and the more debaucherous ones for the younger folks. Eater, Zagat, Washington Life, & Washingtonian also have solid round-ups. Bayou, Black Jack, and the Hogo/Passenger block party are my picks.

For 22 Year Olds and Others Young at Heart

McFadden’s (Foggy Bottom)

  • Masquerade Party
  • $10 Hurricane yards, $4 Abita Purple Haze
  • Happy Hour specials – 6-7p: $1 beers/hurricanes; 7-8p: $2 beers/hurricanes; 8-9p: $3 beers/hurricanes
  • Wear a mask-get first drink free
  • Person with most beads wins $200 in cash and prizes
  • crawfish eating contest

Sign of the Whale (Dupont)

  • “Mardis Gras” party
  • Starts at 6p
  • $5 Hurricanes, $4 SoCo/Lime shots, $3 Miller Lites
  • Balcony bead drops! start at 7p
  • $50 bar tabs (can only win once) for most beads each hour starting at 7p

The Mighty Pint (Dupont)

  • $20
  • Open bar from 6-10p includes 16 oz rails & Miller Lite/Yuengling/Sam Adams drafts
  • $6 Bacardi hurricanes & $4 SoCo shots from 4p-close

Rumors (Dupont)

  • Cover charge
  • Bourbon Street Bash
  • 4p-close
  • $2 Coors Lights, $3 Blue Moons, $4 Bacardi drinks & Hurricanes
  • Cajun food
  • Beads, live funk music, dancing, masks
  • Cajun hot wing eating contest

Town Tavern (Adams Morgan)

  • 2-for-1 Hurricanes all night
  • 5-10p: $5 domestic yard glasses & $5 Abita Purple Haze pints
  • $10 open bar from 9-10p (domestic bottles & mixed rails)
  • 10p-close: $2 jello shots & kamikazes, $3 domestic bottles, $5 mixed rails & Abita Purple Haze pints, $10 domestic beer buckets
  • Most beads at midnight get a free town tavern bar tab

For Adults

Bayou (Foggy Bottom)

  • $25 cover
  • Starts at 5p
  • All-you-can-eat buffet until 9p
  • Abita and Hurricane specials at the bar
  • Live bands all night, acoustic jug hillbilly bands during lunch
  • Parade from Dupont Circle starts at 4p (cancelled due to snow)

Black Rooster Pub (Dupont)

  • Starts at 5p
  • Lulu’s Club Mardi Gras Reunion
  • stilt walkers, fire eaters and live music
  • Hurricane bar, beer specials, Cajun menu & beads
  • Tented outdoor area

Shaw’s Tavern (Shaw)

  • Starts at 7p
  • live dixieland jazz
  • 2 for 1 drafts & house wine
  • pancake specials & 1/2 price burgers

Hogo/The Passenger (Mt. Vernon Triangle/Shaw)

  • Band starts in adjacent Warehouse Theater at 9p
  • Block Party Extravaganza
  • Hogo: Hurricanes & hand grenades; The Passenger: Sazeracs & other classic cocktails

Black Jack (14th Street/Logan Circle)

  • Bar opens at 6p (specials run previous days too)
  • Abita Amber & Spring IPA on tap, plus special Abita cask of Restoration Ale
  • $7 Frozen Hurricanes & Sazeracs specials
  • Special food menu

Hot N Juicy Crawfish (Woodley Park)

  • Crawfish eating contest at 6:30p
  • Get a free beer or soda for each 1 lb of crawfish ordered
  • Bud Light girls from 6-8p

The Heights (Columbia Heights)

  • Classic New Orleans cocktails ($10-12) & food specials all day

Rosebar (Dupont)

  • 9p-2a
  • $8 Hurricanes, $8 Belvedere cocktails, $5 Miller Lites

Penn Social (Penn Quarter/Chinatown)

  • starts at 7p
  • Abita beer & food specials
  • live music

Ben’s Next Door (U Street)

  • live music starts at 8:30p
  • $5 Hurricanes, $3 Heineken drafts & 50 cent wings all day

Acre 121 (Columbia Heights)

  • $5 Abita (Purple Haze, Light & Spring IPA), $7 Nola cocktails & food specials

Atomic Billiards (Cleveland Park)

  • free donut holes & beads
  • $6 Sailor Jerry Hurricanes

Ventnor Sports Cafe (Adams Morgan)

  • Fat Tuesday Trivia
  • $5 Abita & Hurricanes all night

Radius Pizza (Mount Pleasant)

  • $4 Abita beer, food specials, beads & giveaways

The Brixton (U Street)

  • starts at 5p on rooftop
  • $7 Captain Morgan Hurricanes
  • Captain Morgan models
  • beads on beads on beads

For Fancier Adults

Acadiana (Penn Quarter/Chinatown)

  • $100
  • 6-10p
  • All-you-can eat feast including raw bar
  • Open bar includes wine, select bottle & draft beer, select specialty cocktails & martini bar and bourbon tastings
  • In private rooms

Mintwood Place (Adams Morgan)

  • 5:30-10:30p
  • $35 3 course menu (a la carte also available)
  • live music & classic New Orleans cocktails

Central (Downtown)

  • 5-10:30p, live jazz begins at 7p
  • traditional New Orleans food, cocktails ($10-14) & free beads

Barcelona Wine Bar (Logan Circle/14th Street)

  • $45
  • starts at 7p
  • Carnival Celebration
  • Spanish wines, passed tapas & pintxos

Just For Happy Hour

Eatonville (14th Street/U Street)

  • Mardi Gras Happy Hour from 4-7p
  • $4 Abita beers & food specials

A Bar (Foggy Bottom)

  • Happy hour from 5-7p
  • Sazerac & Hurricane drink specials
  • King cake winner gets free happy hour (+ 5 guests)

Black Whiskey Fined for Allowing Drinking on Sidewalk

Legally Drinking at Black Whiskey
Legally Drinking at Black Whiskey

Earlier this month, Black Whiskey, the newish Logan Circle dive, paid a $850 fine to DC’s Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) after a  discovery last July by two ABRA investigators who happened to be driving down 14th Street. These investigators spotted a large crowd of people (pages 4-7 of this Investigative Report contain some nice color photos by the investigators) milling about and drinking on the relatively narrow sidewalk out front; unfortunately for Black Whiskey, the bar did not (and still does not) have permission to have a sidewalk cafe (outdoor drinking on public space, including part of the sidewalk) and/or a summer garden (outdoor drinking on private property). The investigators also cited the bar, which had only been open for a couple months, for not having a copy of its liquor license visible to the public.

Romeo & Juliet Gets its Liquor License and Full Late Night Hours (Except on Patio)

Romeo & Juliet (301 Massachusetts Ave. NE), the new Italian tapas restaurant set to open on Capitol Hill near Union Station, recently received its liquor license granting full liquor-serving hours (till 2a on weekdays, 3a on weekends); ABRA, keeping with previous decisions, ordered the large patio to close at 11p on weekdays and midnight on weekends. This establishment was the subject of a post last month (one of the most popular in Barred in DC history-over 1300 views and 10 comments) that detailed the entertaining hearing regarding this application. Neighbors (both distant and immediate) were concerned that it would operate at a nightclub, partly in response to the fact that owner Michael Romeo Rehman was involved with other DC nightclubs including Midtown, Dirty Martini, Tattoo Bar, Lotus and Fur.

ABRA, in its detailed decision, explained why it was granting Romeo & Juliet the full restaurant liquor license. It found the owner “intends to operate as a legitimate restaurant” and that the ANC’s “fears that the establishment will morph into a nightclub, or become a source of disorder and antisocial behavior” were not supported for a number of reasons:

  • No entertainment endorsement: “This means that the establishment cannot engage in activities often associated with nightclubs, such as offering live entertainment, dancing, and collecting a cover charge.”
  • Restaurant license includes minimum food sales requirements & must serve food until at least 2 hrs before closing.
  • Demonstrated investment in serving food by enlarging the kitchen.
  • Manager has significant experience opening and operating restaurants.
  • Showed that it has built the restaurant in a “manner conducive to the service of food.”

The ABRA Board further concluded that the restaurant’s operations won’t cause trash/litter issues, specifically noting that “behavior associated with 201 Lounge, a separate establishment with no connection … cannot be fairly imputed to Romeo & Juliet’s future operations.”  It also flatly dismissed the claim brought by some neighbors at the hearing that the restaurant will somehow adversely affect the children at the nearby Senate Daycare Center or the Senate Page School and Dormitory, noting that those institutions didn’t even object themselves.

Rejecting the main thrust of the neighbors’ argument, ABRA disagreed that Rehman’s record managing and owning other bars merited denial of application. Even noting that he incorrectly declared that none of his establishments had been penalized by ABRA for liquor license violations on the license application, ABRA found that the violations  were not “sufficient to merit the denial of a new license” and that, despite the “large number of investigations” related to some of the bars, the Board “rejects the use of any incident … that does not lead to a violation or a formal finding.” Notably, and perhaps controversially, the Board found that Rehman’s experience with his other spots was not “useful or persuasive” because they are nightclubs while Romeo & Juliet is a restaurant.

Finally, the Board imposed the reasonable restriction that the 142-seat unenclosed patio close at 11p on weekdays and midnight on weekends (one hour earlier than what the restaurant agreed was OK in the hearing), citing its precedent in restricting the hours of Duffy’s Irish Pub last year. ABRA noted that it was “not convinced that the tree enclosure proposed by Romeo & Juliet will eliminate noise leakage from the” patio, and took note of the testimony of a neighbor who stated that noise from White Tiger, the prior restaurant, could be heard on her property: “it is reasonable to conclude that noise from the sidewalk cafe may disturb nearby restaurants; especially, given the large size of the unenclosed seating area.”   The Board found that “a proper balance between the interests of Romeo & Juliet and the reasonable expectation of its neighbors require the sidewalk cafe to close” earlier. Interestingly, although Romeo & Juliet’s manager stated at the hearing that the restaurant would be okay with interior hours until 1a on weekdays and 2a on weekends, ABRA did not end up restricting the license in that manner. Stay tuned to see if the neighbors appeal.

DC Bar News Roundup – January 15th – February 9th

Apologies for the delay in getting one of these eagerly awaited (yet rarely read) news round-ups. Had a somewhat important life event (got engaged!), so haven’t been able to turn to this lately. Will do better at some point, though now we need to plan for a 9 day trip to Colombia (Cartagena & Bogota) a week from now so you may hear some radio silence on this front

  • Barred in DC Articles (quite a few in the last 3 weeks)
    • My exclusive look/recap at a new Capitol Hill restaurant (Romeo & Juliet) and its effort to obtain a new liquor license that would allow it serve booze after midnight. Some fun quotes and lively discussion in the comments. Thanks to Eater and Reddit for spreading the word (over 1300 hits, one of Barred in DC’s most popular posts ever)
    • Published my “legendary” DC restaurant spreadsheet containing nearly 500 DC area restaurants
    • Reviewed the Dupont cocktail bar- Bar Charley
    • Hosted another fun bar crawl, this time a tour of 4 new spots in the Shaw neighborhood around 7th Street
  • Bar Openings
    • Den of Thieves (U Street/Logan Circle) – 2005 14th St. NW (at U) (Facebook, Twitter) – opened Fri. Jan. 17th – yet another Hilton Bros. spot replaced Hanoi House (and the short-lived Blackbyrd). Lower key (not a dive) spot focus on DJs and some street food (BYT, WaPo, Urbandaddy, PoPville, WCP)
    • Pinstripes (Georgetown) – 3222 M St. NW (in Georgetown Mall) (website, FacebookTwitter) – opened Fri. Feb. 7th – enormous bowling/bocce/bistro opened in Georgetown mall, 5th in national chain. Can fit nearly 1000 people with a small summer garden (The Georgetowner, WaPo, InTheCapital, WBJ, DCist, BYT, Washingtonian
    • Bistro Bar at Menu MBK (Penn Quarter) – 405 8th St. NW (at D) (Facebook, website, Twitter)- opened Thu. Jan. 30 – chill spot in the former Azur space; many different concepts in one location, bar is on 3rd/4th floor (BYT, Washingtonian)
  • Bar Announcements
    • Dacha 2 (Mt. Vernon Triangle/Square) – 923-25 5th St. NW (at K) –ETA Summer 2014 – huge news as Dacha hopes to open 2nd location in open-air space (historic facade currently in place). Will seek entertainment license and accommodate 300 patrons. 10 year lease signed for property. Local ANC voted to support liquor license (The TrianglePoPville, WCPBadwolfDC)
    • Red Light (Logan Circle/U Street) – 1401 R St. NW – ETA April 2014 – replacing the little-visited Bar de Bari, this dessert/champagne bordello/hooker-themed bar will have lots of sweets, champagne on tap, and other sweet cocktails (WCP, Washingtonian)
    • Sin Bin Sports Bar & Restaurant (H Street) – 1336 H St. NE  – ETA June 2014 – new H Street spot will be Caps/hockey-themed bar, hopes to open in June (WaPo)
    • Halftime Sports Bar (H Street) – 1427 H St. NE – ETA TBD – The owners of the Elroy opening up a nearby sports bar (PoPville)
    • The Alibi (Capitol Hill) – 237 2nd St. NE – ETA mid-March 2014 – Brit-themed bar to open in old My Brother’s Place by St. Paddy’s Day (PoPville)
    • Nomad Hookah Bar (H Street) – 1200 H St. NE – Sahra Hookah Lounge is now Nomad Hookah Bar (Frozen Tropics)
    • Hilltop Bar & Restaurant (ColHi) – 2737 Sherman Ave. NW (at Girard) – ETA March/April 2014 – applies for tavern liquor license, from owner of The Saloon (PoPville)
  • Other News
    • Must-read Jessica Sidman/Y&H piece about jackass yuppies you steal stuff from DC bars/restaurants
    • Solid overview and look forward at the several liquor license moratoriums in DC (Glover Park, Georgetown, AdMo, Dupont (2 zones) (WaPo)
    • Duke’s Grocery adds a new low-cost beer to the line-up-$3 Natty Boh’s 
    • Lots of Olympic-themed specials next few weeks in DC. My best bet is the hidden Topaz Bar on the 1700 block of N Street in Dupont-happy hour from 5-8p, with $1 reduced off every happy hour tab (there’s gotta be a catch?) for each US gold medal one. Also check out Mari Vanna, Loews Madison Hotel bar, Redline, Bar Rouge, MXDC, Penn Social, A.G.B. Restaurant & Lounge at The Graham, Capitol City Brewing Company, Nellie’s, Lincoln, Teddy Bully Bar (WaPo, Examiner, WCP, Washingtonian)
    • Where to go for Valentine’s Day. The Anti-Valentine’s Day HH at BlackJack from 5-8p sounds like the best (WaPo, Washingtonian)
    • New drink menu at Logan Tavern
    • Entertaining story (and comments) about owners/residents (mostly coming from the residential island in an otherwise commercial neighborhood that is the Palladium condo on 18th/N Street) creating a vigilante noise patrol group for all the clubs/bars around 18th/M (WCP)
    • Ghana Cafe (Logan Circle) is not getting an entertainment to have live music (SALM)
    • More progress on Brookland’s Finest (PoPville)
    • Idiot asks PoPville whether RedRocks ColHi was in the wrong for not allowing him to order food for take out and get happy hour pricing (PoPville)
    • Best bars without TV in DC, per BYT: A&D, Black Cat, Eat The Rich, El Centro, El Rey, The Gibson, Mockingbird Hill, 1905, The Passenger, Pharmacy Bar, P.O.V., Room 11, The Saloon, Southern Efficiency, Wonderland Ballroom (BYT)
    • Bluejacket’s head brewer parts ways (WaPo)
    • Where to Get $3 beers in DC. Take-away, goto Red Derby or ask for a Natty Boh. The Tombs later tweeted that they serve $2.05 Coors Light drafts everyday (WCP)
    • Were DC’s Gay Bars Always Gay Bars? Short answer: yes (WCP)
    • Best Wings/Pub Grub in DC include Smoke & Barrel, Petworth Citizen, Duffy’s, Nanny O’Briens, Boundary Stone, DC9, Looking Glass Lounge, Comet Ping Pong (DCist)
    • Budget-friendly bars: Bier Baron, The Big Hunt, Glen’s Garden Market, JR’s Bar & Grill, Petworth Citizen, Raven Grill, Red Derby, Right Proper, Shake Shack, Vendetta, We The Pizza (Eater)
    • Southern Living listed its top 100 best bars in the South. Putting aside the controversial notion that DC is part of the South, it picked some good spots: 2 birds 1 stone, The Arsenel/Bluejacket, Mockingbird Hill, The Passenger, The Rye Bar at Capella Hotel (Southern Living)
  • Barred in DC Activity
    • The Big Hunt (Dupont) – stopped by a mid-evening Friday for a few beers, pleasantly surprised with the selection of $6 craft beers I’ve never had before (other places in town would charge a buck more); not as pleased with the Fri 8-10p $1 tacos (you get what you pay for)
    • Cafe Citron (Dupont) – downed a few $5 mojitos at this underrated happy hour (til 7:30 most days)
    • Redline Gastrolounge (Penn Quarter/Chinatown) – More on this soon, but had a blast as invited guests of this sports bar/lounge overlooking the Verizon Center. Terrific food, drinks and poured my own beer from the tableside tap
    • RedRocks H Street (H Street) – first trip to this huge spot, low-key first floor, clubby dance floor on the second, and a great (covered roof deck) where you can order from a bar that also serves a lower level. Need to check out again soon.
    • H Street Country Club (H Street) – played a lot of drunk/jumbo Jenga here
    • El Rey (U Street) – first trip to a surprisingly uncrowded El Rey. The retractable roof was of course closed, but the patio area was a nice spot to chill. Decent $8 margs and standard Mexican beer.
    • Velvet Lounge (U Street) – took in a friend’s band (Railsplitter) at the second floor at this divey spot. Raging dance party going on first floor when we left after midnight.
    • GBD (Dupont) – took some friends from out of town to my go-to happy hour spot ($3-5 beers/punch/wine/bites till 8pm)
    • Chadwick’s (Georgetown) – under-the-radar spot under-the-Whitehurst Freeway in Georgetown. Neighborhood old-school vibe.
    • Malmaison (Georgetown) – French lounge almost under Key Bridge, kind of isolated. Very minimalist and very French. Solid sparkling wine cocktail menu (1/2 for happy hour till 7:30p on weekdays). Not the best spot on weekdays after work
    • Duke’s Grocery (Dupont) – treated to some great Scotch to celebrate our engagement and enjoyed a snow-day beer on another occasion
    • Piola (U Street/Logan Circle) – sampled the solid HH (goes till 7:30p), free food passed around, $4 beer, $5 wine & $6 cocktails
    • Meridian Pint (ColHi) – rare trip to this beer mecca, though it was slightly marred by several beer choices that were not actually in existence. Made up for it by the old school 90s Outkast.
    • Iron Gate (Dupont) – had some drinks at this romantic spot. Was hoping to try some draft beers, but taps had an issue and since it was near last call (11pmish), they decided not to fix them
    • Darlington House-Cantina Pub (Dupont)
    • The Fainting Goat (U Street) – first trip to this new U Street spot, nice space, good-looking crowd. Will be back soon.
    • Taqueria Nacional (U Street/Logan Circle) – enjoyed some tacos and boozy fruit drinks here. Good spot for cheap, no-fuss eats/drinks
    • Bar Pilar (U Street/Logan Circle) – checked out new happy hour-$5 rum daiquiris, draft slow n low, all draft beer, wine & some eats
    • Ghibellina (U Street/Logan Circle – one of best HHs in town in terms of food/drink. $5-6 fancy cocktails, $4 20 oz. beers, $5 wine, and $6.50-9 pizzas from 4:30-6:30p EVERYDAY
    • Boundary Stone (Bloomingdale) – stopped by during an impromptu Bikeshare ride during a holiday for a day beer. Really cool space, exposed, hope to come back soon to try the extensive whiskey list

DC Restaurant Spreadsheet – February 2014

Although this is a bar blog and website, some of you may know that I originally set out to document and visit the DC metro area’s best restaurants. To that end, I’ve compiled and regularly updated a now-massive spreadsheet that contains nearly 500 restaurants around the DMV. I’ve shared this with my address book the past several years; a few folks suggested that I create a blog and Barred in DC was eventually born. The Top 100 and Cheap Eats columns refer to the latest Washingtonian magazine publications, while the others refer to Tom Sietsma’s Fall 2014 guide, restaurants I’ve frequented, places I like the best (“Mony’s Picks”), and where I would go next. Tips and suggestions are always welcome. Hope you might find this useful. Cheers!

D.C. Area Restaurants – February 2014