Bars – DC City Blog http://www.dccityblog.com Information about Washington, DC Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:23:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.5 Eden in DC http://www.dccityblog.com/eden-club-dc/ http://www.dccityblog.com/eden-club-dc/#comments Sat, 26 Jun 2010 22:14:45 +0000 http://www.dccityblog.com/?p=1395 Unlike the past few summers in DC, which witnessed the opening of a number of new club venues that quickly became entrenched in the DC club scene, summer ’10 has been relatively tame by comparison.  With the exception of Buddha Bar, which has drawn mixed reviews, there hadn’t been a major club opening this summer until Eden.  Similar to Current, Eden has been built on the ashes of a once successful venue that began to sputter over the past couple years.  In its heydey, Eyebar was a top-tier venue that drew a young, international crowd.  The Eden ownership group has kept some of the fundamentals that made Eyebar a solid venue and taken it several giant steps forward.  The pièce de résistance is most certainly the rooftop bar, which is sure to drive numbers throughout the summer months.

Cost – $$

Service – B+
The management group has a good sense for how to build a successful venue in DC.  They have brought in some excellent promoters who have been able to draw a young, vibrant crowd.  I have visited the venue twice and both times, it was absolutely packed.  Furthermore, my limited engagement with the staff behind the bar was positive and I see that they have brought in some former Josephine’s talent (never a bad route to go) as well.   I also have to note that my first go-around with the security at the club was less than satisfactory as I couldn’t even make it onto the rooftop initially.  However, it’s still early and they are working the kinks out.  My experience at the door my second time there was a dramatic improvement and that means almost more than them getting it right the first time.

Décor – A-
Structurally, the main floors in Eden retain many of the same elements of Eyebar, albeit refurbished.  As mentioned, the most dramatic point of differentiation is most certainly the rooftop bar that has a South Beach-ish feel to it.  If you find that hard to believe, then at a minimum, I think you could say it is the most impressive rooftop bar in DC.  Ascending from the stairwell out onto the rooftop is an assault on the senses – you’re instantly hit with a mashup of bass, a cacophony of voices, lights and young girls in skimpy outfits.  It’s quite an experience.

Feel – A-
Right now, Eden is benefiting from the luster of newness and drawing hordes of young, DC partygoers.  The successful execution of the rooftop means they will never really have to worry about drawing numbers during the warm months in DC.  Unlike some of it’s contemporaries in the clusters around Dupont and K Street, which can draw by proximity, the question is whether Eden is going to be able to create enough of a name for itself to sustain that crowd through the Winter.  They definitely seem prepared.  Like some of the other larger, destination venues (i.e. Ultrabar), Eden has a multi-floor strategy with varying experiences – almost like packing a few clubs into one building.  Right now, it’s definitely one of the hotter destinations in the District and well worth a visit.

District is located at 1716 I Street, south of Dupont.  For table reservations, contact Wayne Royce at (703) 371-5279.

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L2 Lounge http://www.dccityblog.com/l2-lounge/ http://www.dccityblog.com/l2-lounge/#comments Mon, 03 May 2010 18:43:20 +0000 http://www.dccityblog.com/?p=207 It has been a while since I visited L2 Lounge, located down on Cady’s Alley in Georgetown.  The reason I haven’t frequented L2 in is not because I didn’t appreciate the venue; in fact, after initially visiting L2 over a year ago I immediately rated it as one of the top lounges in the District.  The reason I haven’t been a regular is because of my sense that L2 wasn’t a fan of me (well not me per se but anyone who isn’t a member).

Since launching, L2 Lounge has generally been known as a members-only establishment that caters to a limited population of internationals and DC socialites who have been willing to pay the price tag for an annual membership.  In the past few months however, the L2 brain trust has been working to shift this perception of absolute exclusivity.  They have been loosening the entrance restrictions (non-members can get in for a cover on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) and hosting events like Art Soiree (who was hosting the event I attended this past week) and Apres Work, which is a no-cover event that takes place every Wednesday from 6PM – 2AM.

The result has been an infusion of new faces and a broadening diversity that is putting L2 back on many radars including my own.

Cost – $$$
The price points are on the higher end but certainly not outrageous.

Service – A-
Years back, the only black eye on my experience with L2 was at the door where I encountered a couple doormen who were obviously took the idea of being discerning too far.  This time around however, they were certainly far more polite and professional.  I’ve always thought the service inside the door was fantastic and that has continued.

Food – B+
L2 Lounge serves appetizers and smaller plates.  I nibbled on one of the sliders but a little piggy in my group (you know who you are) devoured the remainder before I had a chance to enjoy them.  I didn’t get to meet the mixologist at L2 but rank the cocktails I sampled highly, which one would expect at such a venue.

Decor – A
I loved the decor the first time I visited and that hasn’t changed.  The designers did a fantastic job mixing slick, modern furnishings in a Manhattan-esque loft setting complete with exposed brick walls.   Being located Cady’s Alley, L2 has high aesthetic standards to live up to and certainly meets the challenge.

Feel – A
I initially gave L2 an “A” for feel and there was nothing about my experience that would make me change that.  I actually think they have begun to meet their new mission of broadening their base of members and customers, yet have managed to maintain the ambiance of exclusivity (in a good way).  I remember thinking to myself upon first visiting L2, that it was the antithesis of an Adams Morgan bar and I think that is still a good way to think about it.  If you’re looking for a sweaty place to drink beer, be stupid and meet underage girls, then please don’t go here.  However, if you are looking for a sophisticated, sexy venue to meet interesting people or enjoy an evening out with your friends then this should be on your short list.

For an annual fee of $1500, membership comes with waived venue rental fees, table booking at no minimum, exclusive discounts to a variety of DC luxury services and products and of course the ability to enter the lounge at any time for no cost with up to five guests.  For more information on membership, visit their Web site.   For recent news and events information, follow them on Twitter.

L2 Lounge is located on Cady’s Alley in Georgetown and can be reached at (202) 965-2001.

What’s the Buzz:

March 22, 2008 – L2 Lounge, Georgetown (That Guy at the Bar) – I’m not going to be able to write this without gushing like a school girl. I LOVE L2 Lounge. That Guy at the Bar has been to L2 three times over the last couple of weeks with different groups of friends, and every time the experience has been fantastic. Full article…

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Ventnor Sports Cafe http://www.dccityblog.com/ventnor-sports-caf/ http://www.dccityblog.com/ventnor-sports-caf/#comments Fri, 05 Mar 2010 18:39:19 +0000 http://www.dccityblog.com/?p=1325 vetnor_home

[mappress]

With the requisite amount of flat screen TVs and local flavor, Ventnor Sports Bar in Adams Morgan definitely makes the short list of good bars in DC to catch a game. I am always partial to neighborhood spots because naturally, they tend to have more of a friendly and laid back vibe. Some of the bigger venues in DC are also frequented by locals, but also seem to attract a fair amount of the non-metro DC crowd. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing or a knock at non-locals, but the feel at those places sometimes is a bit diffuse for my taste.

Cost – $$

Food – B
The menu offers an abundance of choices so there seems to be something for everyone. Overall, Ventnor food is better than the typical bar which is a big plus in my book since I like to gorge myself when watching sports. In short, the wings are tasty, the burgers have thick patties, but best of all, you can choose tater tots as a side. Enough said – just kidding but not really – tater tots are awesome. They also have little baggies of popcorn which makes you thirsty for more beer lol.

Service – A-
Like most other popular places, you have to be a little patient during big games but overall, the service has always been solid. Also worth noting is that they offer all you can drink Mimosas and Bloody Marys during Sunday brunch and they are very quick on the refills.

Décor – C+
Ventnor’s has the typical amount of sports memorabilia and nothing really stands out, except that it is less of a dive than some of the other AM bars. What I am trying to say is that it’s cleaner and more put together than some of it’s neighbors.

Feel – B
Back to the neighborhoody theme I touched on earlier, the feel is comfortable and genuine. During football season, there are always fans pulling for their home teams which makes for lively afternoons on Saturdays and Sundays. The space in the downstairs area isn’t that wide so it can get crowded quickly for popular games and at night, but the upstairs is much roomier and can accommodate larger groups.

Ventnor Sports Cafe is located at 2411 18th St NW.  They can be reached at (202) 234-3070 or on the Web at www.ventnorsportscafe.com.

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ChurchKey http://www.dccityblog.com/churchkey/ http://www.dccityblog.com/churchkey/#comments Sat, 23 Jan 2010 19:04:35 +0000 http://www.dccityblog.com/?p=1257 Sunday evening I was catching up with an old friend – a former DC’er who moved to the Midwest in the past year – and we were in search of the perfect burger in the Logan Circle area.  You could certainly do worse than Logan Tavern but feeling adventurous, we decided to try something new.  While driving down 14th my friend took note of ChurchKey and we decided to give it a try.

Cost – $$

Food – B+
We started off with a couple of Belgian beers and the charcuterie & pate plate, which was good foreplay.  I was a little disappointed when I realized they didn’t actually have burgers at ChurchKey but my sadness dissipated after I learned that the brat burger is not significantly different from a regular beef burger.  It was pretty tasty and I devoured it in seconds.  I was intrigued by the mac & cheese sticks but didn’t have a chance to try them, which gives me a good reason to return at some point in the near future.

Service – A
I can honestly say the service was a cut above the norm.  Even though the venue was slammed, our server made time to walk us through the ample beer menu and even provided me with a sample.  Throughout the evening she was prompt, had a great grasp of both the food and beverage menus and was just a cool girl.

Décor – B
It’s a pretty large, loft-ish space with high ceilings and a long bar.  It has the standard neighborhoodiness you get in the 14th St. / U Street area.

Feel – B+
If you like Café Saint-Ex and Marvin there is really no reason you won’t like ChurchKey.  It was completely slammed when we were there on a Sunday evening and the general vibe was laid back and friendly.  A couple more friends joined us and I ended up having one of the more memorable, fun evenings in recent memory at ChurchKey.  It is a bit on the homogenous side but if you happen to fit into this particular homogeneity then you’ll be happier than a pig in shit.

ChurchKey is located at 1337 14th Street NW.  They can be reached at (202) 567-2576

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Zentan http://www.dccityblog.com/zentan/ http://www.dccityblog.com/zentan/#comments Tue, 22 Sep 2009 23:17:41 +0000 http://www.dccityblog.com/?p=1009 zentan_main

[mappress]Having been impressed with Chef Susur Lee’s NY restaurant, Shang, I was eagerly awaiting the opening of Zentan at the Donovan House Hotel. DC, like most other cities has its share of Asian fusion establishments, but Lee’s forward and creative style would be something I would consider to be newish to the city. Now that Zentan has been open for a few months now, there have been mixed reviews on the food and service but I think overall it’s been a success and continues to draw a lively crowd, especially on the weekends. My personal experience lands me in the food and service could use some improvement camp, but it is one of the more exciting dining spots around and will surely be back.

Cost – $$$

Service – C
The wait staff and managers were very pleasant but they clearly needed to communicate better about who was doing and responsible for what. We had multiple servers ask to take our order for drinks and food more than once which isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on where you go, but I expected more from a place like Zentan.

Food – B
While looking over the menu, almost everything sounded very good but after the meal, I felt somewhat underwhelmed. I tasted the potential with a couple of dishes but a few items fell short including the Singapore Slaw. It’s a signature dish and people seem to love it so I am probably in the minority here. On a positive note, the cocktails were interesting and inventive.

Décor – A
The creative fare is strongly complimented by the ambiance and décor of the restaurant – dark, sleek, trendy and minimal (although some of the seating areas were spaced a bit too close together). The hanging flat metal sheet with candles in the center of the space was an especially attractive piece. The lounge and the sushi bar were also nice dining alternatives.

Feel – B
Zentan aimed to be something different and I really think it’s well on the way to achieving that. The ambiance is cool, the noise level is chatty, and diners seem to be having fun. If the service and food can rise to the décor, I wouldn’t mind coming back on a regular basis.

Zentan, located in the Dononvan House is at 1155 14th St NW. They can be reached at (202) 379-4366.

Zentan on Urbanspoon

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Bar Dupont http://www.dccityblog.com/bar-dupont/ http://www.dccityblog.com/bar-dupont/#comments Sun, 09 Aug 2009 22:54:46 +0000 http://www.dccityblog.com/?p=1124 Bar Dupont

[mappress]

Over the past year or so we have seen the emergence of a series of new clubs in the Dupont area including Current, Midtown and most recently, Spot.  However, we haven’t seen the same trend in the quality of Dupont Circle bars.  Consequently, when the question is asked, “Do you want to grab a drink before we head out?” there isn’t really a sufficient answer.  It seems an odd proposition at best, to grab a Bud at Lucky Bar before heading out to Current Lounge.  With the launch of Bar Dupont, Dupont Circle finally has a bar suitable for a pre-club drink in the area.

Cost – $$

Service – B
We have heard some negative things about the service at Bar Dupont but two visits have both resulted in competent, professional service from our perspective.

Decor – A-
Bar Dupont has a contemporary, hip feel to it.  There is ample indoor lounge-style seating and a fair-sized patio that allows you to comfortable look over the Circle and throngs of people walking around one of the most populated areas in DC at night.

Feel – A
Bar Dupont offers a scene that is several steps up from most of the other bars in the area.  Unlike Lucky Bar or Sign of the Whale, where you are going to see a lot of cargo shorts and flip-flops, at Bar Dupont you are going to see a crowd that has actually put a modicum of effort into getting ready to go out.  It is the perfect destination to meet friends before heading out on a weekend evening or for a quiet drink with a special person on a weekday evening (particularly if the weather is good).

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The W Hotel – Washington, DC http://www.dccityblog.com/the-w-hotel-washington-dc/ http://www.dccityblog.com/the-w-hotel-washington-dc/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2009 21:38:55 +0000 http://www.dccityblog.com/?p=1111 w-hotel-dc2

[mappress]

I had been hearing a lot about the new W launched this Summer in DC so this past weekend I decided to head downtown and check it out with a group of friends.  In general, I’m a big fan of Starwood Hotels so had high expectations walking in, tempered slightly by some of the stories I had heard from friends who had trouble getting in.  Thankfully, we didn’t have any issues at the door and I was more than impressed with the overall experience of the venue.

Cost – $$$

Service – B+
I had heard some negative things about issues getting in the front door and up to the lounge but we didn’t encounter anything significant.  In fact, one of the hostesses went out of her way to walk us from the main foyer through the restaurant and down to the wine bar.  One of my companions found our server to be a little short but nothing worth causing a stir over.  In the upstairs lounge I had a pretty positive impression of the general staff.

Food – B
I didn’t really have a chance to try the food in the restaurant so this is an incomplete rating.  We ordered some snacks in the wine bar and I thought the portions were a bit meager.  We ordered a couple bottles of wine and although I was very satisfied with the Sauvignon Blanc, we ordered a Bourgogne Pinor Noir and it was served chilled.  Very odd.

Decor – A
I thought it was a bit extravagant and gaudy than some of the other W hotels – think “A Clockwork Orange” meets French Victorian.   Don’t take that the wrong way – I really loved the over-the-top sensibility in the place – a stark contrast to the majority of other hotels in DC.  You honestly feel like you’ve been transported into a completely different vector in the time-space continuum when you step in the doors – somewhere a lot cooler than your typical DC venue.

Feel – A
I loved it.  I thought the crowd was fantastic and unlike your typical DC lounge, you can actually carry on a conversation.  Between the deck, lounge and wine bar there is something for everyone and you can easily make an entire night out of a trip to the W.  On top of the consistently well construed diversity in the venue, it is one of the more socially friendly spaces in the DC nightlife scene.  I’m sure I’ll be making frequent trips back throughout the remainder of the Summer.

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Spot http://www.dccityblog.com/spot/ http://www.dccityblog.com/spot/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2009 00:03:56 +0000 http://www.dccityblog.com/?p=1050 I’m not entirely sure what an ultra-lounge is but I suppose Spot would fall into this category.  I tend to stay away from the cluster of clubs on 18th Street but the buzz surrounding Spot has been good so far so I figured it was worth a looksee.  Built on the ashes of Andalu in the cluster of clubs on 18th Street, Spot immediately distinguishes itself from its neighbors – how much of that it sustainable only time will tell but in the meantime they have put together a nice little lounge.

Cost – $$

Service – A
Unlike some of the other ultra-lounges in DC, the guys working the front door are extremely friendly.  Immediate bonus points.  Secondly, Carol is quite possibly the coolest bartender in DC (and not hard on the eyes).  More bonus points.  They also enlisted the help of a great promoter in Jamie Hess.

Decor – B
I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between the decor in Spot and any of the other lounges that have popped up in the past 12-months (with the exception of Josephine, which really does have a unique look).

Feel – A
Drawing a crowd upon launch seems to be the easy part and Spot still has a very fresh vibrance.  What’s more, I think the club’s management has been shrewd in their approach to staffing and promoting the club.  I’m not completely sold on the music (they could do with a top-shelf local DJ) but all the other pieces seem to be in place for Spot to have a healthy, sustainable life.

What’s the Buzz:

July 20, 2009 – Spot Lounge DC (DCSocialite) – So Spot is so new I did not even know it existed.  I actually went there because a guy that lives in my building is the owner.  Spot is located where Andalu used to be which I only went to once or twice.  All I remember about Andalu was that it felt similar to a dungeon.  Well Spot changed this. Full Article

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The Gibson http://www.dccityblog.com/the-gibson/ http://www.dccityblog.com/the-gibson/#comments Wed, 13 May 2009 15:42:21 +0000 http://www.dccityblog.com/?p=888

Last night I was entertaining a buddy who just moved to town and we were looking for a laid-back venue where we could have a few good drinks.  A close friend who lives in the U Street area had been raving about The Gibson, a speakeasy-esque lounge surreptitiously located directly next to Marvin, so we decided to give it a shot.

Cost – $$

Service – A-
We knocked on the unmarked door and the host greeted us wearing a 1920’s prohibition-style outfit.  He politely took our name and phone number and then texted us when a table became available.  He was an absolute gentleman.  Our waitress (who had a slight tinge of a French accent) came over and ran through some of her favorite drinks on the menu and offered a recommendation off of it, which happened to be a fantastic recommendation.

Food – B+
We actually didn’t have anything to eat but I figure it is worth mentioning that The Gibson has a growing reputation for the best cocktails in Washington, DC and from my experience, the reputation is deserved.

Decor – B+
The Gibson is a well designed and executed establishment.  It feels like some similarly themed venues in Manhattan and London and they didn’t skimp on the interior one bit.  In fact, this is one area they could have probably cut back but didn’t.

Feel – A
After spending the past few months at the K-Street nightclubs I’ve been looking for something a little different and The Gibson definitely qualifies.  It is a mature venue for a mature crowd and because they create an ambiance of tasteful exclusivity (in contrast to the crudely imposed exclusivity you get at some DC night clubs) patrons feel more inclined to be social with one another.  The one potential shortcoming about the place for some would be that the overall calibar of talent may not be what you’ll find at the K-Street venues but I’m at a point where that doesn’t matter a great deal.

The Gibson is located at 2009 14th Street in the U Street area.  They can be reached at (202) 232-2156.

What’s the Buzz:

February 19, 2009 – Gibson: Secret Cocktails in U St. (Capital Spice) – Ring the bell, if you can find it. It’s about three feet to the left of Marvin’s front door and barely marked. Try turning img_6579the handle if no one is outside. The rule of thumb is if the door is unlocked, they have room for walk-ins. If it’s locked, they do not. You can try getting on the guest list…but good luck.  Full Article…

November 13, 2008 – The Gibson (A Jigger of Blog) – Last night I went to The Gibson, DC’s newest cocktail bar, for their soft opening. The Gibson is a project of Derek Brown of the Museum of the American Cocktail; I haven’t gotten a full run-down of who else is involved, but clearly the bar is a labor of love for all involved. Full Article…

Gibson on Urbanspoon

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Cafe Bonaparte http://www.dccityblog.com/cafe-bonaparte/ http://www.dccityblog.com/cafe-bonaparte/#comments Sat, 07 Mar 2009 19:31:27 +0000 http://www.dccityblog.com/?p=676

Cafe Bonaparte is my new favorite place to hang out.  I first dropped in about a month back.  I was headed back into the city from Reagan airport when a friend called and told me he was hanging out over at Bonaparte.  I had heard of the restaurant/bar before and knew it was affiliated with Napoleon in Adams Morgan but never stopped in.  I did and was immediately hooked.

Cost – $$$

Service – A
From the point at which you are greeted at the front door to the point when you settle your tab at the end of the evening, the service is top-notch.

Food – A-
I’ve just had snacks there (cheese plates, fries, etc.) and never ordered an entrée however I have been told it is quite good.

Decor – A-
It’s tightness of space creates a lively vibrance in the place that is wonderfully complimented by its modern French-chic aesthetic.

Feel – A-
As I mentioned in the preface, Bonaparte has quickly become one of my favorite spots in Northwest.  The only issue is that it is so popular that it sometimes is tough to get a table (without a prior reservation).  It is versatile, definitely a venue that can suit a broad range of clientele with the common thread being good taste in food and ambiance.

Bonaparte is located at 1522 Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown.  Reservations are definitely recommended.  They can be reached at (202) 333-8830.

Cafe Bonaparte on Urbanspoon

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