Chi-Cha Lounge is one of the older lounge/clubs in the DC area and one of the first real hot-spots in the U Street area. Over the past decade, it has built up a loyal following and a reputation as one of the best lounges in the DC area. These days, it continues to be a favorite of many DC residents of all shapes and sizes, and typifies the best of the DC nightlife.
Cost – $$
Service – B
The service has always been solid but not spectacular. The doormen are pretty good – let me put it this way: you don’t have to deal with stupid door politics but they also don’t have a completely open-door policy. They can be a little bit sporadic with the dress code. Also, the place is slammed so the wait staff can seem a little bit harried. Of all its attributes, the service is not what carries the place. At the same time, I have to say some of my best nights in DC have been at Chi-Cha so I can’t grumble too much about the service.
Food – B
They serve a range of South American tapas that are decent but they won’t blow your mind away. The drinks however are top-notch. If you are going for your first time, you should give the house drink, aptly dubbed ‘chi-cha’, a shot.
Decor – B+
According to owner Maurico Fraga-Rosenfeld, the place has been designed to emulate his family’s hacienda in Ecuador. I guess his family had pretty good taste because Chi-Cha has a sort of dark, slick feel to it that creates a sense of intimacy making it a great spot to take a date or meet up with your friends.
Feel – A
Chi-Cha Lounge is one of my favorite lounges in DC. It has managed to retain an older, more sophisticated crowd despite its growing popularity over the years. I have been going there for years and will continue going there as long as I’m here in the city.
What’s the Buzz:
July, 2006 – Chi-Cha Lounge (The Washington Post) – One of the pioneers of Washington’s lounge scene when it opened in early 1997, Chi-Cha still relies on its original formula: a candlelit room jammed haphazardly with couches in varying degrees of wear; live (and loud) world music; and hookahs filled with exotic tobaccos. Full article…