Unmarked and situated between Daily Grill and Five, Eighteenth Street Lounge has a reputation of being a long-time DC hot spot with a velvet rope and trendy crowd. I suspect a lot of it may be relative to what my idea of a picky doorman type of nightclub is, but ESL remains one of my favorite places. Although I have seen glimpses of the characterizations I mentioned, I think their sometimes practice of being selective weeds out some people you probably wouldn’t want to hang out with anyway (just kidding — sort of). In short, ESL is a safe bet if you want something in between a packed nightclub and laid-back lounge. On weekends there is a $10 cover charge for most (which I take issue with from time to time) but as I pointed out above, it helps maintain a good vibe. Eighteenth Street Lounge is located at 1212 18th St. NW.
Cost – $$
Service – C
Can get packed and waiting on drinks can be a pain. There are waitresses for the tables and sofas which helps.
Food – N/A
Decor – B
Part of a former mansion where Teddy Roosevelt once lived, the decor is that of a regal home with multiple chandeliers and sitting areas. It seems very DC to me so I almost always bring first-time visitors here for a drink. Great rooftop deck in the warmer months.
Feel – B
Weekend nights usually has the DJ spinning house which makes for an upbeat scene on the main floor while the upstairs features a Jazz band for more of a laid back scene. It does get crowded but overall, a good place with a good mix of people.
What’s the Buzz:
April 7, 2007 – Eighteenth Street Lounge (DC 365) – Where do you go for a casual get together? You want your friends to be able to come and go as need be, you want them to be comfortable and you want to hear them when they talk. You also might enjoy dressing up and wearing heals (or at least, not sneakers). Maybe a dive just won’t do… Full Article…
February 1, 2006 – Eighteenth Street Lounge (Washington Post) – This ultra-hip club has no sign and a strict door policy. If you get in to ESL — voted “Best Lounge” in washingtonpost.com’s Best Bets 2006 Readers’ Choice contest — you’ll find beautiful people, couches and some of the city’s best DJs. Full Article…