Having been on the road for the past several weekends, I definitely felt a little out of the loop heading into Memorial Day weekend and with my family coming into town I didn’t have high expectations for being able to hit up any of the landmark events taking place this weekend. I did however, manage to get out enough to be able to catch-up with how some venues are progressing and even see a new venue or two.
Friday evening begun with a couple of glasses of champagne (by myself) at the Blue Duck Tavern while I waited for my guest to arrive. Thankfully, the lounge was extremely comfortable and the service was fairly social so I enjoyed the experience before heading into the restaurant for dinner.
We were initially seated in a line of two-tops that offered relatively little privacy. Being a borderline misanthrope I kindly asked to be re-seated after realizing that the couples on either side of us were A. eavesdropping on our conversation and B. not having conversations of their own worth eavesdropping on and the wait staff was extremely friendly and helpful in relocating us to a more private section of the restaurant. The food itself was pretty decent and I concluded that in general, the Blue Duck Tavern was probably as good as advertised.
After dinner, we headed down into Georgetown to meet-up with some friends at Maté, which was comfortably full. The Georgetown club has done a great job sustaining its clientele throughout the years, a testament to a top-notch management team and the fact that there aren’t really that many venues in Georgetown that appeal to the international other than L2. My friends headed up to Mie N Yu, which I’m told was pretty barren and I headed home.
After an enormous family dinner, which included a generous helping of kubideh (never a great idea before going out), I headed out with several friends to Napoleon, one of my favorite places to start an evening. If you arrive right around ten, you can normally enjoy a relatively laid-back drink in a great environment. Napoleon (and sister-venue Bonaparte) have two of the most professional, well managed establishments in DC. They both draw consistently through a combination of ambiance, professional service and smart marketing. After our drink, the place had started to fill up (it usually gets a little insane by eleven) so we decided it was time to move on.
I haven’t been back to District since it launched back in January so I was interested in seeing how things had progressed at the establishment. It was a little sedate when we arrived around eleven but it was still a little early so we grabbed a drink by the bar and hung out. It wasn’t long until a somewhat meaty, unattractively aggressive trio of female midwestern tourists introduced themselves. I looked at one friend of mine, who was thinking the exact same thing as myself and in perfect unison, we detached from the group and headed upstairs to seek asylum. We were soon joined by the rest of our group and were all dismayed when the trio soon manifested.
“Where did you guys go,” one of them asked.
“Upstairs,” I responded.
The venue had started to fill up by then (and begun to resemble the District I remember from January) but we realized that our new-found friends weren’t going to give up easily so we decided to leave Adams Morgan and head down to Dupont.
If someone were to plot the geographic location of every single person in Dupont Circle at a given point on a Friday or Saturday night, I’m convinced that Current Lounge would sit in the center of this diagram. Furthermore, I’m convinced that the primary reason it draws such consistent crowds is 100% the result of perfect location. Regardless, it served as our collective choice for a final destination on Saturday evening.
We walked upstairs after chatting with the door guys for a few minutes and I found myself wondering if the door staff in DC had collectively gotten more friendly in the past year or so.
We headed upstairs and my immediate impression was that the crowd was less attractive than normal. I quickly realized that there were a few variables contributing to this perspective. First, I’d spent the past weekend in Scottsdale, which really skewed my perspective on what to expect at a club. Second, I realized there were a few outliers that were negatively impacting the mean in the room. Once I realized these two things I decided that it was pretty decent in the club and ultimately, Current delivered – we had a great time over the next hour or so.
By 1, I remembered that there was some leftover kubideh in the refrigerator and decided to head home.
After two nights in a row of drinking I woke up Sunday afternoon feeling slightly disgusted with myself. I took a little jog down to the zoo and after spending twenty minutes trying to navigate through a traffic jam of tourists I decided it might be better to sit at home in the air conditioning and read the paper.
Sunday evening I made reservations for a rather large-ish group of friends and family at Raku in Bethesda only to realize within minutes of arriving that Raku in Bethesda is the worst place to go for a large group dinner. It took the staff there twenty minutes to devise a strategy for seating a ten-top and during this time we decided there were other options in Bethesda and stumbled into Assaggi Restaurant in Bethesda.
The restaurant was fairly spacious and open and the general manager was named Golnaz (one of my favorite Persian names) so we decided to check the place out. Golnaz was extremely helpful and friendly and the restaurant had a great aesthetic so I was a little shocked with the quality of our waiter, who I wanted to punch in the mouth within two seconds of encountering him. He was testy, argued with us over our selections, and had zero concept of personal space (at one point I literally had to ask him not to lean on my shoulder while talking across the table). The food itself was acceptable although nothing worth mentioning.
My original plan had been to check out the Radio Javan party at Muse Lounge but fatigue started to set-in after dinner and I made an early evening of things.