Did this three-day weekend sneak up on anyone else? By the time Friday rolled around for me, it was an instant relief when my boss came around reminding us of the holiday on Monday. Between the State of the Union/Mardi Gras celebrations on Tuesday, battling off a cold all week, and some work frustrations, I was ready to drink on Friday. The original idea was to do a bar crawl around Capitol Hill, because why not? Probably one of my most under reviewed neighborhoods, Cap Hill deserves some more lovin’.
Intending to start the night off early, volleyball ran a little long and the metro decided to hate me. Don’t you just love getting offloaded ONE STOP away?! Can’t say I ever got off at Federal Center SW before and despite my impeccable directional abilities (I’m modest about everything else, I swear haha), it took a little bit to walk to Cap South. Arriving 90 minutes late for meeting my buddies, I finally reached the first destination…Hawk ‘n’ Dove! Unfortunately, I do not have the personal experience of this bar prior to the renovations. True story: I was in the neighborhood the night of its closing, but my dumb friends thought the Pour House was a better idea?! Yea, I don’t hang out with them anymore haha.
Closing my umbrella just under the awning, I was greeted by a jovial group. Encountering friendly strangers before even entering the establishment…definitely a vote in this bar’s favor. Being in such a rush to find my friends, I almost overlooked the initial aesthetic appeal Hawk ‘n’ Dove provides. It definitely does not have the ‘dive’ feel that friends had mentioned prior to the renovations. On the far left and up a few steps is long bar that can probably seat about 30 or more. This was where I found my friends and where I immediately ordered a screwdriver to try to catch up with them ($7). While it seemed fairly quiet on Friday, this establishment has a large capacity. There is also an upstairs with a smaller, cozier bar and probably close to a dozen tables. Downstairs there are also quite a few tables for those just looking to dine in or gather with a smaller group of friends. Overall, Hawk ‘n’ Dove left an impression of an upscale pub…think Brixton, but less uptight, no fireplace. It was great for our group of six to chill at the downstairs bar. While the other clientele seemed a little older (read late 20s/early 30s), they weren’t afraid to engage with our group. I would not necessarily say that the bar is designed for a lot of mingling outside of your own group though. This was definitely a good place to start off the night and I look forward to returning.
Continuing on this abridged Capitol Hill bar crawl, our next stop was Capitol Lounge for some games. Yes, yes, I’ve already reviewed Capitol Lounge. It was surprisingly/disturbingly quiet for a Friday night. Seriously, DC, you disappoint me so much sometimes when you let a little ‘weather’ interfere with going out for some fun. There was an advantage to the quiet night though…no wait for shuffleboard, pool, or drinks. After downing some shots of ‘Wet Pussy’ (DON’T JUDGE, they were delicious at $5.50 a pop), the games got started. For someone who used to live in Cleveland Park and frequent Atomic Billiards every week for shuffleboard and pool, by gamesmanship has significantly decreased. Still fun, but I’m willing to acknowledge, I kind of suck now, haha. Upon finishing our games, it was time to make a decision on the next stop. Naturally, I was not going to stop the night at just being able to review one new place. Knowing my audience, I appealed to my three guy buddies by casually mentioning the lesbian bar around the corner, haha. My apologies, men, sometimes you are just too easy.
Confession time: I’ve never been to a gay/lesbian bar before. This may be shocking for someone who went to a women’s college, but I am the self-proclaimed straightest girl around. *Shout out to Bryn Mawr and hope other alums celebrated Friday in such a joyous manner * Given this, it seemed only fitting that we go to the oldest operating lesbian bar in the country, Phase 1. After paying the $5 cover, we entered the small establishment. There was a small bar and off to the side a few tables, followed by a modest dance floor a few more seats and a pool table. To respect the privacy of those in attendance, I didn’t want to take any photos inside the bar. Despite arriving late in the night, the dance floor was relatively quiet and most women opted to gather around the pool table or just chat up front. And yes, for those guys scheming to come in here to just watch the female clientele, you will probably stick out like a sore thumb. Bringing my three buddies in there instantly doubled the number of males. Hell, I joked with my friends that even I stood out in the crowd as obviously not a lesbian. The clientele wasn’t exactly wearing a short skirt and tights like me, haha. Even though we didn’t completely blend into Phase 1, it was still a great time. The music was a good mix of Top 40 and classic pop hits – favorite moment was everyone singing along to Fresh Prince of Bel Air and getting tripped up when it wasn’t the TV version. The dance floor did get more ‘hoppin’ after I shamelessly danced with the burlesque dancer already up there, haha. I quite enjoyed the opportunity to dance without the presence of creepy guys stalking around and not having to fend off unwanted advances. If I were interested in women, I could see this being a regular place for me. Dancing the night away, I made a couple lady friends. Sorry to dash everyone’s hopes, I was about as ‘successful’ as my male friends, haha. Although one buddy had one lady all over him and we teased him mercilessly about it, I had more dancing partners, so I’m declaring myself the winner (by default)! I wouldn’t suggest bringing a large group here just because of the mere restriction of size. Overall, Phase 1 was definitely enjoyable and I could see myself coming back with a small group of friends.
I still have a laundry list of bars to visit in Capitol Hill, but this was a step in the right direction. Until next time, kiddies…promise I’ll try to stay out of trouble