So as I may or may not have discussed in writing, exploring H Street is one of my goals for the summer. Why H Street? Yes, people seem to get a little nervous when the street address stops ending in NW. Yes, it’s one of those “gentrifying” neighborhoods (ashamed of myself for using this DC-centric word). Yes, it may be a “hipster” hangout. Despite these attributes, I remain intrigued with H Street – what makes this neighborhood tick and exactly what it is that draws me so strongly to explore here.
Starting the night at a friends’ apartment near Union Station, we made the REASONABLE walk (I’m tired of people complaining that it’s a long walk) over the main stretch of bars on H Street. Our first stop was Little Miss Whiskey’s. Not knowing what it looked like, we walked completely by this place initially. From the outside, as you can see from the picture above, this place looks fairly sketchy. The bouncer gave all of our IDs a discerning inspection and my initial thought was, ‘What did we get ourselves into here?’ Proceeding up the short staircase to the ground floor, once we entered that thought didn’t waiver just yet. As one person put it, “It’s quite ornate.” It may not be the most welcoming entry bar, but we toured around a bit and found some amazing features. Walking through this floor, Little Miss Whiskey’s offers a back patio space. This space is dark, only aglow with light overflowing from inside and some garden lights. There was a staircase outside, but unfortunately this led to a dead end. The top level was blocked off – it appeared as if there was some sort of structural damage up there. Venturing back inside, we made our way up to the second floor where we quickly realized THIS is the reason people rave about this place. On the second floor there was an awesome DJ (honestly one of the most coherent general bar sets I’ve heard in a while), a modest dance floor (with a mini stage for people to dance on), and of course another bar. Despite being fairly early, just after 10pm, there was already a decent crowd here mingling and dancing. To be clear though, it was not stuffy or overcrowded. The drinks here were cheap – $5 vodka tonic than came equipped with a glow-in-the-dark straw! Really, the only drawback that I could think of here was that it’s a cash-only bar. They do have an ATM, but still, I was lucky that a friend had a few dollars to lend me in this credit card/debit card dominated city. Another important aspect of Little Miss Whiskeys – the clientele. The people here definitely added more energy. We ran into a birthday scavenger hunt and a few bachelorette parties. I felt very privileged to assist in the scavenger hunt – because really when do I not feel comfortable making a silly fool of myself? Overall, my Little Miss Whiskey’s experience was extremely positive and I will definitely be coming back with cash in hand.
The next stop on the mini bar crawl was Red Palace. This place is quirky. I honestly can’t think of any other way to describe the decorations. The entering point/bar to Red Palace is quite ordinary- small, cozy, dim, but as you make your way through this establishment, you find its more unique qualities. There is a back patio, which is quite lit and we found tables of people eating food (which, by the way, smelled delicious). Then there is another long bar with more lighting and interesting decorations – definitely conversation pieces. Prices here are also pretty cheap – $5 vodka tonic and $7 for Jack Daniels. We didn’t stay here very long. It was fairly crowded and had limited seating for our group of six. Please do take note of the picture though and the great happy hour prices! Also important to note, that Red Palace from my understanding used to be called the Palace of Wonders, which would explain the decorations. Now, they offer concerts and burlesque shows in their upstairs space for a cover fee – something that’s on my to-do list.
Our next and final stop of the evening was H Street Country Club. Within 5 minutes of entering, we were at the bar to do tequila shots. Sign of a great night? I think so. If you’re not familiar with this place, it is a great activity spot. If you can’t find something to entertain you here, you are a severely dull person. The upstairs indoor mini golf course is what most people know H Street Country Club for – $7 per person. The course itself is quite entertaining and something that every young DC resident should check out at least once. Also on this level, there is a bar so patrons do not have to worry about running dry while playing their game. Downstairs offers skeeball, shuffleboard, and GIANT jenga. Prior to last week, I had never played giant jenga, but I am now convinced that it could be a second calling for me, ha. Teaming up with a friend, we took on our first match and were victorious with minimal effort. Our next match proved to be an epic battle of sorts. It was quite fun, but at my level of sobriety (or lack there of) my competitive streak was flaming, definitely said ‘Come at me, bro’ a few too many times, ended up losing the match for my team, and had to buy two drinks for the douchey FBI guys we were playing ($5 vodka drinks – the shot earlier was $6). H Street Country Club can be quite the outing and is great if you want to come with a decent size group or to meet people. Overall it was a great (albeit quite drunken) night on H Street. People seemed a bit friendlier/easier to engage with (on average), prices were cheaper, and the various offerings can match whatever you are looking for in a bar/night out.