Category Archives: Capitol South

A Mini Capitol Hill Bar Crawl: Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Capitol Lounge, and Phase 1

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 😉

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Capitol Lounge

Yes....they were courageous enough to give me permission to post this pic

You know those bars that you just keep going to, but can’t exactly explain why?  Capitol Lounge is one of them.  Located just between Capitol South and Eastern Market metro stations, it was the sponsor bar for one of my volleyball leagues this summer (because I’m all about over-committing and one league just wasn’t enough to fill my vball fix).  In all honesty, it probably would have taken me a while to discover this bar otherwise.  Capitol Lounge doesn’t make a big splash in the larger pond of DC bars, but not for lack of quality.  Maybe it’s my lack of bar experience/visitation in the Capitol Hill area or the people I associate with, but I rarely hear anyone mentioning the bars in that part of town.  It’s a real shame because I love the neighborhood bar feeling there.  Anyway, on to my review of the understated Capitol Lounge.  Having attended about half a dozen times now, I think I have a fair evaluation of this establishment…at least on Thursday evenings.

Capitol Lounge offers some prime sidewalk seating for perfect Hill people watching, two bars inside on the first floor, a bar downstairs, and a back outside patio.  The only place inside that I have avoided is the bar as you enter – it’s a long dark bar, little space, and seemingly full of dudes that just stare us down as we enter, ha. Towards the back of this space, there are a few prime tables.  The other bar on that floor is a bit more open and has a larger seating area – this is a better section to sit if you came with a couple friends and aren’t necessarily looking to mingle with others.  If you are coming here with a handful of people though, I’d recommend either sitting on the back patio or going downstairs.  I’ve been partial to the patio because we can avoid the potentially obnoxious Hill staffers (let’s be real honest here, there’s a Hill staffer stereotype for a reason – also, given that it was the summer, we were trying to avoid the interns), it tends to be quieter, and just overall has a chill atmosphere.  The basement has also been a decent place to hang out if only because it offers a shuffleboard and pool table in what would otherwise be a dark creepy basement, ha.

The service here has been really spotty.  While the servers tend to be really nice and personable, service in the right bar area and the back patio has been fairly poor – taking way too long to get our orders in, letting our drinks go dry, and getting food orders incorrect.  The table area in the left bar is actually where we’ve received the best service – no order errors and relatively little wait time.

In terms of prices, our social sport discount got some pretty decent ones for the area – $6 for my vodka tonic, $9 chicken tender plates, $4 select beers.  I’m uncertain as to what happy hour prices are in comparison with these.  Also to note, they have $2 sliders on Thursday nights before 8pm.  Overall, I’d recommend Capitol Lounge if you’re in the area and looking for a place to relax with a group of friends.  They have a jukebox and if you’re as adventurous as us, you can start a dance party in the middle of the bar.  If you’d prefer to hang back, you can also do this.  This may just be my personality showing through or the fact that we came here for several weeks in volleyball spandex, but this is my ‘I don’t give an f— bar’ ha.  It’s probably better to just order from the bar if you’re just getting drinks and you’ve been forewarned about the different service areas – choose wisely.

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Take me out to the Ballgame….The Bullpen and California Tortilla

So…it’s been a while.  I won’t bore you all with excuses as to why the reviews have been sparse lately or why this review is a month overdue.  I will say there are good reasons for the delay, including a wonderful 4th of July celebration (yes, that’s right…I can throw a heck of a party too J ).  Anyway, hope you enjoy the humorous story below.

As I’ve already established, this blog may be more a collection of my foolish stories than bar reviews.  Hate as people may that I work in Northern Virginia, I am employed by a pretty cool company; proof being that we took a group trip to a Nationals game at the beginning of June.  The trip started a little rocky when our bus driver sideswiped a car.  Amazingly, he didn’t completely take off the car’s side mirror and with just a minor delay, we were on our way.  Arriving slightly after the opening pitch, the BFDs and most dudes headed straight for the beer – we also got $15 to spend at the park.  I decided to pace myself and waited until we got settled in our seats.  This may be shocking to some, but this was only the second baseball game I’ve attended.  The previous one hardly counts though because I was little and spent the whole time coloring…at least until I spilled my crayons into the beer soaked stands.  Beer and crayon smell do not mix, by the way.  Anyway, I digress.

Just because I hadn’t been to a baseball game in recent memory, does not mean that I was unprepared for the outrageous lines.  After a good 20 minutes in line, I finally got to order some fries and a coke…which I shortly turned into the vanilla variety, ha (#superclassy).  The fries were mediocre, but the dipping sauce offered was quite tasty ($10 total for small fries and large fountain drink).  After some social engagement with coworkers and consumption of food and drink, it was time for another drink.  This time, I was convinced to get something a little ‘harder’, ha – I was already feeling the vanilla coke!  I opted for my typical vodka tonic ($8 – $12 can get you a frozen margarita in a souvenir cup).  By the time I finished this drink, the stadium already had its ‘last call.’  Doomed to wait until after the game before drinking more, in the meantime I actually watched some of the baseball.  Sorry Nats fans, they were not victorious that day.  Following the game, we made our way across the street to The Bullpen. Funneling through the crowd and ID check, we entered a parking lot that was just as filled with people, but there was the addition of tents and lines for booze.  In an orderly fashion, we waited in said line for approximately 5-10 minutes to order from a set menu of drinks.  I opted for the $8 margarita, which was made and waiting for drinkage as soon as I paid.  My coworkers and I headed to the elevated deck area, but really The Bullpen was really just large amounts of people drinking overpriced drinks in a parking lot.  The advantage is for those looking to continue the fun after baseball games without having to go far.

Finishing up our drinks here, we had the good fortune of having a coworker recently move to the area.  He was quite hospitable, offering a couple of us some drinks and poolside relaxing before we headed to the bar in his building.  I should note that the reason I stuck around after the baseball game was because I had a volleyball match to play in near Capitol South.  Being logical, I thought I would be okay to have a couple drinks before playing.  My coworkers, being the gentlemen that they are, encouraged me…”Maybe you’ll be better playing if you’re drunk, Katie.”  Having never tried, it’s not that I saw this as a challenge, I just was not paying attention to my consumption.  One of those moments where you don’t realize how drunk you are until you stand up, ha.  I somehow made it to the volleyball game safely on foot.  While I do not quite remember the game (other than being in the sand an abnormal amount), my teammates have since reassured me I was quite encouraging and extremely positive.  At least I’m not an angry drunk 🙂  So we lost the game and went out the California Tortilla afterwards.  Oh the funny things I do when intoxicated :-).  While I would love to give a review of California Tortilla, I don’t think I’ve experienced enough of it to give it a complete review.  From the couple times I’ve been there, the margaritas have been tasty and my friends have enjoyed the food.  Our service has also been dynamic.  Anyway, I digress from the continuing hilarity of this night.  When drinking, as many of you know, I can get quite social.  I also have a fairly fearless attitude.  After receiving a challenge to talk to another social sports team, within seconds I left my bar stool to chat with the team…Tequila Mockingbird.  The team name was fairly clever and we had seen this team there a previous week.  After drunkenly imposing myself on this team, my friend came over to join me.  With some shameless flirting, two gentlemen bought us some drinks.  They later got tag names of Old German Guy and Crater Face.  Yes, after drinking a lot I can be quite flirty too…big shocker, haha.  I will say a lot of the details of this night are fuzzy…I vaguely remember turning around in my spandex (read: I shouldn’t be allowed to go out to bars in my volleyball attire).  Just like many Friday or Saturday nights seem to end in dudes being creepy and crossing a line of acceptable behavior, Crater Face found it appropriate to grab my waste and spin me around – not cool.  With that move, we left promptly.  I later found out that Old German Guy got handsy with my friend.  Dear Gentlemen, where are you? Haha.  Icing on the cake…Crater Face found my email and creepily emailed me asking me out., oy.

Tl;dr:  Nats games are surprisingly fun.  I do not play volleyball better drunk.  California Tortilla is pretty cool…even if they have creepy dudes there on occasion.

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