Category Archives: Dupont

Board Room

So this may come as a surprise to all of you, but I go to fair number of bars.  Shocking, I know!  ‘Girl with a bar blog frequents bars’ isn’t exactly a headline.  This does mean that it takes a little something extra to hold my attention.  The X factor can come in the form of games/activities, awesome happy hour deals, special events, kickass food, etc.  Located north of Dupont Circle, Board Room offers extra pizzazz through its gaming atmosphere.

As soon as you enter, you can see the stock of games locked up on the right just waiting for a happy home with a group of friends for the evening. On the left are a handful of tables and as you proceed straight back you notice a seemingly endless bar.  The other side of the bar offers a small area with a couple more tables, a jukebox, and an arcade table.  Because this first level clearly does not have enough table space to accommodate enough board games, there is an upstairs with more tables.  With a few TVs lining the wall upstairs and the carpet, people can make themselves cozy on the floor when chairs are all taken.  The first time I went to Board Room, I commented to my friends that it felt as if we were hanging out in someone’s living room or basement.  I had gone with a couple girlfriends and we watched an epic Nats game (yes, that horrible last game of the season) while playing Uno.  Rail drinks, if memory serves me correct, ran $5.50 each.  My most recent visit to Board Room once again had some great sports viewing of March Madness.  This time I kept to $6.50 cider.  They had Strongbow on tap so I was pretty pleased.

Most of us are well aware that offering games to bar patrons is not a novel concept, but few bars surround their entire theme around playing board and card games.  Board Room carries over 20 types of games.   Be warned that these games are not free.  For a nominal fee ranging from ($1 to $5), you can rent a game of your choosing.  Don’t worry folks, the fee is not based on length of rental, but rather popularity and complexity of game (in terms of game pieces).  Last weekend, I enjoyed some quality games of Jenga, Taboo, and a surprisingly difficult Trivial Pursuit.  Given the wide variety, you are likely to find the most popular games here, but patrons are also permitted to bring their own game if you fear they do not have what you’re looking to play.

Board Room is an awesome bar to come with a small or large group of friends.  If you come with a larger group, you may have to wait a little bit to find an available table, but it’s worth it.  Reasonable drink prices for Dupont with a laid-back atmosphere, Board Room is definitely recommended for watching sports too.  For those of us with ADD and only want the game on in the background, this is the perfect compromise.  Since my only experience here has been with Friday and Saturday evenings, I only know it to be a fairly crowded and popular gathering place.  I could easily imagine it to be more relaxed during the week for happy hour and a good environment to relax after a long day at work though.

Many of you have probably heard me rag on Dupont before, but this is certainly not a bar I would classify in the typical Dupont bar category.  I am glad to say this bar is nothing like Public or Sign of the Whale (gross). If you find yourself in this neighborhood and not wanting to run around pretending like you’re 20 years old, but still have a fun time, Board Room is a good option.  The jenga we played last Saturday even had dares on the pieces to up the stakes a bit.  Unfortunately, I did not live up to my end of the bargain of dancing on a table, haha.  Next time 😉

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Neighborhood Hopping – Mad Rose Tavern, The Ugly Mug, Midtown, and Cafe Citron

Oh what a Friday!  What I thought would be a relatively relaxing evening, turned out to be packed full of events.  A last minute decision to go to happy hour on Friday, found me at Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon.  While I’m not a huge Clarendon fan, I was still surprised that I had never been there just because of its proximity to everything else.  Arriving a little after 5pm, we found a few coworkers already there enjoying some beverages inside on the ‘hip’ couch area.  After ordering a $4 screwdriver, I knew I should set a limit for my consumption knowing I’d be going elsewhere later.  While we quickly ordered and promptly served, our waitress spilled part of a beer on a friend.  Yes, yes, this happens, but in my cranky old age of 23, I was taken aback that the waitress was more concerned with wiping up the table and the lack of offering of paper towels for my beer soaked friend, ha.  Aside from our slightly spacey waitress, I did enjoy Mad Rose for happy hour.  The drinks were cheap and provided a good space for meeting with a larger group of people.  Despite the humidity, we ended up moving to the outside seating area.  I did enjoy the outside couches that provided a cozier environment than most outdoor seating areas (I think any girl in a skirt or guy in shorts can identify the pain of the ever popular wire chair).  Overall, I would come back for Mad Rose for happy hour with a group of people.  I won’t comment on what the night scene is like, but I wouldn’t want to come here with just one or two other people.

Leaving Mad Rose around 7pm, I had just enough time to go home, cook dinner, and freshen up before heading out to my late evening plans – hanging out with my volleyball teammates.  One girl just happens to work at The Ugly Mug in Eastern Market and had always suggested we all come visit her on Friday night.  The only other time I had ventured to this establishment was for a brunch/lunch with my roomies.  While the food was still good, it certainly did not have the same atmosphere as a Friday night.  Starting off with a screwdriver, I was initially surprised when my teammate brought me such a large glass – don’t worry, it was a good surprise.  Proceeding to with my normal vodka tonics, I was far from disappointed with the quality.  These three large drinks set me back $20.  Important to note: My teammate provided some awesome service (never letting anyone get parched).  After a few drinks and banter, bear fights were the next obvious step.  The back story is our indoor team name was Bear Fight.  Now, I only have partaken in a bear fight once before (on a lovely business trip to St. Louis…at City Museum).  That experience was so good that ever since I’ve been raving about the drink.  Now being the girl racing two guys, I won’t say I lost…but I definitely did not win, ha.  More importantly, the bear fight was just as good, if not better, than I remember.

So what does The Ugly Mug have to offer?  Large drinks and good service.  It has the feeling of a neighborhood bar, but did have an oddly inserted DJ there on Friday.  People weren’t really dancing, but it does add to the fun/lighthearted atmosphere.  This is definitely a chill place and great for meeting a small group of people.  I wouldn’t suggest this establishment for too large of a group just because of the numbered seating inside.  Also to note for the outside bar dwellers, they do have a sidewalk patio that I’m sure is great for people watching/mocking.

Being quite toasty at this point, the guys decided it was time to move on from the Ugly Mug.  Proceeding to Dupont Circle, our next stop was Midtown.  Oh Midtown…I’ve had many a memory at Midtown (or blurs, haha)…typically involving dancing.  My first time there I may have ended up in many cell phone picture collections, but I will most likely deny any such events if you ask me about it in person, ha.  Midtown, for those of you unfamiliar, offers several floors, many bars, overpriced drinks, a relaxed lounge (for those that aren’t dressed appropriately), creepy dudes, and a more exclusive lounge area.  It really is great for women that enjoy dancing because there is typically enough space, but beware the sausage fest.  Moving on from Midtown, we walked a block or so to Café Citron for some real dancing.  I will point this out now, if I haven’t already.  I am by no means a dancer.  Do I like to dance? Heck yes!   Even before drinking, I’d be the girl wanting to get on the dance floor and make a fool of myself.  The making a fool of myself still continues, don’t worry, haha.  Hopefully my evening dance partner wasn’t too embarrassed by my subpar dance moves.  Sometimes I like to think my enthusiasm is all that really matters #thingsyourmomtellsyou.  While I won’t give Café Citron a full review due to a lack of experience here, I did have a positive first impression and hope to venture back with more dance enthusiasts.  Overall, Friday was a pleasantly eventful evening.   Special thanks to my teammates for a good night, even if it was rough waking up early Saturday morning.

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Russia House & Bourbon

I know, I know! I’m running about a week and a half behind on my reviews/catching everyone up on my seemingly exciting (not really) life, haha.  Last Saturday, I was invited out with some friends to Russia House.  Prior to this time, I had only been there once and that was for an after party to a friend’s company party.  Me and my gentleman guest showed up to the gathering slightly late to find my friend gathered on the third floor (the piano bar floor).  To review the general aesthetic and floor plans of Russia House, you proceed up an outside staircase at this north Dupont location and enter a very dimly lit foyer.  Upon a quick inspection of the place, you can see that there are many nooks and crannies to gather with friends or get a bit cozier.  There are four floors in Russia House, each offering a slightly different feeling (although I’m not quite certain I feel comfortable speaking as to all the levels).  My time at Russia House has been spent predominantly on the third floor.  This floor is the piano bar level. It has a more open feeling and seems more about mingling than the other levels.  The other levels contain more table space and appear to be more about seated gatherings. Approaching the bar, I had to order a vodka drink.  Going for my typical vodka tonic, it did taste much smoother than other locations (caveat – I have no clue what type of vodka they used nor the corresponding price thanks to the gentleman accompanying me).  I would assume that a location called Russia House though would limit the types of crappy vodka it carries, haha.

The length of time we spent at Russia House was limited.  High drinks prices discouraged my friends.  We left after one drinking and some socializing.  I was slightly surprised that there weren’t more people there given it was a Saturday night, even if it was slightly early (11pm).  Russia House is definitely a classy location.  It can accommodate large groups of people – actually would be my preference for attending.  All references I have heard to Russia House is typically in a swanky connotation and would tend to agree, but not overtly snobby.  If I haven’t made it clear, I love locations with multiple floors and places to get lost/explore.  Russia House does fit that mold very well.  You could think of it almost as a more sophisticated (read expensive) and low-key Local 16.

After Russia House, we trekked over to Adams Morgan to attend Bourbon.  The heels might have been a poor decision, haha.  I had never been to this location of Bourbon before.  Almost a year ago I went on a date at the location in Glover Park.  At the time (seemingly eons before starting this blog), the food was delicious and my custom cocktail was a little bit too adventurous (super herby….like drinking a garden – very fresh).  I now am more acquainted with my personal preferences.  This most recent visitation of Bourbon was quite the different experience.  We entered the Adams Morgan location to find a wait to get upstairs for dancing.  In the meantime, decided to grab a drink on the first level.  Sorry, that gentleman insisted on buying this drink too so I am uncertain of the price, but I would guess average price for this neighborhood (not more than $8 for the vodka tonic with rail liquor).

Yes, Bourbon may be located in Adams Morgan, but this is not the stereotypical AdMo bar.  The upstairs and first floor had very different atmospheres. The first level was relaxed, but still upbeat – definitely a good balance.  After a short wait and some amusing banter with the bouncer to get upstairs, we were finally able to get our dance on ;-).  Upstairs was crowded, but not obnoxious.  I was definitely much appreciative that they did take such care in counting people upstairs.  There was also a bar upstairs, but it was definitely much easier to get served downstairs.  The DJ mixed top 40s while IFC was projected onto the wall…at the time it was somewhere between soft and hard-core porn showing #notcomplaining.  Overall, Bourbon was a pretty awesome place that I definitely look forward to coming back to because of the amazing balance of space (chill and dancing in one venue).  It worked well for my small-medium group of friends, but could also see this being an interesting place to meet people.

Things to look forward to readers:  This weekend marks my one year drink anniversary.  Oh look at all we can learn about ourselves in just a year.  Thank you for your votes on my poll; it looks like I’ll be strolling around U Street on Saturday :-).  Still uncertain of the exact lineup of bars, but I’m hoping to start early (around dinner time) and working my way around the neighborhood – making sure to hit some standard/favorite locations of mine, but also trying some new along the way.  Promise to do my best to keep coherent memories and take pictures for the post-celebration review!

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Party Hopping – Rosslyn – Buffalo Billiards – Local 16

Oh what a night…Saturday night was packed full of action.  And yes, I will use that as my excuse as to why it’s taken me this long to write about it.  For some reason, I was caught between three events, all of which I felt obligated to attend.  The first stop of the night was my company’s annual party.  Held at the lovely Palomar Hotel in Rosslyn, I rather enjoyed the relaxed mingling with my coworkers over some delicious food, drinks, and door prizes to start the evening.  Fortunate for me, I won probably the most appropriate door prize I could – cooking supplies (a panini maker, a large pot, and other cooking utensils).  Overjoyed about my winnings, I knew this would be a good night.  Also lucky for me, a very kind coworker offered to take the winnings home with her so I wouldn’t have to lug them out to the bars for the night.

9:45pm – Time to leave the company party.  The free food, liquor and goodies were great, but it was time to move on to birthday party #1 for one of my guy friends.  I left the hotel and apparently was feeling pretty good because I decided to run to the metro in my heels and dress (I’m super classy). Next stop – Dupont Circle and Buffalo Billiards.  Yes I have previous reviewed Buffalo Billiards, however that was a largely different experience.  Being primetime on a Saturday night, Buffalo Billiards managed to have a packed house.  I treated my friend to a birthday shot (liquid cocaine – $9 – cinnamon mint tasting) and then had one of my standard shots (Kamikaze – $8).  These drink prices were certainly more expensive than I previously experienced during happy hour.  Consider this an addendum to my first post about Buffalo Billiards.  After some light conversation with my buddies, I decided it was time to jump ship and move on to the next party (I was also the only girl with 7 guys and as much as I love my guy friends, I wanted to get my dance on).

11pm – Leaving Buffalo Billiards for U Street.  It was fairly mild on Saturday, but the temperatures definitely dropped in the evening time.  I was not confident enough in my light jacket to keep me warm so I grabbed a cab to meet up with birthday party #2 at Local 16.  This was my second time attending Local 16.  The first time I went, the line was relatively short and probably only waited a minute or so.  This time, I wasn’t so lucky (used it all up winning the door prize!).  I even found my friends who had already been waiting in line and it still took about 20 minutes to get into the place.  **Now before you judge me for “cutting in line,” I was traveling by myself and my presence in line hardly made a dent. Plus, I was pretty tipsy at this point and was very reassured to find some of my other guy friends in line then**

11:30 – Entering Local 16 I felt fairly proud that I could show my friends around the place.  They were all from Columbia, MD and DC explorations are not very frequent with them.  Despite it being only my second time there, I was fairly familiar with the layout.  One of my favorite things about Local 16 is the fact that it has so many layers to it.  It has two floors.  The first floor is more like a typical chill bar with tables and cozy areas to lounge with friends.  If you proceed up the narrow staircase that looks like it belongs in an old Victorian house, you will find a more intricate establishment than the bottom floor revealed.  Upstairs there is an outside smoking area and a well lit long bar for chatting and masses of people to fill.  There is also a dark dance floor for those with more active priorities and do not just want to stand around.  As we have established, my priorities favor bars with dancing.  On this particular night, I was disappointed to not get more dancing opportunities, but the music is of fairly high quality (a good mix of most genres).  Representative of the line outside, this place can get pretty packed and getting a drink at the upstairs bar can be a challenge (my vodka tonics run $7 a piece here).  Attending here for my friend’s birthday was a good idea.  I really enjoyed knowing the people around me instead of being in a sea of strangers given the capacity.  All in all, Local 16 is a great experience for those going with good friends that have the same agenda (dancing versus just chilling and talking).  I like the versatility and options of lounging areas and the ability to get lost in all the nooks and crannies.  Caveat- if you are looking for an exclusively chill place, I would not recommend coming here for that atmosphere.  As long as you have the energy for the crowds and patience for a potential line, Local 16 is worth the wait.  Amazingly, I survived the night of party and neighborhood hopping without any cuts or bruises.  Sunday revealed a pair of very sore feet and some amusing texts though.  Yes, there are juicier and more amusing details of this night, but I wouldn’t want to bore you all 😛

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Buffalo Billiards

Buffalo Billiards certainly uses the word buffalo correctly in that this place is a lot larger than the other billiards places in DC.  I’ve been here a handful of times and have never really been disappointed by it, but that’s probably due to my love of billiards and my inability to really hate anywhere offering a good game.  The actual aesthetic of this bar is different from many DC establishments.  It’s actually part of a chain (I’ve been to the one in Philly too and it was similar, except it felt slightly less commercial there).  Instead of the cozy feeling of other DC pool places, this does feel a lot less like a dive bar in a basement and not just due to the large size.  To enter the bar, like other DC billiards establishments, you must go down a set of stairs.  This leads you to a large basement billiards/sports bar with lots of open and dark space.  The large size does offer 18 pool tables, 7 dart boards, 9 shuffleboard tables, skeeball, private party rooms, a patio for outside seating.

Admittedly, it is expensive to play pool here ($16 an hour for 2 people during ‘prime time’), but that’s almost every place in DC (side note the cheapest place I’ve found to play pool is in Crystal City – Crystal City Sports Pub offers pool for $1 per game).  Buffalo Billiards charges by the number of people playing and time.  Food is decent (typical bar food) and I would definitely recommend the happy hour specials on food ($1 slider night after 7pm) as well as the rail drinks (only $3.50 during happy hour in Dupont?! Yes, it’s shocking).  Don’t worry there are three bars for you to get drinks from so you will not be left thirsty.

The first time I went here was on a date and we went with the sliders – a steal at $6 for 6.  Another time, I went with friends and ordered cheese fries ($10) that we weren’t able to finish due to the large portion – money well spent. Overall, I’d recommend Buffalo Billiards for smaller or larger groups of people and definitely for dates.

Summary Offerings:

–       18 Pool Tables

–       9 Shuffleboard Tables

–       Skeeball

–       Private Party Rooms

–       3 Bars

–       Patio

–       Good Happy Hour Deals

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Mighty Pint

The best description I’ve heard for Mighty Pint is Pennsylvania. You walk down a miniature flight of stairs to enter and once inside find a long bar on one side and handful of tables against the wall across from the bar.  There is more seating and another bar upstairs. I’ve been to Mighty Pint twice and was not disappointed either time.  The prices are fair…especially when you get lucky on Flip Night (Thursday Nights after 8pm flip a coin for a chance to a free drink – don’t be a jerk though and forget to tip if you win).  I ordered a buffalo chicken cheesesteak for $7.50 and my standard screwdriver for $5 (16oz version).  Food reflected the PA connections and was delicious (although I do recall being starved prior to arriving, other friends have confirmed the quality of food).  This place is fairly low-key and a reasonable place to relax for happy hour.  The later hours still provides a relatively more relaxed atmosphere in comparison with the surrounding bars (read Sign of The Whale).  Location is convenient if you are looking to bar hop to other similar establishments or even to the ever popular Camelot (just a couple doors down).

Mighty Pint can serve as a great starting or ending locale for the night.  The first time I attended was after an extended happy hour because some coworkers wanted to flip for drinks, which ended up fairly successful and left the bartenders not completely pleased with our group.  The second night I attended, me and my friends originated the night there for a birthday and bar hopped.  Starting at Mighty Pint for introductory food and drinks (shots, of course), proceeding to Camelot for a “show,” and then to Sign of the Whale to end the night….not without resistance of one friend to go back to Camelot though.  Oh boys will be boys.

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