Tag Archives: Basement

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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Cafe Saint-Ex

Entrance to Saint-Ex

So in starting this blog, it was my goal to give as much of an unbiased presentation of these establishments as possible.  Many people rave about Saint-Ex.  While I do wind up here a fair amount on weekend nights, I’m not quite sure why.  They apparently offer some fairly good food, but I have not sampled it so that isn’t the reason.  The drinks are definitely not the most affordable in the area ($6-7 for a rail drink and I swear there have been times when I was charged more), so that’s also not the reason I come here.  Hmm….there must be some reason I frequent here.  Dancing? Oh yes, let’s just reason with the dancing.

There are two floors to Saint-Ex – a crowded ground floor with full lighting that offers some tables during the non-crazy dancing hours as well as a bar with some places to sit and a basement level with smaller bar where the dancing goes down.  Downstairs also has tables during the non-dancing hours of the weekend with dim lighting.  When the dancing starts though, be prepared for the temperature and humidity of the basement to rise exponentially and the lighting to diminish even more.  I will say that I am a sucker for places that have dancing.  The DJs can be hit-or-miss at Saint-Ex.  One time I came and they were only spinning oldies, completely avoiding top 40, which definitely put some of my friends off.  Other times I’ve definitely raved about the balance of indie and popular music.  I’m not too picky about this though as long as I have people around me that can match my enthusiasm.  Coming to Saint-Ex for New Years was actually a good decision.  There was no cover, it was less crowded than other nights here, and the music was a good top 40 spin.  My life was also made very easy when every guy I met there was named Chris (3 total) and wanting to buy me a drink 🙂

The clientele at Saint-Ex is typically a mixed bag.  It targets more of the preppy DC population than a strong hipster crowd.  I will say I almost always leave this place with an amusing story from waiting in the bathroom line…One time I even let a few people go ahead of me just so I could keep counseling this guy on his relationship with his drug addict girlfriend that was cheating on him, oy, haha. When venturing to Saint-Ex for a weekend night there are a few things that you can count on – expensive drinks, basement dancing, entertaining bathroom lines, and crowds.  While I can’t quite pin down what makes Saint-Ex so popular, I’ll still continue to go.

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