Tag Archives: Billiards

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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Rock & Roll Hotel and Other H Street Adventures

I know I’m cutting it kind of close for my deadline, but I’ve been looking for inspiration for this review.  This may seem crazy to my readers, but sometimes when IntoxiKatie is busy…it’s not with bar-hopping….SHOCKER, haha.

Originally, this review was intended to discuss Rock & Roll Hotel and the drunken spelling bee they host every Friday at 8pm…but my friends arrived just a few minutes too late for us to participate.  One day I will successfully compete in this (successfully competing does not mean I will win, because after listening to a few rounds of words I realized how truly dependent on spell check I am).  Arriving just about 7:30pm, I had 30 minutes to kill by myself at the bar…classy, I know.  I got settled in with a can of Jack’s cider ($4 still on happy hour special, $5 otherwise).  One of the reasons I enjoy H Street so much is that it lacks the level of pretentious patrons that many other neighborhoods in DC possess.  For this reason or maybe just because the establishments are nicer here, the drinks tend to be cheaper (even if they make you pay with cash #DealWithIt).  What happens when you take away the typical pretentious people that frequent DC bars?  You are left primarily with hipsters.  I don’t mind the hipster population.  Perhaps this is because I have been accused of being one myself due to my music preferences.  Anyway, sitting at the second floor bar on a decidedly quiet Friday evening was an enjoyable experience.  There were a handful of other patrons gearing up for the spelling bee, but other than that it didn’t seem too strange being a female sitting alone there (trust me, a rarity).  If I hadn’t just stuffed my face at Taylor Gourmet (I have a soft spot for the Philly-associated names), I would have tried some of the food offerings at Rock & Roll.  Who knew they had food?!  Previously, I had just known Rock & Roll Hotel for its awesome sweaty dance parties and sometimes obscure musical offerings.  It was nice seeing the alternative side to this bar.  Excuse me while I day dream of venturing back here in the spring/summer for their rooftop bar.  Yes, I’ve briefly discussed Rock & Roll Hotel before and this review now still does not do it justice.  Just know that this establishment is awesome and has many offerings.  A rooftop that is great for chilling with friends, a second floor DJ on weekends or a cool happy hour spot during the week, and a first floor performance space that I still haven’t ventured to…but word on the street is that K.Flay is coming at the beginning of March so I may have to come back for that.

Anyway, my friends arrived shortly after 8pm.  We sat at the bar, listening to the entertaining spelling bee for a bit before deciding to play some games of our own.  Yea yea, we ventured to H Street Country Club.  You all should know by now that I like that establishment…since I keep going back there for some tom foolery.  My friends had never been there so we did a tour of the games…mini golf, giant jenga, and shuffleboard.  Like usual, the game playing was not without making random friends with other patrons – including one drunken guy who generously bought us shots after losing the game and his Australian mate.

My friends, in an adorable attempt to play matchmaker for me, invited the Aussie to play shuffleboard with us and then to Dangerously Delicious Pies.  Warning, the pies there are quite delicious and could ruin all your hard work at the gym.  Selling both sweet and savory pies, I actually opted for a crab and cheese quiche…worth it.  If only more niche establishments were open until the wee hours of the morning for the hungry drunk crowd.  Following the Aussie to meet up with his friends at The Pug…we did not stay long.  You’ve heard me say it before, I love dive bars…but something about The Pug just really rubbed me the wrong way.  It was small, packed, and the hippie hipster crowd was too much even for me.  Perhaps I will give it another shot, but for now, I’m okay going to other H Street establishments.

And for those of you concerned about our Aussie friend…he did get my number, but it was a fairly lackluster date (ending at Lucky Bar with me kicking his butt at pool?? Yes, that happened, haha).  At least I can cross going on a date with an Aussie off my bucket list!

Hmm…I think a Capitol Hill bar crawl might need to be next on my ‘to do’ list – Beuchert’s Saloon, Hawk & Dove, and *drum roll* Harold Black… Who’s joining?

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Atomic Billiards – My First and Favorite Dive Bar in DC

*Warning: This review might be slightly sentimental, but keep reading for the nuggets of humor*

Let us flash back to July 2010.  I had just moved to the lovely neighborhood of Cleveland Park, graduated college in May, and was ready to start a master’s program at GWU.  Yes, it was a fresh beginning in a new city.  Ironically at the time, I had never had a drink in my life, nor had I intended to start drinking.  Despite not drinking, I still needed a place to hang out on the weekends. Those of you that know me and my killer pool skillz (yes, with a ‘z’), I can thank my time at Atomic Billiards and some fine teaching from a friend or two.  Atomic Billiards and Nanny O’Briens quickly became where I spent most of my original bar time in DC prior to drinking.

Dark, Crowded Interior on a Friday Night

My initial impression of Atomic Billiards was nothing too exciting.  You enter by going down a set of stairs like basically every other billiards place in DC.  It’s dark and basement like.  The interior has a retro 60s feel to it, very mod, topped off with the Jetsons painted on the bathroom doors.  There are 5 pool tables (which have been newly felted in blue!), two shuffleboard tables, 2 dart boards, various board games, and an AWESOME jukebox at your disposal.  The pool and shuffleboard rates do run on the higher side ($14/hour for 2 players during prime time and are slightly reduced at off times), but about the same as other places.  Atomic Billiards is also where I picked up my mean shuffleboard talent.  As if I weren’t cool enough playing pool, I also needed to learn how to have a decent showing at shuffleboard.

Having lived in Cleveland Park for almost a year and being in attendance at least once every two weeks, you can imagine I have a collection of stories.  Aside from my countless times of beating the boys at pool 😛 and a number of dates (have I mentioned on here before that I think pool is one of the best date ideas? Because it really is), Atomic Billiards will always be the place where I had my first alcoholic beverage.

I get this question all the time.  Why did you start drinking? To answer it here, in writing for everyone to see so maybe I don’t have to explain it as frequently as I do now, it was just time.  I had no responsibilities to an athletic team, everyone had finally stopped pressuring me to drink (my family and friends wised up), and I had gotten over my fear of my family’s history with alcohol. None of this really fazes me now and it’s almost funny to think that prior to drinking so much of what I considered to be apart of me was defined by ‘not drinking.’

My drink of choice that glorious night?  Fuzzy navels. Super classy, I know and no, I didn’t get drunk.  My first drunken experience would come the next night on U Street following a concert, haha #typical.

More recently, I was lucky enough to visit Atomic Billiards two weeks in a row.  The one week I crashed a boys’ night and the other was a mostly girls’ night out.  The first week, I stuck to my classic vodka tonics, which rang up at $4 a pop.  The girls’ night was a bit more adventurous with buttery nipple shots ($5 each, I believe).  Either way, I’m definitely a fan of the super affordable $4 rail drinks here.

The bartenders are cool and down-to-earth.  They are definitely willing to joke around with you, but during busy hours it can be slightly difficult to get that kind of personalized attention.  The bar is typically crowded Friday and Saturday nights and with the logistics of the pool tables you may have to wait a couple minutes for a drink, but nothing unbearable or obnoxious.  One thing that I am never quite good at predicting is the clientele that will be present here.  Sometimes you have a younger ‘hipster’ crowd or college aged students (especially on their way elsewhere for the night), other times you have a slightly older yuppie crowd, and then you never know when the table of old guys will be playing a game in midst of the younger folk.

Over many observations, I can proudly say that Atomic Billiards is my favorite dive bar in DC.  Is this somewhat biased and sentimental? Heck yes, but isn’t that what choosing a favorite dive bar is all about?  This establishment is really great for a lot of purposes (girls’ nights, guys’ nights, dates, relaxing).  From my first real neighborhood dive bar, to the time I almost punched a drunk girl for sitting on our pool table, to my first real drink, to the first time I could nostalgically bring other friends to Atomic Billiards and rave about it – these are the memories that I will not forget.

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