Tag Archives: Capitol Hill

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 😉

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: