Tag Archives: Chill

IntoxiKatie’s 2nd Drinkaversary!

Happy Drinkaversary, IntoxiKatie!

I know I didn’t really make a large public announcement this year or make a big deal about it. Another year older, another year wiser is what they say, right?? Well, another year older is definitely true…wiser is somewhat debatable, haha.

Celebrating a few Fridays ago, there was some poor foreshadowing at work when a Dove chocolate offered me the advice of ‘Have no limits today.’ Damn you, Dove. Similar to last year, I selected U Street as the neighborhood of choice for celebration. This year I wanted a new story to share though, rather than just a story of all my regular places.

First stop – Dodge City!

Dodge City was actually one of the first bars I went to in DC. I went there the first night I ever got drunk. Having been there a few more times since, I feel comfortable giving this bar a more complete review. We arrived around 11pm to a fairly crowded downstairs bar with people dancing to a solid DJ mixing R&B/rap music. With no alcohol, my guy buddies weren’t quite ready to cut a rug on the dance floor. (I’m always ready to dance, as awkward as it might be, haha). The alternative to dancing was heading upstairs to the much more subdued bar and patio. While there was also a DJ and a few musicians performing upstairs (more electronic/top 40/indie music), people didn’t have quite the same spirit….yeah, spirit is what I will call it. The general aesthetic of Dodge City is chill. It’s large enough to bring a group of friends, but the interior darkness still allows for the flexibility of a more intimate setting if you find yourself in a nook closer to either of the bars. Overall, I would suggest this bar for the middle or later in the evening rather than a first stop. Dodge City has also provided a relaxing drinking atmosphere for me post 9:30 Club shows on a few occasions

With easy access to the chill upstairs bar, I started with a Crispin cider ($7). Doing a lap around the place that included the upstairs and downstairs patio space, a few more buddies showed up and I went for round 2 (screwdriver – $6). Both the upstairs and downstairs patios aren’t very glamourous – mostly sparse with a few small tall tables to just rest your drink, but great for those looking for some fresh air or to just chat with friends instead of grinding up on them. Less than five minutes after ordering the screwdriver came a round of Jameson and a toast to getting ‘white girl drunk.’ For the record, I adamantly denied that such a thing would happen. Oy. Venturing back outside to the patio to chat, I wandered off (as I tend to do at bars with multiple floors) to get a shot (kamikaze – $6)…this was going to be an expensive night. Heading back outside to meet my buddies, somehowwwwww I ended up making a bet.

The bet/drinking challenge: That I could drink more than one of my guy buddies. Whoever drank water or ate first was the loser (assuming the number of drinks stayed the same). Seems like nothing could go wrong, right? To my disadvantage, other than height and weight, haha, I was already 4 drinks in when this bet was made while my competition only had 3 drinks. With 4 drinks worth of liquid courage/confidence, I was sure I could win though!

Making our way down U Street, for some reason we felt the need to stop at our normal trivia bar, Touchdown. After getting distracted by a few texts, I arrived a minute or so after my friends to find that I was already losing the bet. Two drinks down. To combat this, I ordered a shot and a cider (what a winning combination). Drinking quite aggressively, I finished those within a couple minutes. Having evened the playing field, another friend encouraged me to go for two more to screw over my competition. Great idea, clearly. I ordered two more. Yes, that was 4 drinks in 10 minutes. This is the point of the night where details get a little fuzzy.

Facts: We went to Saint Ex next. I ran there. I went MIA for a little bit. I left. I ended up with a battle scar from the evening on my forehead. Some details may be excluded for self-preservation/pride. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, haha. This drinkaversary was a little rough…not as bad as last year, but bad enough for me to make the executive decision that I do not need to celebrate my 3rd drinkaversary next year, haha.

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Drink-aversary! – The Gibson, Desperados, Lost Society, El Centro, Policy

Thank you to all who came out for my Drinkaversary!  A little rain didn’t stop us from parading around U Street…some in more coherent states than others.  While the timing was not what I had anticipated, I still managed to make the rounds to 5 different bars – The Gibson, Desperados, Lost Society, El Centro, and Policy.  Starting at approximately 7:30pm, The Gibson was quite welcoming.  Yes, I’ve previously reviewed The Gibson and opinions have not changed of the awesomeness that this establishment has to offer.  I met a former coworker and classmate here and do believe that their introduction to the place was quite positive.  Sitting at the bar, the bartender was quite engaging and willing to show off his mastery by offering to make off-the-menu cocktails.  For the first drink I stuck to the menu and ordered a drink something along the lines of ‘Women, Wine and Hookah.’  The second drink though, I decided to challenge the bartender.  With a simple statement of “I like vodka,” he quickly got to work and offered up a tasty citrusy drink.  I was quite pleased.  Prior to the third drink after specifying my tree nut allergy, I was met with the question, “Would you mind champagne?”  “Of course not.,” being my response and my treat was quickly placed before me.  Having no reservation proved to be no problem.  This is probably due to the early arrival.  By the time we exited at about 9:30pm, the downstairs bar was filled and people were waiting to enter.  I may have entered dry, but certainly left The Gibson filled with three tasty drinks.

Next stop – Desperados.  I was long overdue for some food at this point.  Intoxikatied has been training for a half marathon and decided to go for an 11-miler just prior to going out for the night…probably not the wisest decision.  I’ve been to Desperados about 4 times prior to Saturday – mostly in small groups of people, but last Tuesday I even decided to fly solo for happy hour prior to a concert.  This really is a great place.  It’s relaxed, has reasonable prices, and an engaging staff.  The happy hour prices are particularly impressive for the quality ($4 rails and $5.50 BBQ or buffalo chicken quesadillas).  One time, I came here with a group of friends and we ordered (almost) all the happy hour special appetizers – split between 4.5 people plus drinks, it was the perfect amount ($20).  They have a small outdoor seating area right in front of the bar too, if that’s your preference.  Desperados may not be as flashy (yuppie or hipster) as other bars on U Street, but it is certainly not lacking in quality. It’s a no BS bar and sometimes, you just need that available in your back pocket.

After finishing our round of drinks and food at Desperados, we made our way to Lost Society.  Conveniently located across the street from Desperados and in the central intersection of 14th and U Street, Lost Society offers great views overtop this juncture.  You enter Lost Society on the ground floor and then proceeding up the stairs you find two additional floors with different atmospheres.  For the purpose of Saturday night, my group of friends kept to the initial floor, but I did wander upstairs to explore a bit…typical Intoxikatie ;-).  The top floor offers a DJ and another bar.  While it was raining that night and the area was covered, I believe this opens up to be rooftop space on nice nights.  The floor that we spent the majority of time did have a lot to offer: a fairly large rectangular bar, large TVs for sports viewing, purple velvet couches, and some normal tables for dining.  Be prepared though, these couches and tables are not first come-first served.  The staff will promptly ask you for your reservation if you attempt otherwise.  So what, we tried to steal a table?  My friends and I were in a good state by this point, so it seemed like harmless fun.  Don’t worry, the stick wasn’t too far up the waitress’s butt that she asked us to leave.  Now this bar was quite crowded, so after I bought a round of drinks (2 miller lites – $6 each, 1 bourbon and coke – $9, and a screwdriver – $8), we tried to settle into a different nook as we waited for a few more friends to join us. 

Naturally, we made our way over to the two purple velvet couches.  Yes, the small tables in front of said couches were marked with a reserved sign…but as they say ‘the early bird catches the worm.’  Don’t worry, we were eventually kicked off them…and moved onto our next bar.  Overall, Lost Society seemed like a pretty cool bar to mingle with people.  It would have been better with a small group and a reservation.  I definitely would not mind coming back for a girls’ night on the rooftop or to start an outing.

The next stop was El Centro, down a few blocks on 14th Street.  El Centro has a few offerings.  Not only is it a restaurant, there’s a downstairs dancing/DJ area and a rooftop bar.  Unfortunately, I can only speak to the rooftop – which remains open during the winter with some fairly strong heat lamps.  I have been here a handful of times and will say it offers some great margaritas and mojitos…as any reputable Mexican restaurant should.  If you time it right, they do offer $5 classic margaritas and mojitos (probably certain happy hours, but the last time I cashed in on this offer was on New Years).  As you can see from the pictures, there were a fair number of people present when we arrived between 11 and 11:30pm.  This place can definitely hold a fair amount of people, so it’s good for groups.  This isn’t the type of place I would go if I were looking to mingle with new people though.  After ‘sipping’ down my mojito and posing for a few pictures with friends, we decided it was time for our final stop.

Venturing out into the rain, we ran across the street to Policy. Yes, it really was a quick jaunt across the street because upon arrival I realized that we left about half of our group at El Centro.  Don’t worry, they are a smart bunch and caught up :-). This was my first time attending Policy.  As a group, we decided that our night was distinctly lacking some good ole fashioned dancing…and by this I obviously mean club music and dancing in a crowded room of strangers, haha.  As negative as that comment sounds, I actually really enjoyed our time there.  It did have multiple floors, but we only investigated the dancing area.  The DJ was okay, not the best, but workable and there was quite the crowd there at about 12am so I will not complain about there being a lack of interest.  Overall, I will hold off from making any major evaluations of Policy though at this point.  It looks like it may be on the itinerary again this weekend and hopefully I can give it a more justified review.  By this time of the night, the alcohol had caught up with me and I unfortunately lost my trusty 4 year-old pink umbrella somewhere on the dance floor (as only the classiest girls do).

Leaving the bar at about 1:30am, this night quickly turned into an embarrassment and I would like to send another apology someone’s way for dealing with that (if you even read this, haha).  Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll add that to my humorous collection of self-deprecating stories that I tell in a few months.  Overall, I’d like to send a big thank you to all my friends who made it out last Saturday despite the rain.  It has been quite the year – many stories have come of it and I’m sure many more will too.  *Corny moment of the blog post warning* Those of you who choose to be part of all these stories are what really make them memorable experiences…and of course my sometimes mischievous antics :-).  Here’s to another year of stories.

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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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The Black Squirrel

This is in Adams Morgan??? When going to The Black Squirrel, do not expect the typical AdMo experience.  This place has a much more relaxed bar feeling and multiple levels all with seemingly great lighting.  Conveniently, it’s located next to Amsterdam Falafel and right on the main drag of 18th Street.  The first time I came here, I actually had not started drinking yet, but found the upstairs to be quite inviting and cozy for my small group of friends.  We settled into a corner window seat with drinks from the bar as ‘hip’ music played in the background, but not in glaring fashion.  We started the night here and later proceeded to get our dance on elsewhere.  I certainly enjoyed the mingling atmosphere that was encouraged here.  Later times coming to this establishment, we most frequently chose the upstairs, but have also ventured to the long downstairs bar.  There is a street level bar as well, but I haven’t experienced that one.  If you are in a larger group of friends and like cozy corners/window seats, I would most definitely recommend the upstairs.  Music isn’t so loud that you can’t talk, which is hard to find in this neighborhood on the main drag.

It is also possible to reserve that space for a party, which if I wanted a mellow birthday experience, would say it’d be a great idea.  Downstairs is better suited for small groups of people during the main weekend hours (after 11pm), unless you don’t mind standing around.  Bartenders are fairly friendly, but not always at the top of their game.  One time I ordered one of my regular drinks – a screwdriver – and was served OJ and rum, oy.  I may be a relatively novice drinker, but I know my vodka drinks.  I let it go and have not had any other issues with drink orders.  Prices are reasonable ranging from $6-7 for a simple cocktail.  As much as I enjoy a good cocktail, The Black Squirrel is more noted for its beer.  My gentleman friends certainly do enjoy the variety of beer and diverse selection on the different levels of the bar.  And don’t worry folks, to accompany the large beer selection, The Black Squirrel has a few TVs set to sports channels for the perfect hipster beer-sports combo without a sports bar atmosphere.

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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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