Tag Archives: Dive Bar

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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Post Pub

Apologies for my absence!  You all must have been deeply concerned, but don’t fret Intoxikatied is back and ready to start reviewing once again.

Last night, I hopped into a car with a friend with no particular destination in mind other than somewhere in DC.  After struggling through Chinatown traffic (~7pm and there was a Wizards game) and a detour through Shaw, we ended up just north of McPherson Square.  The initial idea was to head to Churchkey, but apparently a little drizzle makes DC metro drivers even more intolerable to handle in Logan Circle.  We basically drove to parking and used our buddy Yelp to pick a place.  Post Pub is located at 1422 L St. NW.  I won’t lie, this bar does not look that appealing or inviting from the outside.  For all those in search of decent dive bars though, I’d advise you not to overlook this place.

Walking into Post Pub, it almost feels as if you are transported out of DC.  Offering an escape from the K Street madness just a block away, this establishment has cozy booths, limited bar seating, and a handful of standalone tables.  It is dimly lit and offers a classy music atmosphere of nostalgic 80s, 90s, and maybe a few early 2000s songs.

Since it was a slightly later happy hour venture for me and my friend, we went easy and ordered just a couple drinks.  A vodka tonic for me ($5.45) and two beers for him ($4 for some typical domestic and $5 for a hipster IPA).  I decided food was probably a wise decision, despite some slight hesitation regarding the potential quality (yes, we judged this place based on its looks, so sue me).  For dinner, I ordered the Diplomat Burger (Bacon cheddar cheeseburger with LT and onion rings) for $9.  This burger was as delicious as it was messy – very much so.  My friend made fun of me as I struggled to fit the whole burger in my mouth (I succeeded!) and made a mess in the process. He ordered the London broil special and was fairly pleased….My meal was definitely better, ha.

The staff here was friendly and very engaging. Upon ordering, instantly felt at home here with the ease of discussion with the bartender.  The clientele here (last night at least) definitely reflected the homey/local bar feeling.  There was an active banter back and forth between the customers and the bartenders, which was kind of refreshing to see.  Going here with a large group might be difficult considering the limited seating, but it would be good for small groups.  I could also see it as a welcoming place to grab a drink solo.  Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely a dive bar, but it’s not as sleazy as it appears.  Prices are a bit more expensive than I would hope for a dive bar though (maybe I’m just biased at the lack of happy hour special on rail drinks).  If I were in this area more and looking for a very relaxed place without all the BS, I’d definitely come back.

The bar

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