Tag Archives: Good for Large Groups

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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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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Third Edition

*PSA*

Just because a song lyric instructs you to do so, does not mean you should carry this out on the dance floor and/or use it as a pickup line.  For example, if a song tells a male to grab a certain piece of his anatomy with one hand and a explicative describing a female with the other…do not grab a girl dancing and expect her to dance up on you with the explanation “I’m just doing what the song told me to do.”  Stay classy, DC, haha.  Now on to the real reason you’re here, the review of Third Edition.


I will warn, I decided to take the night off from drinking last night so this review might be slightly different from others (perhaps more detailed oriented, haha).  Last night was an acquaintance’s birthday party and it was decided the after party would take us to Georgetown for some dancing.  Arriving around or just after midnight, this establishment was filled, but definitely not packed like the last time I came there mid-summer. There was no line to get in, but there was a $5 cover and some slight door drama when a drunken floozy tried to skip the cover.  The first floor was fairly lit and had a DJ spinning top 40 hits.  There was some dancing, but a little too light downstairs and not enough people really dancing to feel very comfortable. The upstairs dance floor had a more technically skilled DJ (read: played more than just top 40, with some hits and misses) if that is of importance to you.  Overall the downstairs area seemed more like a regular bar containing some booths, a long bar, and open space in between for people to intermingle. In terms of music, my personal preference would have been downstairs, but we ventured upstairs.  Upstairs definitely has more of a typical club feeling.  It’s dark, but not in a terribly creepy sense.  The first area is more relaxed.  There were few people dancing there and there is a relatively calm bar.  Following this staging area comes in this order: a dance floor, another room to chill/mingle, and then the outside tiki bar.  Each of these areas has it’s own bar to make drink accessibility very high.  When I first attended back in the summer, we probably waited 15 minutes to get served at a packed downstairs bar.  Upon learning that there are a total of 5 bars at Third Edition, it seems quite silly to not find one with a quicker turn around.

Last night was spent mostly on the dance floor, but I did enjoy scoping out the other areas.  I was slightly disappointed that they were restricting people from entering the tiki bar by 1 AM, but still enjoyed people watching throughout this place (#notacreeper).

As I was not drinking last night I can’t comment specifically on drink prices.  I did notice a sign indicating a $20 drink tab minimum and it is Georgetown, so expect drinks to be on the expensive side.  Last time I was here with a date and I believe he mentioned drinks (my vodka tonics anyway) being about $10.

The clientele here is …interesting.  It’s definitely not my normal crowd of people (Georgetown, if you couldn’t tell is not my normal stomping grounds).  Third Edition is really a pretty decent place if you come here with a group of friends (either for mingling, dancing, or some combination of the two).  For females, this is not the type of place I’d recommend for legitimately trying to meet someone (I think you know what I mean by that, haha).  For males, you might have better luck with the females given the typical number of girls in short dresses in Georgetown, haha.

As I say about many bars/clubs, Third Edition definitely has a purpose.  It is fairly good for handling large groups of people; has dancing, but also places to chill; and contains plenty of bars inside.  Overall, I enjoyed Third Edition for its diversity in atmosphere amongst the different spaces and being able to bust a move on the dance floor with my friends.

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McGinty’s

Oh what a night…I debated on whether I should write a review for last night’s destination due to my level of sobriety.  While my details may not be extremely crisp, I’ll do my best.  I thought it was important to get some more diversity in my reviews and step outside of my normal DC/NoVa bubble.

Last week a friend moved to Silver Spring and so naturally, this week he had a housewarming party.  Hopefully, it was a lovely welcoming. 🙂 After drinking up at the party, we made our way to McGinty’s. We entered to find that there was a cover (I think there was a band playing when we arrived? Haha).  I rarely have cash on me so luckily a nice gentleman spotted me and I bought him a drink in exchange.  The bartenders were very engaging and friendly, definitely tolerant of my drunkenness and the large group of people that arrived at the same time.  They definitely knew how to handle the crowds.  Ordering two rail drinks (vodka tonic for me, a rum and coke for the gentleman) and a Makers Mark for some other random person – I’m fairly generous when that drunk, haha).  I will say the prices were excellent; the rail drinks were $3.21 a piece and the Makers Mark was $5.73 (thank you receipt for aiding my ‘memory’).

The general layout of the bar was nice.  The bar was long with plenty of seats with plenty of standing and table area too.  While my friends commented that the clientele was a bit older here, I did not seem to notice and found making friends with other patrons very easy.  Honestly, what’s more welcoming than making friends with a table full of people over some SportsCenter?  That was another advantage to this place, while I did not observe dancing, I was able to watch some sports (#drunkenpastime).  Admittedly, this was my first time in Silver Spring and getting off the metro here I was slightly skeptical.  There is definitely a different feeling here than in DC or NoVa.  It’s more of a neighborhood/suburban bar than a downtown bar, which may or may not be appealing to some.  I would offer up a picture of my friends here, but Drunk Katie accidentally deleted it last night instead of saving it.  Overall, I would definitely come back to McGinty’s if I found myself in Silver Spring again.  Prices were cheap, people were friendly, and it was good for a large group (would have been just a good for a smaller group).  If I were in the area, I might even see myself feeling comfortable coming here alone.

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