Tag Archives: Happy Hour

Black Jack

Summertime and the living’s easy…as the song goes.  It may be “easy,” but uneventful and non-busy it is not.  To get refreshed for the summer season of drinking and bars, I thought it was quite necessary to take a small vacation to Curacao.  I’m back, “tan”, and ready to keep you all updated on which bars you should or shouldn’t be attending!

My most recent bar addiction has been Black Jack!  Located in Logan Circle, what started off as a random Friday happy hour with a girlfriend has quickly turned into my new weekly trivia destination.  I first attended Black Jack about 2 months ago as a second and last stop of a Friday happy hour outing.  Having heard good things about said bar and making what at the time was a rare appearance in Logan Circle, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try some place new.  Black Jack is slightly hidden; located directly above Pearl Dive.  It offers a tasty selection of mussels and oysters that should NOT be overlooked.  Somewhat masquerading as a ‘speakeasy’ because there is no official sign, there is no arrogance here.

The bartenders/wait staff are cordial and accommodating.  They were even willing to buy us a round when there was a last-minute cancellation of trivia.  These are the rare type of people that I actually feel comfortable engaging in light banter.   To describe a little more about the décor, Black Jack is relatively narrow once you get upstairs.  There is only one bar, but I’ve never had an issue waiting too long on a drink or food for that matter.  The main part of the bar offers a handful of tall tables, a couple booths, and some cozy couches that are great for those looking for a slightly larger gathering of people in addition to seating at the bar itself.  Be warned though, grabbing a couch or even a table during popular happy hour times or during trivia has been fairly difficult and requires a little bit of patience.  Further away from the blinking GOLF sign in the main bar area, you can find the indoor bocce court, complete with some baseball stadium type seating.  Quirky and slightly eclectic in comparison with many DC bars, I think it really is important to stress that the atmosphere here is not pretentious and laid back enough that most people can feel comfortable here.

Tuesday nights, as many of you are aware is my weekly trivia night.  At Black Jack, the trivia is hosted by Trivia Kings, which should be your reassurance that it is a quality product.  Starting at 8pm, my team is always pleased that Black Jack extends their happy hour deals until 9pm, which means ½ priced drafts.  These aren’t your normal shitty drafts though.  They go beyond the standard Miller Lite and Natty Boh deals.  Seeing as I’m still new to the beer drinkers club, I typically stick with a cider.  They offer both Jack’s hard cider ($6) and Strongbow ($9).  Beyond the mussels and oysters here, which are quite delicious, I have yet to be disappointed with the food.  From pizza to a Cuban sandwich ($11) to just a side of French fries with aioli dipping sauces, you do not need to eat before arriving at this bar.

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While I have yet to visit Pearl Dive or some of the other surrounding bars, this establishment has the potential to be part of great bar crawl in Logan Circle for those that are easily bored or need something different to hold their attention.  The only drawback to this Black Jack is that the volume can sometimes get on the loud side.  If you’re looking for a date atmosphere, it might be more of a struggle unless you manage to snag a more intimate booth or couch or go during an off time (if those exist here).  This would even be a decent place to drink solo at the bar because of the ongoing movies projected against the wall behind the bar.

Stay tuned for my next post!  Thomas Foolery opens this Wednesday and yours truly can be spotted on the menu 😉

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Uptown Tap House

Happy New Year!  Good news, I have not failed at my resolution yet.

Last Friday night I ventured to Uptown Tap House in Cleveland Park with a few friends.  How do I know it was a good night?

1)    I woke up with an empty jar of peanut butter in my bed (DON’T JUDGE, there was only a little left and it saved me from being hung over)

2)    I got to dance my ass off

3)    Cheap drinks

I swear my friends said I could post this photo

I swear my friends said I could post this photo

Formerly Four Fields, Uptown has transformed from a large Irish pup into an American Tavern with a lot of potential.  True story:  Four Fields was the first bar I ever went to in DC (not that I drank back then).  At that time, the food was pretty bad and there was a complete lack of ambiance for such a large space.

This was my first experience of Uptown.  That being said, what I saw of this establishment, I liked and would definitely come back again.  The whole reason for attendance was that a friend of mine won a free happy hour from 10pm-1am.   What does that mean?  She received free drinks during that time slot and everyone that name-dropped her got $3 drinks (rail drinks and select beers).  For prime time drinking, this was too good of an offer to turn down.

Arriving around 10:30pm, I found my friends at a large table just to the left of the bar. For those that do remember Four Fields, Uptown has preserved the spacious interior.  Tables are plentiful and it looks like they could accommodate quite sizable groups.  Truth be told, youngsters, the crowd here did appear to be slightly older and by that I mean, you’re not going to find the dumb boys and girls you do at a place like Mad Hatter.  Trust me, this is a good thing, ha.  Also given the size of the place and the fact that it was a mellow night (remember this was in the midst of the holidays), there really wasn’t much mingling among the crowd. After socializing amongst friends and getting a couple rounds in, typical IntoxiKatie had to take it to the dance floor.  They have plenty of space to dance to their DJ spinning typical top 40s.  Nothing overly impressive, but sometimes you just need a neighborhood bar with reasonable drink prices and the opportunity to dance like no one is watching…even if they are.

I will say I was quite impressed that the bar manager made the rounds to the different parties making sure they were enjoying themselves.  Unlike other bar management, he seemed to actually give a damn and wasn’t putting on a show.  As I have become more and more jaded in my “old” age, ha, I appreciate people who stop trying to bullshit me…Of course the shots he offered me and my dancing crew didn’t hurt either.  While I did not sample any food, taking a look at the menu online, I certainly would not be opposed to trying it at another date.  It really is hard to complain about a place that offered up such affordable “happy hour” prices, while offering dancing and still space to chat with friends.  The versatility of Uptown is not always something that is easy to find in DC and should be appreciated.

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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.

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Neighborhood Hopping – Mad Rose Tavern, The Ugly Mug, Midtown, and Cafe Citron

Oh what a Friday!  What I thought would be a relatively relaxing evening, turned out to be packed full of events.  A last minute decision to go to happy hour on Friday, found me at Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon.  While I’m not a huge Clarendon fan, I was still surprised that I had never been there just because of its proximity to everything else.  Arriving a little after 5pm, we found a few coworkers already there enjoying some beverages inside on the ‘hip’ couch area.  After ordering a $4 screwdriver, I knew I should set a limit for my consumption knowing I’d be going elsewhere later.  While we quickly ordered and promptly served, our waitress spilled part of a beer on a friend.  Yes, yes, this happens, but in my cranky old age of 23, I was taken aback that the waitress was more concerned with wiping up the table and the lack of offering of paper towels for my beer soaked friend, ha.  Aside from our slightly spacey waitress, I did enjoy Mad Rose for happy hour.  The drinks were cheap and provided a good space for meeting with a larger group of people.  Despite the humidity, we ended up moving to the outside seating area.  I did enjoy the outside couches that provided a cozier environment than most outdoor seating areas (I think any girl in a skirt or guy in shorts can identify the pain of the ever popular wire chair).  Overall, I would come back for Mad Rose for happy hour with a group of people.  I won’t comment on what the night scene is like, but I wouldn’t want to come here with just one or two other people.

Leaving Mad Rose around 7pm, I had just enough time to go home, cook dinner, and freshen up before heading out to my late evening plans – hanging out with my volleyball teammates.  One girl just happens to work at The Ugly Mug in Eastern Market and had always suggested we all come visit her on Friday night.  The only other time I had ventured to this establishment was for a brunch/lunch with my roomies.  While the food was still good, it certainly did not have the same atmosphere as a Friday night.  Starting off with a screwdriver, I was initially surprised when my teammate brought me such a large glass – don’t worry, it was a good surprise.  Proceeding to with my normal vodka tonics, I was far from disappointed with the quality.  These three large drinks set me back $20.  Important to note: My teammate provided some awesome service (never letting anyone get parched).  After a few drinks and banter, bear fights were the next obvious step.  The back story is our indoor team name was Bear Fight.  Now, I only have partaken in a bear fight once before (on a lovely business trip to St. Louis…at City Museum).  That experience was so good that ever since I’ve been raving about the drink.  Now being the girl racing two guys, I won’t say I lost…but I definitely did not win, ha.  More importantly, the bear fight was just as good, if not better, than I remember.

So what does The Ugly Mug have to offer?  Large drinks and good service.  It has the feeling of a neighborhood bar, but did have an oddly inserted DJ there on Friday.  People weren’t really dancing, but it does add to the fun/lighthearted atmosphere.  This is definitely a chill place and great for meeting a small group of people.  I wouldn’t suggest this establishment for too large of a group just because of the numbered seating inside.  Also to note for the outside bar dwellers, they do have a sidewalk patio that I’m sure is great for people watching/mocking.

Being quite toasty at this point, the guys decided it was time to move on from the Ugly Mug.  Proceeding to Dupont Circle, our next stop was Midtown.  Oh Midtown…I’ve had many a memory at Midtown (or blurs, haha)…typically involving dancing.  My first time there I may have ended up in many cell phone picture collections, but I will most likely deny any such events if you ask me about it in person, ha.  Midtown, for those of you unfamiliar, offers several floors, many bars, overpriced drinks, a relaxed lounge (for those that aren’t dressed appropriately), creepy dudes, and a more exclusive lounge area.  It really is great for women that enjoy dancing because there is typically enough space, but beware the sausage fest.  Moving on from Midtown, we walked a block or so to Café Citron for some real dancing.  I will point this out now, if I haven’t already.  I am by no means a dancer.  Do I like to dance? Heck yes!   Even before drinking, I’d be the girl wanting to get on the dance floor and make a fool of myself.  The making a fool of myself still continues, don’t worry, haha.  Hopefully my evening dance partner wasn’t too embarrassed by my subpar dance moves.  Sometimes I like to think my enthusiasm is all that really matters #thingsyourmomtellsyou.  While I won’t give Café Citron a full review due to a lack of experience here, I did have a positive first impression and hope to venture back with more dance enthusiasts.  Overall, Friday was a pleasantly eventful evening.   Special thanks to my teammates for a good night, even if it was rough waking up early Saturday morning.

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The Melting Pot

It’s a twister, a twister!!  A little tornado warning certainly didn’t stop last Friday’s happy hour.  We were going to venture outside of the Ballston bubble (to Clarendon – not far I know, ha), but given the weather we decided instead to just make a quick run across the street to The Melting Pot.  Arriving right around 5pm, it was empty in the first bar (didn’t venture around the restaurant too much, but the hostess mentioned a second bar).  We grabbed the largest table and started to weigh our options for drinks and food.  Being very adult, one of my coworkers ordered a bottle of white wine for the table (that amazingly filled 6 glasses).  It was tasty and priced at $28.  Don’t worry; there were cheaper wine prices.

The next challenge- picking fondue.  Opting for the cheddar cheese and jalapeño selections, our group was very pleased.  With no real rail drink happy hour special, I opted to splurge on a martini for my last drink…but not just any martini, a s’mores martini!  I don’t normally go for these specialty drinks, but this was a wise selection.  Certainly didn’t need any chocolate fondue with a drink like this.  The oreo-covered marshmallows were a perfect topping.  As our happy hour group grew to a total of 9 people, we decided to get two more selections of fondue – the spinach-artichoke mixture and the season special.  During happy hour, the fondue is half-priced.  Now normally all of this still would have been fairly expensive, but luckily one friend had a Groupon that she was generous enough to share :-).  It also probably didn’t hurt that we were fairly engaging with our waitress.  All together we each tossed in about $10.

Does Melting Pot have a great bar scene for mixing with strangers? No, haha.  It was a great place to come with a group of friends though.  While I assume the normal demeanor is fairly reserved, our group was a little on the rambunctious side and lived up the establishment.  I wouldn’t come here all the time for happy hour due to the prices, but I will definitely be back to indulge in some comfort food and quality drink :-).

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El Ranchero

Before you all lose faith in my drinking abilities, I assure you I’ve just been lazy about writing reviews (yes, I have 2-3 other reviews currently in my back pocket for a rainy day).  This week, I ventured to El Ranchero with coworkers.  We attended for a Thursday happy hour, which was a nice change of pace from the extended Friday Happy Hour.  Arriving a little after 5:30pm, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and sat outside. They have a small part of the sidewalk in front of the restaurant dedicated for about six tables.  After we were quickly set up outside, our quirky waiter introduced us to the wonderful deals the establishment offered and took our order.  The deals we most certainly took advantage were $4 margaritas and $1 tacos.  These margaritas were quite tasty and our table got the full array (regular, strawberry and peach).  Personally, I spent the night sipping down peach margaritas, but sampled the others and can assure you of the overall quality.

After getting our initial round of drinks, our taco medley started to arrive.  These may not be gourmet tacos, but for $1 apiece, it’s really hard to complain.  The beef tacos were definitely better than the chicken or bean tacos…or maybe that was just the anticipation because we had a slightly longer wait for them.  To our misfortune, the beautiful weather faded, the clouds rolled in and so did the rain.  We were forced to continue inside.  The interior of the restaurant/bar was quaint.  El Ranchero has a distinct bar area and table area.  What started as us (a slightly loud/rambunctious group) entering a relatively quiet dining area, with time and more patrons, the area transformed to something more homogenous with our group’s attitude – drink and eat cheap tacos.  Now for the nitty-gritty, while I did enjoy this happy hour, the service was not the best.  El Ranchero let some things slip through the cracks – simple things like frequency of the waiter checking on potential refills, forgetting to bring us napkins, the assumption with the rain we would be leaving rather than moving inside, and then being slow with bringing the check.  Don’t get me wrong; I did like the laid-back atmosphere here.  However, if you or your friends are in a hurry (are impatient at all), you might want to reserve El Ranchero for another night.  Given El Ranchero’s proximity to my work, the nice outdoor seating and delicious (yet reasonably priced) margaritas, I would most certainly come back.

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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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Caribbean Breeze

Friday was absolutely gorgeous outside.  Given the amazing nature of the day, my coworkers were anxious to go to a happy hour with outdoor seating.  The establishment that was selected….Caribbean Breeze.  One of my coworkers and I arrived slightly before the rest of the group to get a feel for the place.  As you enter, you have the choice of being seated at a table inside (the restaurant area), sitting inside at the bar, or going to the outside area. The outside bar area is essentially a portion of the sidewalk blocked out for the restaurant.  It’s not directly on the street, which is nice and provides some privacy, but still open at the same time.  We initially ventured to the outside bar area and looked to claim a table for the rest of our coworkers.  A server then rudely greeted us and said that we could only sit down at a table if we were going to order food.  This was 5pm on a Friday…almost all the tables were empty and people were surrounded at the bar standing all because they have a seemingly pointless requirement of ordering food in order to sit down.  Someone should tell them that people would stick around longer, order more drinks and potentially order food if they aren’t restricted right off the bat.  After this not so pleasant interaction, we decided to wait at the inside bar until others arrived.  Sitting at the bar was really no better.  It took us 10 minutes to get served.  If it were a crowded late night, I might understand this, but it was very mellow and the bartenders were just slow in terms of service.

Upon finally getting our drink orders in, we were definitely pleased with the quality of the drinks.  I ordered one of their mojitos on special for $5.  My friend ordered a dragon fruit mojito, which was also very tasty, but a bit pricier at $8.50.  Fresh mint and sugar cane in the glass only added to the summery feeling on Friday.  More coworkers arrived shortly and we did finally sit down outside (but only because they ordered a few appetizers).  In terms of service outside, it could have been better.  The staff was not very attentive to new people arriving, taking drink orders, or taking away finished drinks.  Overall, while Caribbean Breeze might have tasty products and offer an aesthetically pleasing layout/seating options, the service is downright poor.

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McCormick & Schmick’s

Yes, yes this is a chain…but that doesn’t take away from the quality drinking experiences I’ve had at the various McCormick and Schmick’s in the DC-metro area.  The locations that I will speak to and the frequency to which I’ve attended each include– Farragut Square (twice), Metro Center (once), and Crystal City (once).  McCormick & Schmick’s is a very reliable chain.  The food and drink quality amongst the different chains is high.  Do not write off this place just because you want a “unique” bar experience.  Each location does have a slightly different feel.  The two locations in DC in particular have more of a classical bar atmosphere.  The Crystal City location feels slightly more open and modern in the bar area.

The first location I attended was Farragut Square.  Both times was for happy hour in which they had AMAZING food deals.  The best deal is the $4 cheeseburger (with fries).  This is a regular size portion.  All you have to do is abide by the $3.50 minimum beverage purchase per person.  I’ve also tried the chicken wings ($5), which are tasty, but for the portion size I would say just go for the burger. As usual, I alternated between my regular screwdrivers and vodka tonics ($5 each for Smirnoff drinks).  While the drinks specials aren’t the best in town, when you can get quality food along with the pleasant bar atmosphere it is hard to pass up this place.  The clientele can be slightly on the older side, but you certainly won’t be scoffed at for going in there with a group of friends and being under 30.

Two of the three places I’ve encountered extremely engaging bartenders/servers.  In particular, at the Metro Center location, there was one bartender who my friend insisted on calling Bob.  Bob, as we will call him because I have since forgotten his real name, was honest, patient, and very good with drink recommendations as the best bartenders should be.  He made me a delicious cucumber gimlet ($11 – off happy hours price), which I have since incorporated into my regular drink orders and ordered again the other night at the Crystal City location.  The consistency amongst the different locations is certainly something you can trust.  In terms of rating the locations, Crystal City wins the prize for most convenient to my current location, but the Metro Center location has the best atmosphere.  While the bar itself is on the smaller side, it feels cozier and still inviting despite being right in the middle of DC.

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Buffalo Billiards

Buffalo Billiards certainly uses the word buffalo correctly in that this place is a lot larger than the other billiards places in DC.  I’ve been here a handful of times and have never really been disappointed by it, but that’s probably due to my love of billiards and my inability to really hate anywhere offering a good game.  The actual aesthetic of this bar is different from many DC establishments.  It’s actually part of a chain (I’ve been to the one in Philly too and it was similar, except it felt slightly less commercial there).  Instead of the cozy feeling of other DC pool places, this does feel a lot less like a dive bar in a basement and not just due to the large size.  To enter the bar, like other DC billiards establishments, you must go down a set of stairs.  This leads you to a large basement billiards/sports bar with lots of open and dark space.  The large size does offer 18 pool tables, 7 dart boards, 9 shuffleboard tables, skeeball, private party rooms, a patio for outside seating.

Admittedly, it is expensive to play pool here ($16 an hour for 2 people during ‘prime time’), but that’s almost every place in DC (side note the cheapest place I’ve found to play pool is in Crystal City – Crystal City Sports Pub offers pool for $1 per game).  Buffalo Billiards charges by the number of people playing and time.  Food is decent (typical bar food) and I would definitely recommend the happy hour specials on food ($1 slider night after 7pm) as well as the rail drinks (only $3.50 during happy hour in Dupont?! Yes, it’s shocking).  Don’t worry there are three bars for you to get drinks from so you will not be left thirsty.

The first time I went here was on a date and we went with the sliders – a steal at $6 for 6.  Another time, I went with friends and ordered cheese fries ($10) that we weren’t able to finish due to the large portion – money well spent. Overall, I’d recommend Buffalo Billiards for smaller or larger groups of people and definitely for dates.

Summary Offerings:

–       18 Pool Tables

–       9 Shuffleboard Tables

–       Skeeball

–       Private Party Rooms

–       3 Bars

–       Patio

–       Good Happy Hour Deals

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