Tag Archives: Jukebox

Board Room

So this may come as a surprise to all of you, but I go to fair number of bars.  Shocking, I know!  ‘Girl with a bar blog frequents bars’ isn’t exactly a headline.  This does mean that it takes a little something extra to hold my attention.  The X factor can come in the form of games/activities, awesome happy hour deals, special events, kickass food, etc.  Located north of Dupont Circle, Board Room offers extra pizzazz through its gaming atmosphere.

As soon as you enter, you can see the stock of games locked up on the right just waiting for a happy home with a group of friends for the evening. On the left are a handful of tables and as you proceed straight back you notice a seemingly endless bar.  The other side of the bar offers a small area with a couple more tables, a jukebox, and an arcade table.  Because this first level clearly does not have enough table space to accommodate enough board games, there is an upstairs with more tables.  With a few TVs lining the wall upstairs and the carpet, people can make themselves cozy on the floor when chairs are all taken.  The first time I went to Board Room, I commented to my friends that it felt as if we were hanging out in someone’s living room or basement.  I had gone with a couple girlfriends and we watched an epic Nats game (yes, that horrible last game of the season) while playing Uno.  Rail drinks, if memory serves me correct, ran $5.50 each.  My most recent visit to Board Room once again had some great sports viewing of March Madness.  This time I kept to $6.50 cider.  They had Strongbow on tap so I was pretty pleased.

Most of us are well aware that offering games to bar patrons is not a novel concept, but few bars surround their entire theme around playing board and card games.  Board Room carries over 20 types of games.   Be warned that these games are not free.  For a nominal fee ranging from ($1 to $5), you can rent a game of your choosing.  Don’t worry folks, the fee is not based on length of rental, but rather popularity and complexity of game (in terms of game pieces).  Last weekend, I enjoyed some quality games of Jenga, Taboo, and a surprisingly difficult Trivial Pursuit.  Given the wide variety, you are likely to find the most popular games here, but patrons are also permitted to bring their own game if you fear they do not have what you’re looking to play.

Board Room is an awesome bar to come with a small or large group of friends.  If you come with a larger group, you may have to wait a little bit to find an available table, but it’s worth it.  Reasonable drink prices for Dupont with a laid-back atmosphere, Board Room is definitely recommended for watching sports too.  For those of us with ADD and only want the game on in the background, this is the perfect compromise.  Since my only experience here has been with Friday and Saturday evenings, I only know it to be a fairly crowded and popular gathering place.  I could easily imagine it to be more relaxed during the week for happy hour and a good environment to relax after a long day at work though.

Many of you have probably heard me rag on Dupont before, but this is certainly not a bar I would classify in the typical Dupont bar category.  I am glad to say this bar is nothing like Public or Sign of the Whale (gross). If you find yourself in this neighborhood and not wanting to run around pretending like you’re 20 years old, but still have a fun time, Board Room is a good option.  The jenga we played last Saturday even had dares on the pieces to up the stakes a bit.  Unfortunately, I did not live up to my end of the bargain of dancing on a table, haha.  Next time 😉

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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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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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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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