Tag Archives: Local 16

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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