Tag Archives: Patio

IntoxiKatie’s 2nd Drinkaversary!

Happy Drinkaversary, IntoxiKatie!

I know I didn’t really make a large public announcement this year or make a big deal about it. Another year older, another year wiser is what they say, right?? Well, another year older is definitely true…wiser is somewhat debatable, haha.

Celebrating a few Fridays ago, there was some poor foreshadowing at work when a Dove chocolate offered me the advice of ‘Have no limits today.’ Damn you, Dove. Similar to last year, I selected U Street as the neighborhood of choice for celebration. This year I wanted a new story to share though, rather than just a story of all my regular places.

First stop – Dodge City!

Dodge City was actually one of the first bars I went to in DC. I went there the first night I ever got drunk. Having been there a few more times since, I feel comfortable giving this bar a more complete review. We arrived around 11pm to a fairly crowded downstairs bar with people dancing to a solid DJ mixing R&B/rap music. With no alcohol, my guy buddies weren’t quite ready to cut a rug on the dance floor. (I’m always ready to dance, as awkward as it might be, haha). The alternative to dancing was heading upstairs to the much more subdued bar and patio. While there was also a DJ and a few musicians performing upstairs (more electronic/top 40/indie music), people didn’t have quite the same spirit….yeah, spirit is what I will call it. The general aesthetic of Dodge City is chill. It’s large enough to bring a group of friends, but the interior darkness still allows for the flexibility of a more intimate setting if you find yourself in a nook closer to either of the bars. Overall, I would suggest this bar for the middle or later in the evening rather than a first stop. Dodge City has also provided a relaxing drinking atmosphere for me post 9:30 Club shows on a few occasions

With easy access to the chill upstairs bar, I started with a Crispin cider ($7). Doing a lap around the place that included the upstairs and downstairs patio space, a few more buddies showed up and I went for round 2 (screwdriver – $6). Both the upstairs and downstairs patios aren’t very glamourous – mostly sparse with a few small tall tables to just rest your drink, but great for those looking for some fresh air or to just chat with friends instead of grinding up on them. Less than five minutes after ordering the screwdriver came a round of Jameson and a toast to getting ‘white girl drunk.’ For the record, I adamantly denied that such a thing would happen. Oy. Venturing back outside to the patio to chat, I wandered off (as I tend to do at bars with multiple floors) to get a shot (kamikaze – $6)…this was going to be an expensive night. Heading back outside to meet my buddies, somehowwwwww I ended up making a bet.

The bet/drinking challenge: That I could drink more than one of my guy buddies. Whoever drank water or ate first was the loser (assuming the number of drinks stayed the same). Seems like nothing could go wrong, right? To my disadvantage, other than height and weight, haha, I was already 4 drinks in when this bet was made while my competition only had 3 drinks. With 4 drinks worth of liquid courage/confidence, I was sure I could win though!

Making our way down U Street, for some reason we felt the need to stop at our normal trivia bar, Touchdown. After getting distracted by a few texts, I arrived a minute or so after my friends to find that I was already losing the bet. Two drinks down. To combat this, I ordered a shot and a cider (what a winning combination). Drinking quite aggressively, I finished those within a couple minutes. Having evened the playing field, another friend encouraged me to go for two more to screw over my competition. Great idea, clearly. I ordered two more. Yes, that was 4 drinks in 10 minutes. This is the point of the night where details get a little fuzzy.

Facts: We went to Saint Ex next. I ran there. I went MIA for a little bit. I left. I ended up with a battle scar from the evening on my forehead. Some details may be excluded for self-preservation/pride. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, haha. This drinkaversary was a little rough…not as bad as last year, but bad enough for me to make the executive decision that I do not need to celebrate my 3rd drinkaversary next year, haha.

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Satellite Room

Someone gave me a cold…not pointing fingers, but I’m going to suspect it was Friday night in Dupont, because really, Sign of the Whale is kind of disgusting/people use the dance floor as a bedroom/people seem to be unaware of personal boundaries there.  Shame on me for venturing there again, haha.  Anyway, good thing IntoxiKatie is resilient and already feeling better.  Just my own PSA with the menacing flu season upon us: let’s all be a bit more considerate when we are at overcrowded bars and practice good personal hygiene.  Now, moving on to my real review…

 

“Katie, are you sure you know where you’re going?”

Despite initial fears that I was leading my friend to a back alley to kill her, last Saturday night we found our way past the throng of Delta Rae fans to Satellite Room.  Located conveniently behind 9:30 Club, this bar is especially perfect for those looking for a place to kill time before or after a show.  Arriving just after 8pm, we managed to grab a couple stools at the bar.  The wait for a table was estimated at 30 minutes.  It was pretty much decided upon entering that I loved this establishment.  Luckily, my expectations that I manifested purely from the aesthetic and feel of the bar proved themselves over the course of the evening (self-fulfilling prophecy? probably).

The first thing you see walking in is the large light-up sign above the bar, ‘Satellite.’  The inside bar accommodates about 15 people; just the right size.  While there are a handful of tables inside, there is a much larger outside patio/bar area for those just looking to drink and mingle.  We only stepped outside for a moment to investigate.  It was still kind of chilly that night and the outside atmosphere was different from inside.  While the volume level inside was just right for our group of three to engage in good conversation, outside required more effort to hear one another.  Wow, as I finished writing that sentence I saw myself age 30 years, haha.  Volume aside, the outside area did still leave a fun and jovial impression that would be good if coming here with a larger group of friends.  If you have a smaller group, my preference would definitely be inside.

Arriving early was a good choice, because it quickly got crowded.  Luckily, it didn’t take too long to get in our orders for food and drink.  So for those of you that are not aware, Satellite Room’s specialty drinks are milkshakes.  While you can virginize them, who doesn’t love a good boozy milkshake?!  Starting with the Vincent Vega (vanilla shake with bourbon) and progressing to the Sammy and Kim (black & white with vodka) these milkshakes are on the pricey side ($10), but worth it.  The Frank Costello (chocolate mint with whiskey) and Lucy Ricardo (chocolate with johnny walker) were hints with my friends.  Yes, all the milkshakes has great names like these.  Food here was also quite tasty and fairly priced ($11 tacos and $8 burger dinners).

Mmm, Vincent Vega

Having only attended Satellite Room once, I’m not sure how much the clientele here is dependent on the type of concert at 930 that night.  Either way, I will definitely be back to booze it up with some milkshakes.  Great for a small group, this could also be a fun date spot or a good place to start or end the night.

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Little Miss Whiskey’s, Red Palace, H Street Country Club – H Street Bar Crawl 1

So as I may or may not have discussed in writing, exploring H Street is one of my goals for the summer.  Why H Street?  Yes, people seem to get a little nervous when the street address stops ending in NW.  Yes, it’s one of those “gentrifying” neighborhoods (ashamed of myself for using this DC-centric word).  Yes, it may be a “hipster” hangout.  Despite these attributes, I remain intrigued with H Street – what makes this neighborhood tick and exactly what it is that draws me so strongly to explore here.

Starting the night at a friends’ apartment near Union Station, we made the REASONABLE walk (I’m tired of people complaining that it’s a long walk) over the main stretch of bars on H Street.  Our first stop was Little Miss Whiskey’s.  Not knowing what it looked like, we walked completely by this place initially.  From the outside, as you can see from the picture above, this place looks fairly sketchy.  The bouncer gave all of our IDs a discerning inspection and my initial thought was, ‘What did we get ourselves into here?’  Proceeding up the short staircase to the ground floor, once we entered that thought didn’t waiver just yet.  As one person put it, “It’s quite ornate.”  It may not be the most welcoming entry bar, but we toured around a bit and found some amazing features.  Walking through this floor, Little Miss Whiskey’s offers a back patio space.  This space is dark, only aglow with light overflowing from inside and some garden lights.  There was a staircase outside, but unfortunately this led to a dead end.  The top level was blocked off – it appeared as if there was some sort of structural damage up there.  Venturing back inside, we made our way up to the second floor where we quickly realized THIS is the reason people rave about this place.  On the second floor there was an awesome DJ (honestly one of the most coherent general bar sets I’ve heard in a while), a modest dance floor (with a mini stage for people to dance on), and of course another bar.  Despite being fairly early, just after 10pm, there was already a decent crowd here mingling and dancing.  To be clear though, it was not stuffy or overcrowded.  The drinks here were cheap – $5 vodka tonic than came equipped with a glow-in-the-dark straw!  Really, the only drawback that I could think of here was that it’s a cash-only bar.  They do have an ATM, but still, I was lucky that a friend had a few dollars to lend me in this credit card/debit card dominated city. Another important aspect of Little Miss Whiskeys – the clientele.  The people here definitely added more energy.  We ran into a birthday scavenger hunt and a few bachelorette parties.  I felt very privileged to assist in the scavenger hunt – because really when do I not feel comfortable making a silly fool of myself? Overall, my Little Miss Whiskey’s experience was extremely positive and I will definitely be coming back with cash in hand.

The next stop on the mini bar crawl was Red Palace.  This place is quirky.  I honestly can’t think of any other way to describe the decorations.  The entering point/bar to Red Palace is quite ordinary- small, cozy, dim, but as you make your way through this establishment, you find its more unique qualities.  There is a back patio, which is quite lit and we found tables of people eating food (which, by the way, smelled delicious).  Then there is another long bar with more lighting and interesting decorations – definitely conversation pieces.  Prices here are also pretty cheap – $5 vodka tonic and $7 for Jack Daniels.  We didn’t stay here very long.  It was fairly crowded and had limited seating for our group of six.  Please do take note of the picture though and the great happy hour prices!  Also important to note, that Red Palace from my understanding used to be called the Palace of Wonders, which would explain the decorations.  Now, they offer concerts and burlesque shows in their upstairs space for a cover fee – something that’s on my to-do list.

Our next and final stop of the evening was H Street Country Club.  Within 5 minutes of entering, we were at the bar to do tequila shots. Sign of a great night?  I think so.  If you’re not familiar with this place, it is a great activity spot.  If you can’t find something to entertain you here, you are a severely dull person.  The upstairs indoor mini golf course is what most people know H Street Country Club for – $7 per person.  The course itself is quite entertaining and something that every young DC resident should check out at least once.  Also on this level, there is a bar so patrons do not have to worry about running dry while playing their game.  Downstairs offers skeeball, shuffleboard, and GIANT jenga.  Prior to last week, I had never played giant jenga, but I am now convinced that it could be a second calling for me, ha.  Teaming up with a friend, we took on our first match and were victorious with minimal effort.  Our next match proved to be an epic battle of sorts.  It was quite fun, but at my level of sobriety (or lack there of) my competitive streak was flaming, definitely said ‘Come at me, bro’ a few too many times, ended up losing the match for my team, and had to buy two drinks for the douchey FBI guys we were playing ($5 vodka drinks – the shot earlier was $6).  H Street Country Club can be quite the outing and is great if you want to come with a decent size group or to meet people.  Overall it was a great (albeit quite drunken) night on H Street.  People seemed a bit friendlier/easier to engage with (on average), prices were cheaper, and the various offerings can match whatever you are looking for in a bar/night out.

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The Gibson

The Gibson is without a doubt one of my favorite bars in DC.  If you’re not familiar with this establishment, you are certainly missing out.  First….you need to actually find the place though.  Designed as a speakeasy cocktail bar, there is no sign on the outside of the Gibson.  If you know the street address, there is a faint gray number posted above the door that is really only visible if you’re looking for it.  Entering through an unmarked door feels slightly strange the first time.  Once inside, you see a bouncer waiting in a dim hallway.  The Gibson prides itself on not overfilling or packing people in so it’s a more enjoyable and relaxed experience than fighting people for seats at other bars.  For this reason, there is often a wait on the weekend to get seats.  You can make reservations, which I would advise for a weekend night especially for larger groups and when you don’t want a wait.  I’ve been fortunate enough and haven’t ever been forced to do this.  On one occasion it was almost a problem with a group of five people, but we were allowed to just go to the upstairs bar.

On the weekends, they open the upstairs bar.  This is slightly more relaxed and more of a typical bar atmosphere (read first-come, first-serve seating).  The downstairs bar has a much different feeling though.  There is an inside bar area that is dimly light for an incredibly intimate feeling, in addition to an outside patio.  The downstairs bar has cozy booths, bar seating, and some tables scattered by the bar, as well as towards the back patio.  The patio at The Gibson has a similar feeling to other trending U Street bars that have instituted patio seating.  It’s quite lovely during the warmer months.

The one drawback about The Gibson is pricing.  I’ve had many friends complain about the expensive tabs here.  It is a cocktail bar after all.  This means that the ingredients are fresh, unique, and typically strong.  One cocktail from the menu here generally runs $10-16, but is well worth the treat (if you choose correctly).  Talk to the servers/bartenders and they can direct you towards a drink you will like.  I will admit that most of the time when I get a drink here I can’t identify all the ingredients, but if I stick to those ingredients that I do like and can identify, I’m rarely disappointed.  The best drinks I’ve had here were ‘Glittery Bitch’ and some kind of bubblegum pop drink.  Both were deliciously sweet and perfectly girly for my tastes.  My guy friends have had some of the stronger whiskey drinks and have been equally satisfied.  The menu itself is broken down into different categories based on what you are looking for – fizzy and sour are two of my favorite categories.  Ordering a drink with some fruit ingredient also typically means looking forward to a nice visual display, not just a healthy taste of booze.

Places like The Gibson really make bartending into an art that I highly respect.  I go here to treat myself and always find it well worth the venture.  I’d recommend The Gibson for small groups of people.  This is not the type of bar to go to solo.  It is a great date spot too (I just saw it listed on WaPo’s listing of DC locations to lock lips).  This classy establishment is not necessarily a place to spend an entire evening, considering the lack of food and prices, but is certainly a great place to start or end the night.

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