Tag Archives: The Gibson

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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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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