Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Buzzies: D.C. Nightlife Awards

I do, on occasion, spend time in places that are not bars. For example, offices, stores, friends’ apartments and sometimes even my very own home. But I like bars, because the good ones combine my three favorite things: people, music and fried food.

The Buzzy is an incredibly prestigious imaginary award I give to places where no one has ticked me off lately. Or, on occasion, to places that are so awful you can only wonder and laugh.

Best Bartender: Café Mozart, downtown. Sure, service can be a little slow, and there are never enough waitresses to go around. But Greg always notices when I change my hair (even when my friends don’t). And sometimes the cheese fries come with a delicious extra-spicy Velveeta.

Best Jukebox: Stetson’s, U Street. A nice mix of frat boy classics.

Best Discount Martini: M Street Grille, downtown. Get a girly pastel Caboodle and unicorn martini for the amazing price of $4.50.

Best Karaoke: Recessions, downtown. After a few discount vats of Michelob, what’s better than belting out “Livin’ on a Prayer” with your five new best friends? Plus, this bar has a cool James Bond vibe. You go into the basement of a hotel, past the sales and catering office, and then step into a tattered velour cavern.

Best Bar Skanks: Anywhere in Adams Morgan will do if you want to observe male and female bar skanks in their natural habitat. But for a true skank experience, go with Madam’s Organ. Gen-Y mating rituals at their finest.

Best Waitress: What’s-her-name at Red Lion. She offered to check the ladies’ room for barf before I went in. Now that’s service!

Best Patio: Beacon Bar and Grille, downtown. When it’s warm outside, there’s plenty of room for you at Beacon. I recommend the $10 Bucket ‘o Bud. Plus, the service never makes any sense, which is fun if you go in with the right attitude.

Coziest Dive: Polly’s, U Street. A good fireplace, plenty of little close-together tables for me to trip over, and beer. Though, if you go, remember that it’s cash only.

Best Irish Bar: Duffy’s, near the 930 Club. They even have halfway edible fish and chips.

Nicest Bartender: Topaz, Dupont Circle. I don’t recall her name, but she was very pleasant under very trying circumstances.

Meanest Bartender: What’s-his-name at Eighteenth Street Lounge. Seriously, could you pause the personal phone call for two seconds to take a few orders? I understand you have a personal life, but there’s a line stacking up and our booze-o-meter is running low. What’s even better is when several ESL staff people stand around gabbing and ogling women. I see that enough from Metro platform employees, I don’t need it from you.

Upscale Joint that Doesn’t Make Me Want to Puke: If I absolutely MUST dress pretty and smile nice, I’ll do it at Sonoma in Capitol Hill. A close second is Russia House in Dupont Circle.

Alright for Fighting: Asylum, Adams Morgan. Once a random dude tried to beat up my sister, the guy got hauled out and they comped our Heinekens.

Tooliest Customers: Café St.-Ex. It’s kind of beautiful, really, that all of these appalling human beings can find a place where they fit in and belong. If you want to be jostled, stomped, insulted or sneered at, St.-Ex is the place for you. Honorable Mention: The Red Room at the Black Cat. It’s like that Wooderson line about dating high school girls, “I keep getting older, but they stay exactly the same.” I keep getting older, but the Black Cat crowd is just as annoying and pushy as ever.

Coolest Customers: There are a few contenders for this, but I always make new friends at Atomic in Cleveland Park.

Best Half-Price Cheeseburger: Whitlow’s on Wilson, Arlington. Just make sure they cook it first.

Best Eavesdropping: Off the Record, in the basement of the Hay-Adams. You can learn all about the latest megabucks D.C. divorce.

Best Pool Hall: Continental, Rosslyn. It’s never crowded, which is why nobody minds if you throw darts in the exact opposite direction than the one you intended.

RIP Award: The Common Share, Adams Morgan. You were gross and skeevy and loud, but who doesn’t love a $10 pitcher of Blue Moon? Oh, Common Share, I miss you. Honorable Mention: Childe Harold, Dupont Circle. And, far too soon, Dr. Dremo’s shall follow them into dive bar Valhalla.


Erin said...

The Childe Harold is closed? I was just there a few weeks back it feels like...

Shannon said...

Indeed, they lost their lease. More info:

dcnative said...

Ah, dr. dremo's... they've been saying they will close "soon" for like, a year already. Well, they're still open. I think their saying that they're gonna close is just to drum up more business.

Arjewtino said...

Great list. And I agree completely with your assessment of Asylum. Sometimes, you even have to fight an anti-Semite.

Shannon said...

Arjewtino, I wonder if it's the same guy that got the smackdown from my sister. Who is, y'know, a GIRL.

Really, if you're gonna get in a fight, and it's not really your fault, throw the first punch at Asylum!

Kristen S. said...

No more Common Share...sigh. I loved the totally random mix of people. Of course, the couriers, but I also met a chef there.

Daniel said...

Poor Dremo's.... Set to disappear in a little over a month and being replaced by another soulless condo development. I will miss its serious beer selection (and 3 block walk/stumble home from there).

Shannon said...

Kristen, are the couriers all at Asylum now?

Daniel, I will especially miss the Redneck Ale. It kind of tasted like barbecue.

Kristen S. said...

Ha! No idea where the couriers are now...I met my (now former) courier on a porch in Mt. Pleasant!

CityGirl said...

I love the late night crowd at Asylum. I've noticed lots of couriers at Chief Ike's over the years. Very friendly bunch. RIP Childe Harold. Great bartenders.

AUA said...


mush said...

RIP award should go to Lord Telford's Pub.

Shannon said...

AUA, I am very, very serious when it comes to bars. A decent beer is a matter of life and death.

A Unique Alias said...

The only grounds I have upon which to judge is for local pool halls - - I just can't imagine that Continental would beat out anywhere for best pool hall - - even those owned by the same company including Bedrock, Atomic, Rocket Bar, or even Car Pool.

The Continental makes me very sad indeed.

John said...

Lord Telford's Pub is closed? NOOOOO! One of my all-time favorites, right up there with the Sevens in Boston, but cooler. Dang. This one stings.

maryjanejeff said...

I only had the chance to go to Dremo's twice but that doesn't stop me from missing it a ton. Every great city needs a few things: Cool statues, public transportation, at least one fun sports team to watch (Caps), a river, and bars like Dremo's. Then again, I don't ever seem to make it north of King Street so take it for what it's worth.

Shannon said...

MJJ, hi and welcome! I miss Dremo's, even though I almost never leave the city and didn't go there more than a couple of times a year. I think I just liked the fact it existed.

maryjanejeff said...

Thanks for the welcome. The Dremos of the world are sadly disappearing. If the Taco Bell actually gets in whatever is being built in its place, its only purpose is to guarantee that use it or lose it (and not get paid for it) sick days that taken without lying about it.

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