A Manhattan You Shake to Fox-Trot Time

There are a number of terrific hotel bars in DC. If you want a taste of the Irish, you’ll only have to walk through the Phoenix Park lobby into the Dubliner. They have live music 7 nights a week. Our favorite smaller hotel bar is located near Dupont Circle at the Tabard Inn. If it’s chilly outside, there will be a blazing fire in a lovely fireplace in the lounge. Their weekend brunch is also terrific (try the donuts).

For a more “DC experience,” we have a few suggestions near the White House. The term “lobbyist” was supposedly coined at the Willard Hotel. Check out its Round Robin bar to see where politicians of yore grabbed a drink. Across 14th Street from the Willard is the J.W. Marriott hotel, which has an otherwise unremarkable bar but sits on the location of Shoomaker’s Bar, birthplace of DC’s official cocktail, the Rickey. There’s now a plaque.

Just north of the White House, Off the Record at the Hay Adams is another DC institution. Who knows, you may meet a White House staffer at the bar. We’re also pretty certain the head bartender was the inspiration for Phil in Murphy Brown. And for the best views, you’ll want to check out the aptly named P.O.V. at the W Hotel. This bar, one of DC’s hottest spots to see-and-be-seen, has a semi-covered deck overlooking the Washington Monument and the White House.

By the way, stir a Manhattan, don’t shake it. It’s only okay when Nick Charles says it.

Pull Up a Stool & Grab a Drink

Ed is, among other things, a writer for We Love DC, a local web site.  His focus is on cocktails, which are in ample supply in DC. We’ve been lucky to get to know some of the best bartenders in the city (if in doubt, visit any member of the DC Craft Bartenders Guild). While you’re here, be sure to try a Rickey, the official drink of DC. We’ll be listing some of our favorite places for cocktails in DC. These are located in the Penn Quarter area, not far from the hotel.

The Passenger has become well known in two short years, and we’re regulars at its “hangover brunch” on Sundays, which runs from 2pm until 11pm. We’ll even be holding our after-party there (think of it as the day-after brunch, only immediately following the reception). It’s a low key atmosphere with great bar food, drinks, and people. Unlike many cocktail bars, a the Passenger there’s no set cocktail list. There’s a board with a few specials listed each night, but the best way to order is to say what you’re in the mood for.  You can name a classic cocktail, or just suggest a general idea, like “gin and citrusy.” Your drink is usually exactly what you didn’t quite know you wanted. Not in the mood for a cocktail? See if you can get co-owner Tom Brown to choose a bottle of wine for you, or just order a beer on tap or from the extensive selection of cans and bottles.

If you’re feeling fancy, try to get a reservation for the Columbia Room, the hidden bar-within-the-bar. Tom’s brother (and co-owner) Derek dreamed up this quiet, 10-seat shrine to the craft cocktail, now recognized by GQ and Food and Wine, among others. It’s a more mellow atmosphere influenced by Japanese cocktail bars, with quiet music, hand-carved ice, and house made bitters, tinctures, and aromatized wines. The standard offering is a tasting menu with paired bites, but you can also order à la carte.

Our other go-to in the area is Fiola, named one of Esquire’s best new restaurants of 2011. The dining room is gorgeous, but we prefer to pull up a stool at the bar. Jeff Faile’s drinks are always spot on. If you’re “really into amaro,” Jeff has a drink for you. And while you’re there, you can also enjoy some of the best Italian food in the city.  The menu changes to reflect what’s seasonal and fresh so we can’t really recommend anything specific, but we’ve never had anything that wasn’t excellent.

Why Is This Man Shouting?

Representative Robert L. Mouton

Representative Robert L. Mouton, of Louisiana, practices for a hog calling contest

If you’re visiting our website, you probably received our Save the Date postcard. If you received our Save the Date postcard, you probably wondered what the story was with the photo on the front.

The photo, which we found via Shorpy, is from 1937. Rep. Robert L. Mouton of Louisiana, the man in the photo, is practicing for a hog-calling contest with Rep. Otha D. Wearin of Iowa. Mouton withdrew from the contest, so we’ll never know which state truly has the best hog-call.