Today I’m inspired by a fantaaastic article that ran on the Forbes website on Tuesday called “St. Louis Doesn’t Suck.” First of all, gotta love a zinger of a title like that – what a lede! Second of all, I lived in St. Louis for four glorious years, during which I learned everything there is to know about bonobos and homo neanderthalensis, drank warm Keystones in my bathrobe each afternoon while listening to Trina , and acted like a damn fool all day every day. Third of all, I currently live in a city that, similar to the Lou, gets a bad rap for being boring, bleak, and bland.
Sure, if Washington DC were a national women’s apparel chain, it would be Ann Taylor Loft. If it were a dessert, it would be non-fat, sugar-free, macrobiotic Vanilla fro-yo made from recycled materials. And if it were a character from Full House, it would be Stephanie Tanner. But come on guys, even Steph can be cool when she stops lisping about Mr. Bear and gets down to some good old fashioned mischief-making.
Now, DC’s shortcomings are no big deal during the work week: everyone here is so
engrossed in their congressman or consulting firm or non-profit or think tank that it doesn’t honestly matter if there’s squat to do at 6:30 on a Wednesday night (and no, happy hour at The Front Page most definitely does not count.) It’s on the weekends that I sometimes say the viyahafta and look toward the heavens, wondering how on earth the biggest hot spot for dinner in a city chock full of people between the ages of 22 and 30 is Lauriol Plaza.
It’s taken me a year and a half, but I’ve finally found a few reliable alternatives to the typ typpy typ bullshiz that people around here do on the weekends. So if you live here, get your sorry ass out of the line to get into El Centro (it’s really not THAT sweet people!) And if you’re visiting and your host is planning on dragging you to the dreaded Lauriol (sorry, but I really just cannot wrap my head around the 2 hour wait for a soggy burrito that’s only going to make your entire night a battle with flatulence) – pump the breaks and suggest one of my go-to picks below.
Friday Night – Happy Hour
For happy hour, skip the shrines to douchebaggery that line Dupont Circle and head over to the Blaguard or Stetson’s – my neighborhood haunts. They never get too crowded, are divey without being gross, show all the important games for any menfolk who may be accompanying you, and have drink specials that last longer than the more well-traveled spots. If you don’t live as far north as I do, Fox and Hound is great when it’s warm enough to sit outside (the inside is musty and smells like your local VFW) – they do this thing where they basically fill an entire glass with your choice of rail liquor and then just give you a little bottle of your choice of soda on the side to wash it down. Super cheap and serioso bang for your buck!
Friday Night – Dinner
One of my top pet peeves with DC is that the people here are sheep when it comes to restaurants and bars. Seriously though – I would say that there are about 20 restaurants in Northwest where people in their twenties go out to eat on weekends… and that’s it. 20 might be really generous – who the eff knows I suck at math.
What’s even sadder than places like Lauriol (i.e. places that suck but have huge followings) are places that are actually fun and delicious but that you cannot get into because every other chickenhead this side of Connecticut Avenue is tottering next to you in her brand new sequined cardigan from Banana Republic whining about the very same 45-minute-to-an-hour wait. Hank’s Oyster Bar is one such place – god knows I’ll have myself a nice oyster po’boy when given the chance, and Hank sure does know his crustaceans.
Since quite a few of us have the Hanks hankering and your chances of getting a table at any time other than 4:45 on a Tuesday are slim to none, check out Blackbyrd instead. Great beer selection, lobster roll is tasty as hell, and everything comes with these awesome homemade chips smothered in Old Bay. My girl Mad-dog and I have ended up at Blackbyrd on more occasions than we’d like to admit after having traipsed up and down 14th Street like vagabonds looking for a restaurant with an open table – and it hasn’t let us down yet.
The icing on the cake here is that Blackbyrd has an awesome bar that is literally upstairs from the restaurant with a very respectable DJ. One stop shopping!
I have a sneaking suspicion that my menu of options for daytime activities on the weekend would be much longer if I had a car, but unfortunately Babygirl pried the Lex out of my warm, clammy hands and now I’ve got no whip to my name. If you’re looking to get out of the district for the day, I highly recommend hopping on the Yellow line and popping on over to Old Town Alexandria. Snags and I do it semi regularly – it’s super charmant and there are a bunch of outposts of some great DC restaurants (including Hanks!) with zero wait time. Last summer, we rented bikes from Bike and Roll down in an alley at the bottom of King Street. They gave us directions to Mt. Vernon (that’s old Georgey Washington’s plantation for all of you who never did a lick of AP Tucker chapter notes) and we had a super pleasant day biking right along the Potomac and eating sandwiches on the lawn where Martha supposedly grew weed!
There is only one place that really deserves all the hype and the long lines and the hooplah in DC, and that place is Policy. Policy is a ball of fun and laughter and giggles and good times had by all. They have the greatest DJ known to man who plays Biggy and Mariah and all other kinds of amazing late 90’s jimmy jams – and really, that’s all that matters. (Fun fact- a couple of weeks ago, I dragged him along to Marvin with me after Policy closed because I couldn’t bear to part ways with his genius.)
Feinbergs LOVE to shake it, but we do NOT like to do it to lame weird music that you can’t wag your finger and holler along to. Policy understands what we want in a Saturday night – great throwback tunes, copious amounts of alcohol, a crowd of mostly non-threatening girls, and friendly bartenders who respect the art of an open tab and are not afraid to give you a $12 drink for 3 bucks when you’re being a good customer (as we always are). It’s.the.best.
I’m going to go ahead and omit the one terrible terrible awful horrible night that Beezus and I shared with Dooglestein back in January because I’ve blocked it from my mind at this point and I don’t ever want to think about it again. Think throwing elbows, making scenes, not observing fire code, horror, opposite of fun, etc. etc. Thank god I was brave enough to get back on the horse, but I don’t think those two will ever be going back.
Don’t go to brunch. It’s lame and stupid and if you haven’t already read Bezusita’s treatise on why that is then do it now because you clearly need a good slap in the face.
Sleep until 11. Take your excedrin. Read the NYT weddings. Then haul ass out of bed and get yourself to Dupont Market for the dankest breakfast burrito this side of the Rio Grande. Then go back to bed. BOOM!