After running around DC for the majority of the last 8 weekends carousing and having a jolly good time of it. I've got a couple of recommendations for places to go and places to avoid, like the plague.
A Dupont Staple right off the Red Line. Literally you exit, and it's right there. Now aside from my own love of this place, for the past 4 weekends, it's been deader than Michael Jackson (too soon?) Normally it has a groovin dance floor and a chill back bar to get away from all the creepster army guys (and by army guys I mean that one really creepy army guy that is literally there every night and likes to insult anyone with skin darker than white). But seriously the military men abound in this establishment due to the fact that at least three of the bartenders served in varying branches of the military and have a LOT of friends. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Let's go get a drink from my friend -insert bartender's name here-, we served in Iraq together!" But I digress, in my opinion this recent lameness can be attributed to the recent rash of purse snatchings in the bar (yes I'm serious) and the fact that college is out for the summer for the most part, which is where a majority of the bar's clientelle comes from during August - May. But to give you a heads up of HOW dead it has become, while dancing there on Friday night, I was one of 5 people on the dance floor 2 of which were my own friends. Maybe Saturdays are better? For the bar's sake I hope so.
A swanky lounge in a hip hotel "Four Blocks" from the Dupont Circle Metro. I can tell you now the "Four Blocks" bit is a cop. What they really mean is about a mile away from the metro if we're going to be real. Because while technically yes there are four blocks they're friggin' long arse blocks. Aside from that it's a tiny spot where I'd recommend happy hour with some friends due to its smaller capacity and lack of a DJ. But they have an expansive patio area which rivals the size of the interior bar. I cannot tell you enough how cool the interior of the bar is. The designer really went all out with slick lines and show lighting.
SIGN OF THE WHALE
Located legitimately a few blocks from the Dupont Circle Metro, this laid back sports bar offers up free happy hours to anyone who can write their name legibly on a piece of paper that circulates the bar on any given night. I've recently been frequenting it due to my friends being able to write legibly and received free cover and $3 drinks. Yes you read that right nights at SOTW will typically cost you a five dollar cover, spilled drinks and MANY MANY BRUISES. The fact of the matter is that the bar is oriented in what I like to call galley/alley fashion, which means it's long and narrow and everyone is going to be traipsing by you (read PLOWING) in order to find an open spot. Apparently the bar also didn't get the memo to turn down the A/C when it gets hopping because they instead use industrial fans which can and will blow up girl's skirts, giving patrons a free show of some people you want to see and some people you do not. Mostly this is the spot to start off the night if the drinks are cheap due to a friend's happy hour, otherwise it's not worth the five bucks.
RATING: ONLY FOR FREE HAPPY HOURS
Located next to Lucky Bar, Midtown offers up a more club style bar than the majority of Dupont's offerings. It's swanky. It's skanky. And I have no urge to wait in the ridiculously long line in order to be judged profusely by their Russian Bouncers for my jeans and flipflops. While typically over 18 on the weekdays, they get picky on the weekends and bump the age group up to +21, which to me seems kind of dicky, but hey not my bar. The majority of girls popping around here are dressed to dance, and unknowingly, dressed to get felt up. Because unless you enter that bar with a man willing to intimidate the lurchers in the corners, then let me tell you the bottom line, you're going to get creeped on by many many men trying to stick their junk in your butt, and you're going to get pissed, and it's going to ruin your night.
A few blocks away from the metro this laid back bar offers one solo pool table for those "lucky" enough to pounce; An over crowded dance floor; a long narrow stairwell up to the tiny-tiny bathroom, and a strange almagamation of weirdos/college kids/professionals/crazy pants-es. The other night a man carrying a wicker murse (man purse) attacked my group of peeps with his bad dance moves, while shoving his murses in our faces, which wouldn't have been a problem had we been able to run away, but since the bar was too crowded to function, let alone breathe we had to endure or peace out. Granted I have been here many a time on the weekdays later at night, and on those nights it's thoroughly a different place, with quality beer and a great atmosphere, but if you're looking to dance or just drink and chill. It's not conducive to those activities on the weekends. The Bar at the front is poorly designed to order drinks from and the bar on the main floor is only reachable if you like crowd surfing.
RATING: MEH - TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT
Located a short walk from the Sign of the Whale, Rumors offers a mix of dancing, drinking, and chilling in it's multi space environment which makes for a great atmosphere and allows a group of friends with different drinking interests to please their own tastes. While the dance floor does run on the smaller side, the DJ normally pumps out a solid mix of dance/rap/hip-hop/80s, keeping his dancers happy. The easily accesible main bar on the lower level has two sides making it easier to get the attention of the bartenders, while the bar up on the top level is typically staffed with 3/4 bartenders a night making it easy to get someone's attention. Caveat - a $5 cover, which typically makes people say things like, "I'm not paying no damn cover," BUT the cover for the most part keeps the creepers out, and the roving team of bouncers employed who, also, keep the creepster level to a minimum. Those burly men in Rumors apparel are not just for decoration, I've seen them kick out/carry out creepers who get too handsy or people who get too rowdy.
RATING: YES, PLEASE
Right across the street from the Southern exit of the metro, Big Hunt is all about the atmosphere, the good special house brews, and a mixture of hipsters and the laid back patron. They're the definition of divey in my opinion, which in my opinion means I don't want to go to their bathroom, because I'm not sure where it's been and since there are only two in the entire bar for men and women, sometimes the line for the shitty ass bathroom can get a bit long. And by shitty ass bathroom I mean some times it looks like someone couldn't locate the damn toilet paper. Walls are not for wiping people!!! There's a pool table and two skeeball games up on the top floors and plenty of seating indoors, while the patio up top can get a bit competitive for tables. Thing to note. You sit at a table, order from your waitress/waiter because they are circling. It's a good spot to hang out with friends in a low-key environment where you might meet other groups or you might not. It all depends on you.
RATING: YES - IF YOU CAN BRAVE THE BATHROOM.
Located across the street from the Front Page, Hoban's offers everything an Irish Pub typically offers, plus a snobby professional environment. This is where wanna be congressman go to die. I don't think I've ever seen more 40-60 year old men in a bar on a late night as I have here. It's not the most conducive space for finding people and it's definitely not conducive for meeting people unless you're looking for a sugar daddy.
A quick walk from the Southern Exit of the Metro, Urbana is a rising establishment for food and wine in the Dupont area. I'm not sure if I'd recommend going here as a stop for your late night rounds, but they have creative drinks that will tingle your taste-buds and open your palette for their great food (minus the FOUL smelling tomato soup). They have an extensive wine list to serve you from if wine's your poison and offer two bar areas in which to meet and mingle with other people who enjoy good food and the swank atmosphere of this intelligently designed basement bar. They keep a pretty solid social media presence, letting you know of any specials and new flavors coming up on their menu.
RATING: WHY NOT - YOU'VE GOTTA EAT
PUBLIC BAR, AKA PUBLIC
The place to go to meet real men, is located just a few short blocks from the Southern Exit of the Metro. Boasting more TV screens than you can look at in a night, this very sporty bar has three floors/four bars and a LOT of people. Somenights are better than most and some nights it will cost you $5 to get in, I still haven't figured out their system of pay or don't pay, so I can't help you out there. The first floor is more conducive to meeting sporty people, checking out the games, where as the second floor is pretty much a dance dance dance kind of zone with some low seating spread around, while the third floor is... wait... are there four floors? I'm unsure..., there are so many stairs in this joint that I really can't remember, if there are four floors, instead of three, then it's safe to say the third floor is not worth visiting because it's not remarkable, but the roof bar, is pretty nice. I'd recommend it, if your knees can handle it.
RATING: SURE-WHY NOT
A swirly-girgly mass of dancing/chilling/gaming/drinking patrons rushing through and rushing by located a few steps away from the BIG HUNT. Wow, is it worth it to go here!!! There's dancing on the massive main floor, along with drinking from a cash bar or the long galley/alley style bar, but all of this keeps you constantly moving, or getting constantly tread upon - recommendation: closed-toed-shoes. Upstairs offers different areas, each sporting their own smaller/easier to access bar, as well as, a chill area to talk and mingle versus the carnivale happening below. And let me tell you, it is a carnivale below, a mass of bodies sliding and writhing next to each other, where the only words heard are the music and the ones you can scream loud enough to hear. Prepare to be HOARSE HOARSE HOARSE following any night partied at the Madhatter on the bottom floor. Since this bar is always hopping, the line to get in can get pretty long, so I recommend heading there before midnight if you know this one is on your list.
Any other bars you're curious about? Let me know I'll check em out and get back to you! Don't like my ratings for these? Suck it, they're subjective.