It’s the last day of the decade. Most of our favorite bars made it through. Some did not. One opens for their last shift tonight (Goodbye, Satellite Room). Before we look forward to the next edition of the Roaring 20’s, we’ll pour one last drink out for 10 we lost in the Terrible Teens.
By the time Bohemian Caverns closed in 2016, the number of times I had actually gone there was zero. And yet, I still wish it was open. When you write about D.C. for any length of time, you become engrossed by the musical identity of the city; you become engrossed in the origins of jazz music and D.C.’s role as a hub for the greatest versions of it. Jazz and D.C. are synonymous, and places like Bohemian Caverns were historic epicenters where greats like Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and John Coltraine cut their teeth. Bohemian Caverns wasn’t just a place to go, it was a constant reminder of how important D.C. is to the cultural fabric of our country. -Ruben Gzirian
Kangaroo Boxing Club
The Queen’s English is lovely. The Good Silver was fun. But if we’re talking about the history of 3410 11th St NW, nothing can top the long gone, but never forgotten, Kangaroo Boxing Club. It was the right amount of dark, the right amount of dirty and always had the right amount of seats open at the bar. It was a spot that felt so homey and comfortable, that I kept it in my rotation through new romantic interests and friend groups. Whether you were looking to get day drunk on good beer or wanted to grab a quick and dirty BBQ dinner, KBC had a spot with your name on it. I spent a lot of time at their gnarly, heavy metal looking bar drinking too many beers (and sometimes too many Dark and Stormys). Every time I walk into The Coupe to pay too much money for a rapidly dwingly menu, I wish I could pop in KBC for a quick drink. -Kaylee Dugan
Perhaps. This one still hurts – both in an (admittedly) irrational, emotional sense and for reasons quite drab and practical.
On the latter front: Where the fuck am I supposed to drink in Columbia Heights? The closure of Meridian Pint has left a giant hole on the DC beer map. Yes, it was a craft beer bar, one with a not insignificant national reputation, a place where you brought visiting friends when you wanted to show off what this area’s brewing scene has to offer. But it was also just a functional neighborhood bar. People went there to watch football. It had one of the city’s better trivia nights (on Wednesdays, as all trivia nights should be). To enjoy Meridian Pint, you didn’t have to know who Shaun Hill is or the difference between a Czech and a German Pilsner or why the house Kölsch’s name contains a reference to an umlaut. You just had to like beer (and probably recklessly topped nachos). And, hey, maybe you inadvertently learned a thing or two about beer while you were there.
Of course, if you were mildly craft curious, Meridian Pint felt like heaven. Under the watch of Sam Fitz, Rachel Fitz, and Tim Prendergast (who went onto established ANXO), and subsequently Jace Gonnerman, the beer program was always on the cutting edge of local beer. It’s the bar where I spent the most money this decade, and that’s not particularly close. Sure, ChurchKey had the longer, more impressive list, and Pizzeria Paradiso had better food, but those places felt like treats. I couldn’t afford for to go those places several times a week. Meridian Pint served beer by the pint (unlike the majority of DC beer bars), and those pints were always priced as reasonably as I could expect. (The same can be said for the remaining Meridian Pint sister restaurants Brookland Pint and Smoke & Barrel… which, you know, you should frequent more often.)
Meridian Pint opened in June 2010 and closed April 2019. It literally touched every year of the decade and only every year of the decade. During that time, it served the first pint of DC Brau. It brought breweries like Ocelot and Aslin and Cushwa into DC for the first time. It brewed collaborations like Talking Backwards and From Russia with Love and The Adventures of Audrey and Double Dance of Days. For one decade, it was an vital part of the beer community.
Over the past six months, there’s been a lull in conversation when it comes time for my friends and I to pick a bar where we want to convene. For a decade, the default was Meridian Pint. I’ll spare you the personal memories, but we made a lot of them in that dimly lit basement. And I know we’re not alone in that regard. -Phil Runco
Mockingbird Hill / Eat The Rich / Southern Efficiency
I love our weird and wacky pop up kingdom as much as anyone else in the city, but man do I miss the three in one punch of Eat the Rich, Mockingbird Hill and Southern Efficiency. The cocktails, the snacks and atmosphere were always exactly what you needed. BYT’s first look (or it might have been a taste test) of Eat the Rich inspired me to go there as soon as I turned 21 in college (I had to wait for my mom to take me because I couldn’t afford any drink that wasn’t the most deeply discounted happy hour price). Derek Brown’s trio of bars has been a part of my drinking life since I could legally start drinking. Can we do an Eat the Rich / Mockingbird Hill / Southern Efficiency pop up? Have your people call my people. -Kaylee Dugan
Earlier this year, I received a text from a friend in NY (and is not a frequent visitor of D.C.) that said: Happy BYT Beaujolais party day!, which instantly made me feel nostalgic for the little miracle that was 1905. At the end off 2000s/start of 2010s D.C. was still a relatively rough and tumble place to go out in. And so when a tiny french spot opened across the street from one of my favorite places to go to dance parties too (DC9), and offered actually delicious cocktails and good food and extremely flattering lighting, my almost-adult self was very excited. We proceeded to throw an annual Beaujolais party there every November which still remains, in my memory, one of the best times (and worst hangovers, since the wine was NEVER good) of my entire life. They were the kind of parties your friends in other cities remember and text you nostalgically about years later. Its success was, in big part, due to 1905’s vibe: just the right balance of dirty and classy, with enough dark corners to hide in and open spaces to dance in. The roof expansion was a touch of genius too. They just did a lot of things right, and made them seem easy. No bar since come close to occupying the space 1905 had in my heart. -Svetlana Legetic
Patty Boom Boom
The first time I went upstairs into the chaotic mess that was Patty Boom Boom felt like the opening scene from Belly. Ignoring the fact that few (if any?) places in D.C. devote so much of their music to Jamaican dancehall, Patty Boom Boom was a controlled explosion of Red Stripe beer, bass-heavy music, and sweaty throngs of people. Many of the places we wish still existed in D.C. have earned that respect because they allowed us to behave outside of ourselves. Patty Boom Boom was a capsule stuck in a time when uncontrolled exuberant behavior was the entire point of a place like this existing. It was definitely cavalier, but it was liberating after 3-4 Red Stripes and a couple of shots of Jameson. -Ruben Gzirian
This bar was too nice and too dependable for its location. You could (almost) always find a seat at the bar at Proof and spend your evening with a fancy, but unfussy menu and a wine list big enough to make your head spin. Their cheese and meat plates rocked. They were so close to so many bad places, and yet they were so good! When you were craving the luxury of Zaytinya, but couldn’t actually afford Zaytinya (or couldn’t find a seat at the bar at Zaytinya), this was the spot. It was a little island of calm amidst the madness of G & 7th. Also, it was the best place to go during Dine N’ Dash. Also, I went on an accidental date here once and the charcuterie was so good I didn’t even mind. -Kaylee Dugan
D.C. needs more shitty bars. And Stetson’s was exactly that. When I worked at Garden District, Dickson, and then The Gibson in the early 2010s, Stetson’s was always a popular place to go after a shift to get post-shift trashed. There was no cocktail menu, no quadruple-hopped IPAs from a brewery in a place you’ve never heard of, or a wine list to match Le Bernadin. It was a shitty bar with regular beer, regular whiskey, and an atmosphere that had no other agenda than to get you both in quick fashion. -Ruben Gzirian
This bar’s flaws were evident almost immediately upon opening, but that made me love it even more. 1. It was very small. 2. It was very goth. 3. The cocktail menu only had four drinks on it. 5. I’m pretty sure there was next to no food available when it first opened? I vaguely remember a menu of nothing but pickles and nuts? Regardless, it was kind of dreamy. The small bar and high top tables separated into their own little sections made it feel ridiculously intimate, more last date material than first date material. You could drink your way through the entire cocktail menu in two hours tops. There was a weird sort of chain theme to the decor. Everything was painted black. It was moody as hell, the drinks were pretty damn good and the staff were incredibly friendly. More bars should have chains. -Kaylee Dugan
2 Birds 1 Stone
I’m mad about this all of the time! I don’t understand why 2 Birds 1 Stone had to leave us! The drinks were weird and good without being Pinterest-y whimsical, but the hand drawn constantly changing menus were Pinterest-y whimsical in all the right ways! The bright white cave space with its nooks and crannies made it the perfect place to hide with a friend and a cocktail. Walking into 2 Birds felt like slipping into a cocktail dimension. I can’t believe it was taken over by a wedding themed pop up. I can’t even remember what it is right now! All I know is that it’s not 2 Birds 1 Stone and I’m mad about it. -Kaylee Dugan