Guys. The Superbowl is this Sunday.  And while we at BYT don’t like to get ourselves mixed up in sport too much, we do absolutely condone any and all reasons to gorge yourself on something delicious.  Especially if that something delicious is a mutha-f*ckin’ buffalo wing.  So in a stroke of drunk genius, I gathered some of this city’s resident Wyngz experts to put their taste-buds on blast to prove once and for all who has the best wings in our fair nation’s capital.  Game on!

Without further adieu… Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Mr. & Mrs. West (aka the BYT Productions decor dream team) and our main judges for this critical analysis.  Thanks also goes to Kaitlin Murray, Bennett Richardson, Jesse Bishop, Chris Burns, Andrew Lentz and Allan Chappelear (who has a buffalo wing tattoo, people!) for their countless suggestions and spiritual guidance as we consumed well over 200 wings.  (Really).

WYNGZguide2013-2263

If there’s anything those three semesters I spent as a biology major have taught me, it’s that when you create an experiment you need variables and a control.  It’s a no-brainer that Hooters is synonymous with wings (or should that really be breasts?).  They’re the fastest, most mass-produced version of all the wings we tried, so we built our rating scale accordingly.  Mitchell will be using the “Bud Heavy” scale and Morgan the “Pinot Grigio” rubric of scientific deduction.  This ain’t rocket science (or golf)! The higher the number of alcoholic bevies the better the wing. Categories included: Sloppiness (how many napkins does it take to finish the plate?), Meatiness (there better be some cushion for the pushin’ on them bonezzzz), Spiciness (Call the doctor, I’m on fire!), Overall Deliciousness (Is this wing worth it’s salt?), Atmosphere (because let’s be honest, we visited some dives), Presentation (better make them beauties look goooooooood) and Sides (Bleu Cheese? Ranch? Carrots? Celery? Give them to ussss!).  Bonus points were given out accordingly for notable anecdotes like killer service and good tunes. Simple, right? Good! LET’S DO THIS!

beavis-butthead-6-7

 

HOOTERS budheavywinebudheavy (Overall Score: 3)

Like mentioned above, Hooters was our control and the overall middle ground of our wingspectations.  We went with the Hooters “Hot” and Hooters “911” wings (left and right respectively).  And while both types of wings were delicious, neither were going to make us slap a stranger or call the burn unit.    Hooters received a 2.5 in all flavor categories.  Special notes included the extremely excellent service but lost points for no longer serving carrots on the side! The wings were overall delicious, buttery, with tons of breading which is perfect for slopping up delicious wing sauce and/or bleu cheese and ranch dressing.  And holy fuck, there’s free wi-fi, which means I will be taking all of my business meetings there from now on (especially now that they boast the Sutter’s Home wine selection)!  Delightfully tacky? Damn straight. ($8.99 for 10 wings, with an equal number of drumsticks to wings)

  • Sloppiness – 2.5
  • Meatiness – 2.5
  • Spiciness – 3
  • Overall Deliciousness – 3.5
  • Sides/Sauces – 2
  • Presentation – 3
  • Ambiance – 3

WYNGZguide2013-2253WYNGZguide2013-2261

DUFFY’S IRISH PUB budheavywinebudheavy (Overall Score: 3)

You can’t go two minutes in this City, talkin’ ’bout wings without someone telling you that they heard/thought/knew for sure that Duffy’s (right by the 930 Club) was the top of the wing-making pyramid.  We were pumped!  We asked for the “traditional hot” wings and what we got was a huge let-down.  The wings themselves were not tossed in sauce, but rather just gently or perhaps even haphazardly drizzled in sauce.  While they smelled absolutely delicious (probably the best out of all contenders), they left a lot to be desired except in heat.  The wings itself weren’t traditional buffalo wings, but had more of a Thai/Asian vibe.  Bummer.  What Duffy’s lacked in ambiance, it made up for with having Big Buck Hunter (!!) and for being open at 4pm on a weekday.  ($8.95 for 8 wings with an equal share of drumsticks vs. wings) 

  • Sloppiness – 3
  • Meatiness – 2
  • Spiciness – 4
  • Overall Deliciousness – 3
  • Sides/Sauces – 3  (Bleu Cheese was the only option)
  • Presentation – 2.5
  • Ambiance – 1

WYNGZguide2013-2271

WYNGZguide2013-2266

BOURBON budheavywinebudheavywine (Overall Score: 4)

When the words “these wings… they’re just lubricated” and “yeah, but I like the flavor with my lubrication” came out of the mouths of our expert judges, we all collectively knew Bourbon was going to make up for any of the day’s shortcomings.  Sure, the wings could be spicier (like… way spicier) but that’s what hot sauce is for!  These are definitely you ideal, mild wing.  What Bourbon’s wings lack for in spice, the space (and staff) itself makes up for in spades.  Trust us.  (6 wings will run you $7.00, with all of ’em being drumsticks)

  • Sloppiness – 2
  • Meatiness – 4
  • Spiciness – 2
  • Overall Deliciousness – 3.5
  • Sides/Sauces – 3  (Bleu Cheese was the only option, but a delicious one)
  • Presentation – 4
  • Ambiance – 5
  • +1 for being Rattler approved
  • +3 for free shots of Jameson (what? We can totally be swayed by Irish Whiskey)

WYNGZguide2013-2277WYNGZguide2013-2283 WYNGZguide2013-2284WYNGZguide2013-2286

BLACK SQUIRREL budheavywinebudheavywine (Overall Score: 4)

Black Squirrel had by far the best presentation of wings we encountered on our entire endeavor.  Wings-pert, Mitchell was bold enough to say “these are the kind of wings I’d feed my grand kids — delicious and completely wing-like, but not too intense on the heat.” These wings were prepared more traditionally and we super appreciated the addition of carrots to our bevy of sides. The wings were crunchy, and damn near perfect. I mean, just check out the photo below if you need evidence. (8 wings will run you $8.49 with an even split of drumsticks to wings)

  • Sloppiness – 2
  • Meatiness – 4
  • Spiciness – 2
  • Overall Deliciousness – 4
  • Sides/Sauces – 4  (Ranch! Bleu Cheese! Carrots! Celery! Victory)
  • Presentation – 5
  • Ambiance – 4
  • +1 for killer tunes
  • +1 for an amazing beer selection

WYNGZguide2013-2299

GRAND CENTRAL budheavywinebudheavy (Overall Score: 3)

The wings at Grand Central are next-level, unreal good… and they should be.  The owners of Grand Central are straight outta Buffalo.  But even though the wings were damn near perfect (seriously, we were awed) the ambiance of bad top 40 (we’re talking Aviici, guys) and disco lights, plus dirty beer taps made a magical experience turn sour.  Go for the wings.  They’re definitely worth it, if you can stomach the rest. (11 wings will cost you $9 with a 6:5 split of wings to drumsticks)

  • Sloppiness – 3
  • Meatiness – 3
  • Spiciness – 3
  • Overall Deliciousness – 4
  • Sides/Sauces – 1  (Bleu Cheese was the only option)
  • Presentation – 5
  • Ambiance – 1
  • +2 for really being incredible wings

WYNGZguide2013-2303

51ST STATE budheavywinebudheavywine (Overall Score: 4)

An old haunt from my college days, I’ve never forgotten their insanely cheap wing nights (though those are no longer sadly… probably due to the SHORTAGE OF WINGS IN THE WORLD).  The wings were just as tasty as I remember, with a healthy dose of spice and a crispy skin for a nice initial crunch. Not bad for a dive in the least! (You’ll get 12 wings for $8.95, but I don’t recall the wings:drums ratio)

  • Sloppiness – 3
  • Meatiness – 4.5
  • Spiciness – 4
  • Overall Deliciousness – 3.5
  • Sides/Sauces – 3.5  (Bleu Cheese was the only option)
  • Presentation – 3
  • Ambiance – 2
  • +1 for college nostalga in minor doses
  • +1 for the Bad Religion playing overhead
  • +1 for letting us come in even though we were 15 minutes early
  • +1 for Guinness on tap

WYNGZ.PARTDEUX-3500

KELLY’S IRISH TIMES budheavywinebudheavy (Overall Score: 3.5)

A world away from any sort of scene (except maybe Union Station?), Kelly’s is a hike but totally worth it for the wings.  The decor is just what you’d expect from an Irish pub and the people are the straight-offa-work-lemme-loosen-my-tie type.  But don’t let that or the distance detour you from indulging on these buttery, savory breaded beauties.  Unanimous consent wished they were a little bolder in the spice category, but overall a damn delicious wing. (10 wings will run you $8)

  • Sloppiness – 3
  • Meatiness – 4
  • Spiciness – 3
  • Overall Deliciousness – 3.5
  • Sides/Sauces – 3  (A strange concoction of bleu cheese and ranch?)
  • Presentation – 4
  • Ambiance – 3
  • +1 for Guinness on tap and Bud heavy in a can!
  • +1 for the killer tunes (Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, The Doors….)
  • -1 for all the khakis and business suits on a Thursday. Boo

WYNGZ.PARTDEUX-3512WYNGZ.PARTDEUX-3521

BUFFALO BILLIARDS budheavywinebudheavy (Overall Score: 3)

Akin to stepping into the seventh circle of hell, Buffalo Billiards is a special place.  We saw bros being bros. Bros being weird bros.  And bros using their credit cards to push sand around on the shuffleboard tables as if it was cocaine (plus? minus? I’ll let you guys be the judge of that).  But if you can get over the incredibly young professional/neverland vibe, you’re going to find yourself a damn good wing.  These guys are a little smaller and crunchier than all the rest we tasted, but they pack enough punch in the spice department to make up for that downfall.  I think if we weren’t too busy being horrified by our surroundings, these might have been a contender for the best wings, period.  (10 wings costs $?, with more wings than drumsticks in the bunch)

  • Sloppiness – 4
  • Meatiness – 4
  • Spiciness – 4.5
  • Overall Deliciousness – 4.5
  • Sides/Sauces – 1  (“Bleu Cheese soup” – direct quote)
  • Presentation – 3
  • Ambiance – 1
  • +1 for having Popashot
  • -1 for not having Bud Heavy AT ALL (Says Mitchell: “Do I look like I am on a diet?”)

WYNGZ.PARTDEUX-3530

STONEY’S budheavywinebudheavywinehalfbud (Overall Score: 4.5)

Alright, let me just let the buffalo out of the bag now — these were by far the best wings we tried on our entire excursion.  I’m pretty sure Mitchell and I both tried to propose to the chef (Sorry Morgan) for his wingspertise.  These bad boys were salty (as hell!), slathered and spicy as all hell.  Get yourself two bud heavies (in a bottle) and chow down…. especially since the ambiance of Stoney’s only helped the experience.  Total winner.  Everyone else, stop trying! (Or get Big Buck Hunter).  (12 wings will run you $9.95 with an equal split of wings-to-drums)

  • Sloppiness – 4
  • Meatiness – 5
  • Spiciness – 5
  • Overall Deliciousness – 5
  • Sides/Sauces – 4  (Bleu Cheese was the only option)
  • Presentation – 5 (The cute basket with holders for sauces was way too adorable)
  • Ambiance – 4
  • +1 for Bud heavy in bottles!!

WYNGZ.PARTDEUX-3535WYNGZ.PARTDEUX-3540

MERIDIAN PINT budheavywinebudheavywine (Overall Score: 4)

When you think of buffalo wings, the image of piping hot (dare I say, steaming?), meaty bones slathered in a spicy as hell sauce should come to mind.  Meridian Pint, we salute you for bringing our daydreams to reality.  These guys were steaming as they reached us, so we were ever so thankful to see the carrots on the side.  The bar itself is one classy establishment, which makes up for the fact that the wings weren’t as spicy as we hoped (in fact they were quite buttery, with a slow build of spice).  Though they were absolutely the sloppiest and meatiest wings we scarfed down and the service was impeccable. (Eight of these wings will run you $9.00)

  • Sloppiness – 5 (By far the messiest wings we had, yum!)
  • Meatiness – 5
  • Spiciness – 2.5
  • Overall Deliciousness – 4
  • Sides/Sauces – 3  (Carrots! Bleu Cheese! Ranch! Celery! Huzzah!)
  • Presentation – 3.5
  • Ambiance – 5
  • +1 for the Talking Heads on loop, fuck yeah!
  • +1 for killer service

WYNGZ.PARTDEUX-3547WYNGZ.PARTDEUX-3554

TAP & PARLOUR budheavywinebudheavy (Overall Score: 3)

I was super surprised to see Wings on the Tap & Parlour menu, so they were a last minute addition to our experiment.  Forgive the low-quality photo, it does these wings no justice.  While we would have loved more sauce (even when we ordered round 2 and asked for “slathered in sauce” they were still a little dry), they’re great wings.  Especially if you were at our Inauguration Party to chow down on them.

  • Sloppiness – 1.5
  • Meatiness – 4
  • Spiciness – 3
  • Overall Deliciousness – 3.5
  • Sides/Sauces – 3  (Bleu Cheese was the only option)
  • Presentation – 2.5
  • Ambiance – 3.5

tapparlour

CHURCHKEY budheavywinebudheavywinehalf(Overall Score: 3)

If you were to ever make the faux paux of ordering wings on a date, Churchkey is the place to do it.  Their wings are delicious, but hardly sloppy or spicy — perfect for looking carefree, and cool while being cognoscente of the pitfalls of wing-eating. The cloth napkins were an especially nice touch, saving one from the embarrassing pile of subpar napkinettes at the end of a wing eating sesh.  Beware though, Churchkey gets insanely crowded after 6pm, so maybe these wings aren’t so good for date night after all… ($8.50 for 7; 3 wings, 4 drumsticks)

  • Sloppiness – 2
  • Meatiness – 4
  • Spiciness – 2
  • Overall Deliciousness – 4
  • Sides/Sauces – 3 (Bleu Cheese was the only option)
  • Presentation – 3.5
  • Ambiance – 5

churchkey

WINGOS budheavybudheavybudheavyhalfbud (Overall Score: 3.5)

The only delivery option on the list, Wingos is a staple for any lazy bums (ie: us) who wanna watch the game from the comfort of their own couch.  Want a trick to get your delivery wings at optimum quality? Ask for them to double fry ’em.  Sure they might kill you, but at least they’ll remain crispy on the transport over.  Wingos traditional hot wings are spicy, messy and absolutely delicious.  You can’t get much better from a delivery wing.

  • Sloppiness – 4
  • Meatiness – 3
  • Spiciness – 4
  • Overall Deliciousness – 4
  • Sides/Sauces – 3
  • Presentation – n/a
  • Ambiance –  n/a

WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGS COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WYNGZ.PARTDEUX-3557

DELICIOUS (NON-BUFFALO) WINGS ADDENDUM

We know not everyone can handle the heat in this kitchen, so we put together a healthy (not healthy-healthy, more like healthy-robust) list of delicious non-buffalo wings in the District.  Get you waaaang on!

  • Comet Ping Pong – Dry-rubbed and smoked to perfection, these wings are a MUST when visiting the notorious pizza haunt.  Plus the garlic aioli that comes on the the side will literally make you cry tears of delicious joy.
  • The Hamilton – Serving up D.C. style wings (that’s with Mumbo sauce, guys!), I never pass up a chance to order these bad boys.  Deliciously fried with plenty of dressing on the side, they don’t disappoint.
  • Fado’s Irish Pub & Restaurant – Who can say no to wings slathered in Guinness barbeque sauce? Not us!
  • Smoke & Barrel – While they have meaty wings on the menu, go for the vegan option — they’re absolutely killer (without killing you).

WYNGZguide2013-2285

 

Now go on! Tell us who we missed/were wrong to diss in the comments below!

X
X