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Photos by Jeff Martin

It’s 80 degrees outside and Takoda could not have picked a better week to open. The indoor / outdoor rooftop “beer garden” was made for days like today. If it wasn’t the middle of the day on a Wednesday, the lovely PR people wouldn’t have been able to kick me out. Takoda’s second floor is the kind of spot that’s made for lingering. For sitting at the same table drinking ice cold beers and people watching all day long.

I might be getting a little ahead of myself. While it’s clear that Takoda’s airy second floor is the crown jewel, there’s a lot of other stuff going on in the space. Perched right next to that casual pizza place with the ludicrously large parking lot on Florida (you know what I’m talking about right?), it’s in a prime location. Still incredibly easy to get to from the U Street or the Shaw Metro, but a little separated from the crowds of U Street and 14th.

Climbing up the first set of stairs, the walls are covered with cute little murals of barley and wheat (signifying all of the beer you’re probably about to consume). The first floor is markedly different from the second. It’s much darker, and the space is accented with dark blue velvet curtains, wrought iron, and some fantastic tile work. It’s moody. While you can imagine friends and families hanging out at the bar, or in the seats near the windows, the booths seem more primed for date night.

This is the main dining room, but owners Eric Lund and Ryan Seelbach have thought of everything. You’ll be able to order from the food menu no matter where you are in the space (include the second level and both of the bars). Not to mention, they’ve made sure both bars are filled with coat hooks, purse hooks, and outlets.

Walking up to the second floor, the walls are covered with dark blue stars, straight off the D.C. flag. The idea behind Takoda is to create a neighborhood joint. The kind of place you could visit multiple times a week. I don’t know how successful that will be all of the time, but I can promise you the second floor is going to be packed all summer long. If you want to grab one of those seats with the outlets, you’re going to have to fight for it, but considering how beautiful the spot is, and how much whiskey and beer will be at your fingertips, it might just be worth it.

Takoda, 715 Florida Ave NW, will open Friday at 5pm. Hours will be 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday, 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. Happy hour will run Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.