Photos By Franz Mahr, Words By Kate Ross
While there is no centralized “gayborhood” in D.C. per se, most spots in the past were limited to the five block strip on 17th Street. But with this new bar, located at 913 U Street NW in D.C.’s forever expanding U Street Corridor, it seems as if the queer community has further cemented their place in #newDC. With a locale within such close proximity to LGBT haunts such as Nellie’s, Town, and the newly opened Uproar, The Dirty Goose joins a vibrant scene, but as a very non-chalant, reserved, and classy affair. I had noticed the signage months ago, a prim and proper goose with a rainbow bow-tie, and the image suits this new spot very well. Needless to say, I was thrilled as this would offer another option to the more boisterous atmospheres at Nellie’s and Town.
After wandering up a couple flights of stairs, I found myself surrounded by a bunch of good looking young professionals, philanthropists, and creative types from the local scene. Wandering awkwardly, I asked one gentleman if he was perhaps the photographer I would be working with.
He was not.
My innate awkwardness must of set off an alarm because not long after I was approached by Daniel Honeycutt. Half of the creative team who opened the Dirty Goose – named after his fiancé, Justin Parker’s, favorite drink – he described this new spot as a “passion project.” Parker left his job in banking to man the helm at Dirty Goose while Honeycutt, a corporate attorney by day, spends the rest of his time at the spot noting that their dogs are missing them dearly. Honeycutt even pointed out that Parker was manning the bar: crafting signature cocktails for the young socialites and creatives in attendance.
After further perusing the setting of The Dirty Goose’s upscale, classic, and modern pastiche, I came to the conclusion that while there are many options for the LGBT crowd in the area, The Dirty Goose will definitely attract its own clientele. They seem to cater to a more sophisticated individual: the space is modern, sleek, and sterile, accented by motifs of bow-ties which, in this context, brings the idea of Don Draper to mind. It will be the “man’s night out” bar for persons who want to drink old school cocktails and feel classy as hell. This is a bar built around the classic portrayal of masculinity for queer persons who want to relish in it which, in the context of where this bar is situated, could be a particularly novel concept.
That’s not to say, however, The Dirty Goose is exclusive. Although it caters to more high-concept sensibilities, the prices of the food and cocktails still make the bar accessible to most and the casual attire of the waitstaff – tank tops and t-shirts adorning the modern, rainbow colored outline of a bow tie – suggest a come as you are atmosphere. Also, while we’re on the subject of accessibility, a very welcome addition is the inclusion of gender neutral bathrooms: something which should be a staple of any modern bar, lounge, or restaurant looking to open in today’s world (especially in locations looking to cater to a primarily LGBT crowd).
I could definitely see it as a fabulous spot to take clients out for happy hour or a nice dinner, the type of place to take someone on a second or third date, or even the casual pit stop to meet up with friends for a nice nightcap. It’s masculine, sure, but it’s tongue and cheek and, at its most extreme, it’s a place to experience cocktail bars the way they’re supposed to be: stiff and classy.
As one attendee so elegantly put it, some of these drinks will “knock you straight on your ass.” Apparently, the cosmopolitan at The Dirty Goose is one of those concoctions, but it should be noted that the minds at The Dirty Goose have worked incredibly hard to craft a cocktail menu which is balanced and has a variety of individual palates in mind. Their New Old Fashioned, for example, seems to be one of the torchbearers for this aesthetic. There’s more, however, to this potential staple in the queer #newDC.
My favorite part of the bar, perhaps even more so due to the full moon, was their rooftop. Yeah, I get it. Every hip bar or restaurant or lounge lays claim to a rooftop these days, but this one was particularly cozy, friendly, and basks in the warm glow of our bustling city. It’s definitely the most laid back and low-key aspect of The Dirty Goose, but it seems custom built for persons looking to make memories in the summer time with the ones they love. And for that, I have to give them even more props.
It may be too early to tell, but if my awkward ass can find solace in a new environment and see the attempts to create a safe, homely atmosphere for our LGBT community, then there’s something remarkable to be said about The Dirty Goose. My experience was fun, inviting, and has me curious as to where this new spot on U Street can go.
The Dirty Goose, 913 U St. NW, opens today, Thursday, August 18. Thursday night features DJ Matt Bailer, Friday night DJ Shea Van Horn and Saturday night DJ Khelan from BreakfastClub. Bottomless brunch runs Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.