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Photos by Nicholas Karlin, Words by Kaylee Dugan

I really wanted to start this by saying “The Ugly Mug has gotten a little less ugly.” But I can’t get myself to write that with any sincerity (because it sounds dumb), so I’m just going to be honest with you, The Ugly Mug has cleaned itself off a bit. While the downstairs is going to remain a little darker and a little dingier, the upstairs is now much brighter.

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And not just because of the brand new murals. The bar has a brand new 3,000 square foot roof deck. It’s roof is retractable. It’s bright and it feels really really clean. Nothing like the dive you used to know. And that’s not the only shiny new toy. There are, like I said, brand new murals on the walls, which cover a variety of D.C. themes and stereotypes. There are politicians in Lichtenstein-esque style, old sports teams logos, and a cute jab at the Metro.

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There are also a ton of new drinking options, including 20 craft beers on tap, draft cocktails, and plans to really expand the whisky list. As of right now, the only local brews are Atlas and DC Brau, but they plan to be switching things out and updating on a monthly schedule. It’s a very good start for a bar that’s just entering the craft beer world. If you would have told me The Ugly Mug would be serving Left Hand’s Milk Stout, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are.

If beer isn’t your interest, the draft cocktails are definite crowd pleasers. As of right now they have a bourbon based option and a vodka based option. Both are incredibly easy to drink and I could certainly see someone loosing track of how many they’ve ordered. Neither are too sweet or too boozy. They’re simple. Sometimes simple is just what you need.

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They’re also working on completely revamping the menu. Everything is getting rolled out slowly, so as of right now, they only new thing are the pizzas (which are New York style and perfectly capable of soaking up all the booze in your stomach), but in the future you can look forward to brand new burgers and sandwiches. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a bright, clean, and playful place to watch some sports (or Donald Trump’s face) The Ugly Mug is definitely a safe bet.

The Ugly Mug is located at 723 8th Street SE. The rooftop has had a soft opening all week, but the grand opening is on 9/23.

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