When I was in first grade, I wanted to be a cocktail waitress when I grew up. I was five years old and had just been shoved into some gifted program at my school, but for open house we had to draw a picture and write a story about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wanted to wear spangly earrings, high heels and sling drinks. My parents – expecting something far more lofty from their “gifted” child – were horrified to find my picture in all of its glory hanging in the hall outside of my first grade classroom.
With some gentle cajoling from my mom, I amended my aspirations to Supreme Court Justice by day, cocktail waitress by night. Not only did it never occur to me that those two paths might be mutually exclusive, but I was completely unwilling to give up the dream of spending my evenings at a bar. Over the years, I’ve realized that I was not attracted to serving people drinks, but rather to the drinks themselves and the bars in which they’re served. (With a dash of fondness for heels and spangly jewelry.) I’ve always been drawn to bars. As much as I love good food, I’m more likely to spend my vacations checking out a city’s watering holes than their restaurants. I prefer, in almost all circumstances, to eat at the bar. Most of my best memories take place around a tiny table in dimly lit bar with the best friends anyone could hope to have. Five Hill beer experiences not to be missed after the jump…
While a frou frou drink from a fancy glass or a pitcher of margaritas certainly have their place, I’ve generally got simpler tastes. Bourbon in the winter, vodka in the summer is generally my preference – but the pure joy I derive from drinking a pint of well-poured beer isn’t rivaled by anything. Too many years of flirting with Atkins (and his cousin South Beach) have served to make beer still feel illicit. So when I decide to sit down to a glass of fermented amber waves of grain, I still get a little thrill.
We’re lucky here on the Hill, because from H St. to the river and everywhere in between, we’ve got so many wonderful choices to quench our beer drinking needs. (Unless you want a Miller Lite at Cap Lounge.) You can get a can of Natty Boh at the Pug, an Iron City (or IC Light) from my hometown Pittsburgh, next door at the Red & the Black or hit Jimmy Valentine’s for a grenade of Mickey’s Malt Liquor. You can swing over to Trusty’s for a Yuengling (in a Mason jar) and the Dubliner is always good for a pint of Guinness. Or head to the Hawk ‘n’ Dove for a Miller Lite and listen for the next great entry over at Spotted: DC [Summer] Interns. The beauty of the Hill is that we can accommodate the beer drinking needs of everyone from frat boys to beer snobs and there is a bar to suit any mood you’re in.
I worked painstakingly to come up with my five favorite Hill beer experiences. This list isn’t even close to exhaustive, but it’s not a bad place to start:
Mussels, frites and any of their rotating selection of Belgians at the bar at Dr. Granville Moore’s. (Ask the bartender to pair for you – their selection is always changing, but I’ve never been disappointed when I let the folks behind the bar guide me.)
Jagerschnitzel and a boot of Paulander (or the German draught of your choice) on the patio at Cafe Berlin.
A can of Corona and a basket of chips and salsa on the deck at Cantina Marina. (I know, not technically the Hill, but really close.)
Watching the Maryland game with a bowl of beef and bison chili and a pint of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA at Lola’s.
A Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and a funnel cake at the bar at the Argonaut.
What are your favorite Hill beer experiences?