So when I headed to the nation's capital last weekend to visit friends I was more than pleasantly surprised by the nocturnal options. (Unfortunately, the fashion met my low expectations. Overheard exchange: "Why are all the people in D.C. so unattractive?" "Because it's like camp here: everyone just goes around in shorts and T-shirts.")
After a low-key Saturday wandering around Dupont Circle, we headed to the Italian restaurant Posto for dinner. Located at Logan Circle on 14th Street, the modern eatery boasts a dÃ©cor of pale wood tables punctuated by color-saturated photos; organic, seasonal dishes courtesy of chef Massimo Fabbri, and a long communal table where diners can enjoy the full pasta, pizza and seafood menu and a reasonable wine list. White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is apparently a frequent patron.
Next stop, further down 14th street was The Gibson, a relatively new, speakeasy-esque lounge with dim lighting, red banquets and an outdoor patio. The 48-seat establishment is from the same owners as The Marvin, the swanky bistro-bar next door.
Show up without a reservation and the manager takes your number to text you if and when something opens since there's a no standing policy.
The intimidating cocktail selection lists ingredients like "chicory tincture" and Benedictine. And even better for the less adventurous, they will happily take back your drink if you aren't pleased and replace it with something more to your liking.
One friend tried a whiskey-based concoction called a Vieux CarrÃ©, while I asked for something similar to a French 75 and was given a Brunswick Sour: a white rum elixir with a "merlot float."
Best of all, once you are inside the civilized confines, the servers make no attempt to rush you out.
As such, we didn't make it to our planned last stop, Policy (yes, the name could possibly use some reconsideration). Also set on 14th Street, the restaurant-lounge is comprised of two floors and an outdoor patio.
Downstairs, a black tin ceiling and red accents dominate, while upstairs graffiti-splattered walls, dark wood seating and multi-colored chandeliers reign. The menu consists of small plates and specialty drinks like the Libertini (Kettle One, Chambord, pineapple juice and a Champagne float) and the Open Door Policy (Parrot Bay Mango Rum, watermelon puckers, sweet and sour and Sprite). Just in case you weren't already aware that you were in D.C.