Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Find D.C. Speakeasies

If you're reading this blog, it is entirely likely that your daily life ebbs and flows along with two particular amendments to the Constitution.

No, ladies, I'm not referring to the 19th, though I'm sure you're all so profoundly affected by that annoying "routine doctor's appointment that stops you in your tracks" radio commercial currently airing ad nauseam right now (my child has ASTHMA?!!?? THE HORROR!!!) that you'll be sure to exercise your right to stuff a ballot box in November.

And, no, Virginians, I'm not referring to the 2nd either (so it's probably best to shove that handgun a little lower in your purse, Grandma).

I'm not even referring to the 5th (please fast-forward video to 4:28 and watch until 5:47):

There are sooooo many amendments in the Constitution
of the United States of Americaaaaaa. I can only choose one...
I can only choose OOOOOOOOOOONE!

Nay, the amendments in question here are the 18th and the 21st, aka Prohibition and its repeal. From after-work happy hours to lobbying coups, everything in Washington appears to hinge on a swirling cocktail (or four).

And without both of these amendments, the country would have never given rise to one of the coolest bar trends: The speakeasy.

In the beginning, speakeasies only existed because people needed hidden places to gather to drink illegally. Today, obviously, alcohol is no longer verboten, so these booze-slinging establishments only exist to make you feel as though you carry a certain social cachet. And truly, it's pretty cool to be in a place you have to know where it is to know where it is.*

So where are these places in D.C.? Without further ado:

The Gibson, 2009 14th St. NW

I've mentioned this speakeasy before in terms of first dates, and with good reason: Every time I've gone to The Gibson, I have hardcore made out with the man who took me there. The only time I didn't make out with someone at The Gibson was when I went with a group of my girlfriends, and frankly, if they'd have been down for it I'd have made out with them too. There's just something about this place that gently whispers "seeeeexxxxxxx" across your earlobes and down your neck.

To find it, locate this black door right next to Marvin, just around the corner from the U Street Metro:

Once inside, there will be someone waiting with a clipboard. The Gibson requires that every person in the establishment have a seat, which is nice for those in heels but may mean you have to wait for an opening if you didn't make a reservation.

But this is what you get once they open up:

The cocktails and service are amazing. Seriously, take me here, and I'll make out with you. Guaranteed.

PX, 728 King St., Alexandria

That address is a bit misleading -- that will actually take you into Eamonn's, an Irish pub that owns PX. To get to the speakeasy, turn the corner onto Columbus Street and look for this door:

When the blue light is on, PX is open. Knock on the door and someone will open it and ask you how many people are in your party. It's the same rules as The Gibson, meaning that they will give you an assigned seat.

And, much like The Gibson, it is equally lovely inside:

PX boasts some of the best mixologists in the area, so you won't be disappointed by the cocktails here. (Though, watch out for cocktails that contain tobacco if you're not a smoker. Trust me.)

PX is accessible from the King Street Metro.

Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club, 1103 Bladensburg Road NE

Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club has the unique distinction of being both a speakeasy and a dive bar. And from the look of the front door, you'd never think this place was anything other than an abandoned building:

That's the bouncer. His name is Marcus. Saturday was his first day on the job :)

Enter that door and pull open another door immediately to your right. You'll then find yourself in the midst of a dark bar:

Reminded of Little Miss Whiskey's? Jimmy Valentine's is owned by the same people, so it definitely has the same sort of vibe. And much like the former, Jimmy Valentine's also serves frozen drinks, most notably a root beer slushie.

Jimmy Valentine's is a little further out of the way than the other two. For anyone who does not live in the H Street Corridor already, you'll have to Metro to Chinatown then hop the X2 Metrobus out to the 15th/H/Bladensburg/Maryland/Benning Road intersection, then walk up Bladensburg until you see the aforementioned door. (Or, of course, take a cab.)

And now, you have the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. Go check out some of these places!

*I realize I'm taking away some of the allure by highlighting these places, but... live and let live, people.

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget the best (and actual) speakeasy in DC: The Columbia Room @ The Passenger. Give it a try.