Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Don't Call it a Comeback

Yes, we've been away again, but now we're back with a vengeance. Bou and Row have spent the last month frolicking about Europe.

Our first adventure led us to Spain. After a relaxing fishing trip off the coast of Mallorca, we headed over to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls where many a poor red scarf wearing sap was gored because of his drive for meaningful participation in his own culture (lucky for us--we can just go to McDonald's and down a McRib for that shit.)

Many bibulous and riotous times were had. The calimoxo flowed like coke and wine, paella was eaten like it was leftover, room-temperature Papa John’s laying around the morning after a good 2nd Saturday. Many Museos de Jamon were visited, and lispy, aggressive women with lusts for life fixed our eyes in conversation while we tried to plead innocent of American barbarism. Despite Row beating up some vegetarian bullfighter named Romero, and some other drama which we may or may not save for our mamas, the Spanish leg of our trip was a drunken success.

Next it was on to the Tour de France....

At first, watching the alpine stretches of the race was a bit tiring due to the elevation sickness that befell us both. However, we found our way to the training tent, and after a few EPO cocktails, we felt surprisingly refreshed, what with all the extra red blood cells. An unexpected downside of doping our blood to better observe the race was that it took longer to get drunk, and when the Euro is bludgeoning the dollar like it is these days, that makes France expensive.

Following Montaigne's famous aphorism, "For what ails you, Albania the answer be," we decided to trek down to Tirana. After an emotional visit to the Unkown Partisan Monument, we felt inclined to drown our sorrows in carafe after carafe of Raki and Korca beer at the local pub. For one reason or another, we fell in with a bad crowd, and only by our wits and guile did we manage to escape. Still, there's nothing quite as rousing as a Raki fueled night at the Pravda Lounge if you ask us. But hey, had to be done. We had to fight them there so none of you have to fight them here. (We're pretty sure the Albanian mob won't come looking for us on the Hill...)

So Capitol Hill Bar Review is back, and none the worse for wear, whatever that means.

Soon we'll be making our way to the H St. bars and you'll finally find out whether they're cool or not.

Monday, July 2, 2007

RFK-- Stadium Arcadium

You may have noticed that Capitol Hill Bar Review hasn’t posted much for awhile. In the meantime, we’ve been inundated with email from thousands of readers wanting to know what gives and demanding new posts.

Armless Jane: “Are you guys on the wagon or something? WTF?”

Saucy Chaucer: “Has CHBR lost its Rage to Live?”

Feckless Finnegan: “I swear to you. I am perched on the edge of my balcony. If you guys don’t post again by June 26th, I’ll jump.”

Well, with apologies to Finny’s mum, it so happens that we’ve been spending a reasonable amount of time drinking beer in RFK stadium since our last post. Bouillonnui is a bit of a Tigers fan, and Rowdy is down for basically anything that involves baseball and/or nachos, so we wound up watching the entire Detroit/Washington series. (Quick note: If you, by some strangeness of character or act of God, have become a Nationals fan in the last couple of years, you might want to stop reading now because this story won’t end well for you.)

Just before Game 1 of the series, we grabbed some dinner and margaritas at La Lomita on 13th and Penn. The Bouillonnui/Detroit contingent was large—Papallionnui and Mamallionnui had actually driven down from Michigan to watch the series with several other family members in tow.

There’s always something slightly intoxicating about walking into a major league baseball stadium on game-day. Don’t get me wrong. Watching a game at RFK is nothing like seeing a game in old Tiger stadium, Fenway Park, or Camden Yards, but it can still give you a little tingle. What grabs you first is the sound—the slow roar that emanates from the crowd interspersed with the looping cries of the vendors. Then you look around. There is beer everywhere. There are hotdogs and nachos and pretzels, and as you walk down the corridor looking for your seating section, you catch glimpses of the field, the green carpet of Bermuda grass trimmed tight like a fresh military haircut.

I have these moments when I forget that America is the greatest country in the world. It’s natural, I suppose, to have thoughts like “Is it really ok that we’ve dropped thousands of tons of depleted uranium munitions on Iraq?” or “Is this really the ‘freest’ country in the world? I bet I could hold up a ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ sign in Sweden.” Well, there are two things that render those thoughts meaningless—one is March Madness; the other is the elation of walking into a baseball stadium in mid-summer. And I can promise you all that as long as those two American traditions remain intact, the terrorists will never win.

We found our seats near the middle point of the lower section on the first base side and sat next to a couple of middle-aged, mustachioed Dominicans who spoke lazy, Caribbean Spanish. It was hot, about 96, and later, when I arrived home, I would take one look at my sweaty, matted hair, and shave it all off.

Now, beer at baseball games has never been known to be too cheap, and RFK is certainly no exception. However, you can get a reasonable amount of bling-bang for your buck if you hit up the Guinness/Harp stand. I mean, a Guinness will run you around $6 in most D.C. bars these days. You can get one at RFK for $6.50 so you don’t exactly feel like you got sodomized on the deal.

Here is the skinny, baseball-wise:

· Tigers came to town for interleague play with a chance to move into first place ahead of the Indians.
· The Nationals suck and have sucked all season.
· Detroit’s Magglio Ordoñez is flat-out redunculous this year. Right now, you could throw a chick-pea anywhere near the plate and he’d hit it for an opposite field double. (see Rowdy’s post-game phonecall with his Pa below)

Rowdy: Hey Pa, what’s up? I just got back from the baseball game.

Pa: How’s Detroit look?

Rowdy: Indestructible, but they were playing the Nats…

Pa: Ordoñez get any hits?

Rowdy: You tryin to be funny? He went 7 for 10 in the series.

Pa: Wow, he’s batting like .350 isn’t he?

Rowdy: Try .382

Pa: Dear God.

· Tigers swept the series and scored 32 runs in 3 games.

A particularly pathetic play occurred midway through the top of the 5th inning in the series finale that I feel I must mention. Detroit’s Brandon Inge hit a ground ball to Nats shortstop Cristian Guzman who, instead of getting in front of the ball, bending his knees, and trapping it in his glove with both hands, decided to lazily bend over at the waist and make a one handed grab at it without moving his feet toward the ball at all. He bobbled it, was charged with an error, and allowed Inge, to take first base. Inge later scored.

It was, perhaps, the most insultingly lazy play I have ever seen attempted by a major league short-stop, and a slap in the face to all of Washington. I would’ve been pissed if the shortstop on my little league team had pulled a stunt like that, and my little league shortstop wasn’t being paid $4.2 million dollars a year. Not to mention that here we are in a city chalk-full of problems that need urgent attention and we’re about to spend our tax dollars on a new, $611 million baseball stadium, so you’ll have to excuse me if I find it F-ing incredible when Guzman decides it’s too much of a bother to move his fat ass two steps to the left to get in front of a ground ball. That’s a show of disrespect to the entire city. Also, Guzman may not have heard any of the curses I threw in his direction from the upper deck of center field, but I like to think they had something to do with his recent thumb injury.

By invoking the outlandish cost of the new stadium in the previous paragraph, I don’t mean to come off anti-baseball, because I’m anything but. What I basically object to about the new stadium is the swankiness of it all. The new stadium is clearly designed to cater to the wealthy, and given the diversion of public funds into it, it is bad form to spend so much money on things like “luxury suites” that will almost certainly be gobbled up by rich lobbying firms. The one thing that will make me puke up my ballpark frank at the game is watching a pharmaceutical lobbyist in the luxury box rub some congressman’s ass while Ryan Zimmerman strikes out for the 3rd consecutive time. (speaking of Zimm, MLB needs to put some theme music rules in place. Should Zimm really be able to play “This is Why I’m Hot” every time he steps up to the plate when he’s batting .245? Get on that, Selig. Might be a good distraction from Balco et al.)

On a slightly different note, I gots several lefty friends who reference certain intellectuals (Chomsky) out there who say sports serve to re-direct the energies and attentions of the public away from political realities, and towards meaningless events that feed into primitive gladiatorial pleasures and contribute to a false consciousness that positions subjects of the same political class against one another. They aren’t necessarily wrong, but they commit the same error of omission that many Marxists and folks on the left commit—they fail to acknowledge and properly account for the symbolic side of social existence. It's such a terribly unimaginative position to take, and what I would say to Chomsky is this: Do sports not also serve a valid, theatrical function in our world?

Each game is densely laden with plots and subplots. Protagonists triumph and fail due to combinations of natural ability, character, and chance; and all you can think to say is “sports are a meaningless distraction”? Ummm... Since when isn’t all of life a meaningless distraction? The next thing you know you’ll say we shouldn’t read novels because they’re just fake stories meant to distract all the rest of us from being just like you. Thanks for your concern, Noam, but only an unimaginative dullard could think that professional sports can’t be more than an empty distraction. I shall keep watching baseball, anti-capitalist sympathies intact. And while I'm at it, I think I'll have a few beers and some nachos.

-Rowdy Chowder

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Club

Yuppers, the legend is true. There really is a dance club above the Hawk n' Dove, and those of you looking to relive your College experience, The Club is for you. Not so much the part where you enrich yourself, study abroad, or make lasting friendships, but rather, the part where you dress up like a skank, put on some Axe, down a fifth of Popov, grind on several anonymous dance partners through the night, and do the sweaty late night make-out on the dance floor routine.

Really, who needs Adams Morgan when you got The Club? You can avoid the lines and the insane crowds, and you have the added bonus of hanging out with a bunch of Marines. So you can get hammered, have a good time dancing, and, assuming you're not holding some grudge against Freedom, hook up with a Marine to help the war effort.

If you live on Capitol Hill, you should definitely hit up the Club at least once. As they say on their website,

In the heart of D.C you'll find your not so typical "dance club".
Catering to the college crowd, we know how to party! With disco lights, a moderate dance floor, and the areas hottest bartenders and bouncers-you are sure to have a night to remember.

They ain't kidding neither. Rowdy's been to the Club just once. He walked up the stairs, saw a topless girl writhing on the bar, smirked, and turned around and walked out (I know, I know, there's something wrong with Rowdy). Also, there was the night Bouillonnui watched as a Marine and a snarky looking Hill staffer almost got in a fight. That's always an interesting dynamic to watch play out. On the one hand, you're just waiting for the Marine to absolutely destroy the guy and thinking to yourself, "Oh shit, I just hope this guy hasn't learned any kill moves." On the other hand, you keep watching said staffer talk about the validity of Sen. Inhofe's global warming views, and you start thinking, "Maybe it's ok if he just gets his jaw broken." And really, it would be.

Our advice is to spare yourself the cab money and added insanity that comes with going to Adams Morgan, and instead go to The Club sometime soon. We recommend going on a Saturday night when they have $5 pitchers from 9 - 11. Order one of the specialty shots they have, such as "Blood Clot" or "Sex at my House", hit up the dance floor and let the inevitable craziness begin.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 2nd Saturday

For those of you whom, for whatever reason, were not able to attend the recent 2nd Saturday party at Capitol Hill Books, we have again taken the time to recap the events that transpired.

Around 4pm on Saturday, the air outside hung heavy with hedonism. Perhaps, we thought, there will be no middle ground this evening—all or nothing time. Things appeared to be coalescing. When the Admiral finally unveiled several cases of wine and queso, the patrons seemed primed for debauchery.

There are days when what at first seem like widely disparate, almost subterranean phenomena begin to group themselves into a sort of worm-like self-organizing system of meaning that slowly works its head above the sand and shows itself. In this case, the phenomena that came together were as follows: The bookstore fridge was stocked with Tecate, Pilsner Urquell, and a case of white wine; Mr. Bisque was en route to store and ready to unwind after a hard day’s labor; confirmation text messages blipped themselves into being on our cellies; and Boullionnui was wearing the same T-shirt for the 3rd day in a row, and it had never looked so right.

The party started at 4pm sharp and within seconds we were half-way into the first jumbo bottle of wine. We wandered upstairs to find two giggly interns occupying several chairs in the fiction. Chit-chat meandered from chick-lit to lit-crit and back again, but somewhere around the time a third fit of giggling erupted from the interns, Rowdy shook his head bemusedly and tumbled back down the stairs to find 3 Brazilians browsing European history. Anyone worth their salt knows that one surefire way to spice up a party is to add Brazilians, and these were no exception. It soon became apparent that they would be in it for the long haul.

At around 7, we made the move to Tunnicliffs for dinner and more drinks. We came in about 20 deep and overtook the better part of the dining area. On the west end of the table, the Old Serbian nihilist (see last 2nd Sat.) had returned and was once again holding court. Ths time, however, his usual “Europe is dead” talk had been supplanted by a fear of German nationalists within the U.S. who may or may not be plotting something. At first listen, this sounded preposterous, but soon, we began to question our own complacence regarding the latent German-American threat, and began to wonder whether or not David Hasselhoff was somehow involved.

After dinner, we hit up the Key-Hole Bar in the basement of 18th Amendment for some pool and jukebox action. High Lifes were on special for $2 and there were good times to be got. Bisque tried to temporarily kill the vibe by playing two Megadeth songs in a row, but the inherent happiness of the Brazilian contingent wouldn’t allow our carnival caravan to be offput by a short barrage of death-metal.

Around midnight, Boullionnui was beginning to miss Battlecat, so we went to Banana Café to check out white Ray Charles, and he didn’t disappoint. And as if white Ray Charles wasn’t enough to blow our minds, the 50-year-old pony-tailed hippie dancing like an extra in a made-for-T.V. movie about Woodstock was. He left half the bar cracking up, and the other half staring at him in disbelief.

After white Ray Charles played his last number, we finally dispersed into the night, racking our brains for creative ways in which to pre-empt the morning hangovers that lie in wait.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Rage to Live: The Problem of Induction, or More Humean than a Humean.

Once upon a time in South America, Rowdy, Boullionnui, and two friends were finishing up their dinner as table-talk turned to the possibility of post-pollo entertainment. We all agreed that we probably shouldn’t go too hard since the next morning we would be attempting a climb to a glacial lagoon near the summit of Nevado Churup which stands at just under 18,000ft. But after dinner we found a few local hotspots and familiarized ourselves with a handful of smiling native women…

At this point you might be saying to yourself “What does any of this have to do with Capitol Hill Bars?” Well, be patient... After a few beers, the other two dudes stayed true to our plan of not overdoing it and went back to our place of lodging, but Rowdy and Boullionnui are not men who fall prey to such logic, for they possess a certain rage to live which renders them incapable of surrender. We pressed on to the wee morning hours and paid the price the next day on the mountain.

Now jump ahead two and a half years to yesterday when, after many Wednesday evening margaritas, we could’ve just called it quits. Some of our party did just that, and we bade them no ill will, but there was an implicit understanding that we could not follow a similar path. This is not what we do.

There are, no doubt, many of you out there who would flatly accuse us of being insane and illogical, of allowing our bodies and lives to be continually abused by implementing our policy of live in the moment and bollocks to the mañana. But are we illogical? Are we??? No, dear readers, not these barbloggers; Let us examine the problem of induction:

We give out a "heavy petting" award to David Hume who famously observed that we cannot logically arrive at the conclusion that the future will resemble the past in any way shape or form, and the argument that the sun will rise tomorrow because it always has in the past is circular because it inductively justifies induction. Rowdy and Boullionnui are keenly aware of this point and it genearlly leads us to live hard. After all, why should we worry about being hungover for work tomorrow when we cannot logically assume that our offices will exist by then? Karl Popper’s so called “solution” to this problem is merely a functional temporary concealment/avoidance of it, so that does nothing to slow us down.

While Hume himself allowed that radical skepticism is entirely impractical, this is just Hume protecting the world from the secret of the world, a secret that not all are hearty enough to live with. So while we readily admit that your life may not be able to handle Hume’s logical positivism, Capitol Hill Bar Review calls Hume’s scotch and skepticism, and raises him three Jager-blasters and a complete ban on a priori reasoning. In this way, we're more Humean than Hume.

Of course, we would never ask our readers to subject themselves to this sort of ban, but keep in mind that it is this strict reading of Hume that, in part, makes Capitol Hill Bar Review possible.

-Rowdy Chowder

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dollar Beer Nights: Boullionnui's Rules

Dollar Beer Night Rules:

There's something reassuring about Thursday dollar beer night at the Pour House. Everyone is on the same page. Everyone's there to get hammered, watch sports, eat nachos, and do each other.

To be sure, the Pour House has its drawbacks, but there's no other place better for those nights when you want you want to get a group of friends together and get schnockified on the cheap. We recommend doing a Thursday at the Pour House at least once or twice. Sure, the place will be hot, loud and packed, but if you follow Bouillonnui's simple dollar beer rules, you should be ok.

- Get there early. Get there by 5:30 so you can get a table or a booth. If you don't want to deal with the loud noise, head downstairs to the Scheissehaus and try and snag a table in the back. Don't depend on a waiter showing up. Save yourself some time and order from the bartender.

- Order at least 3 beers per person at a time, especially since it's so much fun to say "18 Budweisers please." Try it sometime. Come on, they're a freakin' dollar!

- Eat nachos. The Pour House nachos are the best on Capitol Hill and will probably remain so for some time (no thanks to you, Tancredo!) Make sure you wait till at least your 4th beer, or for Rowdy, your second, so you're a little drunk when you eat them. Everyone knows all foods are at least 30% more delicious when you're starting to get a little tipsy.

- Hit up the jukebox early. If you don't get there quick enough, there's a good chance you'll be left listening to Bon Jovi or Godsmack all night. Be sure to sparcel out your selections with some chill tunes at the start, then maybe some mid 90s rap, a couple crowd pleasers, something obscure....aaahh..screw it, we’ll just make a playlist for you:

Perry Como - Papa loves Mambo (just to freak people out)
Peter, Bjorn and John- Young Folks
Fujiya and Miyagi- Collarbone
Eazy E - Gimmie That Nut
Midlake- Young Bride
Bob Dylan- Ballad of a Thin Man
William Shatner - Common People
The Editors - Munich

- Don't flirt with anyone until you've had 9 beers (4 for Rowdy). You know you're not clever until you're hammered, so there's no use in rushing it. Just spend the first few hours enjoying your nachos, watching the game, and putting together a solid scouting report. Don't worry about the other guys putting in the leg work, talking to the girls all night. The swoop in method is always the way to go, and even if you fail, at least you didn't have to spend the whole night having some long, awkward conversation...

You- "Sooooo, umm. Where are you from?"
Girl- "Minnesota."
"Oh, wow, really?"
"Yeah, why? Are you from there"
"Well, no. Michigan. But I always liked Minnesota."
"Yeah, a lot of lakes, huh?"
"I guess, yeah."
"I heard Michigan actually has more lakes than Minnesota. Wouldn't that be weird? Cause you guys are all like..."
"Umm. You want another beer?"
"I think I'm good."
"Shots? You want a shot. No? Screw it, bartender! 6 Jager bombs!"
"I'm gonna go find my friends now."
"Guh? Damn, this sucks. Why haven't my songs come on? And where the hell are my nachos?"

- If it's dollar beer night, don't try to kickstart your conversation by ordering 6 Jager bombs. However, a very good maneuver on most other nights.

- Eat Nachos. If you're still around at 10:30 and on you're 17th beer, there's no reason to not go all in for the 2nd feeding. At this point, you've blown your chance with that cute Minnesota girl (comparing lakes? What were you thinking?), you wasted 80 bucks on shots, and you're gonna be totally fucked in the face come morning if you don't get some more grease in you fast.

So there you are. Stick to these rules, and be sure to get a breakfast sandwich in the morning and you should have many fine dollar beer adventures.

(edited by R. Chowder)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shake of the Fist/Heavy Petting

We're starting a new section here on Capitol Hill Bar Review. From time to time, we're going to do a little round up of random things we've encountered at various Capitol Hill Bars. A la Siskel and Ebert's Thumbs Up/Down, or Colbert's Tip of the Hat/Wave of the Finger, we're going to assign "Shake of the Fist" for something we view as lame, and "Heavy Petting" for something we like.

Shake of the fist:

1. We were at Top of the Hill (Pour House 2nd Level) recently, and
overall it was pretty good times, mostly cause it was void of the usual Hill-jerks typically found there on weekends. The bartender brought us three beers that we hadn't ordered. We thought we were getting the hook-up, but later we saw she tacked them onto the bill. Now, you can tell from Bouillonnui and Rowdy's appearance that we are not men of great wealth. Granted, we don't really belong in a classy establishment like Top of the Hill, but come on, you don't have to rub it in by making us pay 16 bucks for beers we didn't order. We po' mo-fo's yo! Recognize!

2. Rowdy reportedly got some more bad beer at Tune Inn. This makes twice in a row. Get on your horse, Tune Inn! We know you're not looking to be the snazziest place around, but non-skunkified beer is a must for any bar, even if your fried okra is one of Bouillonnui's favorites.

3. We made a valiant effort to hit up Pour House's Dollar Beer Night after a year layoff. We showed up around 6:30, and the place was hot, packed and loud to the point of being un-stayable. Soon, Bouillonnui will post his Rules for Dollar Beer Night.

Heavy Petting:

1. Major heavy petting goes out to Conrad's Pub, which came up huge last Thursday after the Pour House debacle. You simply can't beat walking into a bar, getting a $5 bucket of beer served to you by a dude who looks and behaves as if he still thinks he’s in rural Norway, and then looking up to find American Gladiators reruns are on TV. I mean c'mon, what else could you want?
Once you get 3 or 4 pitchers deep, order the Old Bay French Fries, or even some hit or miss Thai food from the adjoining restaurant.

2. All Tune Inn Burgers were $5 on Tuesday night. The burgers were
simple and good. That's all we ask. That's all we ask...

3. To Top of the Hill (despite the forced beers) for being a good place for us to chill for a bit while hatching late Saturday plans. Jukebox was good and the Dylan gave the place an aura of hard wisdom that served as a nice backdrop in which to contemplate the evening.

Monday, May 14, 2007

2nd Saturday and the Turkish Problem

As usual, we attended the 2nd Saturday celebration at Capitol Hill Books. The wine flowed like Faulknerian prose and the patrons were ensconced in conversation that carefully wound its way from Baudelaire to Biggie Smalls. Giddy grad-students grabbed copies of Jane Austen, and tried to sound as if they knew what Ayn Rand’s books were about when their friends asked. (“It’s about, like, her philosophy…”)

The generally genial mood of the party was momentarily deadened by deep, guttural pronouncements projected from the mouth of an 84-year-old Serbian nihilist who had quietly entered the store, propped himself up with his wooden cane, and then stood proclaiming the death of Europe for several minutes. (Why is it that we want to take old men from the Eastern Bloc so seriously? and more so when their eyebrows are untrimmed?) Eventually, his Malthusian meanderings gave way to talk of chesty young women and soccer-style field goal kicking, but not before he had cast his aura of impending doom upon those within earshot.

Our next move was Tunnicliff’s, mainly because it was right across the street. We rolled into the bar 6 deep and ordered 5 beers and a cider. As is customary, the Admiral bought the first round and we settled into our stools. Talk then turned to our Turkish tablemate and his feelings on a secular Turkey. The Admiral, never one to mince words, got down to brass tacks:

Admiral: “So are you gonna vote for those Muslims?”

Mehmet: “No. I’ll vote secular.”

Then, in a brilliant non-sequitur:

Admiral: “You guys killed all those Armenians.”

Mehmet: “Well, you guys killed all those Indians.”

Ah yes, the scandal of origins. And of course, the Admiral is caught in a paradox—he wants a secular Turkey, but at the same time wishes for an acknowledgement of genocide that would undermine the meta-narrative that helps legitimate the nation-state as he wants to preserve it. Perhaps a secret acknowledgement of that fact, miraculously timed with the arrival of our appetizers, ended that vein of conversation.

On our table lay plates of calamari, buffalo wings, spinach artichoke dip, wasabi glazed tuna, and quesadillas. We were at once overwhelmed by the bounty before us and at the same time driven to annihilate it which we did in short order. After another round of drinks, the weak and girlfriended (Boullionnui, Never Bisque) and the old (The Admiral) went home, and the hearty moved to 18th Amendment.

The first floor of 18th amendment was inexplicably filled with Republicans in green polo shirts. It didn’t seem worth asking what was going on, so we didn’t. Instead, we headed straight to the basement in hopes of open jukebox and pool. Our hopes were partially dashed when the bartender informed us that someone had stuck a baseball in the pool table the previous night and as such, it wasn’t working. We played a few tunes on the jukebox and decided to move on to Capitol Lounge.

Cap Lounge was on its way to hypeness when we arrived. We sat on the west side of the bar and ordered beers. Rowdy petitioned for shots, but there were no takers. The bartender on the west-side is of Brazilian origin; More specifically, from the historically significant region of Minas Gerais, but just as she and Rowdy were about to toast “the Inconfidencia”, the female member of our party informed him that someone had etched “for a good time, call Rowdy” on the back of the stall in the lady’s room. Incensed at the besmirching of his honor, Rowdy stumbled downstairs to investigate…

At this point, as so often happens when 2nd Saturday draws to a close, details become nebulous. What is vaguely remembered is that the Mad Turk was missing, the rain drops fell more and more insistently, and as revelers scattered home, the need of self-intoxication slowly ceded its will to the practical problem of retiring to one’s private ambient.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Finn macCool's

We've been hitting up Finn MacCool's since way back in the winter of aught four. There have been some crazy times there over the years: "Vampire Girl Night" and "That One Time The Cute Waitress Talked To Us Night" being chief among them.

After a bumpy start, Finn MacCool's has firmly established itself as a solid addition to the 8th St. chill. Their draft selection is ample, with Magic Hat, Dogfish Head 60 Min IPA, and Stella Artois as a few of the highlights, along with, of course, Guinness and Harp.

The food there is decent, but pricey. It's typical bar food with some Irish fare such as Shepherds Pie. It's just wrong to charge $12 for Fish and Chips, but at least you can get them half-price on Tuesdays. Throw in a Black and Tan and you got yourself a pretty fine dinner.

Bouillonnui remembers them having a decent burger, but, again, $10 for a burger? Our advice is to hit up the 7-11 on 8th st., grab a half-smoke or two, then focus on your drinking for the rest of the night. (yes…we readily admit that there’s an 11% chance that advice could go very, very wrong.)

If it's crowded downstairs, make sure you check out their second floor. Here you'll find darts, a pool table, foosball and Shuffleboard. All they're missing is Skeeball, really. If you run into Forever Bisque (the long-lost 3rd barblogger), challenge him to some Shuffleboard. He'll get really into it, go up early, and definitely blow it when it's time to seal the deal.


Second Saturday

Come by Capitol Hill Books, across the street from Eastern Market, this Saturday from 4 - 7 pm for it's Second Saturday celebration. There will be wine, cheese, and 10% off all purchases.

If we're lucky, the Admiral will get drunk and recite Omar Khayyam, Rowdy will rock out some Midlake and be snarky to customers, Bouillonnui will graciously offer to do whatever he can to heighten your bookstore experience, and Forever Bisque will gesticulate wildly whilst making bold absurdist pronouncements. Hopefully, Segway cop won't bust the party up too early like he's been known to.

This month's featured dead author is John O'Hara, an American Author from the early 20th century who, like Sherwood Anderson and Johnny Two Steps, was revered up there with Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Faulkner, but has since gone somewhat by the wayside. BUT THAT DON'T MEAN HIS SHIT STILL DON'T ROCK!
So come on by, browse a little, ill a little, pick up a copy of "Rage to Live", it shall be good times.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Le Eastern Market est mort. Vive le Eastern Market!

We've been getting thousands of emails and letters over the past week from our loyal readers expressing their concern about the fire at Eastern Market.

Hillary Goo: "Eastern Market was totally the best… oh my god, all my friends are like, "DMY HG"... but I'm all like, OMG, I'm totally EMO.What do I do?"

Armless Jane: "WTF? No EM? WWBD?"

Forever Bisque: "Rowdy, I know, deep down, there's some good in you."

Battlecat: "What can I, just one woman, do?"

Hey all, for starters, you can hit up some of the local bars and eateries (put that on the list of words that sound dirty but aren't) this Tuesday night, May 8th. Hit up http://www.easternmarketrescue.com/ to see which places will be donating a portion of their profits to rebuilding Eastern Market. Check out http://www.saveeasternmarket.org/ for more info.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Sometimes, when nothing else is working, you gotta go down to Trusty’s on 14th and Penn SE. The place is about a year and a half old and sits comfortably apart from the 8th Street corridor and the rest of the bars on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The bar has a sort of Route 66 service station theme which basically works. Old gas and oil cans hang from a ceiling propped up by license plate speckled walls. In the bathrooms, you’ll find photos of car crashes which are an especially nice touch.

The bar is rather small and they serve you beer in mason jars. On the wall behind the bar there’s a nice jukebox with download potential. Past the bar, you’ll find a few tables with board games stacked on them and really, what's better than drunk Jenga?
Answer: Drunk Candyland
Rowdy and Boullionui have issued Trivial Pursuit challenges to other tables, but wisely, none of them have accepted.

The menu has basically what you’d expect at a bar like this—hamburgers, nachos, half-smokes etc… The burgers are acceptable, the nachos are cold (they don’t put them in the oven) and should only be ordered after you’re drunk.

One of the pleasures of Trusty’s is that it’s rarely too crowded and there usually seems to be a friendly vibe amongst the patrons. Nobody trying to impress anyone else with their fancy job or degrees, just people looking to drink, talk, listen to tunes, and maybe watch a game or two. The crowd is reflective of the area to an extent—white gentrifiers, black folks growing accustomed to them, and other hill peeps who have made the pilgrimage to the East Side.

Put simply: We dig this place. Worth the walk (when you pass "Nina's Place" you're almost there) or metro ride (it's at the Potomac Ave Metro stop) from the main hill drag, but please, don’t everyone go down there at once and ruin it for us.

- Bouillonnui and Rowdy Chowder

Lazy Sunday

One benefit of the DC Smoking Ban, besides not killing off all the local waitstaff and bartenders, is that area bars have been forced to provide more outdoor seating. On a recent Sunday afternoon, we were trolling around the neighborhood, looking for a place to drink some oat sodas out of doors when we noticed 18th Amendment recently put out a few tables.

It was a fine day. There was a cool breeze, it was sunny, Eastern Market would still be intact for another 7 hours or so, and we had a pitcher of Yuengling on the way. Unfortunately, the Yuengling came up Assling, and even the replacement pitcher of Bud Light was flat. Rowdy's an 18th Amendment veteran, and he's had good fresh and frosty beer experiences in the past, so we're hoping that this, too, is a fluke.

While both Rowdy and Bouillonnui are big fans of the burgers and wedge fries at 18th, (the pizza ain't too shab neither) their appetizer menu could use some work. Capone's Nachos aren't too bad, but would anyone ever order Capone's Nachos (with mozzarella and pizza sauce) over regular nachos? Before you respond, remember that regular nachos are the supa-shizz.

Now, you wouldn't know it to look at him, but Rowdy is not long back from a jaunt in Tuscany and he felt like ordering the bruschetta. When it arrived, he was, in a word, disappointed as it was utterly senza flavor, which is something most of us like food to have. The Admiral, who was likewise resting his bones after a hard day in the metaphorical sea of letters, was also summarily unimpressed. That, combined with the flat beer was enough to send us on a hike to the East-side of the Hill.

- Bouillonnui and Rowdy Chowder

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tune Inn

Any Midwesterner living in D.C. (and there are a lot of us) would feel right at home walking into the Tune Inn. It even has the look of a bar you might have frequented on trips “Up North”. Replete with hunting trophies (even a Deer Ass hanging above the entrance to the Restroom) and some old school beer signs, the Tune Inn rounds out their Country Bar vibe by having both High Life and PBR on tap -- Oh no they did-ant! They’ll also fix you a decent sammich for not a lot of dollars.

While the smallish bar will usually be filled with regulars, there's almost always room in one of the booths in the back. On a recent visit, Bouillonnui and Rowdy ordered a pitcher of High Life and it was a little warm and flat, but we believe this to be a fluke. The bartender said “the beer is pouring funny today,” so hopefully, Tune Inn will escape Le Wrath de Bouillonnui. No one needs to see that again.

One swell bonus of the Tune Inn is that you can Break your Fast anytime. So when the cute girl you've been trying to talk to all night at the Pour House goes home with some Yahoo Serious lookin' dude instead, you can comfort yourself with a delicious omelette and some corned beef hash, and tell yourself, "Tomorrow, I'll go to the gym, really work the lats, and buy some cool tastefully scuffed-up jeans. Then they'll want me." And it's true--they will.

- Bouillonnui and Rowdy Chowder

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hurray for a child

Bouillonnui, Rowdy and 5 Wisconsians saddled up to the bar at Union Pub on a recent Saturday night for some festive imbibing. The night was going well: our bartender was friendly, PBR pitchers were 8 bucks, and Bouillonnui had even pulled out his Scott Stapp impersonation. (Arms out in front, head bowed, every muscle in your face tensed up, and belt out your favorite Creed lyric, "I see your soul, it's kind of gray." Minus 90 points if you do it unironically.)

The real fun started, however, when a male employee began flirting with and groping some of his co-workers. His name was Brad the Douchebag. It was amazing to watch; he was like a starving hyena, latching onto anyone, male or female, who moved into his vicinity. Strangely, his co-workers went along with it. Maybe Bouillonnui and Rowdy are getting old, but watching Brad the Douchebag go to work made us feel a little queasy… Or, that could've been the PBR.

A few minutes later, another girl came into the bar. Brad the Douchebag walked up to her and started to flirt with her as well. We watched in amazement as Brad persisted, even when she obviously appeared to want nothing to do with him. We were absolutely positive there was no way this woman would give into him, and for a long time she continued to deny his advances. At last, however, she relented and gave him a little peck, and he walked away. One of our Wisconsians in tow, Battlecat, wasn't havin' it. She decided to have a chat with this girl about the incident.

BC: Hi.
G: Hello.
BC: I just want you to know that that guy has been flirting with and groping all the other wait staff all night. He's creepy, really creepy, and it's kind of disgusting. I'll pay for all of your drinks the rest of the night if you go tell him off right now.
G: That guy? (points)
BC: Yeah.
G: Ummm.
BC: He's gross.
G: Um, that's my boyfriend.
BC: (unfazed) REALLY? Cause he's really, really creepy. (Tisks and walks away)

On the upside, we did get to watch the couple fight for the next half hour. With any luck, they broke up that night. And perhaps that’s the best kind of night you can expect if you go to Union Pub. At least it was entertaining. But whether or not Brad the Douchebag and Girl broke up or stayed together, we can all take solace in these words, spoken by a man greater than I...

"Well I don't know if I'm ready to be the man I have to be
I'll take a breath, I'll take her by my side
We stand in awe, we've created life." (power chord)

- Bouillonnui

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Union Pub

Some bars you have to walk into with low expectations. More specifically, you have to walk into Union Pub with low expectations.

Upon entering, you'll notice that the owners have managed to somehow create an ambience that has all the coziness of some soulless bar you might find in a newly remodeled, Midwestern airport. Interesting choice.

God willing, you'll never have to set foot in this place, but if you get dragged there by some peripheral friend of some peripheral friend, the one consolation we can offer you is that they have cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap. There’s also ample outdoor seating which would spare you the indignity of actually being inside the place. At least, till you have to take a wazzer.

Some quick calculations: When your body has absorbed the 0.007% of Pabst which has nutritional value and needs to empty out the excess, you'll probably find that the bathroom is about 620 degrees Kelvin and you'll walk out drenched in a sweat that's about 43% alcohol and covers 98% of your person.

Another drawback is the jukebox. We were forced to listen to the late 90's rock station that they had chosen to put on, and while it was fun for awhile to try to name the bands—Filter, Tonic, Seven Mary Three, Lifehouse—when that one Three Doors Down song came on , Rowdy let out a snarl and made for the jukebox... Within 30 seconds, he could be seen jabbing at the jukebox with his phalanges and cursing like a Chilean sailor (trust us, those are some swearing-assed marineros). The jukebox, you see, was malfunctioning and it took him the better part of 20 minutes to get anything out of it. By that time, the scowl on his face as he wandered back to the bar for more Pabst sent women and children fleeing for the exits.

After a another beer and some idle chit-chat, Rowdy calmed down and our group turned its attention to the ongoing harassment of the female employees occurring at the hands of a male co-worker. (for more on this story read Hurray for a Child). After instigating a brief altercation, we slid out the side door and walked east, still slightly awed by the out and out butt-suckiness of the place.

- Rowdy Chowder


Tunnicliff’s is right across from Eastern Market and we’ve gotten sauced there more times than either of us care to count. One issue for us is that we tend to roll deep when we hit it up, so sometimes enough space for our entourage isn’t easy to come by.

Upon your arrival, you’ll likely be greeted by one of several waitresses with vaguely Slavonic accents. They might try to tell you they’re from Virginia, but when they say Virginia, what they mean is Belarus. (Home of the unforgettable Svetlana Boginskaya)

The vibe at Tunnicliff’s is pretty low key and the music is usually lame, but in a fairly innocuous way. The crowd is a shade older than what you find in the bars on Pennsylvania Ave—locals from their late 30s to mid-40s-- usually couples or very small groups, so not the best place to mingle, but if you take your own party there, you’ll do just fine. (Assuming you can find enough space)

In general, the food at Tunnicliff’s is pretty good. We have seen the super grilled cheese with tomato, onions, and bacon lure patrons into believing that they have finally transcended this mortal coil and been elevated to a higher plane. Upon consumption of said sandwich, Chowder is given to reminisce about his “lost years” in that Burmese opium den. The price of such illusion and nostalgia inducing taste, however, is usually a couple bucks more than it should be. They do have a late night menu that is considerably cheaper and offers some of the same tastiness.

Tunni’s has an adequate selection of beers on tap. They have most of your standard stuff, and recently added Boddington’s to the list which doesn’t hurt their cause. Service has gone slightly downhill in recent months and we have some suspicion that some of the newer bartenders may be of BORG lineage. (Shields up!) Several of them look just alike and appear to be humorless gents not at all concerned that you’ve been trying to order a Guinness for 9 minutes. They do make a damn fine Bloody Mary, though.

Late evening, from about 8 till 11 post meridian is usually the best time to Tunni some Cliff’s. You can eat and drink well here before moving on to a livelier venue.

- Rowdy Chowder

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bouillonnui Goes Down the Rabbithole

For one reason or another, at certain points in our lives, we have to go to
a bar that's not on Capitol Hill. I know, it can be a strange and confusing
concept to deal with at times, and it can have grave consequences. I
decided to venture off of the Hill this past Tuesday night.

I entered the Capitol City Brewing Company on 11th and H NW, and saw
that the bar was full except for one seat.

B: Is this seat anyone's?
OO: Yours.
B: Thanks dude.
OO: I love you.
B: Sweet.
OO: Lemme buy you a drink. (motions towards bartender)
B: Ummm, (I could probably take him in some sort of rape situation)
sure. Sooo......
OO: What's your name? (winks)
B: Bouillonnui
OO: What line of work you in?
B: I work at a bookstore. You?
OO: I rob banks. USED TO. USED TO rob banks. Not no more. 10 years
in the Pen.
B: Was it awesome?
OO: The Pen? It was ok. Lemme ask you somethin'; I'm testin' you.
How many crumbs in a loaf of bread?
B: One?
OO: Nope. None. None till you break it.
B: "None till you break it." I see. What's your name man?
OO: Double O. (winks) I looove you.
B: That's cool. Love's such a complicated thing....
OO: You want another drink?
B: I'll buy this one.

Sadly the night ended up unrequited, and Double O never did pay for that
drink. But it's good to think that I came out of my field trip a little wiser
to the ways of the world, mostly the bread and crumbs part.

- Bouillonnui

Sizzlin' Express

Many of you will doubt the dopeness of Sizzlin' Express, and to you dopeness doubters, we say "Backoff, asshats!" Sizzlin' Express, while lacking certain things you may look for in a bar, such as a Jukebox and low lighting, more than makes up for it with other good, simple pleasures.

Sit down in one of the comfortable high-backed padded chairs (a vastly underrated plus), and you will quickly be greeted by one of two Korean (Korean-American?) bartenders, from whom you can procure either Heineken, Coors Light, Sapporo, or Sam Adams on tap. (Speaking of Sam Adams, what the fuck? If you're at a bar with someone, and on tap they have, say.... Guinness, Stella Artois, Miller Lite, Shiner Bock and Sam Adams, and that person picks Sam Adams, doesn't your opinion of that person drop by about 40 percent? What are they thinking?
"I'll have a Sam Adams," (???) Yeah, and then let's all go join the Drama Club and go to a Goo Goo Dolls concert. Then we'll have exciting lives.. that'll be great.)

Sizzlin' Express will also give you your beer in a frosty mug (they, along with Mr. Henry's form the Frosty Mug Corridor on the Hill) which isn't shitty. While you drink your beer and soak in the Adult Contemporary music, you'd be advised to order some sushi. Try ordering the Alaskan something, we don't know if it's any good, but you'll feel cool ordering it.

The clientele: Mix 1/3 cup black, octogenarian churchgoers, 1/3 cup Cops, 1/3 cup random Hillers, and sprinkle in the occasional Japanese tourist.

All in all, nice place for an afternoon beer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

18th Amendment

18th Amendment is aesthetically confused. The shiny, silver, black and glass façade doesn’t exactly blend with the rest of the block. (Not that one really wants to blend in with Mattress Discounters, which is about 4 doors down.) On the inside, the black walls and chrome-rimmed lights hearken back to an obliquely early-mid 1900’s metropolitan noir which, at least, is in tune with the exterior of the property. The front portion of the bar has lounge chairs and low tables that may have looked very chic in the early 90s in some under-21 club in suburban Indianapolis, but here they seem completely out of place. The new, very long, hand carved bar is kind of interesting in an amateurish way, but, again, it doesn’t fit with the other décor. In fact, the eastern half of the bar is homey in a way that makes the western half feel alien. The place can’t seem to make up its mind whether or not it’s going to be a dive bar or a swanky lounge, so it ends up looking ridiculous.

Now, despite the owner’s obvious mistakes in ambience development, it can be an alright joint to hang out in. The bar is often a bit understaffed, but the bartenders are a friendly lot and drinks can be got semi-cheaply. Food-wise, the burgers and wedge-fries are good and the pizzas aren’t too bad. We’re not so down with the Stromboli, but if you’re cool with the feeling of 7 weighty musket balls in your gut, give it a try.

Weekend crowds at 18th can vary wildly. We’ve been there at 12:30 on Saturday nights when it’s been virtually empty, and then again, we’ve been there at 10:08 pm when it was SRO and there were passed-out girls strewn across the first floor pool table laying in puddles of beer and Jagermeister. (Yes, you can still see the stains.)

The highlight of 18th Amendment for us is the Key-Hole Bar located in the basement. It has a sort of cave-like vibe and comes equipped with a pool table and an internet jukebox. It’s usually not too crowded, nor too loud, and makes for a good place to take a small group of peeps on your way to drunkville. Even with the jukebox kickin, you can spin yarns and listen to other conversations wafting about in the cavernous enclave. I was there just last week with my friend Smashley, and we overheard a Senate staffer quietly spilling his broken hearted guts out to some indifferent lass who had come with another staffer on her arm. An apparently non-related scuffle broke out too, and resulted in the spilling of the better part Smashley’s Yuengling, but in a twist of fate, two replacement beers were provided by the bartender, so we came out ahead.

Overall, a solid bar to drink in for the non-aesthete.

-Rowdy Chowder

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Le Wrath de Bouillonnui

A man from New York enters the Pour House at 7 pm.
Another man from Los Angeles walks into the Hawk n' Dove at the same time.

Both men are of the same age, height and weight and have an equal desire to get ridiculously, horribly schnackered. They both sit at the bars of their respective establishments, and start drinking pints of Yuengling.

Question: Which man gets drunk first?

Answer: Neither.

Why: Because neither the Pour House nor the Hawk n' Dove clean the lines to their taps, and their draft beers taste so shitty that the men can't continue.

Seriously, go in there sometime. You will not, not be disappointed.


Why is this? We have no idea, but it needs to change. You can't have two bars with as much potential as the Pour House and the Hawk messin' up this bad.

Moreover, you know what happened to those two gentlemen? They were so disgusted at the taste of the beer that one was forced to make out with a Republican Hill Staffer, and the other went and jerked off a reindeer. True story.

- Bouillonnui
(edited by Rowdy Chowder)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Li'l Pub

Li'l Pub is that bar that you walk by and think to yourself, "Man, if I was just a little cooler, I'd probably go in there right now." Bouillonnui's theory is that the dirty windows keep many patrons away. Looking in from the street, Li'l Pub looks cramped, dingy, and a little dangerous. Go in sometime, however, and, assuming you're slightly not lame, you'll find a neighborhood bar that's both cheap and friendly.

The first time we went into Li'l Pub, we asked the bartender what they had on tap, and she promptly snapped back, "Nuthin'." When asked if they had a menu, the answer was "Sometimes we got sandwiches." Good enough for us, we decided. The menu is whatever they feel like making that night, sometimes it's Meatloaf, sometimes it's Hummus, and sometimes they got sandwiches.

In the back, they have a couple of pool tables in a well-lit room and the folk there seem to take their games seriously. In the same room, there is an internet jukebox where you can go nuts and play that Timberlake song you've had in your head for the past week. And when your friend gives you shit for it, you can claim machine malfunction. ("I swear, I was trying to play the Decemberists")

Now, let's talk free stuff: Every night, they watch Jeopardy on the TVs at either corner of the bar. Whomever so answers Final Jeopardy correctly, gets a free drink. And if the free drink opportunity doesn't pull you in, then you might just consider going in to check out the

Lil' Pub is quite proletarian in a very special, John Waters kind of way. I think most of us have had that moment in Hawk n Dove where we swore we would punch the next eager-faced Hill staffer who made any sort of obnoxious comment within our earshot. This problem will not show its ugly countenance at Lil' Pub. You have our word.

- Bouillonnui and Rowdy Chowder

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Conrad's Pub

Conrad's Pub is a tiny sliver of an English pub on Pennsylvania Ave between 3rd and 4th Streets SE. It seats about 12, or maybe just 10. We would say it's primarily good for serious hetero-male conversation and/or having a couple while waiting on your carry-out order at the Thai place next door.

For those of you who are lookin’ to escape the Hill-jerks, Bon Jovi-jerks or general jerk-jerks sometimes to be found at the Pour House, this is the perfect spot to have a cheap, quiet drink. The Rubenesian beauty hanging above the bar will keep you company until you've got enough Yuengling in you to move onto a more happenin’ spot.... like the Club.

Conrad’s also features that Capitol Hill rarity, the amicable and accommodating bartender. At many spots on the Hill, you will find yourself frustrated when trying to flag down the bartender for a drink. Not so at Conrad’s. Bouillonnui and Rowdy Chowder have been to Conrad’s on several occasions, and even on a Friday night it didn’t take long to get a drink.

- Bouillonnui and Rowdy Chowder

Mr. Henry's and the Half-Priced Burger

For the sake of argument, let's say you walk into Mr. Henry's on Monday evening. You'd probably find half-priced burgers and mostly same-sex couples dining amongst many eerie paintings of cherubic young men and women. The burgers would be pretty decent, and on tap you'd find Rolling Rock, Sam Adams, and a fine beer of their own called Mr. Henry's Red Lager. Word also has it that if you order a cocktail, they'll pour your favorite libation liberally and to perfection.

If you were to order, say, the Jalapeno Poppers, you might get a plate back with only 4 of the said poppers, and think to yourself, "Really? Really???" There's also a chance you'd mumble, "Geesis, I ain't payin $6.50 for this shite." But then Jamiroqui might come on the Jukebox and that would make everything alright. (well, maybe...)

At this point, you'd pay your bill, anywhere from $15 to $30 depending on how bad your Monday was. If you planned your night out well, you probably head on over to Lil' Pub for Jeopardy. If not, you go to 18th Amendment for a game of Pool and hope some lame-o hadn't beaten you to the Jukebox. Or, if you're supercool, you pick up a fifth of Evan Williams and go watch Fishing with John for the rest of the night.

- Bouillonnui and Rowdy Chowder