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