Within a block or so from the Dupont Circle METRO stop lies a watering hole where Stanley might have met Livingston with the greeting "That's an India Pale Ale I presume?" Numerous 3-dimentional heads peer outward, lanced by vertical spikes and offering an ominous greeting, despite the semi-smiles frozen on faces of the non-native visitors. Three 9-tap stainless steel towers source the draught beers behind the copper-topped, 12-place bar. The bar straddles the right side of the long narrow room and features a wood trim and brass foot-rail. The place is deceiving, upstairs lurks an outdoor patio, open during the few weeks of hospitable weather in DC. While adjacent to the left of the building lies yet another bar with with additional seating for handling the weekend night crowds. The upstairs offers another bar and pooltable. Most smoke dissipates within the 30-foot ceiling that is topped by brown tiles - color coordinated with the dozen and a half red vinyl red booths. Televisions peer down over the bar from numerous corners but most patrons fail to pay heed. A lone cigarette machine stands ready to feed the craving of nicotine addicts caught by the lure of so many craft beers. Ceiling fans spin wildly to create the impression of ventilation, when in fact, it's circulation that is offered, and that rarely makes for a breathing-friendly environment.
Saturday night draws a party crowd, hungry for the above-average beer line-up that includes Victory Golden Monkey, Brooklyn Heffeweizen & Brown, Rogue Dead Guy ale, Toppers Hop Pocket, Guinness Stout, Bass Ale, Stella Artois, Maredsous 8, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Magic Hat #9, PBR (draught) and Sam Adams seasonals. House beers consist of the Big Ass Amber, Big Ass Wheat and the Light Ass (the brewer contracted remains a secret). Karaoke Tuesdays draw a crowd to the 11 taps upstairs, where bottles of Chimay and Maredsous 10 also pleasure the palette. The Internet jukebox seems to obviate the need for live music at this neighborhood bar, and owner Kyle expects little business impact when Washington, DC goes non-smoking on January, 1, 2007. Currently the bar offers four different wheat beers for the summer, with darker beers planned for the winter season.
The logo'd glassware and custom T-shirts reveal this bar's commitment to beer, where patrons pay more attention to the product served than the aesthetics of the environment. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, 4 to 7pm, with $1-off draughts and $2.50 Bad Ass beers.
Hours: Mo-Th 4:00pm- 2:00am Fr 4:00pm- 3:00am Sa 4:00pm- 3:00am Su 11:00am- 2:00pm Su 4:00pm-12:00am.The Big Hunt
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri -