First Stop: Washington, DC


The first stop on Maggi’s and my Great Cross-Country Barcrawl was Washington, DC. (Well, our first stop was actually, Bardstown, KY. But while they have great distilleries thereabouts, the bar at the local Chili’s was presided over by an earnest young lady who had never heard of bitters, and who professed a lack of familiarity with such “fancy” drinks as Martinis or Manhattans. We will speak no more of this.) The morning after our visits to Maker’s Mark and Four Roses, we flew into Washington.

During the days in Washington, we did touristy things and enjoyed the fabulous Washington climate. My mother has described the place as having, “a mean hot.” For those actually interested in shrinking government spending, no hard decisions need be made. Simply outlaw air conditioning in the district (for strictly green reasons, of course) and the federal government will shrivel by half in a single year. The remaining half will be simply too enervated to get up to much mischief. There is a reason the Gin Rickey (perhaps Cocktailia’s most refreshing drink of all time) was invented in this town.

Since we had no kids this trip, we tried a couple of touristy places that were less appealing to littles like ours. We went to the International Spy Museum, which is hokey, entertaining, and informative, all at the same time. Unlike most museums in DC, it’s a bit pricey, but I’d say it is worth it. Even the way over the top “spy mission experience” was worth it. You haven’t lived until you’ve rifled through the trash in a third-world despot’s office, looking for clues while your “handler” keeps whispering urgently that you are running out of time….

We also spent good money on the Newseum… I can’t recommend it.

Oh no!
You’re going to go on a rant about it aren’t you?

Actually, that was all I was going to say…

‘Cause you’ll bore everybody to tears if you get going, you know.

I guess you are right. I mean, I can get long-winded on the subject. Imagine a huge, beautiful, seven story exhibit on the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the events and causes that led to it. Now imagine such an exhibit which does not even mention Ronald Reagan’s name? That’s not media bias, that’s media malpractice.

I probably shouldn’t have said anything at all, should I?

No, you shouldn’t. In fairness, the Pulitzer Prize Photography gallery is almost worth the price of admission by itself.

The last note I will make on the city, relating at least tangentially to drinking, is this. The sidewalks are outright dangerous, even when sober. They are uneven, pothole-filled, and boast every other kind of trip hazard you can imagine. Which is a shame. Our nation’s capitol shouldn’t be in such a state of decay, and all the time you spend looking down to keep from killing yourself is time missed from enjoying this beautiful, fascinating city.

The best thing about Washington was the horde of tweeps and blogging colleagues who were able to make time to come out and share the cocktail scene in their city with us. It was a gas meeting Matt Hamlin, Jake Parrott, DJ Hawaiian Shirt (his blog handle is just easier to write than Chris Hw… um, yeah), Marshall Fawley, and especially SeanMike Whipkey, who abused his liver with us both nights we were in town! There is simply no substitute for local knowledge when you want to check out a city’s bars. Not only did you help us find the best places to visit, but I’d never have been able to get as much out of them once there without you. Finally, you really made my slightly bemused and slightly overwhelmed wife feel welcome and at ease. Thanks to all you guys!

Washington, DC reviews:


  1. SeanMike

    7 July

    I wouldn’t say *abuse* as much as *treated it normally.*

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. You really gotta watch out for those Polish surnames… they’ll hurt your tongue muscle.

    DC is said to have the worst of both worlds, with the phrase “The city with northern hospitality and southern ingenuity.” The same goes for weather. Built on a swamp, its summers are hot and muggy. Couple that with local governments who don’t allocate enough money for snow removal, and the 12-inch snowfalls shut down the area’s economy. Why do we live here again?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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