Wanna go out in Adams Morgan without running into the usual frat boys, fabulously well dressed people, or inappropriately un-dressed people? Wanna go to a place that doesn't care who you are, what you look like, how old you are or what you're wearing, just so long as you know the words to "Sweet Caroline"? Do you love to karaoke, or at least love to sing along with those who do? Go go go to Peyote Cafe.
Peyote is easy to miss. It's located in the basement level of the bar-a-palooza that houses Roxanne's and that unclear rooftop bar. Although marked by a fairly large sign, the sign is below eye-level when walking up 18th Street, so you really need to be looking for it already. Once inside, it's just a small basement room, with one bar that takes up nearly an entire wall and a banquette lining the other wall. There are no tables and no stage for singing, those karaoke-ing are right there among the sweaty masses, wielding their microphone.
I was at Peyote on Friday night to celebrate a friend's birthday. Once again, I was impressed with the diversity of people there, especially for an Adams Morgan bar. Black, White, college age, young professional and downright old people, really hot and really not people, skinny, fat, well-dressed, sloppy, punks and preppies -- all of them belting out 'Nsync and ABBA with not a hint of self-consciousness.
If it's crowded and you want to sing, expect to come up with $5 or $10 with which to "tip"(bribe?) the emcee. My friends are karaoke pros -- they know how to rile the crowd into a frenzy of singing and toasting and dancing with their masterful rendition of "Piano Man." "Raise your glasses!" they command, and everyone in the bar raises their glasses high and joins along with the chorus. "Sing us a song, you're the piano man. Sing us a song tonight..." The applause is long and loud after they finish the song.
A short time afterwards, my friend is called back up for another crowd pleaser. He sings "Take On Me," the 80s hit by A-HA, complete with most excellent 80s dance moves during the musical interlude. We all join in with our best falsettos, "I'll be gone...In a day or twooooooooooooo."
One last word about karaoke at Peyote. If you go and you are singing, please please please no slow songs. I don't care how good you are at belting out that power ballad. It is guaranteed to slow the party down and no one will like you.