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Saturday, April 7, 2007

Thing 21: 18th Street Lounge

18th Street Lounge's fully stocked bar.Where do you go for a casual get together? You want your friends to be able to come and go as need be, you want them to be comfortable and you want to hear them when they talk. You also might enjoy dressing up and wearing heals (or at least, not sneakers). Maybe a dive just won't do...

Or maybe you just want to party in Teddy Roosevelt's mansion.

18th Street Lounge has you covered.

Which is where I found myself on Friday night to celebrate the Roommate's birthday. Full disclosure: I may have had one too many celebratory glasses of champagne to have done a good job of journalistic observance, so bear with me.

First, you have to find the place. There's no sign. It's just an unmarked doorway next to the Mattress Discounters on 18th Street, in Dupont. Once you've knocked at Candie's Hardware, Mattress Discounters and the Daily Grill and then finally stumbled upon the doorway for ESL, then you have to get past the bouncers. We had a guest list for the Roommate's birthday, but apparently if you are a guy and you are not dressed particularly well, or come without a lady on each arm, the bouncer discriminates at will as to whether or not you can get in. Thankfully, between the guest list and the fact that all the Roommate's friends are beautiful and stylish people, everyone got in with minimal issues.

Once inside, you go up the stairs and it feels laid back and luxurious -- very clearly a converted mansion. The rooms have high ceilings and the spaces aren't crowded. Sofas and coffee tables are placed in corners of the room to facilitate lounging, beautiful chandeliers hang from the ceiling and expensive fresh flower arrangements adorn the bar and the corners of the lounge. A roaring fireplace adds to the feeling of a living room. The windows look out onto the 18th Street/Connecticut Avenue intersection, and you can see the lines across the street for 1223 and Play.

ESL is known for its DJs; it used to be owned by Thievery Corporation, and the place has a record label associated with it. When we first got there, there was a nice mellow mix of reggae and hip hop. The drinks were on the expensive side. Then again, I was the happy drunk buying everyone's drinks, so I guess my tab was bound to add up.

Later in the evening they opened the large room off of the main room. The room had high white walls and a long bar on one side of the room, with the same ornate chandeliers and mirrors and sofas as the smaller lounge had. At no point was the bar particularly crowded, or ever too loud, or too frantic. A chill place, tucked away on a busy strip, that feels like a house party thrown by a very rich friend. Or at least, from what I can remember.


CJ said...

You should check out the live reggae show on Wednesday nights. Really fun and chill. Wait till it warms up again and the show is out on the deck. There's also no cover on weekdays.

GFD said...

I'm not sure DC365 will ever be allowed back into that establishment.

dc365 said...

CJ - Thanks for the tip! I will definitely check it out...if it ever warms up!

CJ said...

gfd, I think DC365 will be allowed back. I, and people I've been with, have caused many a scene at ESL and we can still show our faces there. There is one horrible girl there who won't let you pass out on the couches, though, so watch out for her.