American Ice Company (U St. NW)

Saturday afternoon took us from the Nats game to U St. NW for some city exploring. As I mentioned in my weekend recap, we decided that a glass of wine and small snacks on a patio would be the perfect next move. We tried to get that at Veritas, but it seemed that they didn’t really have much interest in providing us with that. After a failed attempt to get any attention at the bar or the back patio area, and with no desire to sit down for a full brunch, we formulated a plan B. We thought quickly on our feet and decided on American Ice Company instead. We walked the few blocks and in through the gated area of American Ice and realized that this was much more what we were looking for anyways. The vibe there was much quieter and more relaxed. I’m sure this is not the norm there, but it was perfect for us.

I really liked the space a lot. We had the option of sitting on the patio or inside. We really wanted to keep on enjoying the perfect weather, so we chose one of the tables outside.



We perused the menu and decided on the swachos (nachos with pulled pork, jalapenos, and cheese sauce) and the pickle sampler. The lady went for a Bells Amber on draft and I decided on Bells Oberon tallboy can. Each were $6. I was pretty stoked about the prices, you can’t beat that. The selection was awesome. Nice craft beer, cheap beer, wine, and a full bar. There is something for everyone. And the beers were served in wide-mouth mason jars. Nice touch.



The nachos were really tasty, but as soon as I saw the veggie nachos (black beans and corn) I wished we had done that. They were a little heavy after having a big sandwich at the ballpark. The pickles, however, did a good job balancing out the heaviness of the nachos.  My favorite bit was the pickled cauliflower. It was just a little bit sweet. I wish I could have a whole cup of that. I’m all about some pickled veggies these days…

We sat there for about 2 hours, slowly enjoying some really delicious beer and watching the bar fill up. It’s the perfect place to hang out and kill a couple of hours. We will certainly be back to do that again.

  • Favorite thing I had: The pickled cauliflower was really great.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: Any of the sandwiches. I had just already had a sandwich at the ball park and was in the mood for something else. The veggie nachos also looked excellent.
  • What makes this place stand out: The cool indoor/outdoor space. The front is kind of like a beer garden patio situation, and the inside is a nice rustic metal/wood design. I really appreciated that I could get a craft beer tallboy for $6.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): It has officially added to the list of places we default to when killing time in the short period of time that Mockingbird Hill is closed. I can see us there monthly.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): There are so many places to hop to within a 3 block radius: El Rey, Satellite, Nellie’s, Dodge City, DC9. It’s not far from the DB3/ Right Proper/ either.

El Rey (U St NW)

I love me some tacos. They’re the perfect cheap eat. Combine that with margaritas and outdoor seating on a perfect warm and sunny Friday afternoon and you have an ideal situation.We were looking for a cheap dinner before we dropped the big dollars on fancy bevs at Dram & Grain and El Rey fit the bill. IMG_2722 The lady and I met there after I had a particularly long work day, so she found me there at a table in the back, frozen margarita already in hand.  The building is made out of shipping containers with a retractable roof. It was a perfect sunny 70’s day, so they had the roof open and the sun was shining in. IMG_0185 The margarita was surprisingly strong for a frozen one. It was an excellent way to start the weekend. It was fun to watch how many bottles of tequila they poured into the frozen machine. It’s no wonder it tasted strong… IMG_0186 I ordered the fish taco, the skirt steak, and the al pastor on flour tortillas. I had had a big lunch, and wasn’t particularly hungry, but I shoveled them in pretty quickly. They were really good. IMG_0187 The lady had a carne asada and the adobo chicken. I was too wrapped up in my own and didn’t even think to try the chicken, but it looked good as well. Two were perfect for her and 3 for me. It was the perfect dinner choice for us and we got out of there for $26 in under an hour. Can’t beat that!

  • Favorite thing I had: The carne asada taco, although they were all really good. A little small, but good.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The cocktail menu looked good. So did the chips and guacamole.
  • What makes this place stand out: It’s made out of shipping containers! I mean, it didn’t feel like anything really special from the inside, but it was cool. And I want a house with a retractable roof.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Any time I’m on that side of town and need a tasty, cheap meal. I imagine we’ll get there about once per month or so.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Nellie’s is right across the street. The Brixton is close by. Had we not had reservations that we had to get over to AdMo for, we probably would have gone to Mockingbird Hill or Southern Efficiency. 

Favorite Friday: Nellie’s Sports Bar (DC)

Ahhh, Nellie’s. Many a birthday has been celebrated here. In fact, I think I’ve ended up at Nellie’s on my birthday for most years that I’ve lived in the area. And now that I’m friends with the owner on Facebook, my name goes up on the chalk boards. It has become my tradition to get a picture of myself in front of it. I was originally drawn to Nellie’s because it was a gay bar. A gay sports bar, in fact. I kept going back because of how comfortable it is there. The space is huge, with 3 different bars, the servers and bartenders are friendly (and pretty), and the Happy Hour specials, where you can get beers for $2, 3, and 4 from 5-8pm, are unbeatable. It’s more than that though. DC became home because of the community I fell into with Nellie’s and DC Gay Flag Football. It feels like a home base. I never don’t see someone else I know there. The day that DOMA was repealed, our first thought was to go there and celebrate with our friends. And we did. That’s the kind of place Nellie’s is.

What I usually order: Usually a salad, burger, or empanadas. All 3 are solid choices here. Oh the wings or the nachos!  For a sports bar, the food is really good. And beer. I’ve consumed so much Miller Lite here. I was pleased to see a couple of weeks ago that they do have quite a few microbrews on draft upstairs now.
Why I keep going back: So many reasons. There was a point when I was here at least once per week. Now, I’m mostly there for flag football events and hangouts. It’s just a good, comfortable, easy default spot.
Thing I still haven’t tried yet: As far as the food, there’s not much on the menu I haven’t tried! I still haven’t been to drag brunch buffet. It always looks super crowded but like so much fun. Maybe after my Sundays free up this summer.
Fun things about this place: The space is an awesome mix of sports memorabilia and gay bar. They have drag brunch, trivia, drag bingo, ping pong, karaoke, pretty much anything you can imagine. They also just put in big tilting windows downstairs so that the dining room will be nice and airy when it finally warms up. OH! And a roof deck! Ah, and the duckies.

Matchbox, 14th St. (DC)

When trying to decide where I wanted to celebrate with a larger group of friends for birthday brunch, I thought it might be best to just choose somewhere huge, centrally located, with a wide variety of things on the menu. Matchbox on 14th St. NW came to mind pretty easily. I made a reservation online and then sent out the invite. I got a little nervous about how many people I invited versus the number I made the reservation for, so I changed it to the largest number I could. In doing this, I must have accidentally changed the day. This was not something I noticed until I looked up the phone number in my confirmation e-mail to call them and reduce the number of guests just TWO HOURS before me and 11 friends were supposed to roll up there. So of course when I noticed this, I FREAKED OUT and called them as quickly as I could. I told them the story and luckily they were able to easily accommodate our group. I was so thankful that I chose such a giant place. Crisis averted.

They seated us at a round table in a corner, which was perfect. I was able to see and talk to everyone in the group without someone getting stuck at the end of the table. Also, since I’m apparently terrible at counting people, we had to get pretty close and squeeze a couple extra chairs in. The table was juuuust big enough for the 12 of us and it worked out fine. A majority of the group were college friends who were accustomed to pulling the same kind of move in the dining hall.

Since I was with so many friends, I was paying more attention to them and less to the food. My waffle with fresh fruit and a side of bacon was tasty. My mimosas came at a good pace. The lady’s french toast was great. One friend had the steak and eggs and it looked fantastic. the lamb sandwich also looked interesting with the chickpea fries. Last time I was there, I had an excellent omelet. I won’t be going back tomorrow, but the food is always good, the service is personable and prompt. A solid experience every time.

  • Favorite thing I’ve had: Everything I ever get is good. The waffle was great. The Matchbox Mimosa was excellent. I could have drank them all day, but we had to be productive adults after brunch.
  • Favorite thing she had: The french toast.
  • How was the service? It was great. The server handled our more-than-expected group of 12 like a pro and was very personable. He even preemptively split our checks. A total lifesaver in a situation like that. At one point, we asked if they could take a picture of the whole group and they sent over someone who was clearly accustomed to such requests. Nice touch.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The fig and prosciutto pizza. The server recommended it, but I was already set on the waffle. The cocktails. Maybe one of the bloody marys.
  • What makes this place stand out: The space is huge and airy. Exposed brick and duct work. A sizable outside seating area. A huge menu.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): I seem to end up here about once per season.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Garden District (we tried, too crowded), Menchie’s (that’s where we ended up instead)

The Gibson (U St NW.)

After dinner and a night-starter at Bar Charley, we headed a few blocks east to 14th St. NW to The Gibson. This one has been on the list to try for a long time and we’ve just gotten to the point where we’re ok with dropping $12 on a good cocktail(s). We knew the general location, but had to look up the actual address to find the well-camouflaged location. Once we found the door (with the address painted the same color as the facade) we saw The Gibson painted in tiny letters on the brick. We walked into a narrow hallway where a host checked our IDs and seated us at the bar behind a closed door in a surprisingly dark room. It took a minute to adjust, but as soon as we had drinks in front of us, all was right in the world. We ended up leaving $80 poorer and quite tipsy, but would do it again in a heartbeat. Safe to say, those were the best cocktails we’ve had in DC.

  • Favorite thing I had: The Clover Club cocktail. Gin, raspberry syrup, lemon juice, egg white. It tasted almost like a creamsicle and I had 2. Egg whites in drinks, who knew? I want another one right now.
  • Favorite thing she had: The Brown Derby. Whiskey, grapefruit juice, honey.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: Anything and everything. Giving the bartender a few details and having a cocktail constructed especially for me.
  • What makes this place stand out: Has the feel of a speakeasy but without code words or secret numbers. Nothing standing between you and deeeelightful cocktails.
  • Fun Details Otherwise: We got a little bit of a show, watching the bartender break down giant blocks of ice for drinks. They were even creating their own spherical ice cubes. What do I have to order to get one of those? It was also fun to watch them expertly craft 5 different cocktails at once. I’d sit here just to watch and learn.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Tomorrow, if I could afford it. Realistically, next month.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): U St. and 14th St. NW are your oyster, here. A show at Black Cat or U Street Music Hall.