CNN Hot Spots! Empty Nesters Welcome!

So, CNN.com, I see you've taken the time to talk about the District's "new late-night spots." I'm sure this will be enlightening.

In the last few years, as more young professionals and empty nesters have bought homes in the nation's capital, D.C. has shifted from being a city of chilly Federal buildings to a place where cutting-edge restaurants, late-night caf├ęs, and underground bars open more frequently than local politicians are busted for scandals.

This is the second paragraph. No "spots" have been mentioned and I'm already annoyed. I love how people pretend that DC used to be stuffy but now it's very chic. Well, it's still stuffy and these young professionals and empty nesters are a big part of the problem. Nothing says "hip" like a single ladder-climbing lawyer in his 30s. As if that's any better than being a "stuffy" legislative assistant.

So, here's the list. With some comments of course.

Proof: 775 G St. NW, 202/737-7663, wine from $6.50

Portraits of George Washington and Hillary Clinton flash across flat-screens above the bar. Proof, like many things in the nation's capital, was inspired by the founding fathers. In this case, it's a nod to Benjamin Franklin, whom the bar quotes as saying, "Wine is proof that God loves us."

Oh. This sounds great. Pictures of Hillary Clinton and George Washington? Count me in!

The quote they're referring to is most likely bullshit too. It's always attributed to Bejamin Franklin, but more often than not he's talking about beer. Google sides with me on this one.

Brasserie Beck: 1101 K St. NW, 202/408-1717, beer from $7

Who wants to have a good time on 11th and K? That's a dead zone. And if the cheapest beer is $7, then how the Hell can it be listed under "budget travel" on CNN? Seven dollar beers do not fit in the budget of anyone I know.

Central Michel Richard: 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202/626-0015, "faux gras" terrine $14

Another dead zone. Who wants to get their drink on by the Federal Triangle?

Ben's Chili Bowl: 1213 U St. NW, 202/667-0909, chili $5

This may be blasphemous, but I consider Ben's Chili Bowl to be outrageously overrated. Their half smokes are fine. Their chili and fries are disgusting. And it's always so busy. Why does Ben's get such a good rep when anyone with a half-working brain knows to avoid Steak 'n' Egg at all costs?

I mean, I know the reason why. It's because Ben's has been around forever. So why in the name of Fuck is it listed as a NEW hot spot!?

HR-57: 1610 14th St. NW, 202/667-3700, cover from $8

Never been. Can't comment.

Busboys and Poets: 2021 14th St. NW, 202/387-7638, pizza from $8

Only been once. The gazpacho was a disaster. No flavor and terrible texture. If they messed up something as easy as gazpacho, then I'm not exactly eager to try their pizza.

Bourbon: 2321 18th St. NW, 202/332-0800, from $5

I like the one in Glover Park more.

Metropolitain: 1847 Columbia Rd. NW, 202/299-9630, wine from $6

The decor is inspired by the 1970s, with gold-and-white wallpaper and cushiony leather couches -- but there's no sitting around after 10 p.m., when DJs spin disco.

That sounds like a blast. Disco? Disco is past the point of even ironic enjoyment.

I would have thought that CNN would be hard-pressed to make the city seem less bearable than the reality on the ground. But here we are. There's the usual ignorance of anyone or anything in Northeast or Southeast. And then they cherry-picked some of the worst parts of Northwest to boot.

Really, the best case scenario here is for some tourist to follow CNN's advice, have the worst time of their life (I would rather dick around the monuments than drink on 11th and K), and then Google "I hate DC." And then they will find me and they can know that they are not alone.

And to them I say, "Welcome."


  1. I'll always hate Busboys and Poets because of the stupid name. And for some other reason having to do with the smoking ban that I forgot.

    Having returned from 2 years in DC, I can say without a doubt that I'd rather drink with "stuffy, ladder-climbing 30-year-old lawyers" than the trust-fund hipster assholes Rusty probably thinks would improve the city's nightlife.

    Although Rusty does run circles around James F, so congrats in that regard.

  2. dooood, have you seen the wallpaper in the men's room at brasserie beck? i mean...

    the place was good, but not cheap. plus you're right, dead zone.

  3. Ben's kick ass. You just think its hip to diss it.

    I do hate bus boys and poets. But I have been in DC since 1999 and it HAS gotten better. Maybe not the people, but the quality and variety of restaurants has definitely improved since then.

  4. Read the CNN article too. A few thoughts - I agree with you; G.Park Bourbon superior to AdMo. Geebus, did I really call it "AdMo?!" I thought H.R. 57 closed down but what do I know...Only on Central must I challenge your opinion - GREAT food (Michel Richard is a genius and if you can't afford Citronelle [who CAN?!] Central is a good option), nice ambiance, and at a price that won't break the bank. Long time reader, first time comment-ette, love your work.

  5. Perhaps you should go look at the screens at Proof before mouthing off. They also show Prince, James Dean, Madonna, Joe Louis, Elvis, etc. 100s of images from the National Portrait Gallery's collection. And before you call bullshit on the Franklin quote perhaps you should research beyond google (which sides w/BOTH beer and wine). It comes from a famous letter which I've read that refers solely to wine - he never said it about beer. Why not get informed before you start trash talking.

  6. Wineboy, mouthing off without researching is the entire POINT of the Internet.

    It's hip to hate Ben's Chili Bowl now? Man, I am SO behind on this stuff.

  7. I have to completely disagree with your assessment of busboys and poets. The menu has changed recently, and their breakfast/brunch food is reasonably priced and very good. I think you should give them another try.

    Besides, gazpacho is just gross.

  8. For once Rusty is right about one thing: B&P BLOWS. Lousy meal + lousy service = no second chances. File under TRYST.

    He's wrong about Beck: the block may be dead, but that place raised the bar for D.C. restaurants. Save some $ and take a girl, Rusty.

    As for Ben's: Rusty, you spend a lot of energy on how pretentious and unfriendly and overpriced D.C. is. Ben's is a place where you can get affordable, unpretentious food in a friendly environment. Sure it's a sacred cow, but it's earned its stripes by surviving the worst years of D.C., as well as the gentrification wave.

    Why do you have to piss on everything?