With a little less than an hour to go before the DC episode airs on the Travel Channel tonight at 10 PM, it’s time to announce the winner of our “No Reservations” contest. We asked you to let us know where you would take Bourdain for a drink, and you rose to the challenge!
We were really impressed with the level of creativity and thought that went into the submissions we received – clearly Capital Spice readers know their way around the DC drinking and dining scene.
Generally speaking, entries tended to take one of two approaches – you either wanted to wow Bourdain by taking him to places that featured good food AND quality beverages, or you wanted to expose Tony to the stripped-down, diviest bars that DC has to offer. Somehow, I think he’d approve.
From category one, the best of the best:
- A recent mixologist cocktail party, featuring a make-your-own champagne cocktail bar (this one came with a back-up: the outdoor bar at Johnny’s Half Shell, noted for “the best vodka gimlet in the history of mankind.”)
- Brasserie Beck for mussels and lots of beer (this entry deserves props for suggesting an Ethiopian place like Etete, especially since Bourdain visits Abay Market in the episode).
- Blue Duck Tavern, “mainly for their handcut BDT triple fries” and a bottle of Bordeaux. Bourdain and Bordeaux? Yes, please!
From category two, some of the best neighborhood joints:
- Cantina Marina “for a refreshing bucket of beers and some fish tacos.” The Marina was cited as “distinctly ‘the Real DC,'” and this entry also gets props for accurately predicting one of Bourdain’s stops (the Maine Avenue Fish Wharf).
- Tiffany’s Old Town Tavern for live bluegrass on a Friday or Saturday night. Telling it like it is, this entry treated “only Yuengling on tap, and really crappy food” as a badge of honor while giving props to the bar’s great atmosphere.
- Dan’s Cafe. Anyone familiar with this Adams Morgan legend can immediately picture Bourdain sitting down with his own bottle of booze and the mixer of his choice in this dive bar’s dive bar. This “hole in the wall that has never changed” is definitely a unique experience that Tony would not soon forget.
But the winner of the signed poster suggested something even better – a truly under-the-radar spot on its most off-beat night. In her own words:
“I would take Mr. Bourdain for a drink at Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club, preferably when Wasteland is running, which is the last Friday of every month. This place has no signage outside and the window is blacked out and the place appears to be shut down from the outside, but once you walk in, you feel the energy in all the red lighting. The place has the most interesting and unique decor and is so very comfortable. On Wasteland night, the music is Goth Rock, Darkwave, and Gothic Ambient, which seems to fit the overall decor so well. This place is one of DC’s best Dive bars and yet also remains one of the least known.”
Congratulations to DMC in DC for her excellent suggestion. To us, it’s the perfect blend of insider and outsider, and exactly the kind of place that Bourdain would revel in. We’ll be sending an email shortly to arrange delivery of the signed poster.
If you haven’t heard about Jimmy V’s, don’t feel too bad. They’ve been building a quiet following from their nondescript location on Bladensburg Road just north of H Street, NE, for about a year and a half now. Want more information? Check out Frozen Tropics, a blog that focuses on Trinidad and the greater H Street area.
And thank you to all of you who took the time to send in your recommendations. With any luck, the powers that be over at the Travel Channel’s headquarters in Silver Spring will print out a copy of this post and offer it to Bourdain the next time he’s in town so he can check out your suggestions. We’ve definitely added some new spots to our “must try” list thanks to your help!