Best Bar in D.C.

16 07 2009

Picture 2

Yesterday evening, a friend and I went to our favorite bar/restaurant for Happy Hour and dinner. The place is called Penn Quarter Sports Tavern and yes, is located in Penn Quarter on Indiana Avenue near 7th Street, NW DC.  This place is amazing for a number of reasons, and wins a glowing review on my blog. Seriously, guys, you should all go here. Where do I begin? 

First off, this sports bar has a fun atmosphere where chic meets the athletics. While the place is a popular sports bar, it doesn’t shove it’s sports theme in your face. (Except for the upstairs which has walls covered in mini football helmets from numerous colleges and universities and which also displays some photos and plaques of sports stars.) The downstairs area has an upscale look with rustic brick walls and large, fanciful framed mirrors. In keeping with the sports bar feel, there are  many flat screen HD TVs on the walls and behind the bars. Small, tall tables dot the space and there’s a wall of cushioned seating on one side. There’s an additional outdoor seating area, both under an awning on their “patio” as well as additional tables in front of their entrance to accommodate larger crowds. 

The menu seems to be always changing, but is consistently tasty. The fare can best be described as your standard American recipes with a twist. The prices lean towards the higher end, but it’s all worth what you pay for. Before my visit last night, one of my favorite dishes was the Roasted Vegetable Salad. It had roasted squash and onion in a green salad, topped with addicting chunks of gorgonzola(?) cheese and a balsamic dressing. I liked to order that when I wanted to feel healthy. During the fall months, a Seasonal Sweet Potato was on the menu which was absolute heaven. A cooked sweet potato was cut open to reveal a lovely warm, buttery middle complete with cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Last night I ordered the Turkey Pesto Panini. This sandwich was extra special because of the unique chipotle pesto spread. I couldn’t get enough of that. The melted swiss nicely completed the panini. PQST is also home to (in my opinion) the best buffalo wings in the city. You can get their wings in buffalo, BBQ, or Teriyaki sauce, and while the BBQ is quite good, (I have not tried the Teriyaki), the buffalo flavor is to die for. These might be the spiciest buffalo wings I’ve had in Washington, D.C. Often times when you order buffalo wings, you can specify the degree of spiciness, but at PQST they only come one way. They make you want to keep drinking water, and yet you can’t stop eating the wings. Also note-worthy on their menu are their supposed-addictive onion rings and a new item, a $7 dollar personal pizza with the option for toppings at an additional price.

The bar offers a standard variety of beers on tap, including Blue Moon, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Dos Equis, and others. Some of my favorite beers including, Red Stripe, Sam Adams, and Dog Fish are offered bottled, as well as a variety of others. Their new Happy Hour specials include their exciting $2 shooters (at PQST, a shooter is basically like a double sized shot). There are three kinds of shooters for the special: some kind of Melonball, Limon Drop, and something called a Woo-woo which is really good. Other Happy Hour drink specials include pints and pitchers of beer, wine, rail liquor mixed drinks, and more.

With all this praise for their food, drink, and setting, one simply can not forget the great service, which honestly, is my main reason for repeatedly coming time after time. The waiters and bartenders are experienced and as you can tell, obviously really enjoy their jobs. The youthful staff is helpful, honest, and energetic. I’ve been coming to PQST for about a year now, and through my repeat visits, I have befriended a lot of the staff. A great example of the fantastic service came from my visit last night. My friend and I were warmly greeted at the entrance to the patio, and were told to sit wherever we chose. As my friend and I contemplated where to sit, an off-duty waiter seated, smoking at a table offered up his spot for us, even though there were plenty of other empty tables which we could have taken. Our good friend, and waiter, Adam was (and continues to be) knowledgeable about the items on the menu, and especially friendly to everyone. His service is very timely and while, we may not have had napkins on the table when we ordered our food, they soon arrived along with the condiments shortly thereafter.

If you go (which you should!), all of the waitstaff is great, but I would recommend the service of Adam, Eli, or Alex (who, while she is new, does a good job and tries very hard to get your order right.) Especially note-worthy bartenders include Doug and Mark who can both, make a mean mixed drink. (Doug, I am told, makes a great shooter of his choice.)

PQST was also named one of the best sports bars in D.C. If I can remember correctly, it narrowly beat out the ESPN Zone! This is the place to come for all things college sports. They are also a sponsor bar for Caps games, and while it may be hard to find a seat to watch the game, the crowd is fun to be with. All in all, this is a great bar and restaurant and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun place to eat and/or drink.

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5 responses

16 07 2009
Meli

Penn Quarter is also my favorite bar. They even hook up laptops to tv’s for games where they don’t get the network (like Cornell hockey games).

16 07 2009
Meli

They also make Matzah Pizza during passover since the head manager’s ex-wife is Jewish. Yes, I’ve been there just a few (hundred) times to have learned such things.

16 07 2009
Patrick

I’m really happy to see this review- I’ve been meaning to go to Penn Quarter but I never get around to it!

17 07 2009
dazey2

Patrick- you should totally go! What’s keeping you?

20 07 2009
Brian

Penn Qtr is a great place to find sports fans for various teams including those at this site:

http://www.hooliga.com/bars/DC/District_of_Columbia/Washington/Penn_Quarter_Sports_Tavern-1000033

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