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The Bayou Room is really an oddity in Old Town, especially just a block or two from the Potomac River waterfront. Even more amazing, this basement dive bar in under one of the classier restaurants in Old Town (called 219 Restaurant). From now on, I will only refer to the Bayou Room as "The Dungeon."
We stopped in one night after hearing from some friends that this was a decent place to grab a cheap drink. the music was loud on this Friday night around 11pm, with songs blaring like "Oh God Damn, this is my plan, party till the AM!" (I'm not making this up!). After having our IDs scanned by the bouncer, we made our way across the tiny dance floor to the bar for a few small beers in plastic cups. We soon made our way to the vacant corner near the restrooms and jsut enjoyed watching the odd mix of people from guys in suits to local hoodlums.
We didn't stick around long as the music was way to loud for any kind of conversation and the disco ball just a bit discombobulating.
Interesting spot, maybe better on a weeknight when it more of a bar than a dance club.
Written Apr 25, 2009
Pat Troy's is a fun Irish pub, similar to nearby Murphy's, but with a little bit of an older, more subdued crowd. We randomly showed up one chilly February night and it just happened to be the night of the Great Guinness Toast. After grabbing one of the numerous open tables, and ordering a few beers, we were given a ticket for a drawing later. We watched the lone entertainer with his guitar play Irish pub songs along with some more modern American songs like Country Roads, sort of the usual music you expect at a place like this.
Around 11pm, a short, white haired guy in green came up on stage. As far I we could tell, he was the owner. In his thick Irish accent he led a toast to Guinness, then began calling out numbers to give prizes of Guinness beads, shirts, and hats. It was pretty annoying because it went on so long, but he was kind of funny. After about 20 minutes, the live music restarted.
Pat Troys serves a variety of Irish foods from open until close at 2am. Their menus include Irish specialties like fish and chips and lamb stew, along with a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, and appetizers.
Updated Apr 21, 2009
Address: 111 N Pitt St Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 549-4535
The Stage Door Deli and O'Shaughnessy's Pub are located just a few blocks from King Street Station on King Street in Old Town Alexandria. The bar was one of the first things I noticed in Old Town, but later the deli caught my attention.
O'Shaughnessy's Pub was until recently called the Laughing Lizard Lounge. It features live bands every Friday and Saturday night. O'Shaughnessy's also has three pool tables, jukeboxes and is one of just a handful of bars in town to offer live entertainment, whether it be live bands, or karaoke.
We stopped in on St. Paddy's Day 2009, but only stayed long enough for one beer each. The bar was packed with people drinking and playing pool. One guy, obviously very drunk, walked up to the barkeeper and said, "FOOD." The bar tender politely replied, "excuse me, I didn't understand you." The barely conscious response was, "got any?" The bar tender replied, "yes sir, we do have food, would you like to see a menu?" The reply was just barely a grunt. He then pulled out his $500 i-phone to use as a flashlight to scan the menu in the dark bar. I knew someone would eventually find a good use for those things.
Updated Apr 4, 2009
Address: 1324 King St Alexandria, VA 22314
Very fun spot! I arrived at around 10:30pm to meet a group of friends and the place was packed. After getting my ID examined by the bouncer I couldn't even make it past the stage before I sent a text to my friend asking where he was. He was on the lower lever, so I finally made my way past the crowd between the stage and the bar to discover they had a table with a free seat and a Yuengling on the way. Almost heaven!
While listening to the Irish singer (named Pat Garvey), we had numerous rounds of beer, but I couldn't help but be amazed at the $350 tab the seven of us racked up from 7:30pm until a little after midnight. Even the waitress seemed surprised/impressed. It helps when you have a funny and entertaining singer who gets the crowd singing along with every song and having a great time. Beers aren't terribly overpriced either, with Sam Adams draft about $5 each, Yuengling drafts for $4 each, and Miller Lite draft for just $3.50.
Murphy's is in the heart of Old Town Alexandria on King Street. It has an open pub feel, but rather than a lot of "My Goodness My Guinness" posters, it is decorated mainly with US military and law enforcement flags and signs. My impression of the crowd was that a majority seemed to be in the military or law enforcement.
Updated Apr 4, 2009
Address: 713 King St, Alexandria, VA
If you want to sample some different, exotic beers, try Bilbo Baggins. Here are some brews from all over the world. There is a large selection of beers on tap, plus a huge selection of bottled beers. There is also a spacious room upstairs which can accomodate private parties. Beware: some of these beers are considerably stronger than those that most Americans are accustomed to. The appetizers are good (I had the calamari), but I didn't have any entrees.
Dress Code: Casual.
Written Mar 9, 2009
Address: 208 Queen Street; Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Looking for bluegrass music? This is the place. The Tiffany Tavern serves up standard southern American food (I didn't try it but it looked pretty good). It also has the only live bluegrass that I've heard anywhere in the greater DC area. Bands start at 9:00 pm Friday and Saturday. There's an open mike Monday through Thursday, starting at 8:30.
On weekends, arrive early (no later than 8:00 pm) if you want to sit near the band. There is additional space in the back, but you won't be able to see or hear much. The crowd gets pretty boisterous, but everyone is fairly decent. Patrons range in age from young adults to seniors. It's a laid back, Southern kind of place. Not like the clubs in DC.
Dress Code: Casual.
Written Mar 9, 2009
Address: 1116 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 836-8844
The Two Nineteen Club offers live blues and rock right in the heart of Old Town, on historic King St near the Market Square. No really big name entertainment here, but some very good local acts. If you want to party late in Old Town, then this is an excellent place. Very friendly and informal, it makes you feel right at home.
It's housed in a Victorian-era home built by Lewis Mac Kenzie in 1890. It is rumored that the ghost of its last private tenant, Mrs Edna M. Royster, continues to haunt this old house. But it never interferes with the music. Anyway, I haven't tried the food here.
Dress Code: Come as you are.
Written Mar 9, 2009
Address: 219 King Street, Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314
La Tasca, a great tapas restaurant, has live Latin bands on Friday and Saturday nights. The bands are rather fun and lively, but the crowds are really odd. It seems most of the people here are divorced 40-somethings hitting on other divorced 40-somethings. Sure everyone needs a place to go out, have a good time, and feel comfortable, but Hawaiian shirts on a snowy night in February?
We had some of the meanest drunk ladies ever sitting next to us; they glared at me when I asked for their extra stool. The drunk guys next to us must be the envy of all balding middle-aged men across the nation, as they danced in their Hawaiian shirts with every lady in the bar.
After our last visit, we were stopped by a weird guy in the door who asked us about the band. We pointed to the sign, which got him talking about great classical guitarists. I asked "Like Carlos Santana?" He said Carlos Santana sucked and by the way the CIA was watching everything he did because he was an intelligence guy back in Vietnam and now they are in his house in his head in his phone maybe even watching us.
By the way, this review is only about the wacky nightlife. The food here is great, just leave by 10pm when the Latin music starts.
Updated Mar 1, 2009
Address: 607 King St Alexandria, VA 22314
Cafe Salsa is a great spot to start your weekend as they have a popular and inexpensive happy hour on week nights. While the restaurant downstairs is very nice, head on upstairs to the quieter, darker, and much more lively bar. Happy hour specials include their mojitos, which are cheap, tasty, and extremely popular. They also offer all appetizers at half price during happy hour, including empanadas, tamales, quesadillas, nachos, and a variety of seafood dishes. While some of their food has traditional Tex-Mex names, most of it has a Caribbean or South American flair.
We tried their empanadas (normally $8, at happy hour just $4) and seafood cocktail ceviche (normally $9, reduced to $4.50) while our companions had quesadilla Maya and the nachos Cubanos. The empanadas were excellent, but the serving is just three of these tasty turnovers stuffed with shredded Cuban beef and chicken and served with tasty green jalapeño and cilantro salsa. The ceviche is shrimp, calamari & scallops with roasted corn & pico de gallo; the shrimp and calamari were tasty, but the sauce a little too sweet for us. Their nachos are actually crispy plantain chips topped with melted cheese, Cuban beans, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo. The quesadilla consisted of flour tortillas filled with marinated grilled chicken, bell peppers and pico de gallo, and served with guacamole and sour cream.
In about an hour four of us sucked down about nine mojitos ($4.50 each!) plus three of their Peruvian Cristal beers ($5.75 each) to go with our light dinner.
Happy hour starts around 5pm and goes until 7pm. The bar stays open until midnight on the weekends.
Updated Feb 1, 2009
Address: 808 King St Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 684-4100
In the past the Laughing Lizard Lounge was known as a "dive bar". It is now under new management. Everything is being renovated, cleaned and updated. The late night menu is excellent and the chefs have been brought in from top restaurants the Northest as well as South Beach. The next time you go to the "NEW" Laughing Lizard Lounge make sure you try the Chef Bites that are now offered. You'll be glad you did.
Dress Code: Casual
Written Mar 28, 2008
Address: Corner of King St. & West St. in Old Town
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