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.
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.
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.
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.
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
My friends and I decided to try out Laughing Lizard Lounge. It has been self promoted as "THe Best Dive Bar" in Old Town. We visited last Saturday night and found the place to be falling apart. Holes in walls, leaky roof, and over priced beers(other than Pabst ...and who drinks this swill anyway?). The staff was inattentive and at times rude. The clientele generally attracts a kind of brutish ilk. Fortunately we left around midnight to discover a superb dive bar that has room to sit and walk by the pool table, and has really good food too. It's called Bistro Europa. The place has large windows allowing city light to radiate thru the large windows .
Dress Code: People could get inside here wearing burlap .
As soon as you enter this place you almost feel the tension . Police presence outside speaks volumes. The kitchen looks like it has'nt been renovated since 1960, if ever. The sinks have soap with filth in the cracks, and I'm talking about by the cooking area. I can only think that the health inspector(s) must be asleep at the wheel. I definitely give this place a major thumbs down. Also, the music , for the most part, is weak; the comedy here is rare.
Dress Code: None
This place is only good if you like Pabst Blue Ribbon. It's too pricey for a dirty dive. Atmosphere here is tense, management is detached. Police presence is constant, for good reason. Frequent brawls, no doubt attracts motley crew that attracts malfeasants. Hygiene lacking. Lizard really ought to be CONDEMNED for Health Inspection violations
Dress Code: none
Laughing Lizard Lounge self described as "Best Bar in Old Town" is very inaccurate, to say the least. It's "the best" in value only if you drink Pabst Blue ribbon, otherwise pricey, especially for the dingy dive that it is. Clientele there is largely a motley crew of hostile drunks, and the management , well, let's just say "rough around the edges". Undoubtedly they become that way since the place has friction about it. Simply put, frequent Police presence to break up fights, or to arrest denizen of druggies. Either way, it's more tense than 'laid back'. As mentioned in other postings, rarely any soap or paper towels. That's not a "Dive", that's a Public Health hazard/sty. It's ok over all if you like the feeling that you're at a G.E.D. High SChool reunion circa 1974. Smoke is so heavy there you cant breathe. Great if you like the ambience of say, HOT Shoppes "Low Self Esteem" gathering circa 1977. Finally, the music venue here leaves a lot to be desired. It's all basically gnashing of teeth ilk that would like it. Cacaphony. As far as the "comedy", from what I've been told by regulars ,it rarely occurs at all.
Dress Code: No Coat, No Ties, No Class
This place is dark, dingy, dank, and down right nasty. The walls are painted black, and the furniture is rotten. Mildew seen everywhere, especially in the vents. The food is almost as bad as the service. Food is handled by cook after handling money. Not sanitary in short. Upstairs depressing look about the place. A pool table takes up most all of the space . Old Town has far better places, eg. the Bistro Europa.
This place is Vile! Filthy, dreary, dingy, dank , dump! Avoid this rat trap. Also, attracts riff raff, and low lifes. Great for those that like the self mutilation (body piercing) , and those that dont know about how much the cost of their bar bill should be. Be warned, the bartenders will try to stiff you. Roachs galore. Terrible hygiene of the "Cooks". Ugggh!
Dress Code: No Suits , NO ties, no brains, no class.
This place has a big bar that is usually busy but not packed (except during Redskins games in the Fall) - a great mix of people, fabulous bartenders and good happy hour specials. There used to be a parking lot in back but the land was sold to build (what else?) condos, so it is street-parking only for the time being. (They are building an underground garage for the condos, so Southside patrons will be able to use that when they are finished.)
The separate restaurant is a great place to go if you are really hungry. The food is southern-themed, but there are some missteps. The place prides itself on its bread-and-butter pickles, which is fine if you like them (I don't), but when they start frying them, it just ain't right. Fried pickles are supposed to be dill and come with comeback sauce. Anywho, most of the food is great. There is this one dish called low-country shortcake, which is layers of cornbread, mashed potatoes, chicken, oysters etc. - yummy and FILLING! Sometimes I just like to get a side of greens and mashed potatoes. The fries are really good too, not sure what they do to them, but I wish everyone would follow their lead. I'd like to see chicken and dumplings on the menu.
Dress Code: Casual.
Stop in and sing along with the crowd all your favorite Irish tunes. Nightly staples include The Wild Rover, The Unicorn, Seven Drunken Nights, and all the others that invite crowd participation. Grab a Guiness and a bar stool and join the fun. Be sure to let the singer know if you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or anything else.
Dress Code: Casual.
I've been going to Tiffanys since the mid 1990s. The owner and staff are friendly and give great service. The food is good, especially the burgers, salmon and shrimp. Have a beer, chat with the regulars, and stick around for the open mike that starts around 9pm.
Dress Code: Casual. During happy hour or dinner, you will be equally comfortable in a suit and tie or jeans and a t-shirt.
Nick's advertises itself as a place to eat, drink, hear good music and most of all have a great time.
Nick's features the latest in country music on a large dance floor with both DJs and live bands.
Nick's offers dance lessons in the form of line dancing and two step.