Edit Blog Post
Published: November 19th 2010
A Street View
Adam's Morgan at twilight.
Lately I have been feeling boring. It is not that I can't find anything to do, it is that my work routine and home life have become a bit, well, domestic. Many of my friends and peers have this impression that I am in constant motion, always going somewhere because of my affinity for travel, but as you well know, it takes time and preparation, aka money, to get there. It is a gruesome amount of hours delivering hot plates of food, chatting up the regulars, explaining what grana (parmesian), cockels (clams) and carne (meat) are, then coming home to sit in front of the computer dreaming, ticket browsing, writing, and editing.
So this Sunday, I was determined that it would be different. I had the day off and was anxious to feed my travel fix with a little culture and youth in revolt. Bringing along my friend Henry for the adventure, we headed toward an escape from our droll work routines to surround ourselves with the unexpected and the unusual, a hipsters paradise; Adams Morgan.
Adams Morgan is one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in Washington D.C. symbolized through its name which it acquired after two elementary
schools, John Quincy Adams Elementary and Thomas P. Morgan Elementary School were desegregated. Now that they nipped that in the bud, the neighborhood has become so diverse, one would gather this multicultural hub has A.D.D. The main drag, 18th Street, is lined with restaurants that offer over fifteen different types of ethnic cuisines within the five square block. The small cafe tables are scattered along the sidewalk. You are surrounded by candy colored row houses, bluesy jazz clubs, empanada stands, Ethiopian goods shops, and young men and women in tweed hats and vintage skinny jeans looking effortlessly cool while they go about their day. It is colorful, crowded and great way to break up the monotony.
When we approached, everyone was outside on their bikes, strolling along the sidewalk, groups of people spilling into the street from the open patios of restaurants. It was lively, raucous, young in D.C.
While researching an upcoming trip, I came across an article on the best dive bars of the world, "19 Perfect Dive Bars in the World" . Madam's Organ, the bar I wandered into on one of my first trips to the city that I had written about in earlier
Madams Organ stands proud.
pages, was third down. Remembering the oddities adorning the walls, the great music, and the cheap drinks ($5 Jamesons?) in this well worn, unglamorous establishment, I had to revisit the memory.
Pete, the bartender was standing outside banging on the door cussing to let him in. As we approached he smiled, looked at my camera and invited us inside to get better shots once his coworker unlatched the door.
"I have to lock the door but I assure you this is not a scene from the human centipede," he said. "Take a look."
As my eyes adjusted to the red lit room, I now could see all the things I am sure many believe to be hallucinations while eliminating sobriety. Rams stuffed mid-leap jumping off the wall, an upside down bicycle, the tap stand a humongous middle finger, it is part nightmare, part fantasy. With a slogan like "where the beautiful people come to get ugly". Madame's Organ houses the ugly side of everybody with no judgment placing you in an environment provoking and prepared for it. Sort of like an R-rated Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, it is a one hell of a good time. I am sure this is where Chuck Norris drinks, especially because redheads drink Rolling Rock half price.
Dive bars are authentic, there is reality
in the swill swigging underground of grit and grease transcending age and style, which is why they have increasingly become so popular. Where college kids sing renditions of Carrie Underwood along next to taxi driving has-beens, the bartenders pour heavy and know your name (or make one up for you), barflies philosophize to you, convict next to sorority girl sitting next to professional golf player. It is void of the sleek, prim allure of a lounge where patrons are on their best behavior. The hard comraderie and dark delight corralled within its seedy walls are quite different than the warmhearted cheeriness of a pub. Crawling into a dive is falling down the rabbit hole into a whimsical world of nonsense. As Madam's Organ warns, "you may come early but you'll leave late." What are the best dive bars you have been to world wide? Share your favorites! Here are a few of mine you don't want to miss if you are in the area.
1. Madam's Organ- Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.
2. The Jinx- Savannah, Georgia.
Alternative and always booked with entertainment such as Beer Bingo, 80's night, and live shows most nights
"I assure you, this is not a scene from the human centipede."-Pete, bartender.
of the week. The Jinx is a popular local spot.
3. Cake Shop- Lower East Side, New York City, NY.
Indie music, cake, and cheap booze this is a small space that packs good fun.
4. Charlies Kitchen- Harvard Square, Boston, MA.
The exterior looks like a Chinese restaurant, the interior looks like a diner, and they offer an impressive selection of beer not carried in most dives.
5. Notorious -Buenos Aires, Argentina.
This little music shop is all business in the front and party in the back! Walk past the aisles of cds where you can listen on headphones to any album or track on the computers and enter a speakeasy with red skirted table clothes. The candlelit seating area surrounds a small stage where local bands play Friday and Saturdays. For summer nights, visit their garden in the back.
6. Fast Eddies- Springfield, VA.
Pool, basketball, darts, and surprisingly great steak. Cheap drinks and one of the few remaining bars left in the area to allow smoking.
7. Bukowski's Tavern- Boston, MA.
Need I say more? Barfly safe haven. Poetic in its simplicity.
Tot: 0.059s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 7; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0096s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb