- 1101 17th St. N.W., Washington, DC, 20036
- Overall User Rating:
- (4 ratings)
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When Lima opened its doors five years ago, times were different. D.C. was experiencing an economic boom, with several luxurious lounges and clubs opening, with clientele able to afford expensive yet exquisite meals and spend hundreds on bottled service on a whim.
Times have certainly changed, and so has the business model for the owners of the brand new Bar Code Restaurant, Bar and Lounge on L Street. While the DC Hospitality Group's previous ventures in Lima and Vetro cater to the high-end crowd, Bar Code is a refreshing twist for those who want to find a stylish place to unwind in midtown DC after a long day in the office, without breaking the bank.
Inside they'll find an aesthetically beautiful space with gleaming fluorescent colored lights providing an inviting appeal. And even more inviting are the happy hour specials of half-off beer, wine and rail from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. While other bars have similar specials, what sets Bar Code apart is the quality of beer selection. On the low end are PBR cans for $1.50, in the middle a delicious Goose Island Sofie seasonal Belgium-style beer going for $3.50 draft, and for 50 cents more a Chimay Trappist Red bottle for an unheard of $4. That's right, just $4 for a beer that could easily go for triple that at other bars in D.C.
So why change a business model that has worked so successfully for Lima and Vetro on K Street? "Because not every day is a special occasion," says Bar Code co-owner Antonis Karagounis. So instead, Bar Code combines a luxurious atmosphere, but with beer prices that are on par with dive bars in the area. And the specials don’t end on Friday. During football Sunday late afternoons and evenings the beer specials are extended, and for Monday Night Football, the deals last all night -- perfect for watching the big game on the plethora of HDTV's behind the bar, and the 70-inch projection screen just to the left of the entrance.
Not into beer? Bar Code also offers tasty specialty drinks concocted by bar manager Ari Wilder. Among his client’s favorites is the Orchard Storm, Wilder's refreshing twist on the Dark and Stormy, made with fresh peach puree, house made ginger beer and Goslings dark rum, and ginger ale. Having the ginger beer made in house at the restaurant ensures freshness, and allows Wilder to tweak the flavors and spices in his concoctions. Also popular is the Rose Kennedy, Wilder's spicier version of a Kennedy margarita, made with chilies melon syrup, Citronge Patron Cuervo Silver Tequila, Aperol, and lime juice. Yum! And speaking of "yum," Bar Code has a variety of modern American and Italian dishes; including a scrumptious shrimp and fagioli pizza made with cannellini beans ragout, and fresh oregano.
Drinks: Wide selection of bottled, can and draft beer, full bar, excellent wine selection, and specialty mixed drinks.
Decor: Luxurious, a white plush couch and large bar on one end of the lounge, dark couches on the other end, and several long tables for large groups in the center. On par with what you'd find in DC Hospitality Group's Lima and Vetro.
Crowd: Mostly young professionals, 20s and 30s, coming straight from work in midtown. About even men/women ratio, many beautiful people.
Service: Excellent. Bar staff is incredibly knowledgeable about craft beers and specialty drinks.
Sounds: Top-notch DJ's from New York City, DC and all over the world grace the one-and-twos.
Food: Standard American bar classics with some Italian, all deliciously prepared. Do try the mouth-watering Shrimp & Fagioli pizza.
Dress Code: While there is no cover and no dress code, expect stylish attire for ladies, suits for gents during weekdays, and less formal on weekends.
Insider tips: Hit the bar EARLY, incredible happy hour specials mean a packed house every weekday. To beat the crowds, take advantage of excellent beer specials on Sundays to watch your favorite team play. Wednesday night Bar Code has wine tastings with free wine samples from local wineries, and half off wine bottles all night long.
The damage: Three different high-end craft beers came to a grand total of ridiculous-cheap $12. Throw in a pizza about the same price, and you can have a round of beer and a personal pie for $25. Arguably, one of the better values in Midtown.
Bottom Line: For those who don't want to sacrifice style in pursuit of an affordable night out in midtown, head on over to Bar Code.