The Bar Belle

Originally Published 11/12/98

Bar: MadhatterWhere: 1831 M St.Crowd: Older twentysomethings, Capitol Hill staffersGetting in: ID required (and scrutinized)Prices: Average, but good specialsFood: Surprisingly tastyDancing: You can try .Pick-ups: LotsPluses: Cheap drink specialsMinuses: A lot of people in not a lot of space


The Madhatter is a cozy spot on M Street – a little too cozy, in fact. Styled like an English pub with wood paneling and an Alice in Wonderland theme, the bar is generally crowded with young professionals winding down after work. Happy hour is hoppin’ at the Madhatter, and cheap specials ($1 Sam Adams, half price appetizers on Thursday night) pull in throngs of bargoers looking for a little relaxation.

The music is a good mix – everything from swing to oldies to Top 40 played the night the Bar Belle was there – and some of the more intoxicated patrons attempt to dance. But the bar can get a little crowded, making it tough to chat with friends, if that’s your intention. Your best bet is to try to mosey all the way to the back where the crowd is thinner and the beer comes fresh from a bottle. There also are a few TVs in the back that usually are showing the latest sports games. Pick-ups abound – if you’re interested in near-thirty-year-olds who are clinging to their youth. Don’t be too surprised if a cigar-smoking Senate staffer ambles over and tries to impress you with his grasp of parliamentary procedure and the latest amendments to obscure bills.

The bar is close to campus, a plus if you don’t feel like walking too far and don’t want to spend money on a cab. It’s a fun place for a few beers and cheap food, and a great stop if you’re bar-hopping.

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