So it’s Friday night, and every stairwell and wall at GW is covered with bright looking flyers, proclaiming that the party of the century is going down and you have to be there.
The problem, of course, is that every flyer for every club says basically the same thing. So The Hatchet set out to find the true hot spots in D.C.
915 F St. N.W.
18 to party, 21 to drink
Often called classiest club in the District, Platinum caters to a well-funded and well-dressed crowd. They employ a very strict no jeans, no sneakers dress code. If your shirt is untucked, do not expect to be let in.
Platinum, located in an old bank, has an upscale ambience with high ceilings and marble floors. Seniors out there may remember the place from its former life as The Bank, before it was revamped. The sushi bar and counter that sells cigars and gum add to the “members only” atmosphere.
The VIP room is pricey but worth it. And if you put extra effort into your appearance you might just make it in there for free. Waiters will serve you champagne, and you may spot the occasional celebrity. (There has been word of a Dennis Rodman sighting.)
The crowd is mixed, but everyone shares one thing in common: they are dressed well and uncomfortable about bumping elbows on the large, yet, overcrowded dance floor.
The music at Platinum varies depending on the night. House and techno usually blare out on the main floor, Latin music and hip-hop play in the lower level. If you don’t want to dance, people watching is always an option from the balconies overhanging the main floor. There you will find plush seating ideal for relaxation and conversation (although you probably won’t be able to hear anything).
Cover ranges from $12 to $15 and a Miller Lite is $5, making a pre-party a good idea. The club doesn’t get kicking until about midnight, but it gets overcrowded by 12:30 a.m. You might want to show up early.
Thursday is college night, and on Friday’s Washington Models Inc. invites aspiring models and actresses for a photo shoot in the basement. Platinum is open until 3 a.m.
On a side note, ladies should watch out for the occasional weird or over-40 guys who hang out at the bar. Just to be safe – if you’re suddenly hit with a big whiff of cologne, just turn around and walk away.
Heaven and Hell:
2327 18th St. N.W.
21 and over
Right in the heart of Adams Morgan, Heaven and Hell is an old townhouse turned into two popular spots for the over-21 crowd.
Heaven, on the top floor, has New York house and techno with plenty of room on the dance floor. Take advantage of the outdoor deck while the weather is warm, if you can manage to find somewhere to stand.
Stop in on Thursdays for their ’80s dance party and $1 shooters until 10:30 p.m. The lower level plays a lot of ’90s hip-hop that most of us remember from our high school dances. The atmosphere is fun and the crowd lacks the attitude you may encounter at other clubs. The bartenders are friendly and fast.
Drink prices are average, and with the cover charge of only $5 it won’t take a chunk out of your wallet.
What to wear? Whatever you want. Scan the dance floor and you will see everything from jeans to black dresses.
When to go? Heaven is busy just about all weekend. But don’t bother showing up until midnight at the earliest. It’s a late bloomer.
Hell, in the basement of the townhouse, is a small bar for those of you who just want to relax and chill to good tunes in their comfy red barber chairs. Without a cover charge, Hell is a good pit stop if you want to refuel before hitting another club. But watch out for the bathrooms – they are pretty gross.
605 12th St. N.W. (between F and G streets)
18 some nights, 21 some nights
Tired of mundane nightclubs filled with tight black pants and sparkled shirts? Then the time has come to break out those polyester pants that you’ve been hiding in your closet for a few decades in case they ever came back into style.
Located across from the Metro Center Metro stop, Polly Esther’s offers an entertaining atmosphere for pop fans of all ages. Don’t fret – sporting your favorite polyester is neither required nor necessary.
With three floors and six bars, there is a little something for everyone. On Friday and Saturday nights each floor is dedicated to one of the following decades: ’70s, ’80s or ’90s. Sorry, freshmen and sophomores, you’ve got to be over 21 to party these nights.
Fortunately, Thursdays are 18 and up, but there is a slight difference in the setup. Only the first two floors are open and all three decades of pop are intermingled into a danceable mix.
The lower-level dance floor is surrounded by oversized paintings of Boy George, Madonna and television monitors playing music videos. The videos do not coincide with what the DJ is playing, but do provide visual stimulation while you take a short break from showing off your moves.
On the dance floor the age range varies, all but closing the generation gap. Although most appear to be in their mid-20s, some appear to be nearing their middle ages while others are still waiting to come of age. Regardless, all seemed to be having a wonderful time.
Dress is casual with most people clad in jeans, although some ladies opt to wear a nonchalant skirt or dress. There is no strict dress code, but gentlemen must wear sleeved shirts. Hats and athletic gear are not allowed.
Polly Esther’s is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re getting jaded with the ordinary nightclub. So, pick a night and head on over. Thursday nights are open 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. with a $7 cover and Fridays are open 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. with a $10 cover.
2323 18th St. N.W.
21 and over
Sometimes referred to as “The Heartbeat of Adams Morgan,” Crush is a good place to go if you want to dance. The DJ on the top floor plays hip-hop and dance hits from the ’80s, ’90s and today.
It’s a good crowd, lacking the sleaze-balls you may encounter at other clubs (ladies, you know what I mean). If you want to ditch the crowd you can go downstairs to the bar and mingle. Crush has a casual, fraternity house atmosphere, so check your attitude at the door.
There is no dress code, but in general the crowd fashion aims to please. Have you ever waited so long at a bar that you felt like you could have finished three drinks just while standing there? Well, have no fear here. The bartenders are quick and the prices are average.
The cover is a reasonable $5. You can plant yourself there all night and call it a deal, or mosey on down to another spot on the block and not feel like you wasted any money.
Of course, Crush is not for everyone. But if you’re looking for cool and comfortable it is the place for you. If you want martinis and black pants, go to somewhere pretentious. If you order a martini at Crush it will come in a plastic cup with no olives.
Also check out:
9th and F St. NW
18 to enter
With three floors and five rooms playing everything from house to hip-hop and ’80s hits, The Spot has something to offer all tastes. Dress to impress and try to get into the VIP room. (It’s pretty easy if you are wearing a skirt.)
Cover is $10 if you’re 21, $12 if you’re under. Schedule your weekend carefully because The Spot is open only Fridays.
1214 18th St. N.W.
18 to enter
only open certain nights
Club 5 has hip-hop, top 40 and salsa pouring out into its main room and moonlit lounge. The dance floor is large but crowded.
On Fridays and Saturdays Club 5 hosts after-hours party “Climax.” The cover varies, but is usually around $10. Thursday is college night.
32nd block of M St. (Georgetown)
21 to enter
Modern is a takeover and renovation of the old Sports Fans. It has a very cool ’60s mod style, and the crowd is trendy.
You’ll hear a mix of house and top dance hits. There are several different DJs, so the music is always changing. No sports attire, t-shirts or sneakers. Cover is $10 after 10:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
2406 18th St. N.W. (Adams Morgan)
21 to enter
For those who like to party slightly upscale Felix has Frank Sinatra night every Wednesday with great swing music from the Eric Felton Orchestra and half-price martinis.
The dress to impress code is strictly enforced. The cover is only $5, and there is live music 7 days a week.
2461 18th St. N.W. (Adams Morgan)
21 to enter
“Where the beautiful people go to get ugly.”
If you are sick of the D.C. club scene and want a change of pace you should pay a visit to Madam’s Organ. Live blues, R&B and bluegrass bands appear nightly. There are several floors and bars with a gritty laid-back atmosphere.
Madam’s Organ is the only place besides a classroom that chicks with black pants actually co-exist with those in jeans and T-shirts.
Playboy calls it one of the best 25 bars in America. If you’re a redhead, run on down – you get half price Rolling Rocks.
Be on the lookout for:
Brought to you by the guys who gave us DIVA on 1350 I St., Home is a revamp of the club Volt at 911 F St. Look for it to open this October.
For anyone who misses Mister Days, a project is in the works for a Shark Club in its old location at 19th St. between L and M streets.
For those of you unfamiliar, there is a Shark Club in Bethesda (as well as several others) where Z104 hosted Club 104 on Friday nights. It is a restaurant, club and pool hall.
Rumor has the place might serve breakfast until 5 am on the weekend.
Amanda Hilken contributed to this story