THE RETURN OF THE BAR BELLE

The Reef
Adams Morgan
2446 18th St. NW
Price: No cover
Dress Code: Casual

Making my way to the front of the surprisingly short line at The Reef last Thursday I proudly handed my shiny new ID to the bouncer. He cocked his head in confusion and it took me a moment to realize why. I have been coming to this new Adams Morgan hot spot since its opening last April, showing him a myriad of fake IDs each time. But the line was growing behind me and there was nothing he could do about my past offenses. So he wished me a happy birthday, gave me a kiss on the cheek and waved my friends and I upstairs.

I made my way up the steep concrete stairs and entered the main floor bar. The only thing that catches my eye quicker than the mahogany bar with an eclectic mix of beers on tap (nothing is bottled at The Reef) is always the seven huge fish tanks scattered about the room. To my surprise, I have never crashed into one in a drunken stupor, and to my knowledge neither has anyone else.

Then again, The Reef isn’t a frat-boy style mosh pit kegger-drunk kind of place, and I’m sure the late-twenty somethings that frequent the place are steadier than I ever am. The crowd there Thursday looked content to drink in the booths between fish tanks or sip their cosmos at the bar under a swirling ceiling of suds and water. If restless, they play darts in a back corner or head up to the roof to another bar and a sweet view of 18th Street.

Not me, in fact all this description is based on prior visits. It was my birthday and I was getting wasted (or I should say, even more wasted). Payment wasn’t an issue for me that night, but drinks are moderately priced (five bucks for a rum and coke four for imported beers). I wouldn’t shut up about it being my 21st birthday, so people including the bar tender bought me drinks until I was cut off. That’s right, cut off. Rule of thumb at the Reef – if a friend offers to buy you a drink and the bartender questions your ability to stand and consume it, it is best not to proclaim, “I can stand . kind of,” as you fall over.

When the bartenders are instructed not to serve you, the Reef kind of loses its charm. The music is fun, but not in a dance-to-me sort of way and the only food I know of is the basket of bread they gave my friend who was throwing up all night. I would suggest going to The Reef to as a place to chill Friday between tiring nights at Bravo Bravo and Dream or kick off your evening before going out dancing.

But I never made it out dancing. After some Pizza Mart, a cab ride and a nasty spill on the street, I was all about passing out. Happy birthday to me.

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