The Bar Belle: DC9

1940 9th St. N.W.

The first weekend back on campus always provides some of the best memories of the year. Everyone is excited to be back, and no one has all that much homework. These two factors yield a result that generally entails a lot of drinking. I’m glad this weekend was no exception.

At the advice of one of my editors, I decided to head to DC9 on Saturday night to check out the Finnish/New York band Aluminum Babe. While I knew the not-quite-heavy-metal style of music didn’t exactly qualify as my usual genre, I have wanted to check out DC9 for quite some time and figured this would be the perfect opportunity.

So after the all-too familiar Metro ride and the typical debate over whether to transfer twice (Metro Center and Gallery Place) or just once (L’Enfant Plaza), we found ourselves at the doors of DC9. We were carded promptly and found ourselves in the long corridor bar that seems so popular in D.C. The bar downstairs was adequate and the seating was ample (although the later the evening gets, the more packed the downstairs becomes). However, the reason we came to DC9 was the music.

Although the bar downstairs does not have a cover charge, if you plan to do any serious dancing or come to see live music, you find another bouncer waiting at the base of the stairs to take your cash. Saturday night the cover was $8; depending on who’s playing and what night of the week, the amount you’ll have to fork over varies.

After climbing the narrow staircase, I was impressed by the size of the upstairs bar, dance floor and adequate, comfortable seating. The funky red walls with black paint and low lighting were also a unique touch. My favorite thing about this bar, aside from the live music on the cheap, was the fact that the upstairs seemed to maintain a constant, comfortable temperature. Although smoking is allowed, the bar was remarkably not smoky.

Drinks were priced at $5 for wells, $5 for bottled beer or $3 for a can of Schlitz. No draught beers here, but otherwise it’s a full bar. While the first couple of mixed drinks we purchased were tasty, the whiskey sour I ordered was perhaps the worst I have ever had: too much soda water, not enough whiskey. But we couldn’t leave precious alcohol on the table, so we downed the whiskey sours and ordered shots of J?ger to make up for it. The J?ger did the trick, as it usually does.

As the night went on, the music got better (or is that just in my head?), and as my drinking started to catch up with me, I can safely say I vaguely remember leaving the bar and still having no idea how I lost my cell phone.

This is what Saturday nights in the District are supposed to be like, and DC9 is a great venue to explore that desire and get sufficiently inebriated.

Belle Rating

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