The Evening Star Caf?
2000 Mount Vernon Ave.
Tucked between Old Town Alexandria and Crystal City lies a little refuge known to many as The Evening Star Caf?. And while I heard it has scrumptious food, I naturally came for the booze.
Pulling up to The Evening Star Caf? might throw you a bit off guard, as it lies pretty much in the middle of a residential area of suburban Virginia (you can take a cab from the Crystal City Metro stop) – but don’t turn around.
The two bars at the back of the restaurant are known as the Majestic Lounge (downstairs) and the No. 9 Lounge (upstairs). I immediately headed upstairs on a wintry Wednesday evening to check out the live music.
Maybe it’s because my cousin was setting up at the microphone, or maybe because the chairs in the No. 9 Lounge are just so comfy, or maybe because there were small children happily sitting on their parents’ laps, or maybe it was the comforting dark blue walls and hardwood floors – regardless, this place felt like home almost immediately.
With six beers on tap (Hop Devil, Magic Hat No. 9, Pilsner Urquell, New Castle, Blue Moon and Yuengling), 25 wines by the glass and more than 1,000 wines available by the bottle, I’m not sure why I chose to start the evening with a whiskey sour, but I did. And for a change from the terrible whiskey sours I have been receiving in D.C., this one was delightful.
While the acoustics in the No. 9 Lounge are by no means the bar’s strong suit, somehow it added to the homey feel of the bar. As the voices of the musicians were slightly drowned out by a comfortable hum of chit-chat in the crowd, it still felt like everyone at the bar was appreciative of the music.
Midway through the set, I received an urgent phone call and found myself outside smiling with the notion that 2,000 miles from home, I can still find inner peace. As I walked back inside, before heading up the staircase to No. 9 Lounge, I was drawn into the loud voices from the downstairs counterpart of the bar. The Majestic Lounge revealed an additional 20 or so beers on tap (among them Guinness, PBR, Bass, Dogfish Head Chickory Stout and Chimay Cinq Cents) as well as an incredibly different crowd from the lounge upstairs. A young, well-dressed group of individuals congregated in happy merriment in this warm bar.
I headed back upstairs to see the end of the live music and saddled up to the bar to order what the Evening Star Caf? is known for: a glass of wine. The Evening Star Caf? shares a wall with Planet Wine, where 1,000 wines are available – making it one of the best selections in the D.C. metro area. I went with an Italian red from Piedmont, and while it wasn’t the best wine I’ve ever had, I was happy with the bartender’s recommendation.
I would highly encourage you to head to The Evening Star Caf? for a date, or a time when you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of D.C. bars, or if you just need a good bottle of wine.
For more information about The Evening Star Caf?, including an upcoming music schedule and information about Planet Wine (including information on wine tastings), visit www.eveningstarcafe.net/index.html
Bar Belle Rating:
This article appeared in the March 9, 2006 issue of the Hatchet.