Bar Belle: Local 16

After rolling seven deep in a Mustang for what seemed like an eternity, I made my way past the enormous bouncer and into the realm of Local 16, a transient-looking bar in the U Street corridor. My first impression of this bar was mixed – a cool atmosphere, but the people seemed a little too “young professional” for me.

After some sufficient people-watching I could feel those past rounds of beer in my bladder as I came to the dreadful conclusion that it was indeed that time – time to break the seal. Where is the bathroom? Nope, it’s not in the back and, ugh, not to the side either. Someone yelled that I could find it upstairs – great. As I passed crystal chandeliers and Buddha sculptures, I ascended up the red velvet steps to thankfully find not only a bathroom but also a DJ spinning some pretty great house music, as well as a patio that looked to be insanely crowded. After using the bathroom and finding my friends again, we ventured out onto the patio in hopes of finding more interesting patrons. The bouncer out there was wearing a Spiderman shirt, but he didn’t seem to appreciate our web attack hand gestures, so to the bar we went!

At this point I thought to myself that maybe Local 16 is growing on me – or maybe those warm fuzzy feelings were just a product of the score of vodka shots. The breeze was perfect, so the patio was surprisingly not too stifling and I totally made eyes with that boy in the corner. Hey, it’s my Local “sweet” 16 and I’ll flirt if I want to.

What I most enjoyed about the patio bar was the layout. Unlike other bars in Adams Morgan or Georgetown that sport a deck, this one comes with ample seating and room. Plants and tiki torches add to the naturalist vibe and the bartenders move at a surprisingly steady pace. After watching way too many episodes of MTV’s “My Super Sweet Sixteen,” I knew that this was just the calm before the teenage diva/divo storm.

I began to take notice that this place could double for eHarmony. It’s a slew of young men and women approaching one another in hopes of becoming a little more local. For such a posh place, the people were acting a little sleazy. Upon hearing the announcement for last call on the deck, I was finally able to move away from a thirty-something man who kept asking me if we had a class together with “that teacher.” (No, I believe you graduated twenty years ago sir. Bye!)

Inside, the drinks can be pretty pricey and the two-stall bathroom allows for a line of dancing women to crowd the floor. While I don’t mind a dark and mysterious atmosphere, to be honest it’s just too dark inside of the lounge to even spot any of my friends. Oh, wait! There’s one! Oh God, never mind, that’s the thirty-something student. Cue time to head for the door.

Don’t get me wrong, Local 16 is a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy different surroundings – but just like the reality-show TV birthdays, the price is way too high, the venue gets way too crowded, and the people seem way too fake.

Bar Belle rating: 2 of 4 bells.

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