This past weekend, in honor of the presidents, I decided to drop some Washingtons, Lincolns, Jacksons and even a few Hamiltons during my weekly bar raid. Looking at the green faces staring back at me, I got to thinking – what kind of bars do you think these prestigious men would have flocked to? Was Washington a Mr. Smith’s kind of guy, chiming in alongside the piano man? Or would those wooden teeth have been better put to use sucking on limes after a shot of Pepe Lopez in the local dive bar? Personally, I think these men of honor knew how to play just as hard as they worked. If these presidents were alive and celebrating today, I think I could have met up with them at Rocket Bar, a small hole in the wall off of the Chinatown Metro stop.
Rocket Bar was supposed to be a side stop worthy of grabbing a few cheap drinks before hitting up the nearby Fado’s and R.F.D’s in the district, but the charming little bar kept us drinking and laughing far longer into the night. A similar set up to Buffalo Billiard’s, Rocket Bar boasts an array of high-defintion TVs along the walls, pool tables, shuffleboards, darts, board games and even a jukebox. While it might be much smaller than Buffalo Billiards, the designer did a good job of arranging game tables in a manner suitable for moving crowds and drunken sports fans. Since there was no event at the nearby Verizon Center that night the bar offered plenty of breathing room and personal attention (but I hear it can get stuffy before and after D.C. sporting events.)
In an area that seems to host a competition of which venue can have the most lights, music and advertisement, Rocket Bar is a refreshingly modest hideaway that is true to those it aims to please. Decorated to suite hardcore Trekkies, this bar is covered in galactic pieces of art and installations that, while amusing after getting a nice buzz going, at best look like a twelve year old boy’s bedroom. Planets hang from the ceiling and painted spaceships follow you down the flight of stairs to the descending bar. While the décor can get a bit overzealous, the staff could not be nicer.
Everyone there tends to come with a group of friends so you don’t have to worry about Creepy-Eyes McGee over there throwing you a line. For a single George Washington bill, the staff will provide you with a board game of your choice to delve into with friends while sitting in the accommodating booths. While shuffleboard and pool are a bit more expensive, it’s still not going to put you out to play a round or two, especially over $3 cans of PBR or $4 Miller Lites.
After toasting one more time to all the men who have led our country over the decades, I parted ways with Rocket Bar. Every working person needs a little hole in the wall to call their own and Rocket Bar may just be that new place for me and all the imaginary Presidents that I envisioned running into there. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.” Or something like that.
Bar Belle Rating: Three out of Four Belles.