Bar Belle: Paolo’s


1303 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.

I’m not gonna lie, when friends invite me out for a few drinks in Georgetown I come as close as a barbelle can to trading a night out on the town for a solo evening on the couch. Two weeks ago I would have told you that the only good thing about Georgetown was the voided cab fare, ghastly singing at Smiths, and the awesome people-watching – most of which has been sub-par since becoming a senior. All you juniors have been frequenting the bars more often, and I admit it’s just not as fun for me when I don’t know the hookup history of everyone within a five-mile radius.

Everything has a loophole, however, and my Nicole Richie-sized wallet liked hearing promises from alums of free drinks if only I succumbed to a Friday night at Paolo’s, a restaurant-turned-bar on the intersection of Wisconsin and N streets. So I continued to Georgetown with a closed mind and bar tab, not looking too forward to a bar I deemed fancy and out of my league.

I had only known Paolo’s as that place across from Five Guys with an 80s-tastic neon pink and green sign on its pediment and flower boxes that tried to doll up a street corner full of faux brand-name purse vendors. It turns out that in actuality, Paolo’s is an essential part of Wisconsin Avenue, hosting parties for everyone from politicians to students for almost three decades. While most gather there for drinks throughout the night, the restaurant has a beautiful outdoor venue for eating during the afternoon hours, and a menu that offers affordable Italian and Californian dishes.

Let’s get back to the important stuff though. Once inside, I realized I might have been a little under-dressed for the occasion, seemingly misplacing my pearls and pencil skirt for jeans, a black tee, and my tie-dye bag. No hard feelings toward the people inside though – it was just a harmless gathering of young professionals topping off a hard week with a Campari and shot of tequila. Paolo’s is definitely a place to hit up if you are going with a large group of people and you want to actually be able to engage in conversation with them. Most of the people there had found booths or barstools with only a few wanderers lurking around for prey. With promised drink in hand, my friends and I grabbed a table and caught up on life and the pursuit of happiness once college ends and the nine-to-five begins. After about ten minutes of hearing the horrors of working life, I was beginning to wish that the overflow from the Guards would find their way into Paolo’s just so I wouldn’t have to hear about the life I’m going to have to live in a few months. Paolo’s remained moderately stocked however and I decided to put my friends’ nine-to-five wage to use by ordering another round of $4.50 beers.

All in all, Paolo’s is a pretty laidback bar that emphasizes all the right things and leaves out all those other crazy elements that bars usually get caught up in. It’s dark, average priced, friendly and approachable – the last things I expected from a Georgetown bar. While the crowd was a little older, I wouldn’t be adverse to making a trip back, especially knowing you have to pass Five Guys on the walk home.

Bar Belle Rating: Two and a half of four bells.

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