December 07, 2012
We headed out for a night on the town starting at HR 57 — a jazz and blues club on H St in Northeast Washington DC. This club had been on my to-do list for years because of its reputation for its cool vibe and hot jazz. The club (estd. 1993) takes its name from ‘House Resolution 57’ passed by Congress in 1987, which designated jazz as “a rare and valuable national American treasure”. 1 Only in DC will you find clubs named after House Resolutions! HR57 is located on H and 10th in Northeast DC — in general not an area folks would visit late at night without some trepidation. We were pleasantly surprised, therefore, to find that H St between 8th and 13th was bustling with activity and had a real relaxed atmosphere. Parking was hard to find, but after going around in circles a couple of times, we realized that we could park in the strip mall next to the club at that hour (it was 10 pm when we got there) without the fear of being towed away.
Reservations are recommended! The place looked spacious but seating was limited, there must have been about 10 tables, and the place got full, although not crowded. The music was good although none of us were familiar with this particular band — the Antonio Parker quartet — before we went there. It’s too bad we forgot that we could have brought our own wine for a $3 corking fee. But we enjoyed the music, and the drinks from the bar — which was spare but tastefully stocked. We were probably the noisiest bunch in the room, carrying on with our conversation when most of the other folks listened quietly to the music. We tried to keep it low, but we were catching up on a lot of stuff, and would inevitably start yapping every few minutes. Hopefully we didn’t annoy the others too much! I would recommend this as a place to relax with a couple of friends and a bottle of bourbon.
A couple of hours, and a couple of drinks later, we got hungry and decided to go somewhere else for food. Most places we peeped into looked like bars that didn’t serve food. We finally saw a promising bar, “Cusbah“, that also served food. Looked like it is owned by an Indian because everything on the menu was Indian! — samosas, chicken tikka… But their kitchen was closed past midnight. So, we decided to order shots instead! The smooth shot named ‘3 Magi’ definitely had a Come to Jesus effect. We got out of the bar with a nice buzz going…
By now we definitely needed some food. We asked around, and all fingers pointed to a pizza joint as the only place serving food at that hour (1 AM). It was not what we had in mind for a rare night out on the town, so it was disappointing to hear. But when we got there, we had a Whoa! moment. “H & pizza” as its called was a real artisan pizza place with a great ambiance and all kinds of choices of freshly made bases and wonderful ingredients. I had mine made with a whole wheat base, tomato paste, spinach, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, and arugula toppings and a garlic oil drizzle. It was fresh, green, and fabulous!
Satisfied, we ventured out to our next and last stop, the “Sahra” Hookah Lounge. It was really popular, we had to wait to get in. But it was fun! There was an assortment of hookah flavors available — regular and premium. We picked one, and got our hookah along with 4 plastic bits, one for each of us to inhale hygienically! It seemed to take away from the tradition of sharing the hookah a little bit, but was probably a good idea. The DJ at the lounge was dedicated! He didn’t miss a beat the entire time we were there, completely engrossed in turning out upbeat music — which seemed a little incongruous at a hookah lounge, but after a few drags and drinks, no one seemed to mind. They closed the place down at 3:30 AM. As we walked to our cars, we noticed that H & pizza was also serving its last customers. Happening H St was finally shutting down for the night.
Categories: Washington DC