When prohibition outlawed alcohol in the U.S. in 1919 an entire industry formed to serve it behind closed doors, away from the law. One of the most popular ways to to this was the "speakeasy," essentially a secret bar. Most speakeasies were housed in secret locations, many required a password to get in, they lacked signage because they were intentionally hard to find and may have even moved from place to place to stay ahead of the law.
Today, there are many modern speakeasies that retain some of these traditions. Usually they feature fresh ingredients, and though the secrecy is no longer needed, many are in discreet locations that lack signage.
Recently, I visited a speakeasy called The Gibson in Washington DC. This speakeasy serves well-crafted drinks with an unexpected mix of ingredients and is very low key.
I had the "Bren on the Patio" drink (on the left above) and ingredients included: St. Germain, Pilsner, St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram (I had seriously never heard of this before), Lemon Juice, Sugar, Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' Decanter Bitters (I had never heard of this either).
My friend, Meg, had the "Senioritis" which was made of Herradura Blanco Tequila, Averna, Raspberry Syrup, Lime Juice, Bitter Truth Celery Bitters, Fever Tree Club Soda.
The Bren on the Patio was good, but the Senioritis was better.
The inside of the speakeasy was beautiful and moody. The only light to speak of was by candle and it had lots of dark wood. The light was so sparse, none of the other photos of the interior came out. The seating was comfortable and intimate. It was easy to hold a conversation when we were there about 8pm.
|The Door to The Gibson|
Directions: The Gibson's address is: 2009 14th Street, NW between U and V Streets. They are open nightly starting at 6:00 pm. Next time I'm in DC, I hope to go again.
You can read about other Mystery Playground speakeasy adventures here.
After dinner we went down the street to Busboys and Poets, a combination book store and restaurant. The food was fabulous. We had vegan nachos (not sure how they made the cheese but it was good) with black eyed peas for the appetizer and for the entree, meatloaf with wine sauce. According to their website, the bookstore here focus on books that, "encourage children and adults to question, challenge, and re-think the world beyond the headlines." What a great concept.
They have musicians and readings here as well. One friend recently won a storytelling contest here (Go Owen!).
Busboys and Poets has three locations but the one down the street from The Gibson is at 14th and V. I highly recommend you check it out.
And just because it's October and beautiful in DC...