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Party On: 15 Good Bars for Birthday Parties
Comments () | Published April 1, 2009

Guests with birthdays at this small downtown DC dive are treated to an appetizer, entrée, dessert, and a drink on the house. There’s no place to have a private party, but the owner says he can create a separate, semiprivate section for large groups. You can get the free dinner deal Monday through Thursday if you call ahead (202-296-6686) to make arrangements. Plus, the regular Friday karaoke makes a great addition to any birthday gathering—assuming your friends aren’t tone-deaf, that is.

Red Derby
This neighborhood dive, a favorite of Columbia Heights residents (we’re looking at you, Alejandro), isn’t big enough for private parties, but owner David Leventry says his bar is still a party spot. Here’s why: Call in advance and the cooks will bake you a birthday cake on the house. If you’ve got a large group in tow—say, 20 to 25 people—Leventry will give you drink or food specials (just be sure to make arrangements ahead of time). E-mail or call 202-291-5000 to make birthday plans.

Rock & Roll Hotel
There’s no rental fee for the event spaces at this H Street, Northeast, music venue, but there are food-and-drink minimums for each room. The 75-person capacity Presidential Suite, which comes with a private bartender, has a $1,000 minimum, while the Honeymoon Suite and the Piano Cafe, which hold a maximum of 40 people each, are set at $500. For major blowouts, you can reserve the 300-person music hall, which comes with a $5,000 food-and-drink minimum. The place has full in-house catering and will customize food and drink menus for your party. Call 202-388-7625 to book.

Science Club

Housed in an old brownstone crammed between downtown DC office buildings, Science Club offers party space for everything from small get togethers to full-on blowouts. The four-level bar has nooks and crannies to accommodate groups as small as a dozen and as large as 70. Owner Steve MacGuire charges a rental fee—anywhere from $50 to $150, depending on the party size, but he says he’ll work with any budget—which includes the cost of a DJ. You can also work with MacGuire to make custom drinks. “If you’re cheeky enough to ask, we’ll figure out what we can do,” he says. Call 202-775-0747 to make arrangements.

Strike Bethesda
Bowling parties aren’t just for kids anymore: This bowling alley/restaurant/bar offers party packages with adults in mind. Each comes with two hours of unlimited bowling, shoe rental, food, and drinks. Packages range from the Super Bowl ($54.95 a person) to the Kingpin ($69.95 a person), and all have a 12-person minimum. Some of the food offerings are what you’d expect from a bowling alley—beer-battered onion rings and pizza—but there’s also more sophisticated fare, such as spinach-artichoke fondue, bruschetta, and crudités. If the canned packages aren’t appealing, you can design your own party with a range of catering options. Call 301-652-0955 for more information.

Tallula Restaurant

This Arlington restaurant/bar/lounge has two private party rooms, a wine room (for seated dinners of up to 18 people), and a lounge (for reception-style parties of up to 50 people). There’s no rental fee, and menus can be customized for each space. A 20-percent gratuity is included on the bill, and there’s a $150 fee if you cancel less than seven days in advance. The reservation is guaranteed with a credit card. Call Clare Parker at 703-447-1757 to book.

Tom Tom
This Adams Morgan bar accommodates private parties of 15 to 200. Groups can enjoy the benefits of a private bar—smaller lines!—and extended happy-hour prices on drinks. There’s no room-rental fee—though for large parties, you’ll need to pay a security charge to cover the cost of extra bouncers—but you can add a food buffet for a per-person cost (determined by the number of guests). Call Tom Tom at 202-518-6667.

Whitlow’s on Wilson

Whitlow’s offers a robust catering menu of dips, platters, sandwiches, appetizers, entrées, and more for large gatherings. The bar has three party spaces available, both private and semiprivate, and lots of entertainment options, such as video bowling, trivia machines, and live entertainment. There’s a room-rental fee that’s determined by the number of guests in your party—Whitlow’s can accommodate parties of 20 to 200—but it’s waived if you meet a food-and-drink minimum (not including tax and gratuity). To make arrangements, contact the catering staff at 703-276-9693 or


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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 04/01/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Articles