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Open Bar: Midtown Loft

We take an early look at the Midtown Loft bar/lounge in downtown DC.

Photograph by Emma Patti.

Midtown Loft doesn’t exactly put its best face forward. The narrow, dimly lit stairwell climbing to the bar’s third-story perch is a tough barrier for those who just want to sip a beer. But if you shine your cell phone against the walls and squint, a handful of cheery signs leads patrons on: “Your glutes will thank you later!” “The top of the Washington monument doesn’t serve beer . . . we do!”

Opened on August 17, Midtown Loft is the latest bar from owner Michael Romeo—the force behind Fur, Lotus Lounge, and Tattoo. Yet unlike Romeo’s other dress-to-impress upscale creations, here you’re more likely to sway to Bob Marley in sandals than sweat to Bomb the Bass in stilettos.

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“This is a more casual alternative to our other ventures,” explains Caitrin Reed, Romeo’s events manager. “It’s more of a homey entertainment parlor.”

The single billiards, fooseball, and shuffleboard table tucked into the far corner of the Loft’s 3,300-square-foot interior suggests that the bar’s focus isn’t truly on bar games. And with Buffalo Billiards just a few steps away, earnest gamers might quickly tire of the Loft’s lines and head there instead.

But with five flat-screen televisions, bamboo-style ceramic tiles, and plush leather couches lining a bare-brick interior, Midtown Loft is more like the room in your house (or your really deep-pocketed friend’s house) you always wish you had. Throw in a 26-foot wooden bar offering $600 bottles of Petrón Platinum and Johnnie Walker Blue and Romeo’s latest locale seems more lavish than laid-back.

But what sets Midtown Loft apart from other bars is the weekly budget specials that give this modish lounge a dive-bar appeal. There’s—get ready for this—free draft beer weekdays from 5 to 6. If you can’t pop in for Washington’s best recession stimulus, enjoy $5 cocktails all night on Mondays; buy-one-drink-get-one-free Wednesdays; half-price drinks for ladies on Thursdays; and a Saturday power hour from 8 to 11 with drafts starting at $1.

“At the moment, we’re planning on giving away free beer indefinitely,” says Reed. “But we might have to reconsider if 300 people start coming in each day and chugging.” In the meantime, come thirsty, Washington.

Midtown Loft, 1219 Connecticut Ave., NW, Third Floor; 202-223-8774. Open Monday through Thursday 5 PM to 2 AM; Friday through Saturday 5 PM to 3 AM.

Rail drinks $10.
Premium cocktails $14.
Top-shelf martinis $14.
Red Bull rounds (3) $30.

Drafts (Miller Lite, Midtown Amber, Peroni) $4.
Bottles: Corona, Miller Lite, and Yuengling $5; Guinness, Sierra Nevada, and Sam Adams $7.
Beer bucket (5) $20.

Wine ($8 glass, $35 bottle):
Chardonnay, Cypress, Central Coast, California.
Pinot Grigio, Caposaldo, Veneto, Italy.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Festival 34, Central Coast.
Pinot Noir, Jewel, California.

Bottle service:
Vodka: (Grey Goose only)
375 milliliter $65.
750 milliliter $120.
1 liter $225.
2 liters $350.

Tanqueray $250.
Bombay Sapphire $250.

Crown Royal $300.
Jack Daniels $225.

Captain Morgan $235.

Patrón Café $300.
Patrón Silver $350.
Patrón Platinum $600

Scotch, Single Malt, and Whiskey:
Macallen 12 $350
Macallen 18 $600
Johnnie Walker Black $300
Johnnie Walker Blue $600

Cristallino Brut $60
Cristallino Rose $60
Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label $130 (half bottle $70)
Dom Pérignon 2000 $350

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