With the weather cooling down and football season heating up, it’s the time of year to find a solid, sports-centric watering hole. We’ll throw one into the running with Mason Inn, a recently revamped bar taking over the old Gin & Tonic space in Glover Park.
Owner Fritz Brogan, who also has the Southern-themed Kitchen 2404 next door, decided that (like anyone else) G&T needed a facelift after three years of hardcore partying. The dive spot attracted a raucous college crowd ready to dance on weekends, but Brogan wanted to open the place up to the neighborhood. Dingy bathrooms and the scent of stale beer have given way to a welcoming, brick-walled saloon with plenty of tables and pew-like benches.
Eight 60-inch televisions and a large projector are primed for game day, and there’s a stuffed water buffalo head holding court above the long oakwood bar (his name is Morris, in case you want to say hi). While it’s an official Ole’ Miss zone, a full lineup of sports packages and game-time specials like $8 Bud Light pitchers satisfy a range of fans.
The Dixie theme carries over from Kitchen, and there are touches to make Southerners feel at home. Abita Amber and Purple Haze are on tap, Bloody Marys arrive in mason jars with a Shiner Bock float, and the small menu boasts two iconic low-country sandwiches: juicy barbecue pork and a fried shrimp po’boy. Mason Inn’s kitchen is still being built, so for now, the menu is limited and runners carry plates over from Brogan’s restaurant next door.
If this all sounds too gussied-up for G&T devotees, don’t worry: There are still traces of the former dive (and the even divier Grog & Tankard that came before). Brogan is bringing back the live music tradition with bands nearly every day, from Motown groups like Butch Grant’s Crossfire Band and Big Hair, which does ’80s covers. A lineup of DJs will also spin Thursday through Saturday nights. And those many tables and pew-like benches?
“They’re sturdy enough to dance on,” says Brogan.
Mason Inn, 2408 Wisconsin Avenue, NW; 202-337-1313. Open Thursday, Friday, and Monday 6 PM to close, Saturday and Sunday 11 AM to close. Open seven days a week soon.