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Posted at 2:08 PM ET, 04/22/2005

Oya Vey!


Whenever Washingtonians find themselves apoplectic over some aspect of the nightlife scene, they're likely to exclaim "This isn't New York!" as if the Big Apple had the exclusive license to long lines, velvet ropes or black-clad bouncers with earpieces. (Note to gripers: You'll find similar setups in London, Los Angeles, Paris and Philadelphia, and I doubt any of those cities have the same inferiority complex about New York.)

As the number of trendy lounges and clubs continues to climb, so do drink prices -- and this is where we're really starting to compete with Manhattan.

Blue Gin set the bar around $10 for good drinks made with fresh ingredients like star fruit and muddled passion fruit. About half of IndeBleu's 46 martinis are $12, with a few special drinks rising to $14 or $16 (the latter includes champagne and 100-year-old Grand Marnier).

Now there's Oya, a gorgeous lounge with a cracking fireplace mounted high into the wall, long white-leather banquettes and vases full of cherry blossom branches. My friends and I enjoyed hanging out there after midnight on Saturday -- until we got the bill. I suppose we should have known something was up when we examined the drink menus and didn't notice a price next to any of the house cocktails. (For future reference: it's the tiny numeral at the bottom of the page.)

The first page of the list is devoted to the bar's specialty: cocktails made with specially infused rums. We ordered four, and they were fantastic; I especially enjoyed the Darker and Stormier, a take on the traditional Caribbean mix of rum, lime juice and ginger beer, punched up here with Coridander-infused rum. There are other cocktails, too; a friend's French Martini, while nothing out of the ordinary, was delicious and well-balanced. The bartenders and servers were friendly and prompt.

We were enjoying ourselves -- and then the check arrived. Those much-lauded rum drinks are $15 each. The French Martini was $13. I realize that when you buy a drink, you're paying for the atmosphere, but there has to be a limit. Oya's cocktails are out of the ordinary and above what most Washington bars churn out -- but at that price point, I wonder how often I'll be going back.

-- Fritz

By  | April 22, 2005; 2:08 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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Cosmos at Degrees run $13, and they aren't even made correctly. Every one I've had in New York was $10 or less, made properly and served in a much nicer place than Degrees. Ugh. DC is just pretentious sometimes...

Posted by: Here's a Hint | April 22, 2005 3:41 PM | Report abuse

After living in Philly for four years, I have to say that the city enjoys a healthy envy of New York. In fact, the city envies DC as well. New York is the business and nightlife center of the US, while DC is the political center. What's Philly other than the place that threw snowballs at Santa Claus?

Posted by: Penn's Envy | April 22, 2005 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Fritz, you cheap bastard....

Posted by: Tom | April 23, 2005 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Fritz ,
please take this as a small info but there cant be a 100 years old GM. The one you are referring to is `Cuvee Du Centenaire` and this edition of GM is to celebrate GM`s 100th anniversary.

Posted by: Ferhat | April 24, 2005 2:40 AM | Report abuse

I also think it's not worth it. I've had dinner and drinks there and I don't think it's that great.

Posted by: Vanessa | April 24, 2005 10:24 AM | Report abuse

C'mon, be fair. Don't blame OYZ because you did not look at the menu. Rail drinks there costs what they cost everywhere else. Non one told you to order the frou-frou crap. You pay the cost to do the floss, Dude.

Posted by: Jilly | April 25, 2005 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I was curious about good places to go in Old Town Alexandria on Thursday Night, for a mid to late 20 year olds

Posted by: Old Town | April 26, 2005 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I like the spot but have to agree that the price points are a bit too high considering a new spot pops up every minute these days. Love the ambiance and trendy look but come on, don't rob me...

Posted by: Al | April 26, 2005 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I also agree. I drink too much to make the Oya lounge a place where I'd hang for the night. The food was also definitely not worth the money which was a surprise considering I heard the chef's last gig was Aquavit.

Posted by: Beedot | April 29, 2005 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Philly does not envy DC. That I will tell you. The only city it envies is NY.

Posted by: brian | May 22, 2005 2:43 PM | Report abuse

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