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Posted at 12:22 PM ET, 09/ 6/2006

New, Not So New and Gone

By Fritz Hahn

News from the local bar scene includes a new lounge in Shaw, a new name in Adams Morgan and a farewell to a bachelorette party destination near the Verizon Center.

How much of a demand is there for a new bar in Shaw? The line to get into BeBar's grand opening party on Thursday was several blocks long. Saturday night found a crowd too big for the lounge's dance floor.

Finally open to the public after a protracted battle with nearby churches -- which fellow blogger Marc Fisher recounted over on Raw Fisher) -- BeBar is lounge with modern touches and a largely gay clientele, although I can see stylish, in-the-know groups of all orientations hanging out on the pillow-strewn couches or relaxing around a table topped with a flickering candelabra.

The main bar will invariably be described as "a New York-style lounge" thanks to the industrial lighting, polished blonde-wood floor and selection of deliberately mismatched modern furniture, from hourglass-shaped stools to a molded plastic couch. Walls are fitted with contoured textures or white curtains, and the projection screens showing highlights of recent fashion shows -- dude after dude strolling down runways sporting Gucci, Burberry or Prada -- got old really fast.

Through a wispy curtain at the rear is a smaller room with a huge DJ booth, high-tech lighting (including a glowing, pulsing wall of colorful panels) and plenty of room to move to music that will fill the dance floor most nights, including '80s and '90s retro on Fridays and indie and electro on Tuesdays.

I haven't tried the lounge's signature candy-colored martinis, but bartenders were friendly and strong glasses of Plymouth Gin and tonic were $7.

Not So New
Walking down Columbia Road the other night, I noticed that the sign for Zucchabar had been replaced with a temporary banner announcing the arrival of "The Attic." I'd heard the place wasn't doing so well and that the owner was trying to sell, so I stopped in for a drink to see what was going on.

"No, same owner," the bartender told me. "We just thought we'd change things up a bit."

(Calling the place "The Attic" is an attempt at levity, see, because the place is a dark, windowless basement.)

Old Redskins posters -- one commemorating the 1982 Super Bowl win, another showing Ken Houston leveling the Cowboys' Walt Garrison on the one yard line -- have replaced most of the neon beer signs on the concrete wall, but the industrial floor and reinforced concrete ceiling still leave me thinking "bomb shelter rec room" more than "Adams Morgan party spot." One large nook now has been curtained off into a private dining room with a large table and TV. Hey, there's a Keno machine!

You'll still find some good specials here -- $3 Bud bottles and Bud Light drafts and $8 pitchers on Friday and Saturday nights, $5 all-you-can-eat wings -- along with plenty of TVs tuned to ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic, but the Attic is still frequently deserted and service goes from really friendly to really indifferent depending on which bartender is standing in front of you. It'll take more than a new name to change that.

In a move that will have bachelorettes crying into their commemorative shot glasses, Coyote Ugly has closed its doors. The Gallery Place "saloon" -- modeled after that stunning Piper Perabo movie about a "Girl Power!" staff of bartenders who dance on the bar, spray male customers with water and pour shots directly from the bottle into female patrons' mouths -- seemed to do well when it first opened, but my last few non-game-night visits found the place half-dead and occasionally creepy. (The rooftop bar was an exception.)

Location was probably a factor in Coyote's lack of success -- Sixth Street is on the wrong side of the Verizon Center and doesn't get the foot traffic found on the bustling strip around the Metro station. (The previous tenant, a sports bar called The Rock, had the same problem.) This closure smacks of a corporate clear-out, though, as Coyote Uglys in Philadelphia, Boston and Atlanta closed at the same time.

Psst, guys: Hooters is still open a few blocks away.

By Fritz Hahn  | September 6, 2006; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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The Attic -- you mentioned all-you-can-eat wings, but you didn't say what day / what time?


Posted by: dan | September 7, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

A new bar has opened in Coyote Ugly's space. It's called "RNR." Last Thursday they had a grand-opening for people who work and live in the area. Drinks and fried-bar-food buffet were free. However, I don't know that I'd pick it as a spot to go if I had to pay.. it's basically Coyote Ugly minus the dirty old bras hanging from the ceiling.

Posted by: poopsie | September 13, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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