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Posted at 1:41 PM ET, 03/15/2007

Kill The Televisions

By Fritz Hahn

Sometimes March Madness is just plain maddening. You want to go out and have a drink and gossip with your friends or meet a date for a cocktail, but most of the places you're thinking of will be packed with people watching basketball, which is the last thing you're looking for. It even seems that most restaurants' bars, once bastions of civility, have a flatscreen these days.

Thankfully, there are places left that don't feel the need to have a 60-inch plasma screen in a prominent place. Whether you've had it with basketball, your team was knocked out or you'd just rather not deal with the cultural wasteland that is modern television, here are a few places where you can relax, sans TV. If you have more suggestions, add them to the comments.

Bistro Lepic
Located above Georgetown's Bistro Lepic is a cozy, dimly lit wine bar that's perfect for a date. After all, with so many wines available by the glass and half-bottle, you'll need someone to help you sample them all, right?

Birreria Paradiso
The 16 taps in the basement of Georgetown's Pizzeria Paradiso pour an amazing, esoteric selection of beers from European and American microbrewers. Where else will you find Val Dieu Grand Cru, St. Bernardus Triple, Koningshoeven Quadrupel and Gouden Carolus all on draft? (Don't worry -- there are at least 80 more selections in bottles.) The best time to explore the beer list is on Tuesday and Wednesday, when all drafts are half-price. Since there's no TV or distracting piped-in music, you can focus on the beer -- or your date.

Le Bar
The Sofitel's classy, Art Deco-inspired bar serves well-mixed cocktails in a pleasant setting.

Pharmacy Bar
With one of the best jukeboxes around and a picture window that looks out on the 18th Street action, this Rx-themed bar has no need for the boob tube. Bored? Go play a couple games of Big Buck Hunter, pal.

The Saloon
No TV. No loud music. No standing at the bar. Just a great beer list, a menu heavy on comfort food (including one of my favorite grilled cheese sandwiches in the city) and a friendly neighborhood vibe.

Urbana makes the best martini I've had all year -- gin, vermouth you can actually taste, the right amount of bitters -- and though the lounge can be crowded on weekends, it's not as hard to find a seat Sunday through Thursday. Get there early for the aperitif hour, which has refreshing Negronis and small bites.

The vegetarian lounge, which now has its full liquor license, serves tasty snacks and features DJs spinning hip-hop and R&B. You'll want to look at the art on the walls rather than a TV.

With all the people-watching that goes on in this mecca for Columbia Heights hipsters, who needs a television? Seriously, the jukebox, the eclectic DJ lineup and a regular succession of theme nights (Kostume Karaoke, "Guitar Hero" competitions) mean that there's never a lack of entertainment.

And Finally ... Live Music Venues
Don't overlook the obvious: most nightclubs -- the Black Cat, DC9, Rock and Roll Hotel, the Red & the Black -- don't have televisions, and they all have bar areas that are open whether or not you have a ticket for that night's show.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 15, 2007; 1:41 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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That's why its called March Madness. It should be illegal to not show any games that are being played!

Posted by: Don't Go Out Then! | March 17, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

To be more generic, there has been a plague of tvs over the last 20 years. Hotel complementary breakfast: but there's a stupid tv with an idiotic morning show (or scenes from the latest war: great for breakfast) Here at work with tvs near the elevators why? I love March Madness, but can understand why someone would want to get away to a bar w/ no TVs to enjoy a martini and quiet conversation.

Posted by: jhtlag | March 19, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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