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Posted at 1:29 PM ET, 08/21/2009

Midtown Loft: Taking Cheap Drinks in a New Direction

By Fritz Hahn

If you needed a barometer for the current economic climate consider this: Midtown Loft, the latest nightspot from Michael Romeo, the owner of velvet rope-and-bottle service places like Lotus Lounge, gives out free beer for an hour every weekday, and it offers free pool, free shuffleboard and free foosball.

Midtown Loft, which opened upstairs from Midtown (another of Romeo's clubs) on Monday, is everything his other bars are not. It has exposed brick walls and $20 buckets of beer (your choice of Miller Lite, Corona and Yuengling), neon beer signs and a pair of free Megatouch bar-top video games tucked in an alcove. (These are the premium adults-only versions, too, with Erotic Photohunt and Penthouse Video Strip Poker.) Cover bands like Road Soda and Plastic Parts perform on a low stage on Friday nights, and Doug Segree, the guitarist known for hosting Suicide Sundays at the Starboard in Dewey Beach, plays acoustic at the "From Dewey to D.C." party on Tuesdays.

But perhaps most shocking: the lack of any sort of cover charge and dress code. Shorts and flip-flops are "welcome," which is quite a change from the clubwear required at Midtown downstairs. The beachy atmosphere is reflected in the fact that draft beer (Miller Lite, Peroni, house amber) sells for $4 and there's a daily cattle call: no-strings-attached free beers from 5 to 6.

Now, it's not that Midtown Loft has abandoned all the trappings of its sister bars, which include Fur Nightclub and Tattoo. The high communal bar tables are easily outnumbered by low-slung couches, which can double as booths for bottle service on weekends. Flip over the list of $4 drinks, and you'll find a menu pushing bottles of Grey Goose for $120 and $300 Patron tequila. Or look in the hilariously labeled "Bourbon" section for $300 bottles of Crown Royal or $250 bottles of Jack Daniels. (Note: Neither of those is a bourbon.)

If your tastes run stronger than beer, you'll pay an eye-opening $10 for a bottom-of-the-shelf "rail drink," and $2 more for "premium cocktails," which, the menu notes, can be made with "fresh lemon or lime" on request.

There are six flat-screen TVs, which will come in handy this weekend for a Redskins-Steelers viewing party tomorrow night. For Saturday's game, the real attraction will be the "power hour" drink special on draft beers: $1 from 7 to 9, $2 from 9 to 10 and then $3 until 11.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | August 21, 2009; 1:29 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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