Skilled mixologists serve up complex drinks at Wisdom, a dark yet charming cocktail parlor where heavy draperies and ornate lights hang along exposed brick walls. Their drink menu runs the gamut from wine and imported beer to a vast selection of authentic absinthe. Bartenders also mix up non-alcoholic "mocktails," with flavor profiles that are as interesting as their alcoholic counterparts. Events such as trivia night pit martinis against memories, and yappy hours let dogs lounge on the patio and play poker while owners sip libations. Wisdom also dishes up tasty tidbits such as chocolate beer waffles doused in maple syrup or bacon waffles covered in bourbon and caramel apples.
It's fitting that Station 4's decor takes on a circle motif. The ornate, circular chandeliers and round, red leather booths reflect chef Orlando Amaro's culinary expertise, which he draws from all around the globe. Amaro was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, but grew up heavily influenced by his Italian grandmother's cooking. He then went on to study Japanese cooking and trained under world-renowned chef Ferran Adria in Spain. His menu reflects these diverse influences with unpretentious, well-made dishes, from pork-belly wontons to roasted chicken manicotti and Maryland-style crab cakes, served with saffron potatoes.
Pulsing rhythms and potent cocktails energize the long, narrow space inside Bar 7, keeping crowds entertained until as late as 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. Surrounded by a sleek combination of brick walls and flat-screen TVs playing muted CSPAN coverage, DJs keep patrons' hips swaying and toes tapping with infectious dance beats. Meanwhile, bartenders stay busy by mixing complex cocktails such as the Lemon Skittle Sorbet and Diddy's Peach made with Cîroc peach. The kitchen crew then sates drink- and dance-fueled appetites with plates of hearty comfort food, including crab cakes with homemade rémoulade sauce and pan-seared shrimp with a jalapeño-spiked honey sauce.
With its spun-sugar sculptures and curved brown walls—designed to replicate waves of flowing chocolate—you get the sense that even the ductwork and faucets at Co Co. Sala might ooze chocolate. Executive Chef and Pastry Chef Santosh Tiptur excels at crafting unique confections in this distinctive space, keenly balancing the sweets with savory items to avoid chocolate overdoses. The sweet-with-savory mantra defines appetizers—cheese fritters with chipotle chocolate tomato cream sauce—as well as some of the entrees, such as beef tenderloin in a chocolate shiraz reduction. Other items—organic lamb sliders seasoned with coconut and curry, for example—dial down the saccharine, saving the sweetness for desserts such as rose crème fraîche cheesecake and white-chocolate and raspberry mousse. The spacious lounge area grants patrons glimpses of chefs plating entrees and chocolatiers sculpting their artisanal desserts. For private events, guests may stake out the silk-and-velvet-lined private room, meet in the airy art gallery, or enjoy the rooftop patio, with views of the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the famed Millard Fillmore birdbath.
French Emperor Napoleon is best remembered as a fighter, but his letters to his wife Josephine show he was also a dedicated lover. The historic correspondence with Her Imperial Majesty was filled with smoldering passion?a passion that the owners of Josephine, a lounge named in her honor, seek to capture at their sleek nightclub. Filled with color-shifting accent lights in harlequin patterns, opulent chandeliers and plush leather benches, and illuminated floral patterns on the front of the bar, the two sprawling rooms seem as elegant as her royal rooms might have been. Despite this elegant look, though, the club is anything but stuffy. Visitors mingle with cocktails and spirits while house, hip hop, and electronic music fills the dance floor and darkened corners nearly every night of the week.
When it first opened in March of 2001, Tsunami Sushi & Lounge was on the vanguard of local businesses and shops to settle and thrive in the 14th street corridor near Thomas Circle. Today, the ultramodern lounge relishes in its place as a nerve center for nightlife, treating guests to fresh maki and nigiri, as well as lip-smacking udon, steak, and tempura dishes. Strings of sparkling crystal globes form huge overhanging chandeliers that cast twinkling light upon brick walls, eggshell-white armchairs, and black leather benches. Guests follow a glass-lined staircase up to the restaurant's second story, gazing out upon the bustling streetscapes and poorly hidden bald spots on the sidewalk below.