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Bourbon - Owner Bill Thomas in Adams Morgan - Glover Park Branch Closed, Renovating and Rebranding


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i had brunch at bourbon (aptly named as they have dc's largest bourbon selection) early this afternoon. it was solid, far from great but definitely sufficient for a very tired guy and his hung over friend in search of brunch, with a patio, and a place to watch the game. we settled on bourbon. one of the nice things about their brunch is that they offer both a brunch menu - fairly standard dishes executed reasonably well - and their regular menu - think upscale diner food with a slight southern tilt. i had the cheese steak sandwich which was mad from strips of black angus, pepper jack cheese, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions (can't remember the bread). in contrast to most cheese steaks, one could clearly identify the beef in this sandwich. it contained too much gristle to be eaten as a sandwich, but once i grabbed a fork and knife to sort through a little bit it was well worth the effort. my friend had the bourbon toast - a french toast that was made with a bourbon egg batter and bourbon laced maple syrup. i was allowed one bite - but that bite was pretty damn tasty.

after brunch on the patio which unfortunately during the late fall does not get much sun until the late afternoon, we moved inside to watch football. while sitting at the bar i noticed that bourbon serves allagash curieux beer. this is truly amazing beer. it is made from the allagash triple which is already a reserve beer. after brewing, some of the triple is then aged for six months in old jim beam bourbon barrels. the result is a beer that is resplendent with golden malt, a rich lingering finish, and well-balanced hops. it is an extremely small production beer - i have been told by the distributor that less than two dozen cases are brought to dc (allagash's number one market) every six months. i am not positive about this, but i think that bourbon and café saint ex may be the only places serving it. it is offered in a 22oz bottle and it is simply manna from the beer gods. two pieces of caution if you plan on ordering one: 1) the curieux has 11% alcohol content, so don't plan on drinking them all night, and 2) it ain't cheap; $22 per bottle at bourbon.

i also need to make note of the very gracious and professional service. most saloons provide service that tends to lack polish. bourbon was a very pleasant exception. patrick, our server/bartender, was knowledgeable, extremely pleasant, and executed his job in a way that suggested some fine-dinning training in his past.

i have been to bourbon a few times since it opened a few years ago - only for a quick cocktail or to meet friends. i am very happy to be able to add it to the list of places that provide solid food without expectation or pretense, and one of the best beers on the planet. if you go there and order one and don't like it, bring the mostly full bottle to me for full reimbursement.

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The Blue Room first floor (18th near Kalorama) location is open for business. Noticed their sandwich board out front so we stopped in for dinner around 7 on Saturday. Nice space, with decor similar to the other location -- light wood, brown leatherette booths, minimalistic. Only about three tables full and 5 or so folks at the bar. Despite this, service was slooooooow. Chalked it up to getting their sea legs -- heard the bartender mention to someone that it was their first weekend open for dinner.

Their hot wings were really awesome. The hot sauce isn't like the standard bottle/butter hot sauce, but something that looks made from scratch, with chunked tomatoes and plenty of heat.

Beer selection, just as at the other location, is great. Anchor Steam and Allagash White were happily quaffed at $5 a pint. All their other beers are also $5 except for the Lindeman Framboise Lambic, hefty at $9 (on the sign) or $10 (on the menu).

Verdict on the chili cheese burger: "not very chili-ish but pretty good." Verdict on the veggie burger -- pretty delicious, with BBQ sauce and what tasted like cilantro mayonnaise, plus smoked gouda.

So, with nice neighborhood-friendly prices ($9-12 for most dishes, including burgers, meatloaf, and chicken sandwiches) it seems like it's got promise. They'll have to speed things up, though. With the wait we had for food given that there were only three or four groups eating, I can't imagine them handling a real Saturday night crowd.

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Forgot to note one of the most impressive things about the new Bourbon location: they must have a hell of a ventilation system at the bar. We could see several people at the bar enjoying their cigarettes but could not smell smoke at all even though we were in the booth closest to the bar. Nice feature.

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The 18th street space is nearly a carbon copy of the first floor at the Glover Park location, which is definitely a good thing. It's a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

On these chilly winter evenings, there's nothing like a cold Anchor Steam with a glass of bourbon next to it. I can't think of anything I've had from their menu that isn't really tasty. The homemade sweet potato chips and the wings are two favorites of mine, and their sandwiches are huge. They do a nice brunch, as well.

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One of the bartenders mentioned that the Blue Room space above Bourbon on 18th will be closing in a couple of weeks, with something a little more Bourbon-esque going in. Less dance music, more rock. This is a good thing. Also, Bourbon has a secret, hidden patio out back that will be opening soon!

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One of the bartenders mentioned that the Blue Room space above Bourbon on 18th will be closing in a couple of weeks, with something a little more Bourbon-esque going in. Less dance music, more rock. This is a good thing. Also, Bourbon has a secret, hidden patio out back that will be opening soon!

Seriously? The Adams-Morgan Bourbon has a patio? Do you know when it will open? This could be the answer to my prayers for a new local with outdoor space!

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Seriously? The Adams-Morgan Bourbon has a patio? Do you know when it will open? This could be the answer to my prayers for a new local with outdoor space!

Well, I'm glad people seem to enjoy this place, but I can't imagine we will go back. We attended a get-together there about a month ago. The Allogash (sp?) on tap wasn't available <_< . The sweet potato chips were just . . . bizaare, and the "dipping" sauce that came with them seemed to be just mayo with a bunch of tarragon in it. I had a completely unmemorable burger. Service was very slap-dash. It seems to be just another place to drink and hangout--with food as an after-thought. Like too many other places in AM. ;)
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Well, I'm glad people seem to enjoy this place, but I can't imagine we will go back.  We attended a get-together there about a month ago.  The Allogash (sp?) on tap wasn't available  <_< .  The sweet potato chips were just . . . bizaare, and the "dipping" sauce that came with them seemed to be just mayo with a bunch of tarragon in it.  I had a completely unmemorable burger.  Service was very slap-dash.  It seems to be just another place to drink and hangout--with food as an after-thought.  Like too many other places in AM. ;)

I have to disagree 100 times over. Bourbon is such a great addition to the neighborhood. The staff has always gone out of their way to make Roger Troutman and I feel welcome. where else can you have your choice of over 50 bourbons and about 20 wine by the glass choices in this city? And the food? I am on a wedding starvation diet right now, but if I could do a blow out calories don't count kind of meal right now? I would run to Bourbon and ask for a triple order of sweet potato chips, a double order of the wings, and then I would eat the hell out of an order of the portobello with goat cheese sandwich.

As far as the patio goes, I think that they have not quite opened it up yet. But the barkeep said that that it is also going to be open during the winter with heat lamps so we can smoke when the ban goes into effect.

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Re: the patio, anyone who was there when the space was Blue Room will recall it. It's down some stairs and reminded me of a lot of Manhattan's outdoor spaces, carved out between buildings.

Personally I don't think it (or Bourbon overall) is anything special, but YMMV. I preferred the old Blue Room. The new space, while cleaner, is a little too bright, and the crowd struck me as very Georgetown. Just not my scene.

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Shame they are going to be closing down the upstairs, the upstairs Blue Room space was one of the better small spaces in DC for listening to dance music.  First Red now Blue Room...  <_<

Are we all talking about the same location? I know about the one in Glover Park - is there another one in Adams Morgan? I thought the Glover Park location was the one with the patio. Can someone enlighten sometime before happy hour tonight? ;)
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I've heard that the upstairs is now open. Has anyone here checked it out yet?

I was there for a private party (that happened to be the first night the upstairs was open). The space is great and they had a very nice beer selection (should you not be drinking bourbon). Don't know what the regular crowd is like, though.

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I was there for a private party (that happened to be the first night the upstairs was open). The space is great and they had a very nice beer selection (should you not be drinking bourbon). Don't know what the regular crowd is like, though.

I must begin this statement by letting everyone know I worked at Blue Room and then Bourbon for almost two years. The crowd is different from the Blue Room crowd, but still very cool. I do recomend checking it out during the week--- ie Sunday thru Thursday. Sunday nights there is a great DJ night called Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp-- so fun-- & Thursdays the 80's party that used to be at Heaven and Hell. The crowd during the week is local, and often full of industry people... a good time--- the weekends-- well it is Adams Morgan.

Also don't know if they are still doing this, BUT when I left in July the policy was to discount food 35% for anyone who worked in the restaurant industry.

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I have revisited both Bourbon locations recently and am prepared to retract my statement about not thinking much about Bourbon.

First stop - Glover Park. I dined and drank with two friends right at the bar. The bartender was unfriendly and completely lacking in charm, but my companions made up for that. If you haven't been spoiled by the draft options at Birreria Paradiso (I have), the selections here might impress. They're not bad. Bourbon also offers a decent selection of wines by the glass at reasonable prices.

Bourbon is a great spot for comfort food. One friend chose the chili (he thought it was too spicy while I quite liked it), the other had an ostrich burger. We all shared mac & cheese which was perfect with al dente pasta and ooey-gooey cheese. You get a large portion for the price (I forget if it was $4 or $5; either way, I thought "kinda cheap"). I really enjoyed my grilled cheese and tomato soup ($9). Al Dente, have you tried Bourbon's version? The only issue is that the soup bowl is huge and even though I really, really love soup, I have a hard time imagining that I could ever finish this portion.

One friend and I liked our meal enough that we essentially replicated it in Adams Morgan on Friday (well, he passed on the "too spicy" chili). The tomato soup was a tad too peppery although I liked the texture better than Glover Park's version. Mac & cheese wasn't as creamy, but we ate every bite anyway.

I expect to branch out and try the rest of the reasonably priced menu soon. Might even get some bourbon. :)

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Just got off the phone with Bill Thomas, the mercurial owner of the Bourbons. The anniversary party for the Adams Morgan location, scheduled for November 30th, has had to be moved. Most likely date is Monday, December 11, but that is subject to confirmation. The party is sponsored by Buffalo Trace, amongst others, and will include whiskey and beer tastings, etc. And if BT comes through with sufficient Saz Jr., then porcupine and I will be slinging Sazeracs!

(Oh, and there's some other verrrry interesting whiskey news coming down the pike. Watch this space.)

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So at the behest of Mr. Parrott, I finally got to visit the A-M branch of Bourbon (now I wonder if each branch has it's own "branch water"? I know, I know, "Boo...")

I think that they serve the best onion rings that I've ever had in my entire life, and I've been a onion ring fan since I was 4 years old. I mean, these were ur-onion rings, perfectly battered and seasoned and just the right temperature. If anyone makes a better batch of onion rings anywhere on this earth, then I hope to God that I get to experience them before I die.

Our hostess was Judy, and she started me off with a side-by-side comparison of the 14-year and 16-year Black Maple Hill Bourbons, since I thought that would be fun. That was compelling, as the 16 year really wiped the floor with the 14 head-to-head, but I could see myself enjoying the 14 all by itself.

My chili burger really hit the spot, too. Moist and delicious, and with a nice, sweet accompaniment of baked beans on the side. I washed it down with a Bell's I.P.A. which was great. They do have an excellent selection of bottled beers, and seem to have numerous draught options but I didn't get a good look at them. I also sprung to try the Dogfish Head 120 minute I.P.A. which disappointed the hell out of me - it was treacly-sweet! Most unexpected. Perhaps as a "dessert" beer it would be okay, but not with a burger.

Having not had any lunch yesterday, the entire menu looked delicious, and I look forward to exploring it in greater detail in the near future.

My final Bourbon selection was the Sazerac 6-Year Rye, which was pretty darned nice, but I still like the Rittenhouse 100-proof better and for a lot less money.

All in all, I wish that I worked within a short walking distance from Bourbon, as it really does seem to be a perfect neighborhood bar with tasty victuals. I'd love to unwind there a couple of nights per week right after work. Perhaps I'll have to try the Glover Park location, as it is closer to me with (arguably) easier parking. If their onion rings are identical to Adams-Morgan, they may have to roll me out of there as I'll be tempted to gorge myself to Mr. Creosote-like proportions on the blessed things.

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Just wanted to let people know that there is a happy hour (with free hors d'oeuvres) this Friday with Fred Noe of Fortune/Beam Brands (and the Noe family that has run Jim Beam for decades). Adams Morgan location. Not sure of timing.

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Just wanted to let people know that there is a happy hour (with free hors d'oeuvres) this Friday with Fred Noe of Fortune/Beam Brands (and the Noe family that has run Jim Beam for decades). Adams Morgan location. Not sure of timing.

Hi Everybody--

I was just logging on to give some info about this event, but Jparrott beat me to it! Below is a little more information.

From 5pm to 8pm on Friday the 24th Fred Noe, the Bourbon Ambassador, will be at Bourbon for a meet and greet! This will be a really fun & cheap happy hour. Included will be lots of delish food like our bourbon glazed lamb chops, mini crab cakes, bbq chicken skewers, grilled cheese stix, shrimp cocktail, etc. Free bourbon and bourbon cocktails provided by Jim Beam. These will include Jim Beam White Label, Black Label, Rye, Basil Hayden, Bookers, Bakers, Knob Creek, and Makers Mark.

If you plan on attending please shoot me a PM if you have the time-- this will be super helpful to our kitchen!

Hope to see you there! This is upstairs at the Bourbon located in Adams Morgan.

Jill

Events Manager

Bourbon

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Went back to the A-M location of Bourbon this afternoon for other reasons (see the Willett thread in the beverage section) and I just had to stick around for dinner.

I preceded dinner with a Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale on draught, which was very hearty. I ate those fabulous onion rings again, and chased that with the Chili-Mac. Washed it down with a Lindeman's Framboise on draught. Heaven.

Having not had lunch, I thought I'd be more hungry, I had my eye on some of the other menu items, but those others filled me up and I was quite happy.

Paddy, the bartender, was great to chat with. Nice fella. You can tell he's proud of the beer and whiskey offerings.

I really need to visit the Glover Park location, I'm developing a serious jones for this place.

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Does anyone know if the tots at the foggy bottom location [of Tonic] are as good as those at the original? And what do they do to those tots anyway to make them so good?!

Nearly all tater tots are frozen; about the only ones I've seen that aren't have been at EatBar. At Bourbon, the Tots ($5), described as "vintage fried potato," are served in a small metal mixing bowl. I can deal with frozen tots, but I'm not sure I'll be getting the Ostrich Burger ($11) again. I've enjoyed this sandwich in the past, but this time it came out cooked into shoe leather, looking almost like a Salisbury Steak despite the menu saying it's "grilled medium for best flavor." Served with some pretty mediocre frozen fries, it was still better than the House Chili ($5), described as "Angus beef and red bean chili, slightly spiced, topped with sour cream, cheddar & chives." Again, I've had this before and have liked it, but if this chili was homemade, then someone has done a fine job of imitating the techniques used at Hormel.

There's good restaurant food, and there's good pub food, and I've always said that Bourbon falls into the latter category. However, based on my two most-recent meals here, I'm beginning to think it falls into neither.

The saving grace here is, of course, the Bourbons and Ryes. When you go, order a "Velvet Glove," neat, with a glass of ice on the side. Drop a cube or two into the Rye and swirl it. This is one of the greatest liquors I've ever tasted (and this includes hyper-expensive Cognac, Armagnac, and everything else). And I'm putting my money where my keypad is on this one: I ordered multiple bottles of this world-class drink to bunker over the coming years and decades (available at Ace Beverage).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Well, you should've had the onion rings, silly :mellow: Perfect EVERY time, I'm not exaggerating.

Oh, and whichever location you went to? Um, the other location is better. Yeah. That's the ticket.

I've never had Bourbon's tater tots. I just can't do it. I was ruined for life on tater tots by the Arlington County elementary school that I attended, and I just can't even look at the things anymore. It seemed that we had them EVERY day. Ugh.

I've never had the chili by itself, always either on the side with a Bourbon Burger, or in my Chili Mac, which is unbelievably satisfying to me, especially when I'm starving.

Where else in town can you get such a reasonably-priced tenderloin, too? I think that it's only $20.

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Well, you should've had the onion rings, silly :mellow: Perfect EVERY time, I'm not exaggerating.
They are pretty damn good; so were the drinks. I can't speak to anything else. Definitely prefer the Adams-Morgan location to Glover Park. It has a much less homogenous crowd.
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Went to the Glover Park location and the food was of ventworm quality. Deep fried nastiness (ok, the onion rings were good)...the tater tots and sweet potato things were a study in diminishing marginal utility.

Sliders esp. the crab cake were not good...the bagel on the bagel sandwich was hockey puck hard...the club sandwich looked...gross.

The patio waitress clearly didn't want to be there...but considering it was Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend, I guess you couldn't blame her.

I suppose if I lived in the hood I might frequent the joint...but not worth the trek from the Hill.

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Went to the Glover Park location and the food was of ventworm quality. Deep fried nastiness (ok, the onion rings were good)...the tater tots and sweet potato things were a study in diminishing marginal utility.

Sliders esp. the crab cake were not good...the bagel on the bagel sandwich was hockey puck hard...the club sandwich looked...gross.

The patio waitress clearly didn't want to be there...but considering it was Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend, I guess you couldn't blame her.

I suppose if I lived in the hood I might frequent the joint...but not worth the trek from the Hill.

The Adams Morgan location is significantly better. I feel the same way about Glover Park in general. You should give Bourbon a second chance.

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Lots of changes to Bourbon since these last posts. The latest is, a new cocktail menu!

Bar manager Owen has been busy - there's an entire page devoted to the Manhattan, and it offers you choices of whiskies and vermouths. Really fun!

The new cocktails are so delicious-sounding that it is difficult to choose, but I had the Maple & Spice, which is Pusser's Navy Rum, lime juice, maple syrup and St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram. Insanely good.

The Ginger Derby was something that I had recently, too, and I adored it: Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur and grapefruit juice. A new favorite for me.

There's a slew of new whiskies to be enjoyed, too. If you haven't been in a while, it's well worth a revisit. Try the surf & turf sliders, or some of their other new menu items. If you go away hungry, I guarantee that you just weren't trying. :lol:

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Lots of changes to Bourbon since these last posts. The latest is, a new cocktail menu!

Bar manager Owen has been busy - there's an entire page devoted to the Manhattan, and it offers you choices of whiskies and vermouths. Really fun!

The new cocktails are so delicious-sounding that it is difficult to choose, but I had the Maple & Spice, which is Pusser's Navy Rum, lime juice, maple syrup and St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram. Insanely good.

The Ginger Derby was something that I had recently, too, and I adored it: Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur and grapefruit juice. A new favorite for me.

There's a slew of new whiskies to be enjoyed, too. If you haven't been in a while, it's well worth a revisit. Try the surf & turf sliders, or some of their other new menu items. If you go away hungry, I guarantee that you just weren't trying. :lol:

Is this the Glover Park one or the Adams Morgan one? Last time was at the Adams Morgan one (a few weeks ago), it was pretty much their bourbon list and beer list. Waitress said they couldn't even make a sazerac.

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The Ginger Derby was something that I had recently, too, and I adored it: Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur and grapefruit juice. A new favorite for me.
Tried this the other night, and found it a bit saccharine for me. Might have done a little better with a more tart grapefruit juice.
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Is this the Glover Park one or the Adams Morgan one? Last time was at the Adams Morgan one (a few weeks ago), it was pretty much their bourbon list and beer list. Waitress said they couldn't even make a sazerac.

Both locations, but Owen is at the Adams-Morgan one. The new cocktail menu just came out a little over a week ago.

I'm stunned that your server said that they couldn't make a Sazerac. Perhaps they were out of absinthe or something along those lines? It isn't as though they don't know how.

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I'm stunned that your server said that they couldn't make a Sazerac. Perhaps they were out of absinthe or something along those lines? It isn't as though they don't know how.

While I love Bourbon something fierce, and Owen and Patrick are both darn fine bartenders, I've had less than stellar experiences with some of the others in the past.

One distinct memory was asking for a specific bourbon and being told "we're out of it" when the bottle was right behind him.

(This was months ago, mind you; I couldn't tell you who it was that said that at gunpoint today.)

When Bourbon is on, it is on. When it's not - it seems to me when it's a slow day without a lot of oversight - it can be frustrating.

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Total self promotion--

This Thursday:

Jimmy Russell, Master Distiller of Wild Turkey will be at the Bourbon in Adams Morgan for a Wild Turkey happy hour. There will be complimentary appetizers, a Wild Turkey collection tasting, and cigar rolling from 7 pm to 9 pm.

There will also be an extended wine and beer happy hour. Owen Thomson has created a few new cocktails for the event that will be available.

Hope some of you are able to stop by!

Jill

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Hi--this should be a fun time at Bourbon next week, hope some of you are able to stop by!

Join Owen Thomson, Bourbon's Operations Manager and President of the DC Craft Bartenders Guild, at Bourbon on April 1, 2009 from 7 pm to 10 pm for the launch of his handcrafted "bottled" cocktail collection. The happy hour will take place at the Adams Morgan location of Bourbon at 2321 18th Street NW.

When asked the reasoning behind the concept Thomson said, "I first came across the concept of bottled cocktails in Jerry Thomas' 1862 Manual (the first bartenders manual written in America) and it seemed like the perfect solution to a problem that often befalls modern bartenders. In a higher volume bar it is sometimes hard to turn out consistent and well crafted drinks, especially when you have lines of people who just want a drink quick. I figured that utilizing an old concept in a modern way could allow people to get high quality drinks in a more crowd friendly presentation."

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Just put a keg of that [Founders Breakfast Stout] on tap at Bourbon last night pretty damn tasty

Thanks for the heads-up, Owen. I stopped into the Adams Morgan Bourbon last night, and enjoyed a couple pints of this wonderful stout. It's "hidden" in the Guinness tap because Founders didn't supply a handle. Get it while you can!

Cheers,

Rocks.

P.S. It's telling, perhaps mildly distressing, that I ran into another dr.com member at 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon. :rolleyes:

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Never did I expect to drink bourbon. I don't think I could drink it straight still but Bourbon has introduced me to many a cocktail I would have normally eschewed in favor of something ginny or vodkaey. This summer at the Glover Park it was the most delicious cocktail that had balsamic vinegar and bourbon, tonight in A-M it was a bourbons, bitters and simple syrup concoction. Every time I have eaten at Bourbon I have greatly enjoyed the food. The sliders are perfect little hamburgers. It is reasonably priced good food.

My friends and I ended up at Bourbon tonight by accident. We had intended on having a decadent happy hour at New Heights only to discover the entire restaurant was closed until 7:30. On a Friday night. No note on the door, nothing on the website. I don't think I'll choose it for a similar evening ever again... a short walk to Bourbon was not a terrible thing.

ETA: maybe it's better than good. The chicken nuggets were declared by all at the table to be the best they had had. They were hearty little bites of white meat handily fried in a well spiced batter. The red apron mortodela (don't blame me for spelling pre caffeine) on a pretzel roll was a hearty treat. The sliders were great, well cooked and nicely flavored.

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