Jump to content

A Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name - Do You Have A Favorite "Cheers-Type" Bar Or Restaurant?


DaveO
 Share

Recommended Posts

Do you have a favorite Cheers type of local restaurant or bar?   I do.  I more or less always have had that type of hangout regardless of where I lived.

Its the place where "everyone knows your name".   Its probably more suited to sitting at the bar than at a a table, though I've managed that too.

These days it's Toscana Grill for me, in the Courthouse Plaza.  It hit me the other evening as I sat and ate and drank at the bar between two other regulars.  We are ll friendly with the operator and because of that with one another.  The quips were flying, the drinks were being drunk, and the chatter was lively and fun.  As an idiot (young adult) I was hired to bartend at a joint, simply because it was new, I was there a lot and bringing in my friends to drink and play air hockey.

It could be a restaurant, it could be a bar.  Any other favorites?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me it's probably Liberty Tavern, Willow or Taqueria Poblano (Lee-Harris).  It used to be Liberty, but now it just gets so busy.  Willow is my go-to when Hubby is out of town, and Chris really makes it great.  Depending on the waiter at Taqueria Poblano they normally could guess our order 75% of the time.  I really like changing it up though.  Although I think if I weren't around Hubby would probably always go to like the same ten places all the time.

During planning season for Campagna Center events, it's probably Society Fair.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For many years when I lived on the Hill it was the Capitol Lounge...probably broke in 5 or 6 bartenders, several doormen.  Spent many hours shooting the shit, watching soccer, drinking beer etc. Just keep the tab open. 

These days, living in the NW suburbs of NW DC, not so much because all the bars/restaurants in Van Ness suck.  When Acacia first opened we were regulars and knew the manager, chef, owner etc..  We are known by the staff and owner at Siam House in Cleveland Park.  But these days pretty much the only person in the hood that I have a rap with is the owner of Van Ness Liquor (we talk a lot about beer!)    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd have to say the Passenger and possibly Hogo, since I get asked if I have engraved stools there...

Also used to be Ragtime, but I don't go there as often any more. It's more the staff there. (Same with Fire Works, where the staff is really good at remembering folks. I should give them more shout-outs.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was the first ever customer at Ray's the Classics and I plan on being the last. During the week, my beer sometimes appears before I even sit down at the bar. Peanut's going on her fourth or fifth year of being their Junior Hostess in Training when we go in on Friday nights.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Without a doubt in my experience, Joe, the operator/owner at Toscana Grill is one of the most "connected" to his customers people I've ever met with regard to a restaurant/bar.  I was there today for a late lunch/dinner as was one of his regulars.  Something came up and I walked out with the other regular for a bit to do something.  That person, a 12 year veteran of the restaurant business, was the one who described Joe in those terms.

I agree with him.

The other day I was reading the sports page while sitting at the bar.  Joe walked by, saw a picture of Eddie Jordan, the former Coach of the Wizards.   Eddie Jordan was fired 4.5 years ago from that job.

Joe remembered him, remembered what he used to eat and told me a quick amusing story about his times at that former restaurant relative to one of the times Eddie Jordan ate there.  Cripes I often can't recall what I ate yesterday let alone with whom I had the meal.

Amazingly engaging operator which is why its become my go to Cheers type of place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Today was a huge reminder of the love of a neighborhood place.  I squeezed into the end seat of the bar at Fireworks in Courthouse while the World Cup game was on TV.  Next to me was an older gentlemen feasting on salmon, risotto and a few other items.  Looked good.

We started chatting a bit and went over our histories and where we were from, etc.  After a bit he asked if I had gone to the Italian place in the "Plaza"   the courthouse plaza in Arlington.

BAM BAM BAM.  It was all about your favorite restaurant/bar neighborhood place and the staff and friendliness.  That fellow was also a huge fan of Toscana Grill while Joe was there.    In his words he spoke about the people, the hospitality, the warmth, etc.

And I agree.  Entirely and wholeheartedly and particularly about that restaurant with that operator/ the head of hospitality and neighborhoodiness at that restaurant at that time.

...and has he been back since Joe left???   Nope...and neither have I.   In that case, in that place it was all about the hospitality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Big Board is definitely our Cheers.  Beers are ready for us in the time it takes to walk from the door to the bar.  Burgers are great, TVs can always be switched to what we want to watch (well, World Cup season notwithstanding...), and the staff takes time to really get to know the customers.

My mom and dad came in this past weekend, and The Big Board was the place they wanted to go straight from the airport.  High praise!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Today was a huge reminder of the love of a neighborhood place. I squeezed into the end seat of the bar at Fireworks in Courthouse while the World Cup game was on

Hey I'm at the bar at Fireworks frequently (when I can get a seat). We should get the Arlington group get-togethers going again (right ktmoomau?! :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Green Pig is across the street from my apartment. I stepped in last night just to make a reservation for some guests coming to town. Andrew, the bar manager/cocktail guru/ultimate Nationals fan, greeted me with a beer. Their bacon cheeseburger (which has bacon in it, rather than on it) is also the best burger available in the DC Metro area (the regular cheeseburger is just OK). Unfortunately, in my short time there, the Cubs scored three runs, sealing the Nat's fate. I was, therefore, deemed unlucky and politely asked not to return during future games.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Passion Fish has the best happy hour in western Fairfax County.  Virtually everything is $5.00 at the bar and done well.  Small but gets VERY crowded on weeknights.

Tuscarora Mill's "tavern" in Leesburg.  Also, the Wine Kitchen in Leesburg.

The bar at Red Hen.

The bar at Iron Bridge Wine Company in Warrenton.

The bar at Shark on the Harbor in Ocean City.  Or across the street at the Sunset Grill.

Any opinions on Tommy Joe's on Montgomery Lane in Bethesda as a "cheers" type bar?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Green Pig is across the street from my apartment. I stepped in last night just to make a reservation for some guests coming to town. Aundrew, the bar manager/cocktail guru/ultimate Nationals fan, greeted me with a beer. Their bacon cheeseburger (which has bacon in it, rather than on it) is also the best burger available in the DC Metro area (the regular cheeseburger is just OK). Unfortunately, in my short time there, the Cubs scored three runs, sealing the Nat's fate. I was, therefore, deemed unlucky and politely asked not to return during future games.

The rule is, of course, that the next time the nats lose and you are NOT in the place...then the ban is lifted- as clearly it wasn't you.

Conversely, if they embark on a winning streak, with each successive win you should stay father and farther from the place. The season rides on this.

"Those are the rules of jinx and they are unflinchingly rigid" (the other jinx, the one you've inflicted on the nats)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Green Pig is across the street from my apartment. I stepped in last night just to make a reservation for some guests coming to town. Andrew, the bar manager/cocktail guru/ultimate Nationals fan, greeted me with a beer. Their bacon cheeseburger (which has bacon in it, rather than on it) is also the best burger available in the DC Metro area (the regular cheeseburger is just OK). Unfortunately, in my short time there, the Cubs scored three runs, sealing the Nat's fate. I was, therefore, deemed unlucky and politely asked not to return during future games.

I love this thread!

But since Rich has mentioned it several times now, I'll add that I violently disagree about Green Pig's bacon cheeseburger. I ordered it once, barely finished, and haven't thought about going back for another - it's just not for me.

That said, hamburgers are personal things where there are no true "experts" (although I did stumble across a really good article recently delineating the two types: "smash-down" burgers such as Shake Shack, and "tavern-style" burgers such as Mintwood Place, citing the virtues of both (does anyone remember where or what this article is?), and judging neither as being of a superior style. I liked that no conclusions were drawn in that piece).

Sorry to go off-topic!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The rule is, of course, that the next time the nats lose and you are NOT in the place...then the ban is lifted- as clearly it wasn't you.

Conversely, if they embark on a winning streak, with each successive win you should stay father and farther from the place. The season rides on this.

"Those are the rules of jinx and they are unflinchingly rigid" (the other jinx, the one you've inflicted on the nats)

@ Rich.   Nats are up 1-0 over Chicago Cubs.  Do not go to that bar.  Break the curse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey I'm at the bar at Fireworks frequently (when I can get a seat). We should get the Arlington group get-togethers going again (right ktmoomau?! :)

I walk there pretty regularly. During the summertime I have no issues with sitting in front of the pizza oven, it's like cooling off from outside!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I walk there pretty regularly. During the summertime I have no issues with sitting in front of the pizza oven, it's like cooling off from outside!

Wow, you have more heat tolerance than me!  I sat in front of the pizza oven recently and regretted it.  Too warm!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This weekend I felt like I reached regular status at Weygandt's.  Three of us walked in the door and Ed Jenks, who leads the Saturday wine tastings, immediately pulled three glasses and had them set up and ready for the first pour by the time we reached the tasting bar. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/21/2018 at 8:57 AM, dcs said:

‘Cheers’ Said Goodbye 25 Years Ago: Raise a Toast With These 9 Essential Episodes, by Josh Wolk, May 18, 2018, on nytimes.com.  It used to be Willow for us (space still waiting for new tenant).  Now it is Liberty Tavern.  Fireworks would be a strong contender if it were a little closer.

What a great show!!!!   

For a REAL Cheers type hangout I really haven't had a serious bar hangout since Kitty O'Shea's closed in Arlington/Courthouse around 2011. 

It was a dive.

I knew and was friendly with the owner, staff, and other patrons.  I drank there in evenings and watched sports/ on Sundays plus some early morning Euro Soccer. 

I repeat...it was a dive.  My kind of Cheers type place. 

Now I'm old...so beyond the typical Cheers type age range...but I've always enjoyed them.  Fave Cheers type places over the years:  The Beowulf at 20th and L downtown in DC till it closed in the early 80's, Turkey Joe's in Fells Point, and my home town joint, which I understand has customers my age...my old school mates and teammates that never moved far from that area;  All sorts of dives....oh...and a special shout out during  the latter 80's and into the 90's the Malt Shop above the Dancing Crab off Wisconsin Avenue.  (boy my ex put a crimp on my hanging out at that dive)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think the ladies at A&J know our names, but they know us well enough that if we order something a little different, they will come back to check. "Is this right? You always get X, not Y." And if we don't show for a few weeks we'll get a good-natured chiding when we return.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my sister and I were roommates, we frequently went to Hollywood East Cafe for dim sum. Enough that the servers would see us and start bringing our regular choices. I was there for Mother's Day and chinese broccoli with oyster sauce appeared and the server said "you always get this, right?" I haven't been there more than a year times a year in years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/21/2018 at 8:57 AM, dcs said:

‘Cheers’ Said Goodbye 25 Years Ago: Raise a Toast With These 9 Essential Episodes, by Josh Wolk, May 18, 2018, on nytimes.com.  It used to be Willow for us (space still waiting for new tenant).  Now it is Liberty Tavern.  Fireworks would be a strong contender if it were a little closer.

Stopped off at Fireworks for HH.  I'm usually only there for a late lunch and always drink coke.  But I'm there enough to know the current day bartender and former bartenders.  

Gotta admit, I'm really a dive bar fan.  In DC I liked places like The Tune Inn and Millie and Al's.  When I was younger and in Maryland my dive bar preference was a place in Wheaton or 4 Corners North of Silver Spring.  Cold cheap beer, cheap fried food, sports on the TV's and a bunch of non stylish fat bar guys.  (sort of like Norm)

As to the former Willows space (still available) I have found it interesting that Uncle Julio's has managed to remain in the same space virtually since the building went up, while the identical sized space has gone through endless different restaurants in the same time period. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only places I have been a true regular and felt like everybody knew me and so on was Palena. Mirabelle is similar, but I have not yet had enough time to develop the relationship with the FOH staff.

Separately, the folks at the carry-out counter at Pasta Plus in Laurel also know me well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to admit we have several places like this - mostly because we live right up the street from the 11th Street blob of restaurants so we are down there a lot.

Domku used to be our Cheers. How I miss Domku!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, saf said:

I have to admit we have several places like this - mostly because we live right up the street from the 11th Street blob of restaurants so we are down there a lot.

Domku used to be our Cheers. How I miss Domku!

Talk about a place that was fifteen-years ahead of its time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Talk about a place that was fifteen-years ahead of its time.

Aside from her intermittent issues with FoH staff....

It was such a neighborhood place. So many of us got to know each other there - new and long-time neighbors. I so miss it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes.  Noodle Pudding, an Italian place in my neighborhood.  My wife & I eat there, at the bar, at least once/week.  We love the food, the owner, the bartender and we have become friends with many other customers over the years.  So, if you’re in Brooklyn Heights on a given night, go there.  Ask if Ginny & Steve are there.  If we are, we might even explain why an Italian place is named Noodle Pudding.  If we aren’t, enjoy your meal & get someone else to tell you.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Steve R. said:

Yes.  Noodle Pudding, an Italian place in my neighborhood.  My wife & I eat there, at the bar, at least once/week.  We love the food, the owner, the bartender and we have become friends with many other customers over the years.  So, if you’re in Brooklyn Heights on a given night, go there.  Ask if Ginny & Steve are there.  If we are, we might even explain why an Italian place is named Noodle Pudding.  If we aren’t, enjoy your meal & get someone else to tell you.  

I put a tiny link into your post - it sounds delightful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I watched part of the Portugal Spain WC game at FireWorks.  Frankly I don’t drink enough these days to merit a bar stool from a better spending customer.

The bar was pretty full though no standing crowd.  The bartender was passing me and said to his manager “I know all but 3 people at the bar”.  

Actually I do slightly know some of them.   He did some great tending.  The game ended and I and the woman next to me were ready to leave.  He said wait 3 minutes and I’ll give you HH prices.  

When the 2nd half goals scored he kept bringing BOH staff up front to see the replays.   One guy for Portugal, one guy for Spain.  Everyone rapping with everyone.

If I was half the man Norm Peterson was this would be my Cheers.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...