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Archipelago, Tiki Bar with Light Snacks at 12th and U Street NW


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My go-tos before shows at Lincoln Theater or U Street Music Hall tend to be Seki or Archipelago. Ranging slightly further afield, other pre-show favorites for us at 930 Club, DC9 and Black Cat include Hazel, Haikan, Kyirisan, Bar Pilar, Lupo Verde and Doi Moi.  

how is the food at Archipelago? the menu looks interesting

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I've been a few times to Archipelago and really like this place. Foremost, the food is rather good riff on chinese food. The ground beef dan dan noodles are very good, the eggplant is also a standout. The tiki drinks are tasty and just downright fun. The whole place is very chill. I was there last night while they have a Sippin Santa pop up which means a bunch more of tiki drink specials with goofy xmas names like Xmas Eve of Destruction and Sippi Santa (both were good, but the latter was really good). Worth checking out for a fun time on U St.

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We go here quite regularly these days, basically any time we have a show we're going to at U Street Music Hall or Lincoln Theater. Our go tos are the Hot Chicken Steam Buns, Sichuan Eggplant, Dan Dan Noodles, Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans, and Smashed Cucumber. At happy hour prices the Dan Dan Noodles are $6 (regularly $10) and the Steam Buns are $5 (regularly $7). The drinks are great, service is friendly and attentive, and it's seldom slammed. Strongly recommend it. 

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2 hours ago, Mark Dedrick said:

We go here quite regularly these days, basically any time we have a show we're going to at U Street Music Hall or Lincoln Theater. Our go tos are the Hot Chicken Steam Buns, Sichuan Eggplant, Dan Dan Noodles, Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans, and Smashed Cucumber. At happy hour prices the Dan Dan Noodles are $6 (regularly $10) and the Steam Buns are $5 (regularly $7). The drinks are great, service is friendly and attentive, and it's seldom slammed. Strongly recommend it. 

Mark, what do you think is currently better than this (on absolute terms) on U Street-proper? (I'm not asking you to delve into 14th Street - that almost seems like a different market to me (do you agree?))

For a Tiki bar, this seems like one heck of a Szechuan menu (interestingly (and probably tangentially), there's an apparent correlation between Taiwanese aborigines and Polynesians). We could also get into the Cook Islands, the Sandwich Islands, etc.

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15 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Mark, what do you think is currently better than this (on absolute terms) on U Street-proper? (I'm not asking you to delve into 14th Street - that almost seems like a different market to me (do you agree?))

For a Tiki bar, this seems like one heck of a Szechuan menu (interestingly (and probably tangentially), there's an apparent correlation between Taiwanese aborigines and Polynesians). We could also get into the Cook Islands, the Sandwich Islands, etc.

On U Street itself there's no place that I like better than Archipelago (I have not been to Imperial yet). If you expand to include V Street and some of the cross streets (not 14th) I'd say Izakaya Seki. But we are big fans of Archipelago. 

As for your geographic divisions, I agree. If I'm going to eat at Archipelago or Izakaya Seki (or Haikan, Hazel, American Ice Co, etc) I'm not considering spots on 14th Street when deciding where to go. The same is true in reverse. 

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