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Lola's Barracks Bar and Grill, Barracks Row


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The new name now appears on the outside (Lola's Barracks Bar and Grill--named for the new owner's late mother) but it does not appear to be open for business yet. At least there was no sign of activity when I peered through the windows yesterday in the early afternoon. It looks gorgeous on the inside. Lots of dark wood. There are cool little lamps all the way down the bar. The lamps were on, but that was the only sign of life (at that time of day anyway).

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Lola's opened a week ago Wednesday. I stopped in for a late lunch today. The bar is gorgeous and very deep. Everything about this is large, despite the small space. The menus are too long for my liking. I have short arms, and the menu is just huge in physical size--hard to handle. Odd thing to complain about, I guess, but things are big here. There's also a beer/wine menu, much more manageable in size. I didn't count the number of tables--maybe half a dozen or so--and they are also made of beautiful wood. I did not see it, but there is also apparently a small patio in the back with a couple of tables. Somehow, despite the overall small space and dark tones, this place feels somehow spacious to me.

It's hard to overstate the aesthetics that have been built into the place. When I first arrived, I asked if they had any draft beers, expecting taps to be on the inside edge of the bar. No, I missed them. They're along the back wall and blend in with the liquor bottles. They look like furnishings. They also have wine spouts for wine by the glass, similar to those used by some wine bars. Again, these are worked into cabinets along the wall and look seamlessly built-in.

There are half a dozen or so tv screens behind the bar, nestled in wood frames matching the rest of the decor. My architectural knowledge ends here and I can't really comment on details of the mouldings. I noticed them, though :lol:. And, they use cloth napkins.

I got fish taco wraps, with handmade (? I think it said) tortillas, mahi mahi, and cilantro slaw. The side options were fries, field greens, or Caesar salad. I got the fries (crispy and thin) and managed to eat maybe 1/3- 1/2 of them. I couldn't quite finish the second taco, despite this being my only meal of the day. For $12, this plate could easily have fed two people.

The wraps and sandwiches come with the fries/field greens/Caesar option. The other wraps are a club and a chicken salad. For sandwiches, there's a burger; a proscuitto-lettuce-tomato combo; grouper with cheese; turkey; bacon-cranberry and chicken; and, 4 cheese grilled cheese.

For starters, the menu has a beef-bison chili, a few salads, a hummus plate, fried calamari, pate and brie plate, mahi-mahi fingers, butterflied shrimp, grilled quesadilla, chicken tenders, seafood ravioli, and chicken wings with two seasoning choices; also on this side of the menu: Argentinian skirt steak, and blackened or grilled salmon with mashed potatoes and spinach. My notes pretty much run out here: some kind of interesting torte and a chocolate dessert, and Saturday and Sunday brunch (11-3) with the standards, including steak and eggs and buckwheat pancakes. The brunch menu is kind of run into the desserts on the layout. I assume at some point they'll print a separate brunch menu. It's hard to find it the way the menu is laid out now.

The chef is Joe Robinson, who also opened Tapatini's.

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Anyone been here lately? I am thinking of going before a Nats Game.

I went tonight, a stormy Wednesday, and the restaurant was very crowded at 7 PM, but thinned out shortly afterwards as happy hour wound down.

Joe Joe's Sliders ($9 for 3) were the winner of the evening - big, overstuffed, sloppy Joe's that are in the ultra-sweet category, topped with a distressing dab of cheese sauce and a redundantly sweet pickle chip. If you can tolerate a lot of sweetness in your sloppy Joe's, you'll probably like these.

A small level down was the House Roasted Turkey Sandwich ($10, served with fries), which was decent pub grub, but fairly bogged down with bacon, avocado, fontina cheese, romaine, and cranberry mayo. The fries were slightly above average-frozen quality.

Avoid the nasty Four Cheese Supreme Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($10, also served with fries), which was just a gooey train wreck.

Much of the flavor in these three items came from salt, sugar, and fat. I can see how a hungry young man living and working on Barracks Row might enjoy Lola's as a place to drink, chow down, and watch a baseball game in a decent atmosphere, but the beers here are not cheap: $6.40 if you want a serious pint ($1.00 off during happy hour, 4-7 PM).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I went tonight, a stormy Wednesday, and the restaurant was very crowded at 7 PM, but thinned out shortly afterwards as happy hour wound down.

Joe Joe's Sliders ($9 for 3) were the winner of the evening - big, overstuffed, sloppy Joe's that are in the ultra-sweet category, topped with a distressing dab of cheese sauce and a redundantly sweet pickle chip. If you can tolerate a lot of sweetness in your sloppy Joe's, you'll probably like these.

A small level down was the House Roasted Turkey Sandwich ($10, served with fries), which was decent pub grub, but fairly bogged down with bacon, avocado, fontina cheese, romaine, and cranberry mayo. The fries were slightly above average-frozen quality.

Avoid the nasty Four Cheese Supreme Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($10, also served with fries), which was just a gooey train wreck.

Much of the flavor in these three items came from salt, sugar, and fat. I can see how a hungry young man living and working on Barracks Row might enjoy Lola's as a place to drink, chow down, and watch a baseball game in a decent atmosphere, but the beers here are not cheap: $6.40 if you want a serious pint ($1.00 off during happy hour, 4-7 PM).

Cheers,

Rocks.

Is it bad that this sounds amazing to me right now?

Signed,

Drunk and Hungry

PS All I heard was "overstuffed, bacon, roasted turkey, gooey cheese mayo"

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I went tonight before the Nats game. I had the steak sandwich which was good. I agree with Don - pub food to go with the beers. The place fills up, but I was there early around 5pm so it was quiet. For a sit and drink at the bar place and eat pub food, I think it was a good time.

Pretty soon 8th St will be pub crawl material. Do people do those in DC?

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I actually really enjoy Lola's and think the pub food is really good. I work down the street and eat here often.

The place is pretty tiny so I usually get take out, but everyone that works there is very friendly.

I was surprised to hear Don say he thought the fries were frozen. Because I've been raving about their fries. They put some sort of seasoning on them that is purely addictive!

I stick mostly to the sandwiches. I really enjoy the Billy's Key Largo sandwich--a nice grilled piece of mahi mahi on a french roll w/ cheese and a lemon/caper tartar sauce. It's quite good and a nice size sandwich.

I also get the roasted turkey sandwich a lot. I like that it has a cranberry mayo sauce and avocado. For some reason those flavors work well together.

I agree that the food can be salty but I don't think they have a heavy hand on the salt. It's just bar food---meant to be salty and delicious!

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I was surprised to hear Don say he thought the fries were frozen. Because I've been raving about their fries. They put some sort of seasoning on them that is purely addictive!

I can't identify what the seasoning is. It's not Old Bay, I don't think, but that's as close as I can get to a guess. I don't remember that being on the fries before, but it's been quite a while since I've eaten here. After the fries yesterday, I couldn't get the taste of the seasoning out of my mouth. It was not necessarily unpleasant on the fries, but the lingering taste was. I stopped in because I had a hankering for the fish tacos, but I didn't find them as satisying as I had before. Maybe I'd built them up too much in my mind.
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I can't identify what the seasoning is. It's not Old Bay, I don't think, but that's as close as I can get to a guess. I don't remember that being on the fries before, but it's been quite a while since I've eaten here. After the fries yesterday, I couldn't get the taste of the seasoning out of my mouth. It was not necessarily unpleasant on the fries, but the lingering taste was. I stopped in because I had a hankering for the fish tacos, but I didn't find them as satisying as I had before. Maybe I'd built them up too much in my mind.

Don emailed me awhile back having cracked the code on the french fries. I think he said he thought it was celery salt (possibly mixed with something else).

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I seem to always forget about Lola's, but we were strolling down 8th St on Saturday after a walk through Eastern Market and were looking for a lunch spot. We bypassed the enormous lines at Chesapeake Room and Ted's Bulletin and kept walking to a nearly empty Lola's.

I haven't had a chance to check out the new upstairs yet, but I'm still a fan of the huge and cushy bar stools so I never feel cramped or crowded in there. We got seats at the bar and enjoyed watching some Little League World Series while we ate. I also like that they serve water and soft drinks in huge glasses. I tend to drink my water pretty quickly at restaurants and it was nice to not have to keep asking for refills.

But onto the food...we really enjoyed both dishes we had. One we'd had before and liked, but the other was a new one. I ordered the Smoked Bacon & Cranberry Chicken Salad Sandwich ($11 -House made pulled chicken salad topped with lettuce, smoked bacon & provolone) with fries, which I've had on previous trips. The thick cut bacon and melty cheese really put this over the top. The cranberries didn't stand out too much but did offer a nice sweet contrast to the salt. This is a very large sandwich and the serving of fries as also generous. Even if they are frozen, as per Don above, I like that they are thin and crispy and I agree that they are addicting.

The +1 ordered the Badass Baja Fish Tacos ($12 - Grilled tortillas, seasonal fish, fresh cilantro cabbage coleslaw and chef's salsa verde) with blackened fish (you could also order fried) with a salad with the house herb vinaigrette. I took one of his tacos and he took half of my sandwich, so we had a chance to sample both dishes. Each taco was on a fresh grilled tortilla and each contained what seemed to be a whole filet of fish, spicy and moist, draped over a bed of cole slaw. The slaw was a little sweet which helped to balance the spiciness of the blackening. They were really really good and I wouldn't hesitate to order this again. The salad was also a good size with a nice, tangy dressing.

The brunch entrees being served to others nearby looked good as well, but it's going to be hard to not order these two dishes next time we're at Lola's.

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