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Back to the Gibson

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The Gibson

The Gibson - It's a speakeasy style bar. No sign on the door, no info on the website. Do make a reservation if you can.

In our efforts to spread the love around DC a bit more, I headed to The Gibson with a couple of girlfriends for happy hour Friday night.  Of course, Art and I go into withdrawal if we don’t hit ChurchKey on an incredibly frequency — so he headed over there while I was off with the girls.  We didn’t have a reservation, but thankfully they had space in the outside area.

I’ve been to The Gibson once before.  It always seems like a place that I should be spending more time at, but Art’s not really into cocktails — which is why we don’t go there much.

I have to say the cocktails didn’t disappoint on my return visit.  They are still incredibly expensive, but totally worth it.  I will never understand why a bar can charge $15 for a vodka martini, which takes no effort to make.  At the Gibson, you know why your cocktail is costing $15.  They are complicated, use amazing ingredients, and flawless.  The favorite drink of the night was the Tidal Basin Picnic, which featured Creme de Violette and lemonade (and a bunch of other liquors).  I’ve been wanting to try Creme de Violette for a while, but haven’t a chance to.  I totally jumped at this one.

It was so good, that for our third, and final round — we all ordered it.

The only flaw with The Gibson, which I was hoping they’d remedied was the food — or lack there of.  We were there for 3 hours, drinking very, very, very strong drinks.  There’s just not enough food.  The menu said they had “small plates” and to ask the waitress for the plates o’the day, and I was happy to see that.  Sadly the waitress said the 3 things on the menu were it, and they mostly involved meats that I really don’t eat.  We did have the gnocchi, which was brilliant (I picked around the salami).

Meridian Pint: Beer is Proof that God Loves Us

Art and I have been fairly loyal customers of Churchkey and Birch and Barley since they opened.  Honestly, it’s the first place that we’ve wanted to go to on a regular basis (and frequently) in years.  The last time we had a “home” like that, we lived on the Hill and hung out at Hawk and Dove.  Our Hawk and Dove days are long behind us, and really no other bars or restaurants had that “third place” vibe for us until Churchkey came along.

We’re big craft beer people, and we love good food.  That’s the magic mix that Churchkey/Birch and Barley have.  The staff there is also awesome and super friendly, which really helps too.  These days a lot of the staff knows us on sight, and by name.  It makes it really fun to be there.  Personally, I love the overall vibe of the place too.  It just feels right.

But with all the great places popping up around DC,  we thought we’d venture out.  So last night, we hit the very recently opened Meridan Pint (good pics on Lagerheads Facebook Page).  The first thing we noticed was the staff.  It’s clearly staffed with Churchkey alumni, so the place felt kind of homey right away.  The beer menu was respectable (24ish taps) of good craft brew.  They focus on American craft beer, so it was kind of sad/disappointing to see Miller Light and PBR on the menu.  Guess they decided to cater to the groundlings a bit.  We had a few brews, my favorite being the Summer Solstice cream ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company.

The most impressive thing about the menu was the real selection of vegetarian food.  I’m not a vegetarian, but my relationship with meat is complicated and I very infrequently order it at a restaurant. Most places do a passing nod to vegetarian food, especially beer places.  That’s why I was so impressed with the menu.  Art had  the seasonal chilled pea soup, which was freaking awesome and I wish I had ordered it, and the grilled polenta with wilted arugula.  The polenta was also awesome, but the arugula was bit too old and bitter for him.  (no comments about the wife, please).

I had the fried tofu with chili sauce, which was amazing — but gave me this rapid fire sudden heartburn.  Seriously.  It was crazy.  I ordered the seitan kabobs for dinner, but the heartburn kind of killed my appetite.  The kabobs were good, but not great.  I’m not a huge seitan fan, and I think it was just a little too much for me.  The grilled tomatoes on the kabobs were good, but there were too few of them and too many onions.  A mushroom or two would have balanced it better.

We still had home made sour cherry pie at home, so we skipped dessert.   We did take a quick peek at the downstairs bar, which we’d heard about.  Yes — there are a couple of tables with taps built in.  It had a couple of pool tables and some cozy little seating areas.

All in all, a good meal with great service and great beer.  We’ll definitely be back.

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