Food + Wine
This December the ever-popular, not to mention, tremendously successful, Clydes Restaurant Group opened its latest ambitious venture in downtown DC, The Hamilton. Named after that famous American banker, the massive, 37,000-square foot gleaming space holds not just one but four bars, including one that serves excellent sushi, two large dining areas that serve food, get this – 24 hours a day and a live music venue space, known as Hamilton Live, that seats 300+.
Located on the corner of 14th and F, the behemoth bastion of all-night reverie has made quite a mark on the Penn Quarter scene, giving its neighbor (and sister property) Old Ebbitt Grill a run for its money. Whether its the live music that includes acts like Chubby Checker and local jazz greats, Mavis Staples, or the late-night gourmet munchies menu (petite filet mignon sandwiches – yum!) that gets you in the door, I can’t help but recommend it as a site worth beholding, especially for downtown DC.
My visit was in late January and the two ground level bars, despite being just a month old and it being only 8:30pm on a Saturday night, were packed. The jazz act downstairs was practically sold out (standing room only) and the wait for a table was 25 minutes. We enjoyed drinks and some light apps (pizza and sushi) by the bar downstairs as we bobeed and swayed to the music. The club downstairs is wonderfully atmospheric and reminds me of an old-school jazz club with way better seating, cleaner bathrooms and less smoke, albeit a bit less cozy.
However, Hamilton’s old roots as a building from the 20s allows for some hidden elements. Shh… there’s a sub level that houses its own bar and piano, oft frequented by the music acts post-show that is accessed only via the elevator from the club or a tucked away staircase. If the overwhelming dimensions of the place get to be to much for you, this malcovichian mid-level will restore any lagging intimacy.