Mr. Nyman goes to Washington...
Over Memorial Day Weekend I had the pleasure to be able to travel once again, back to our Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C. for a long weekend and enjoy the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four, being held up the road in Baltimore. I went to support my alma mater, the University of Denver Pioneers, who I had also played lacrosse for and on their first Division I team, graduating in 1999. As well, I have always had an affinity for D.C. from my childhood years but greater more so after living there in the early 2000’s.
After flying in on Friday night and getting settled, I had a chance to catch up with a great friend who wanted to take me out for a night on the town in the District. But first, we had to start in Arlington, over the river for a quick bite and cocktails at Circa. A much needed cocktail and some snacks were in order, along with catching up with two buddies who were joining us for the evening.
Catching an Uber (drunk driving is VERY heavily frowned upon in D.C.), we headed towards 14th Street, currently the hot corridor in the city, starting at Barcelona, a tapas themed bar/restaurant. It is a VERY lively place, with a big bar scene, large outdoor patio and high-energy environment.
Walking down the street, we popped into Pearl Dive; a multi-story seafood concept with a big bar downstairs, cocktail lounge upstairs along with a bocce court on the second floor. Awesome to see the unique concept, including multiple sensory experiences there.
The last stop of the evening, on the same street, was for a glass of wine and some snacks at Ghibellina, a modern Italian spot, in their bar. This was a great service experience, with the bartenders truly delivering upon the promise of Hospitality, through recommendations and going above & beyond what we needed. We were able to have their Varieta Di Salumi Artigianali, which was a great board of various salumi, all more delicious than the last.
Saturday was to be the big day and I wanted to get to Baltimore as soon as possible to support my boys. We hit the road and made our way to the important Lot O – where all of the tailgates were being held for the Final Four teams. It just so happened that the University of Denver party was right next door (separated by one tent) to the Duke University party, our opponent in that day’s game. There were parents, alumni, fans, friends and plenty of others there to cheer on our Pioneers; a truly great morning. This was the 4th Final Four that I have had the pleasure to attend and the 2nd one in four years watching my university play. There is such a fantastic energy in the air during the Memorial Day Weekend of lacrosse, definitely which was not lost on me.
Unfortunately, my boys, while staging furious rally, fell short to the Blue Devils on Saturday. While there were no shortage of long faces, it was a truly tremendous season and a pleasure to watch as an alum.
Coming back to the DC area, we decided for an early evening cocktail at The Graham Hotel, on their Rooftop patio, overlooking Georgetown and DC, all the way down K Street. This is one of the newer hotels to open in Georgetown, keeping with the trend of smaller, boutique hotels offering unique experiences. It was a gorgeous evening out, perfect for cocktails and good friends.
We then moved on to a classic restaurant from other city’s which is actually newly opened in D.C., Joe’s Stone Crab in the former Union Trust Bank location. Choosing to sit in the lounge, we enjoyed a delicious bone-in Halibut Fillet along with Roasted Sweet Potato with Maple Pecan Butter. Included in the atmosphere was some great people watching, including Washington Wizards star player, John Wall.
Last stop of the evening turned out to be a damn fun one, heading underground to Heist Nightclub on Jefferson. Heist is a TINY club/lounge, accommodating less than a 150 people and you could feel it; with the vibe running hot, music being loud and party going strong. We enjoyed this energy late into the night for sure.
By Sunday I was in need of a small detox, which fortunately came courtesy of a workout at Sports Club LA next to The Ritz Carlton, D.C. After enjoying a steam, long hot shower and down time, I was back in the game and ready to go! We ventured down to the Washington Harbor in Georgetown at the Waterfront for Brunch at Farmers Fishers Bakers, a temple of a restaurant that had lines running out the door, with an ode to all who allow restaurants to do what they do with their products. Fortunately, we were able to score a seat at the bar before taking a walk to check out the full range of various offerings of the Sunday Brunch.
Before heading out, my friend and I enjoyed our annual multiple games of shooting pool, at a really cool little neighborhood spot in Arlington, Carpool. Definitely a joint, but plenty of games and fun to choose from for a casual night out.
Continuing on, we headed towards downtown D.C. to one of my buddy’s favorite places, The Hamilton. Just blocks from the White House, The Hamilton is much more than just a restaurant, with multiple bars, hundreds of restaurant seats and a subterranean concert venue! We headed inside to the 2nd bar, which is actually right by the Sushi Bar (yes, really) taking over the side of the bar, with a great view of the crowd coming in for the show later that night, Lisa Loeb.
We enjoyed a fantastic selection of fresh sushi including Hamachi, Big Eye Tuna and plenty more fish, before I enjoyed a Roasted Asparagus Salad with Ramp Pesto.
Memorial Day Monday was back to Lacrosse up in Baltimore, starting at a Baltimore staple, Miss Shirley's for a quick breakfast sandwich (on gluten-free bread I might add!) topped with plenty of Old Bay. After watching Duke win their 2nd straight National Championship with my buddy, who is a Duke Alum we realized we needed a solid late lunch/early dinner before I headed out on my flight. Going for a simple, straight forward yet classic option, we headed to the Capital Grille in the Inner Harbor, catching them right at 5pm when they opened.
I must say, I’ve had the pleasure to dine at quite a few Capital Grille’s and this was definitely not one of their top locations. It could have been the Memorial Day Holiday, just a bad night or something else, but the restaurant was off overall. My buddy’s steak was overcooked (Filet) and my Sirloin was also overcooked, plus was a vein-end piece of meat. Things happen and they attempted service recovery pretty well, but it just wasn’t the best option.
Getting to the airport now full and exhausted, I was ready to head home back West. Overall, it was a great trip catching up with some damn good people, lots of go go go and proud of my University of Denver Pioneers. Looking forward to being back in our Nation’s Capital sooner rather than later and enjoying what it has to offer…