Playboy magazine is out with its list of “America’s greatest late-night bars,” and one D.C. bar made the cut: Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club. As someone who has said, “Okay, just one more drink” at Jimmy Valentine’s more than a few times, it’s an inclusion I can agree with. Jimmy’s doesn’t break the law and stay open past last call, but it’s the perfect place to go when you know you should be heading home but really want to stay out a bit longer.
The club’s lack of a sign — look for a pink halo over a nondescript door on Bladensburg Road NE — makes you feel like you’ve entered a fraternity of folks who are cool enough to know that the Lonely Hearts Club exists. The funky paintings, the low red lights and flocked wallpaper, and the comfortable couches create a perfectly louche atmosphere that matches the attitude of the hardened barcrawlers, off-duty bartenders, tattoo artists, goths and hipsters who gather there. DJs set the soundtrack with everything from electro to hip-hop.
Your last drink (or drinks) of the night come from a surprisingly diverse beer selection that ranges from grenades of Mickey’s Malt Liquor to 22-ounce bottles of Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale and Bear Republic’s Big Black Bear Stout, but you can also just get a highly boozy slushee or a shot of “Mr. Lethal,” the secret house concoction that “helps make bad decisions.” (It’s affordable, too: On Friday nights, PBR tallboys are $1 from 8 to 9, with the price going up $1 every hour until midnight.)
It can get a little raucous, but that’s part of the charm. Congrats to the folks at Jimmy Valentine’s.