Where to drink this weekend: Dr. Clock’s Nowhere Bar

June 21, 2013

If you find yourself craving cheap booze and good music in Adams Morgan this weekend, there are four words you need to know: Dr. Clock's Nowhere Bar.

Dr. Clock's Nowhere Bar
A droid named "PBR2-D2" adorns the wall at Dr. Clock's Nowhere Bar. (Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

The one-room spot, located above the Rendezvous Lounge at the southern end of Adams Morgan, features cans of Natty Boh and DC Brau and bartenders who like pouring shots. The house special is a Natty Boh and a shot of Old Overholt rye whiskey for $6, and absinthe cocktails won't set you back more than $10. DJs rotate regularly, but most concentrate on hip-hop, house or indie. There's never a cover charge.

Does the theme sound familiar? It might. Run by one of the bartenders from the much-missed MiG Bar in the one-room space formerly occupied by the much-missed MiG Bar, Dr. Clock's is one of the most unlikely comebacks in recent memory.

Van Hillard and Chad McCall created the low-key MiG Bar in the room above Rendezvous Lounge back in 2011, offering canned beer, strong cocktails and good DJs while showing old-school movies on a projection screen. The bar abruptly closed in April 2012 after a falling-out with the landlord, but the duo promised they'd open their own neighborhood bar eventually.

A few months ago, Hillard got a call from the building's owner, asking whether he wanted to run a new bar in the same space, and he jumped at the chance. (McCall, who says he still plans to open a new version of MiG Bar with Hillard in the future, now bar-tends at the Iron Horse Tap Room.)

Hillard says he's not changing the format much at Dr. Clock's. The decor is slightly different – the retro Soviet-inspired paintings on the wall have been replaced by illustrations that mix "Star Wars" characters and cheap domestic beer. "PBR2-D2" and "Natty BohBa Fett" are already there; if you can come up with a better hybrid than "CP3O'Doul's," Hillard is looking for suggestions.

DJs provide the soundtrack from 10 p.m. to close Thursday through Saturday, with Hillard's Britpop-heavy iPod running the rest of the week. Some cocktails are good – the Dark and Stormy uses Kraken rum and spicy Fentimans ginger beer. But the house specialty Snakeskin Jacket sounds a bit scary: Fireball whiskey, Kubler absinthe, ginger ale and orange juice. It's named after Nick Cage's jacket in "Wild at Heart," and it sure sounds like something Sailor would drink, especially for $8.

Unlike MiG Bar, Dr. Clock's Nowhere Bar takes credit cards, but be warned: A sign behind the bar promises that tabs left open at the end of the night "are subject to a 1,000,000,000% gratuity."

The place opens at 6 p.m. nightly, but I have a feeling I'll be heading there most often when I need a refuge from the usual Adams Morgan scene.

Fritz Hahn has written about bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. A product of Prince George's County public schools, Fritz majored in journalism at the University of Maryland and lives in the District.
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