$$$$ ($15-$24)
Find a blend of cuisines and cocktails downstairs; DJs in the lounge above.
Daily 5:30 pm-2:30 am
food served until 12:30 am
(U Street/Cardozo)
U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo (Yellow and Green Lines)

Editorial Review

Your first views through Policy's large windows are of the diner-style restaurant, where Chef Brian Murphy's menu includes madras curry lamb sliders and veal sweetbreads. I haven't made it to dinner yet, but I did drop in around midnight last Friday to find a party going full blast in the upstairs lounge.

If you want to check out Policy without dropping too much cash, Friday is the night to do it. There's no cover charge when you RSVP, and unlike most other lounges you can visit tonight, Policy's Sound Elevation party doesn't require an exorbitant minimum to reserve a table, though you do have to purchase something. "It's kind of like a restaurant in that ... people can sit as long as they wish after their meal but when demand for tables is high, it's considered respectful to vacate your seat in a somewhat timely fashion after dining," promoter Kevin L. Murray explains in an e-mail.

On Saturdays, however, Policy's minimum is one bottle for every four people at a table, and when bottles are a few hundred dollars each, that can add up.

The space itself is attractive, with stylishly mismatched chandeliers overheard, low tables and a very busy bar. One wall is covered with graffiti by local artist Andrew Funk, and while it's really well done, it doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the lounge's vibe. There's no dance floor, but the music is a key part of the night. DJs rotate every week, often featuring selectors from well-known DC9/Black Cat nights like Nouveau Riche or Sorted.

Drinks are almost as affordable as everything else; a large Bombay Sapphire and tonic and a bottle of Amstel was $13, though I didn't find out until after I'd ordered that Policy requires a minimum tab of $25 if you want to use a credit card.

You can get on the guest list by visiting tinyurl.com/TruthFridaysAtPolicy. To reserve a table, call 646-457-0553.

-- Fritz Hahn (April 3, 2009)