Chief Ike's Mambo Room

Dance Club, Bar, Low-key, Private Party Room
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Editorial Review

This once-happening haunt of young politicos no longer draws the likes of White House big shot George Stephanopoulos, who was reportedly a regular. But those who stop by the Adams Morgan bar today say that Chief Ike's was never more than a neighborhood joint until a favorable Washingtonian magazine review kicked off an invasion of yuppie clients. That crowd has long since moved on to places like nearby Madam's Organ or Polly Esther's.

Since then, Ike's has returned to its humble bar roots with an occasional open jam session early in the week. Fridays are by far the busiest nights, but make sure you arrive before 9:30 to avoid paying a cover along with the $4 beers. If nothing else, the kitschy decor is worth a quick peek, with old monster movie comic books laminated onto the bar tables. A spacious sidewalk terrace offers a quiet refuge – weather permitting – from the row of clubs on nearby 18th Street. The bathrooms are not Chief Ike's strong suit, but you can always use the facilities down the street at McDonald's.

– Dan Pacheco