Columbia Heights needed a bar with a large outdoor area and plenty of TVs. Lou’s City Bar fills both requirements admirably, with 19 screens of varying sizes on every wall and behind the 45-foot bar, plus a few more on the tented-and-heated sidewalk patio. All that makes it a great reason to stop in during March Madness. Sadly, just about everything else is just “blah” at best.
Service is completely hit or miss. One night, several people at one end of the bar were trying to get drinks, but one of the bartenders seemed completely oblivious. The burgers were dry and the “hot” wings weren’t as flavorful as advertised. Aisles around the bar are congested, and when all stools are taken, it’s hard to find anywhere to stand and watch a game without being repeatedly bumped -- especially when your attention is focused on a TV hanging over your head.
The bartenders don’t seem to know much about the beers, either. I heard one guy ask “Do you have any ales?” only to be met with a blank stare. Among the 24 drafts, there are maybe three or beers above the usual Budweiser and Smithwicks, including choices from Brooklyn and Troegs.(Getting a feel for customers could be an issue; I don’t think I’ve been in without at least one tap being off because they’d run out of the beer.) On my last after-work visit, the happy hour special was $3 Killian’s Irish Red.
I wouldn’t care if the drafts at Lou’s consisted solely of Bud, Bud Light and Guinness as long as I could get a good plate of wings, helpful servers and watch sports. Maybe once college basketball is over, Lou’s can take a deep breath and find its feet.
— Fritz Hahn (March 28, 2011)
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