In the ultra-worldly domain of Adams Morgan, where it's easier to get hummus than a hamburger, Millie and Al's celebrates the traditional culture of . . . West Virginia.
From the minute you walk into Millie and Al's you feel like you've been caught somewhere between a John Denver song (one of the good ones) and a country picnic.The folks inside the 40-year-old establishment seem to be reacquainting themselves with some of that front-porch spirit that's been washed away in this big ole crazy city. But don't be mistaken, these folks got their flannels at Britches, not the five-and-dime on Main Street. Nonetheless, the atmosphere is invariably abuzz with the talk of sports, which can be viewed on one of many large-screen TVs. Millie and Al's is not the place to go if you want to discuss the early presidential polls.
The decor is predictable -- wood and more wood. Wood bar, wood tables, wood paneling. It's like a glorified hunting lodge with red-and-white-checkered tablecloths. Hanging deer antlers and marlin aside, Millie and Al's is more progressive than it might appear. For starters, it serves a number of microbrews. And the jukebox is not stacked with country music; in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything closer to Nashville than Led Zeppelin.
What is behind the times at Millie and Al's are the prices. There is never a cover, and a pitcher of beer comes for about the same price as a martini at swankier bars up the street. Pizza is the house specialty and it's a perfect complement to Millie and Al's atmosphere. Of course, so is the hamburger.
-- Steven Ginsberg